19 Quick Ways to Grow Your Author Following on Social Media

social media for writers
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So you’re signed up for Twitter, Facebook and the rest of the big social media networks — but when’s the last time you really looked at your profiles? Are they optimized to get you the readers, clients and recognition you crave?

Having a strong online presence is key to success in today’s digital world, whether you’re a freelance writer or a novelist. If you want to improve your platform, social media is a good place to start.

That’s because improving your profiles doesn’t have to take a long time. In fact, all of the tweaks we recommend below are simple and take no more than a few minutes each. Devote 10 minutes a day to implementing one or two of them, and before you know it, you’ll have a professional and compelling social media presence.

Here are 19 quick ways to improve your social media profiles on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+ and Pinterest.

All social media platforms

  1. Use ONE excellent profile photo

You’ll never get a second chance to make a first impression — so before you do anything else, reassess your profile photo. Is it blurry or far away? Is it a selfie? Time for a new one.

Professional headshots look best, but if they’re not in your budget, ask a friend to snap a few photos outside in some natural light. Upload the winning photo to all of your networks so people recognize you no matter what platform they’re on.

  1. Write a killer bio

After your photo, your bio is the most important part of any social media profile. It should be short and sweet; describe how you can help the reader, then add a bit of personality.

Feel free to include keywords like “author” or “writer,” the names of your books, or publications you’ve written for. For more tips on improving your bio across different social media networks, check out these helpful posts from Unbounce and Buffer.

  1. Create an awesome cover photo

Whereas your profile photo should only show your face, your cover photo is the perfect opportunity to show off your work and style. You can include your book covers, an inspirational quote, a photo of you writing or a call-to-action to download your latest ebook.

Even if you’re not graphically-inclined, social media covers are easy to create on Canva — or you can hire someone on Fiverr to do it for you. Stumped? Here are 20 examples of effective social media covers.

  1. Grab your custom URL

Though this occurs automatically on Twitter and Pinterest, you need to set up a custom URL for your Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+ profiles. You can use your first and last name; if that’s not available, try adding “author” or “writer” to the end.

Grow Your Author Platform: 19 Social Media Tweaks

Gain more Twitter followers

  1. Pin an engaging tweet

This feature came out earlier this year, but many users still haven’t taken advantage of it. Once you pin a tweet, it always shows up at the top of your profile.

Look for a tweet that promotes you — a popular blog post, a CTA to sign up for your newsletter or a link to your newest book — and pin it to the top so it’ll be the first thing your visitors see.

  1. Update your Twitter background

Be honest: You don’t have a Twitter background, do you? (I’m writing this post, and I don’t have one.)

But social media expert Marian Schembari says it is “one of the most important parts of someone’s online presence.” In the article, she offers tips for creating an awesome background that will “round out your personal brand.”

Grow your Facebook page

  1. Include a link in the “About” section

You probably have a bio in the “About” section that appears under your photo — but what about a link? The desktop version of Facebook shows an additional link section below this area, but the mobile version does not — which means mobile users won’t see where they can find more of your work.

By including a link in the “About” section, you’ll ensure all your visitors have an easy way to click through to your website, blog, or landing page.

  1. Add some apps

If you don’t have any apps on your Facebook page, you’re missing out. With Facebook marketing apps, your readers can see your RSS feed, follow you on Twitter and Pinterest, and sign up for your newsletter — all from within your Facebook page! You can even offer content downloads, like a free chapter from your upcoming book.

Optimize your LinkedIn profile

  1. Spruce up your headline

Chances are your LinkedIn headline is either boring or uninformative. If you want to grab the attention of your readers, you’re going to need to spruce it up a bit.

Need inspiration? Try one of these LinkedIn headline formulas from Brazen Careerist.

  1. Give your summary some love

“Your LinkedIn Summary is the first opportunity for a potential employer to find out a bit more about you and get some insight into the person beyond your job title and a photo,” according to Simply Hired. In other words, don’t leave this crucial space empty!

  1. Recommend others, then ask them to return the favor

A great way to add social proof to your LinkedIn profile is to get recommendations from people you’ve worked with before. And what’s the best way to do that? Write them for others first.

Once you do, you can ask them to share their thoughts about working with you. Endorsements are also good, though not as powerful.

  1. Upload items to your Professional Portfolio

Even though you’re an author, not a visual artist, you should still take advantage of LinkedIn’s Professional Portfolio feature. You can link to articles or snap screenshots of your awards; this tutorial from Social Media Examiner shows you exactly how.  

Make the most of Google+

  1. Fill out your tagline

If you only have time to do one thing on Google+, do this. Your tagline is the title that shows up if someone hovers over your name on Google+ (and the snippet that shows up in search), so make sure it clearly states what you do and why you rock.

  1. Add links

The links section on Google+ is a golden opportunity for authors. You can include links to your website, social media profiles, online portfolio, guest posts and other works.

  1. Write your story

Use the “story” section to explain how you can help the reader. What type of writing do you do? Who would be interested in your books? You’re a writer, so write — and don’t worry about staying under 140 characters!

Connect with more people on Pinterest

  1. Convert to a business page

Though it won’t look any different, converting your personal page to a free business page will give you access to Pinterest analytics — data that can help you figure out which of your pins are most popular. Then you’ll know what kind of content your followers enjoy, and what to focus on going forward.

  1. Get your website verified

If you’ve linked to your blog or author website in your profile (which you should!), make sure you get it verified. By demonstrating you own the site, you’ll earn a professional-looking checkmark next to your name.

  1. Organize your boards

Pinterest is all about visuals, so make sure your page looks pretty. To start, you should organize your boards by categorizing them, adding descriptions, editing the covers and moving the best ones to the top row.

  1. Adjust your privacy settings

Because Google likes images, Pinterest boards often show up in search results. And if someone is searching for something you’ve written about, you want to make sure your boards show up. Ensure your boards are visible to search engines by visiting “Settings” then “Search privacy,” and selecting “No.”

If you follow through with these 19 steps for improving your social media profiles, you’ll be ahead of the game when it comes to making connections and finding work as an author. Who knows? Maybe you’ll even start to enjoy social media.

Which tip is your favorite? Do you have any to add?

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Susan Shain helps people shake up their lives through travel and adventure. If you’re sick of the daily grind, sign up for her free email newsletter.... .

SusanShain.com | @Susan_Shain

Susan Shain
Social Media for Writers from Alexis Grant

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  1. Thank you for putting all this information in one place. It is a great reference for any writer who is trying to develop his or her platform.

  2. Great tips! My favorite was #4, creating a custom URL.

    If you’ve written ebooks, create an author page on Amazon, create your custom URL, and promote it. It’s another platform for getting people to know more about you, where to find you, and your books.

  3. For anyone writing for people under the age of 30, a Tumblr account for blogging is ESSENTIAL.

  4. Thanks so much for this! I didn’t even know facebook had apps – well, I guess the games are apps, but then that just says a lot about my (miss)use of facebook. 😉

  5. Just started blogging, and boy, I’m amazed at how much I don’t know!

    Thanks. I’m going to turn your tips into a to-do list.

  6. Hi Susan, this is a great article! It has some great tips for maximising social media. The item on Pinterest was good – I love Pinterest but didn’t know that you could convert it to a free business page.

    Thank you,

  7. Thank you Susan xx A great lot of information… super grateful xx

  8. Thanks for all of the great info Susan. I like the idea of pinning the tweets and your LinkedIn tips. Wonderful article!

  9. Such good advice. All of this stuff takes time, but building your author platform is just as important and writing your book.

  10. Hugh Smith says:

    Thanks for this Susan. I like to think I am up on the latest on Twitter but I didn’t know about the pin a Tweet feature. Only goes to show how much we can learn from one another.
    Thanks again!

  11. Having fun going through all of these and working on them one day at a time!

    A little note, if you have links on your website for your non-custom URLs (#4) they seem to redirect just fine once you set up your custom URLs. Still, when you get time, it’s a good idea to change out the link since some redirects don’t last forever.

  12. Samantha Stauf says:

    For best social media marketing optimization, writers should have a website that an interested reader can scope out. The website can have samples of your books, a blog, or even free stories. Anything to increase the chance you’ll create another fan.


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