Social Media as a Book Promotion Tool: How to Make It Work

Should you use social media to promote your book? It's the age old question. Social media can be an especially powerful tool in your marketing strategy, but there’s no one-size-fits-all plan. No step-by-step guide to guaranteed success.

To figure out what works for you, however, ask yourself the following questions and create your own social media marketing strategy.

Do you already use social media?

(Why this question? Because it makes a difference in what you’re able to accomplish right away.)


Great, you’ve got a head start! With an understanding of how social media works, you’ll have a smaller learning curve when it comes to using social media to promote your book versus using it for personal enjoyment.


Don’t worry—just because you’re not familiar with social media now doesn’t mean you can’t learn it. If promoting your book on Facebook and Twitter is something you’d like to do, spend time reading up on best practices and the dos and don’ts of social media.

The next question to answer is also pretty easy:

How much time to do you have to dedicate to social?

As much as you’d like that extra hour every day (or extra day every week), there’s too much to do and not enough time to do it, right? When you publish a book, you’re really taking on a second career, which requires you to choose wisely what you spend your time on.

To establish and maintain a following, you need to dedicate time and effort to social media. There’s no way around it. It doesn’t have to take hours and hours, though. You can start small, just 10 or 15 minutes daily, with focused goals and objectives.

Because social media is social, your goals might be something like, “Interact with three new people” or “Find five people to follow who fit my target reader” or “Share two articles my target reader would find useful.” It might take you a while to build a following that way, but you’ll have more engaged fans, and more engaged always wins over follower counts.

Which type of social media is your book suited for?

Not all social media is created equal, especially when it comes to targeting your ideal reader. If you don’t know who your ideal reader is, take some time to determine who that might be. Look at genre, gender, age, and location. These will determine where you want to be on social media.

You don’t have to be everywhere! In fact, spreading yourself too thin across every social media platform will negatively impact your social media efforts. Here’s a brief rundown of what you’ll want to keep in mind.

Business books and other nonfiction topics might be better suited for LinkedIn and blogging, because these make it easy to establish your expertise. Social media sites like Pinterest and Instagram are visual, so if your book has pictures or the topic lends itself well to visuals, you might see greater success there.

Facebook and Twitter have strong book communities, especially with women, so your time might be better spent there if you’re a fiction author or a nonfiction author marketing to women book lovers.

You also want to consider what form of social media content you’re best at writing and sharing. If you can’t squeeze your updates into 140 characters for Twitter, you might be better off on Facebook or blogging, even if that’s not necessarily your audience’s favorite platform. If you do a social media site really well, people will follow you there, regardless of demographics. 

Your Social Media Action Plan

1. Learn how to use social media.
2. Decide how much time to devote to it.
3. Determine which sites to use based on your ideal reader.
4. Set goals for interaction.

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