The blank page moment doesn’t just happen when you begin to write a new novel, poem, or chapter. It can stop you in your tracks when you’re creating social media posts too. Even when you’ve got a social media plan in place, thinking up what you’ll tweet or post on Instagram can sometimes be a challenge.
So, what do you do when you face that social media blank page moment?
Start with the why, who, and what
Go back to basics:
- Why do you have an author social media presence?
- Who are you talking to?
- What do you want them to do?
The answer to ‘why’ will generally be to promote your books and build a following. That provides you with two things to post about. First off, your books. Promote them regularly but try to vary the way you promote them. Use a range of your own graphics, gifs, and link previews, for instance.
The second answer to ‘why’ brings me on to the ‘who’ of your author social media presence – your audience. Generally, these will be your current and potential readers. So what can you post that would interest them? It might be other books in your genre or tips related to the topic of your non-fiction book. Work out who your audience is and make your posts relevant to what they want to see.
Finally, the ‘what’ – what do you want your audience to do? Do you want them to:
- join your mailing list?
- buy your book?
- go to your website?
- go to your book launch party?
- answer a question?
- shout about your latest book on social media?
Whatever it is, ask them. In a social media post.
What do you have to share?
Social media is called ‘social’ for a reason; it’s all about interacting with people. One brilliant way to do that is to share something with them. It might be:
- your books (yep, we’re back to book promotion again)
- the lead magnet they’ll receive when they sign up to your mailing list
- reader reviews of your books or reviews you’ve written about other people’s books
- your blog posts, whether on your own website or as a guest on other blogs
- your latest news
- courses and worksheets related to your non-fiction books
- book cover reveals
- book launch dates
If you’re excited about it and ‘it’ is relevant to your readers, they’re sure to like it too.
Oh my goodness, there’s so much more you can write about in your social media posts. Of course it all depends on you, how much you want to reveal about your life, and your books, but you could post on social media about:
You and your life
You don’t have to reveal everything about your personal life; in fact I’d suggest that you only reveal on social media what you’re happy for the general public to know about you. Don’t feel bullied into posting about any aspect of your personal life that feels, well, just too personal.
Having said that, you could share personal joy and events such as the birth of a grandchild or a wedding anniversary. You could share ‘behind the scenes’ photos. You could even post photos of your pet.
For instance, I happily post photos of my dog and share dog-walk shots. I’ve also posted about my late parents on Mother’s Day and Father’s Day.
Questions your readers ask
If your readers have asked you a question, especially if more than one person has asked the same or similar question, and it isn’t too personal, why not share the answer in a social media post? It’s relevant to your audience and if one person has asked that question, there’s sure to be more people who would love to know the answer.
If you’re attending an event like a literary festival or holding a book launch party, post about that, both before and after.
That’s exactly what I did when I gave a couple of book readings at the literary festival in Chester a few years back.
There are so many special dates, holidays, and awareness days held each year that there’s sure to be at least one that you can jump on. For instance,
- The new year
- Valentine’s Day
- The beginning of spring (summer, autumn, winter)
- April Fool’s Day
- Earth Day
- World Cocktail Day
- Mother’s/Father’s Day
- Black History Month
- National Poetry Day
- Bonfire Night
Where readers can find your books
Yes, yes, I’ve already talked about book promotion social media posts (twice) but what about when your book is available somewhere new? A freshly opened indie bookstore in your home town kindly buys in your books or a lovely book box subscription service decides to bundle up your books with lots of goodies. Posting about it on social media will not only promote your books but it’ll also help the store that’s selling them.
Other people’s stuff
If you come across someone else’s content – be that a social media post, a blog, or even a book – that your audience would be interested in, why not share it on your own channels? The benefit of posting other people’s content is that, first off, it saves you the time and effort of creating your own content; second, it provides variety in your social media feeds; and finally, it can be a wonderful way of building relationships with other authors and content creators.
Why not take advantage of a widely used hashtag like #FollowFriday or #ThrowbackThursday to create a post? As long as it’s relevant to your audience, this can be another way to vary your social media content and build relationships.
Popular topics and current affairs
If you’re stuck for what to post, why not carry out a search for what’s being talked about on social media. What is the current hot topic? If it’s relevant to your readers, feel free to jump on the band wagon and share your own opinion or slant on the subject.
Blank pages can be scary for authors but when it comes to your social media presence, there’s always plenty to post about. It just takes a little thought and imagination.