So you’ve decided what you want to say on your author social media channels. You’ve got a plan. You know the purpose of your posts and who you’re speaking to. You’ve identified the right platforms to reach your readers and you’ve scheduled your content for the week or month ahead. Brilliant.
All of the above is exactly what I advise authors to do, but it can end up turning you into just one more brand in a sea of brands. While building an author brand is what you’re striving for, it’s important that readers get to see the human behind that brand. Why? Well, humans like to connect with other humans. They like to know that they’re dealing with people who face the same struggles, choices, and preferences that they do. Struggles like finding the right book to read and preferences like fantasy novels or crime thrillers.
Let’s have a look at three great examples of author showing their human side on social media.
These authors excel at showing their human side on social media
Neil Gaiman is one of my favourite authors but he’s also an absolute (human) star on social media. He brings the same witty, whimsical, quirky style from his novels and comics to his social media posts. He also engages with his followers on a regular basis, sharing their posts, replying to their comments, and even sending them birthday wishes. He’s especially well loved on Tumblr.
Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat Pray Love and Big Magic shares her insights on creativity, spirituality, and happiness on her social media channels. She invites her followers to join challenges and projects, and she isn’t afraid to express how life is treating her, whether good or bad.
I’ve read so many novels by the incredibly prolific author Stephen King, who uses his social media accounts to share his thoughts on books, current events, and his own projects. He even posts frequent pictures of his dog.
The one thing that each of these authors excel at is authenticity. There is no doubt whose social media channel you are scrolling through. They are unabashedly themselves.
How to show your human side on social media as an author
Here are three ways to be more human on social media.
How will your readers and followers get to know you if you don’t let your personality shine through on social media? As an author, you already know how to write like ‘you’ in your books. It isn’t such a big jump to develop that voice for your social media and blog posts too. If you’re not sure how to develop your social media voice, start by writing in the way that you speak. Would you use that long word or phrase in real life, for instance? Don’t be scared to make it chatty and conversational.
How do you join in? Well, you could:
- reply to comments on your social media posts
- thank followers who share your posts
- comment on other people’s posts
- ask and answer questions
- share other people’s posts – with or without your own slant
- join social media events like the #7DayTale Twitter write-athon
- promote other authors who have supported your writerly journey
Don’t just talk at your audience; talk to them too. Interact and strike up a conversation.
Show your life
No, I don’t just mean the books you write. Show who you are beyond your life as an author too. This is one element that many authors struggle with, but you don’t have to reveal more than you’re comfortable with to show the human behind the books. That might be:
- photographs of you and your life
- opinions on current events or trends
- behind the scenes posts
- your life events
- non writing projects you’re involved in
- causes and charities you support
- photos of your pet dog, cat, boa constrictor…
It’s easy to feel that you’re simply shouting into the void with your social media posts or that you’re next to invisible among a sea of authors all struggling to be seen. What will set you apart from other authors and attract your community, however, is showing the person behind the wonderful books that your readers love. Be more than a brand; be a human.
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