Hi all and happy Monday!
This week I’m sharing my best social media tips for book bloggers. This is a prompt I gleaned from “101 Blog Post Ideas” by Jo Linsdell. I wouldn’t say I’m a #bookstagram queen by any means, but I do enjoy posting on Instagram, and I actually started my blogging career on Twitter. While I’m not the best with my blog’s social media (I don’t update my Facebook page nearly enough), I do have some tips and tricks that I’ve found helpful over the years.
1. Identify your brand.
First things first, you need to identify your brand. You already know you’re a book blogger, but what else are you? I chose the username @bitchbookshelf, based on my original handle of @crazyandbitchy. One thing I’m passionate in expressing through book blogging is that romance is a wonderful, valid genre, and shouldn’t be stigmatized. I’ve included “bitch” (and at one point “crazy”) in my username for years because I wanted to remove the stigma surround mental illness and reclaim slurs thrown at women who experience them. “Bitch” became a part of my feminist identity during this time, and that identity affects how I read critically. Ending the stigma also ties into my passion for the romance genre. So there – I had my brand and the meaning behind it: Bitch Bookshelf.
Your handle ideally should reflect your blog’s name (though blogging solely through social media is also a thing!) Try to keep the same username across platforms, or at least have a similar handle. Your brand should be reflected in all of your posts. For me, that means showing off all things that make me a bookish bitch: books, merch, my job, nerd stuff, wine, my planner obsession, what I’m wearing, etc. Yes, I do show other areas of my life as I find them relevant, and you can too. More on that later.
2. Find a community.
In order to garner engagement on your posts, you need to find a community. You can do this a few ways. The first is by interacting with other like-minded individuals. Follow other book blogger accounts, author accounts, etc. Interact with their tweets, like their posts, comment on them, etc. On Instagram, you can follow hashtags, and I recommend following any that relate to your account. #bookstagram is a great place to start.
You can also find your community by searching for book blogger and social media support groups. I’m in a Facebook and an Instagram group (as well as some Pinterest ones, though I’ve been lax with them lately) where users support one another by commenting on blog posts, sharing and liking one another’s social media posts, etc. We are also there to answer one another’s questions, hook each other up with freebies, and network. I recommend finding a groups on your favorite app, though I advise against Tweetdecks.
Once you’ve found your community, engage with and support them. Continue to like, comment, and share their posts even after you’ve scored a follow back. They’ll almost always return the love, and their followers will do the same.
3. Embrace your unique voice.
Don’t be afraid to show other aspects of your life. (Unless you choose not to, which is totally valid.) It definitely draws interest and makes you relatable. On Instagram, some of my most popular posts show my planner spreads and the wine I’m drinking, even though I mostly post about books. On Twitter, I talk about anything and everything, and most of the followers I had for years before starting my book blog continued to follow me after I started posting blog posts and talking about my job as a librarian. Many even interact with tweets sharing book blog and #bookstagram information.
4. Be consistent.
Be consistent in when you post. We all have days when we need a break from social media, but to succeed on social media, you must try to post often and to interact with other folks on social media frequently. Scheduling posts using an app, your planner, or a daily alarm is a good way to make sure you’re on social media at least for a few moments a day. There are even paid apps that will post for you an sites that don’t allow scheduling already.
Be consistent in what you post. You don’t just have to post about books, but try to tie everything together. When you show a blip of your personal life, it’s useful to relate it to your content at large. Instead of posting a selfie captioned “felt cute, might delete later,” post that selfie with a “meet the blogger” bio. I post a lot about wine and my planner, so I include wine bottles as props for some bookish posts, and I show off my planner pages where I list the books I’ve read that month. That way, when I post about wine or planners, there’s context for me as a bookstagrammer.
Be consistent in how you post. Uniformity looks great. I’m not one of those skilled people who can take absolutely gorgeous staged photos of books with coordinating props. But I did invest in a preset to use on Lightroom (basically an upgraded Instagram filter) so all my photos look similar and a ring light to add some extra brightness when I feel like lugging it out.
5. Tag away.
Don’t be afraid to tag brands, authors, etc. as they appear in your posts. (I advise against doing this for negative reviews. It’s petty, and some authors will be even pettier in response.) You can also tag online friends who you think would be interested in your Instagram posts so you can be sure they see them.
6. Create a call to action.
Have you ever watched a popular YouTuber? They might already have hundreds of thousands of subscribers, but you bet at the end of each video, they say, “What did you think of this video? Comment and let me know if I should make one like this again. Be sure to like and subscribe! Click the bell to receive notifications.” While you don’t have to be as obvious, you should still do something to make anyone who comes across your post want to interact with it. I love asking open-ended questions, or asking folks to comment with related emojis. I’ll end this post with a call to action:
Let’s help one another out! Comment below with your best social media tips.