Successfully engaging readers online is a big challenge for authors. What techniques can you use to engage with fans and readers that will make you stand out from the crowd?
In this article, I will cover five different techniques you can use to engage with your audience on social media, email marketing, etc.
Using these tips, you should be able to better engage with your audience while standing out among other authors!
Tip #1: Have Fun on Social Media
Social media doesn't have to be hard. While I don't recommend overdoing it, and trying to spread yourself too thin over multiple platforms, I do think that you can take one or two platforms and really run with it.
Social media is a way to share more about yourself, and more importantly, a way to learn about your readers. In fact, social media is one of the best ways to interact directly with your fans.
And not only that, but social media is a place where readers can interact with each other as well, further increasing the engagement that you want.
So what should you share on social media? I would recommend keeping it light and fun. Sharing reader memes, updates on yourself, cool artwork that you commissioned, etc. all of that is great for increasing engagement.
Tip #2: Write Related Blog Posts
Apart from social media or your email list, a blog is another great way to engage readers in a different way from your books. For example, you could write about topics that are related to your books. If you write about fantasy, you could write reviews of other fantasy books or the mythology that influences your story. If you write science fiction, you could do a detailed analysis about a particular piece of futuristic technology. All of these are subtle ways to provide content that readers of your genre will like.
This, of course, requires more writing, and a lot of authors will not want to spend that much time writing something other than their story. But keep in mind that engaging with your fans will take time, and you should allocate some of your time to do this properly.
Tip #3: Give Your Readers Bonus Content
Readers love free things. The more bonus content that you can give them the better. This ties in slightly to what I talked about in the last tip, but bonus content can take many forms.
You can always write a free novella or short story that ties into your work, but you can also do this through other forms of bonus content. For example, let's say a lot of your readers use e-readers as their primary form of consumption. You could write a review about new versions of the Kindle that could be directly relevant to your readers. Not only does this provide another way for you to connect with them, but it provides genuine value to their lives.
Tip #4: Pets and Babies
Everyone loves pets, and everyone loves babies. If you have one or the other (or both) pictures of them will go a long way on social media, in your email list, or blog.
Now of course, bear in mind that there may be privacy issues, and if you have a problem with sharing photos of your baby online, that is something for you to consider. My point is that people love them, people share them, and people interact with them. Thus, it is a great way to increase reader engagement.
The great thing about pet/baby photos is that none of it has to do with your books, it's something that almost anyone can do regardless of what genre you write in.
Tip #5: Go Live
A lot of authors get into the business because they are introverts, and the idea of writing alone and producing fabulous works of art is appealing to them. So it becomes a problem when I suggest forms of marketing such as going live.
In actuality, going live on Facebook or YouTube or Twitch is a great way to engage with fans, and is actually more introvert-friendly than most would believe.
Even though other people are able to see you and interact with you on some level, you're still just sitting in your room at home. So in a sense, it's the best of both worlds. It allows you to remain alone and still interact with other people.
The best part about going live is that readers get a chance to see your face, make that human connection with you, and that can go a long way in terms of engagement. Plus, you get to answer any questions that they might have about your work or the industry in general.
The Bottom Line
There are countless different ways to interact with fans. These five are just a few that I would consider focusing on. However there are many more, and you should experiment to find what works for you.
My recommendation is to pick up one to three of these options and really give them a try. If you initially fail, don't worry, that happens to all of us. Keep going until you are absolutely sure that that method is not right for you, then go on and try some others.
I can promise you that by the end, you will have a series of tactics that work well for you, increase reader engagement, and improve your book sales.