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How to use Snapchat for book marketing and author branding

How do you get started on Snapchat?

Snapchat offers a fantastic support menu, which details all of the features and how-to’s, but I’ll help you get started on the basics.

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Instagram Brand Building for Writers

Carly Watters is a VP and Senior Literary Agent at P.S. Literary. Here she shares her top tips on Instagram brand-building for us to share with authors. Instagram is the last major social media frontier for many writers. It’s not new by any means; in fact, readers have been posting pictures of authors’ books since the platform’s inception. But where are those authors and why aren’t they engaging with all of those posts? Why haven’t writers joined Instagram as quickly as readers?

Why should writers join Instagram?

Many writers are reluctant to join Instagram for many reasons: 1) it takes time away from writing 2) it’s another platform to learn (when they were just getting the hang of Twitter!) 3) it’s against many writers’ natural instincts i.e. writers think they aren’t great at taking lovely Instagram-worthy pictures because they’re writers! I’m here to argue that writers, you CAN be good at Instagram if you think of it like the storytelling platform it is. That’s right, successful Instagram users create a narrative that brings followers into their lives. That’s the key to those people that everyone wants to follow. You’re following their daily journey because they control the narrative they’re telling and reveal it in a compelling way (much like a novel, hint hint!). For example, you can choose the parts of your life that you bring your followers into. Many successful users focus on certain elements: bringing a pet home, cooking and recipes, home renovations, a fitness journey, travel, and other hobbies. Also, by combining the daily posts with complementary “Stories” (i.e. The Snapchat of Instagram, which are the circle icons at the top of your app), you can make yourself a destination that people want to visit regularly.

Published writers have an additional digital marketing responsibility: finding brand ambassadors

You need to engage with your readers. Sometimes they’ll tag you and sometimes they won’t, but search your hashtags (your name, your book’s name, your publisher’s feed etc.) and comment on readers’ posts, follow them, re-post their lovely pictures (which saves you from having to take your own), and make sure they want to pre-order your next. Early fans can become passionate brand ambassadors. They’re out there reading your work so make sure you welcome them into your fold and authentically appreciate the work they’re doing to spread the word of mouth on social media. (One thing to avoid: talking too much about a work in progress. Unless you’re a multi-published author with a big fan base that’s craving a sneak peek it’s going to be lost on people. Focus on those tried and true Instagram hobby topics instead.)

What Hashtags Should You Use? Try some of these:

  • #WritersofInstagram
  • #Bookstagram
  • #Booklover
  • #Bookworm
  • #BooksandBeans (for books and coffee)
  • #PupsandBooks (for books and dogs)
  • #Booknerd
  • #VSCObooks
  • #Instareads
  • #IgReads
  • And don’t forget the hashtags of writers you’re reading, publishers, book titles and locations you’re reading in.
Follow Carly on Instagram at @carlywatters.

5 fun ways to use Snapchat for writers

We all live in the digital age and for us writers, that’s mostly a good thing. After all, it gives us more opportunities to tell others about our stories. The internet has evolved in so many ways through the years and the popularity of social media channels have given us writers a lot of platforms to put our works out there. And that’s a good thing, right? There are numerous channels we can choose from: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, etc. And then there’s Snapchat. Numerous companies have been using Snapchat to promote their businesses and make a name for themselves. Don’t be under the impression that Snapchat is only for millennials or for the young ones, though. What, exactly, is Snapchat? It’s an app that captures videos and photos, with its filters making it fun to do so. You can also send those photos and videos as messages to your friends. The only catch is this: whatever you upload in Snapchat is only available for 24 hours. Given its fun nature in terms of sharing, Snapchat has become a hit. As writers, I think we can use this app to help gain more audience and keep a stronger connection with existing readers. As writers, here are the ways we can use Snapchat:

1) Give them behind-the-scenes glimpses

This will help your readers (both existing and potential) catch behind-the-scenes look. I think the rawness of this approach makes it more genuine and interesting. Think of capturing yourself while at a coffee shop, with your laptop or your tool of preference all ready to use and you talking about what it’s like to write there – your thoughts, your process, how the environment affects you, etc. Another interesting idea would be to talk about what tools you use when you write, like which software or what kind of pen and notebook. Letting your audience catch glimpses of these scenes help establish a deeper connection.

2) Connect with fellow writers

It’s already a fun app to use. Why not add fellow writers and see what they are up to within that day? This not only helps build friendship but it also encourages us to build each other up. We writers most certainly need each other, if not to keep sanity and loneliness at bay! Also, isn’t it more fun to send messages to each other with all those cute filters?

3) Allow account takeovers

Ellen DeGeneres’ Snapchat account is a perfect example of someone else taking over your Snapchat. It promotes establishing connections in a fun way with fellow writers or other similar brands / influencers. This captures attention of the readers of all the writers involved. Fresh faces and candid footage or videos are always interesting. This article here talks about the ways to get started with Snapchat takeovers.

4) Share, share, share

People are visual creatures. Let us writers leverage our Snapchat accounts by giving our audience some photos of a new book cover or maybe a snippet of that novel we’re working on. Or if you’ve been to a book fair or a book signing event, it’s a great idea to show them that. Sharing makes your audience feel like they can relate to you. Snapchat can bring you closer to others by simply sharing things about your novel and, sometimes, your life.

5) Ask your readers to participate

Don’t limit sharing to just yourself. Ask your readers to join in the fun. Like the aforementioned account takeovers, you can always ask your readers to share photos or their own videos. Encourage them to connect with you, be it via takeovers or Snapchat messages. Engaging them to participate and share with you helps create and foster familiarity and, hopefully, friendship. Snapchat is really a fun way to grow your audience, expose your brand, and build connections. Why not give it a try and see how it goes for you? You can do just about anything with it while having a good time doing so. Got a story to share about what got you into writing in the first place? Or how about that time you got your first rejection and how that helped shape who you are as a writer? Perhaps you want to snap photos of that walk downtown as you clear your head when you’ve got writer’s block. Maybe you attended an open mic session and simply want to share that moment with your readers. The possibilities are endless! So go ahead. Use Snapchat for all it’s worth. Grow your audience and build your followers while staying true to who you are and what you’ve got. anna-cunetaAnna loves stringing words together to tell stories, be it horror or conversations with friends. She also wanders and tends to get lost in the internet, always on the lookout for something new to read. Armed with her love for coffee and horror, she writes regularly to keep sanity at bay. Check out her blog, and follow her on Twitter or Instagram.
Snapchat tips

Seven excellent Snapchat tips for authors

This is a guest post by Julie Proudfoot. Julie is an Australian writer and blogger and award-winning author of The Neighbour. Julie writes from her home in Bendigo where she lives with her husband and children and a menagerie of cats and dogs and kangaroos and snakes and lizards. You can find her on twitter, Instagram, Snapchat @julieproudfoots and at her blog, Proud Foot Words. Bloomberg recently declared that over 150 million people are using snapchat, daily. That’s more users than there are on twitter. So as an author, why wouldn’t you get on board? But how can we as authors best use snapchat as a tool?
  1. There’s no point snapping if there’s no one there! So grow your friend list. Share your snapcode on your other social media platforms and leave it on your bios so your followers can add you.
  2. Interact and engage with your new snapchat friends so they know who you are: Watch your followers snaps, they will love that you’ve taken an interest in them. If they have great snaps, let them know! Send a message and tell them so. Ask questions: get your snap friends to help out with your work by snapping you back some answers: help choose a character name, a town name, a title.
  3. Once you’ve built up a friend list, do a book give-away. Ask your snapchat friends to snap your snapcode to go in the draw. This shares your snapcode with their friends while offering them a chance to win.
  4. One of the most amazing and unique tools on snapchat is the Geofilter. It seems built just for authors. Say you’re having an event, you can create a geofilter (an overlay) of your name, or your book title, for snapchatters to use at your event. Check it out, snap a picture and swipe left until you find your local town’s Geofilter. Snapchat Support has excellent advice on how to create your own geofilter.
  5. Use your Snapchat story. You’re an author; you know how to tell a story! Your story stays there for 24 hours. Do a series of three snaps with a beginning, middle, and end. Begin with a hook, ‘Hey, guess where I am!’ Middle, give them some details, why, when. End, show them where you are!
  6. Have some fun with the awesome effects. Snapchat has the best effects of all social media platforms: filters, voice alteration, text, stickers, doodling options, you can even create a sticker avatar of yourself. Use them to make your snaps unique to you. Remember, you can download your snaps to your photo gallery and repost to other platforms.
  7. Show your lovely face. Your snapchat friends don’t want to see your feet, they want to see you! So flip that screen around and get talking. Don’t be afraid to talk about your book news. What are you working on now? Show your work space. Try a regular weekly spot: Tuesday’s Writing Tip, Friday’s Favourite Book. Mix it up and take it outside, don’t limit yourself to snaps from your desk. Let your snapchat friends know you’re human, be real, be honest, be yourself!
There is so much to explore on Snapchat, don’t be afraid to try it all out. Be real, be yourself, and have fun!

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