Social media is one of the best ways to build your author brand. While your author website provides a hub for information about you and your writing projects, using a good social network also lets you effectively engage your audience in real time. You can promote new projects, receive feedback, and build your fan base. But with so many platforms available, how do you know which are the best to grow your readership? It’s important to choose wisely, because utilizing the wrong social network can actually hurt your readership growth! Here are the pros and cons of each social network from the social media experts at Web Design Relief.
Social Network Pros And Cons For Writers Targeting Readership Growth
Facebook is an obvious choice when it comes to social media networking and building your author brand. It’s a technological giant that offers a wide range of options, including author pages, organized event planning, dedicated Facebook groups for every genre, and more. And Facebook’s wide user base and search functions let you make connections with your writing networks. However, life on Facebook moves at a measured pace, and too many posts from you can easily irritate your followers. This is one of the reasons younger audiences are moving away from Facebook.
- Allows multimedia content
- Very high character limit
- Broad user base
- Less popular with younger audiences
- Not considered cutting-edge
This is the platform for writers on the go! Twitter encourages short, frequent updates to keep followers current with your latest thoughts, activities, and event news. Whether you want to talk about your writing process or post reminders about upcoming publications, Twitter can help you send terse but powerful messages to your audience. Using hashtags can help group your tweets with similar content from other users, making it easier for followers and new readers to find you. The downside is that Twitter’s culture of quick updates and character limit won’t allow you to post long excerpts or full event information. Also, Twitter is most successful when you tweet often, which requires a significant time commitment.
- Thrives on frequent updates
- Easy tagging with hashtags
- Frequent engagement can be time-consuming
- 280 character limit
Even for writers, a picture can be worth a thousand words! Instagram is easy to use and great for book cover reveals, printed excerpts of your writing, and visual updates on your life as a writer. This social media platform does impose a limit on the length of captions, but it’s not as restrictive as Twitter. However, if you are more inclined to post longer messages, Instagram may not be the network for you.
- Low maintenance
- Prefers shorter captions
- Doesn’t promote sharing
While this photo-based social media network may seem similar to Instagram, Pinterest works very differently. Rather than posting mainly original content, Pinterest is more focused on “pinning” content from other users and websites to your board. You can easily pull from a wide range of sources to create a unique collection of ideas. A great way to build your author brand on Pinterest is to gather and pin content that’s related to your writing, especially if it shares common themes or aesthetics. Keep in mind, though, that Pinterest doesn’t provide the same level of direct audience engagement as other social media platforms. Followers may interact with your boards, but not with you personally, and Pinterest is not well-suited for personal updates or event announcements.
- Promotes sharing with followers
- Unique engagement
- Difficult to interact directly with followers
- Very little text content
Though not often seen as a social media platform, LinkedIn is definitely useful for networking with other writers as well as editors, agents, and publishers. Use your LinkedIn profile to brag about your accomplishments and skills—you can even share blog articles from your author website! On the other hand, LinkedIn isn’t the most effective resource for building or interacting with a community of fans, since many users don’t check it every day.
- Professional atmosphere
- Shows off specialties and accomplishments
- Good for making business connections
- Not as effective for fan networks
- Not the best place for event promotions
Specifically created for readers and writers, Goodreads lets you gather a collection of book titles (from books you’ve read and loved to those on your TBR list) and share your thoughts and reviews. Talking up books that are like yours is a great way to generate interest in your book, and cross-promotion is a powerful tool to get your name in front of a fresh group of readers. You can create an author page and build lists of your books or books in your genre to let followers know what to expect from your writing. There is not much direct interaction with your audience on this site, and it doesn’t support any sort of event planning, but Goodreads can still be a powerful marketing tool for promoting your writing to interested readers.
- Designed specifically for books
- Built around promotion and recommendation
- Audience of readers
- Little direct interaction
- Not good for event/business promotion
There’s no doubt that social media is important to growing your online presence, but it’s important to choose the networks that best suit you and your work. Rather than trying to be on every social media network, choose two or three platforms and focus on building a good following. And take advantage of a social media management system like Hootsuite to make your life easier.
Question: Which social media platform works best for you as a writer?