Building relationships is one of the most important things that an author can do in the marketing process. This can be a difficult task, but one that social media can help simplify. Social media helps authors build relationships by allowing them an easy way to interact with readers in many ways. An author can also streamline the way they build reader relationships by creating a community around their work on social media. An additional great way an author can build a relationship with their readers is by participating in events both in person and virtual.
Engagement and interaction with readers is vastly simplified by social media. At one point in time, the only way an author could interact with their readers was through writing letters. An author would have to read each individual piece of fan mail and respond-an almost impossible task. These days an author can interact with readers through email and social media, drastically reducing the amount of time it takes for an author to get back to readers.
Not only can an author direct message or email their readers, but they can also use social media posts to engage with readers. Many authors have had success building reader relationships by sharing bits and pieces of both their writing life and personal life. You can post on your Instagram story as you’re doing edits on your upcoming book or tag yourself on Facebook at the Starbucks up the street, where you love to work from when you can’t be cooped up in the house a minute longer. These small things help readers get to know you, so much better, it will make them more likely to reach out when they know they have things in common with you. I have built a relationship with author Aimee Brown throughout her career, I LOVE her Facebook live videos when she gets a bad review-she’s so hilarious! We’ve also bonded over the fact that there’s SO MUCH SNOW where both live. It’s these snippets into her life that have made me feel like she’s more of a friend than just someone who wrote a book (technically two) that I have loved. Social media posts are great, but if you really want to connect with your readers one on one, create an exclusive group like a street team to build relationships with them.
In addition to using direct messages or posts to interact with their readers, an author can utilize social media to build a community for their readers. This can be achieved by using something like Facebook groups to create a street team to share exclusive content with readers or creating a group on LinkedIn or Slack where your readers can discuss your books. There are several platforms or mediums an author can use to create their community, but it is how they run it that really matters. One of the best ways to create a sense of community and forge relationships with readers is by making them feel special. An author can do this by releasing content exclusively for their street team or asking for feedback on future work, I have even seen an author create a contest to have readers name their forthcoming book. Participating in events is another great way that authors can create a better relationship with readers. Whether their online or in person, events allow readers a way to really get to know authors on a more personal level.
In addition to these ways an author can create a community around their book by participating in different events, whether it be creating a virtual event for their book launch or doing a book signing at their local bookstore. Doing things like virtual book launches and creating Q & A sessions or going live on Facebook are great ways that a reader can get to know an author on a more personal level. If your book is already launched but you still want to find a way to connect with readers in person, a great way to do this is with a book reading. It gives potential readers a chance to get to know both you and your book. Events aren’t always easy to orchestrate but the work pays off as you gain new readers and celebrate your longtime readers.
Building relationships with readers can be a time consuming and sometimes frustrating task but it is incredibly important for authors to do. There are several great ways an author can reach out to build relationships with their potential readers, like making yourself visible on social media, and easy for readers to find. Additionally, authors can utilize things like Facebook live and Instagram’s stories feature to connect with readers. If you’re an author who doesn’t enjoy social media, you can build an exclusive community around your book on another platform to give readers a way to feel privileged and special. An author who loves being in the spotlight can put themselves out there at virtual and in-person events to connect with both potential and longtime readers. No matter which route you take, with effort, it will pay off.