Great Social Media Tools for Writers
By Amy Groening
So you want to be a successful author. Simple, right? Hone your writing skills, create a solid manuscript, dress it up with a great cover design, typeset, and superb editing, and voila…who wouldn’t want to buy a copy, right?
If you’ve followed our blog—or the blog of any published author, really—you’ve probably noticed that in the digital age, you need to be more than simply a good writer in order to sell copies. You also need to be an energetic self-promoter with great marketing tactics that will get you noticed on social media. Social media can be an excellent way to connect with your potential audience, grow that potential audience, and get books into the hands of people who normally wouldn’t have the opportunity to hear about you or your writing.
The one drawback that stands between a lot of writers and a great social media platform is simply getting organized and maintaining those accounts. I don’t blame you—who wants to be busily hammering out clever 140-character quips for Twitter when they could be building a thrilling scene in their latest novel instead? Some would—and those people probably don’t need this blog post. But if social media maintenance doesn’t come naturally to you, here are a few tools to help you keep on top of things.
Most social media outlets rely on a heavily visual setup to draw attention to particularly compelling posts. In order to keep people clicking and reading through your commentaries, you want to make those posts (and the landing that goes along with them) as visually appealing as possible.
Easier said than done, when each social media platform has its own requirements for size and shape of the images it will host. Users can spend hours resizing the same image to fit a Facebook cover, Twitter header photo, Pinterest user account image, and blog layout requirements. Canva helps to make this as pre-created image templates specifically designed to fit different social media platforms. Their Facebook cover layout even indicates where your user profile photo will appear in relation to that image—an incredibly helpful feature that takes a lot of the guesswork out of visual setups.
Use it to create a Facebook cover based on your book art, status post, and ad; Twitter cards, Pinterest posts, blog post images, blog covers, infographics, banners, and much more.
If you’re like me, you log in to social media once or twice a day, see a whole bunch of cool things to comment on, re-tweet, favourite, and repost. Your social media platforms see a flurry of activity in a 30-minute period, and then lie dormant for the rest of the day.
Why is this a problem? Well, it means you’re missing out on valuable opportunities to connect with users throughout the day. Depending on your schedule, you may not be active during peak times of the day—times when you’re likely to reach more viewers than at any other time of the day.
Buffer helps resolve this by cycling through content you’d like to post throughout the day. It can assess your social media platforms and establish when the peak times for you to post will be. Then, all you need to do is fill up your Buffer and let it do its thing, sharing your thoughts and comments at times when you’re likely to connect with more of your potential readers. Just make sure to set up notifications so you’ll see when readers respond to your posts, so you’re prompted to keep the conversation going.
If This, Then That
IFTTT is an interesting little app that is carried by its ability to build “recipes” that help you keep on top of certain activities you want to happen whenever you do
You can use it to track social media posts:
IF I post something about my book to Facebook, THEN add a section to a Google Doc tracking that post.
You can use it to keep up with your followers:
IF someone follows me on Twitter, THEN send them a message welcoming them.
You can use it to direct your followers to a regular scheduled guest post or podcast you’re involved in:
IF it’s Monday, THEN post a message to Twitter reminding followers to check out your Monday Podcast on
Use it to support your fellow authors:
IF someone posts using the #ChristianAuthor hashtag, THEN add them to a Twitter list of Christian Authors, so you can interact with other writers and see what they’re up to.
A word of warning:
Services like these can be a great way to keep active and up-to-date across your social media board, but don’t overdo it. The goal is to let them help you, not replace you as a flesh-and-blood social media presence. If your newsfeed is full of IFTTT and Buffer commentary, you’re going to start to sound more like a bot than the fascinating individual you are, so use these cleverly and sparingly, and make sure to still interact with your followers directly.
About this Contributor:
Amy Groening is a project manager at Word Alive Press. She is a passionate storyteller with experience in blogging, newspaper reportage, and creative writing. She holds an Honours degree in English Literature and is happy to be working in an industry where she can see other writers’ dreams come to life. She enjoys many creative pursuits, including sewing, sculpture and painting, and spends an embarrassingly large amount of time at home taking photos of her cat committing random acts of feline crime.