There are so many forms of social media out there. Where and when do I start as an author? It can be overwhelming.
I say start before you launch your first book. Start building your presence. I would pick a few sites and add others later. You can share information, links to blogs, book reviews, and other interesting information before your book is published.
Before you begin, you’ll need a professional photograph and a short biography. Make sure you have the links to your blog. As you set up your new accounts, remember that you can always go back and add or change information later.
I use Canva to create the artwork for headers (page banners) and posts. They have the templates already sized to fit all the major sites. This way you can customize your look and feel and make it match across all your sites.
Some authors struggle with whether to create a separate website/social media sites for each book. My recommendation is to create one for your author brand (either your name or your pen name). You, as author, are the focus, and your site should highlight your books. Now, many authors who write under different pen names often have separate sites for each identity.
Here are some other things you need to think about…
Make sure you have a website with a blog. Your website’s URL should be your name or your pen name. Make sure that you have a site that you (or someone you pay) can keep updated. Nobody wants to see your information from 2004. (The reason most people have a blog on their website is to have a way to add new content regularly to the site. Readers and followers don’t revisit sites where the content is outdated.)
Create an author Facebook page. After you gain followers, you’ll have access to analytics/metrics. The analytics show how many people interacted with your posts. On author pages, you can schedule posts. Some people use their personal Facebook page. Personal pages do have a cap on the number of friends you can have, and the algorithms limit the number of people who see certain types of posts.
Create an Amazon author page and connect all of your books to it. I also connected my blog, so followers can see recent posts.
Many social media sites can be connected. If you post to your author Facebook page, you can have it automatically tweet on Twitter. Decide if you want the same post on multiple sites. It can be a time-saver. But one draw back is that a post formatted for one social media site, may not fit or appear the same way on another. An example is if you auto-Tweet a Facebook post, it puts a link in the tweet to the Facebook post. Your followers on Twitter have to click the link to see what it is. (There’s often no picture.) Some people avoid these types of post, and you’re not getting action on that post.
There are other tools (free or for a fee) that will help you monitor and schedule posts on social media sites. As you gain experience, you may want to look at some of these to help you be efficient with your time. (I use a free version of TweetDeck to schedule my Twitter posts. I pay for Tweepi to help me manage followers. I also use a free mobile app called Followers to manage my Instagram account.)
Find the social media sites that you like and build your following there. You are more apt to visit those sites frequently and stay active on them. My go-to sites are Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram.
Balance your writing and social media marketing time. It’s all important, but you need to be writing your next book.