Social Media

Social media is an evolving landscape of networks, programs, and apps. We understand that navigating it can be distracting, demanding, and daunting. However, if managed well, social media outlets are among the most important marketing tools that authors can use to promote their book. Using social media can be an effective way to

  • connect with and listen to your readers
  • share news about your work and events
  • share relevant news stories with your followers and the public
  • stay on top of the media landscape

We suggest focusing on one or two platforms with a high volume of users. Facebook and Twitter are the two most widely used social media outlets for book publishing and event promotion. These are also the platforms on which UC Press has the strongest presence. We encourage you to connect and engage with us.

It’s important to pick the platform that you’re most comfortable with and are motivated to devote time to. This may be Facebook or Twitter, or it might be Goodreads or your own blog.

Be a Must-Follow Author in Your Discipline

Once you are set up on your platform of choice, dedicate some time to monitoring the voice of the crowd. Hear what’s being said, engage in the conversation, share posts, and follow others. Don’t be afraid to be the person who is just starting up. Everyone was a beginner at one point. Use social media to share your passion for your discipline and your topic. Be authentic, help others, and the crowd will listen. And best of all, they’ll promote your book.

As you gain followers, remember that most of your posts should remain relevant and genuine. Some marketers invoke an 80/20 rule: make most of your posts—80 percent—about discussions, articles, and resources that will help followers advance their knowledge in a specific area. Keep promotional posts to 20 percent or less of your overall conversation.

Rules of Engagement

Here’s a simple set of rules to keep in mind while using social media, adapted from the standards presented in The New Influencers: A Marketer’s Guide to Social Media by Paul Gillin:

  • Transparency: Be clear where you’re coming from and open about your motivations and interests.
  • Respect: Take the high road; it can be challenging in the wilds of social media, but it always pays off.
  • Attribute: Tell people where you found that great video clip or article by using links to share and attribute content. It’s an unwritten rule that all posted items should be attributable via links to their sources.
  • Be yourself: Social media is a forum that respects authenticity above all else.
  • Know your neighbors: A chorus reaches farther than the loudest solo. Search out relevant blogs, which may have a far broader reach than your own site, and create a list of online sites to monitor. Consider reaching out to site moderators to ask them to share your posts with their larger audiences.

Start early. A social media account will be more effective if it’s launched well in advance of your book’s publication date.

Posting for Success

As you build your presence, consider these tips:

  • Ask engaging questions.
  • Respond to people who comment on your posts.
  • Announce your speaking engagements. Invite your friends and fans.
  • Share passages from your book.
  • Link to your book page at ucpress.edu.
  • Link to online interviews, articles, and other content.
  • Upload videos of your interviews and events to YouTube and share links on other platforms.
  • Share relevant photos or videos.
  • Keep it brief and professional. Social media is all about immediacy, so avoid long, text-based posts.
"Don’t hesitate to get fired up about your subject—your passion can win people over! As authors, we took the initiative to embrace new ways of getting the word out about our book. In doing so, we connected with our audience, and we’ve seen significant results from our activity. Here is a list of some of the activities we pursued using online and social media channels:
  • Send emails to friends, colleagues, and any other people you think might have an interest in your book.
  • If relevant, ask contributing authors to forward information about the book along with a personal note to their networks, too.
  • Create blog posts at organizations you are affiliated with; create a presence through their site.
  • Post your author video interviews on relevant websites or on YouTube.
  • Engage in social media; tweet as much as you can!
  • Present your content at professional or society conferences; share news of your presentations with your networks.
  • Send signed copies of your book to personal contacts working in influential positions (we found this to be helpful as we were generating buzz and getting the word out)."

—Peter B. Moyle, Amber D. Manfree, and Peggy L. Fiedler, editors of Suisun Marsh: Ecological History and Possible Futures