News for Authors

Getting the Most Out of Leading Social Media Platforms

by Jacky Bethea|May, 2024

Whether you’re an Instagram pro or a TikTok novice, every author can benefit from the free in-app tools, resources, and analytics that social media platforms make available to their users. Read on for our best tips on how to use these offerings to level up your social media presence!

 

1. Keep an eye on each platform’s official blog.

With new features added to every platform every few weeks, it can be difficult to stay up to date. Thankfully, most platforms host frequently updated blogs where users can learn about their newest tools and usability upgrades. Some platforms also keep separate blogs with tips and updates specifically for creators and businesses, whose needs may differ from those who have an account for personal use.

If you are an author looking to get more serious about your online presence, check out these creator blogs:

TikTok

TikTok’s Creator Academy blog offers product updates, monetization info, and ways to adhere to their community guidelines, among other features. Crucially, they include a lot of best practices about how to break through the infamously tricky algorithm with different types of content. Worried about keeping up with their ever-changing trend cycle? TikTok helps track trends for you in the Trend Discovery tool. If you want to take advantage of TikTok’s “anyone-can-go-viral” nature, these are great places to start.

Meta

Meta offers excellent resources for both Instagram and Facebook that authors may want to use. If you love Instagram, you should check out their creator site for more on content strategy, Reels, and reaching your target audience. Facebook also has its own creator site with broader updates on Meta and inspiration about how to show up on both platforms.

LinkedIn

LinkedIn has a number of useful features, from newsletters to audio events. Their blog LinkedIn for Creators is a great place to get the download on how best to use their tools and improve your profile for potential followers. You can also check out the LinkedIn Official Blog for product updates and news about the community.

Pinterest

Pinterest may seem like an unanticipated place to find success as an author, but it hosts very rich reader and writer communities. If you are looking to connect with those groups, create a following, or just hop on the latest trends, you may want to check out Pinterest’s creator blog. They also have a series called Content Academy, where premier creators on the platform give their advice on how to find success.

 

2. Consider switching to (or creating) a business account.

If you’ve scrolled through some of the blogs, you may have seen mentions of switching to a business account. Don’t let the word “business” scare you. A business account is an option offered by multiple social media platforms to help businesses, professionals, and creators optimize their experience with the platform and more effectively connect with their target audience. These accounts can go by different names, depending on the platform. Many of their basic features are not only free to use, but potentially very helpful to any author hoping to connect with readers. Especially if you are used to using social media for personal reasons, adding a business account is a natural first step to building your brand identity online as an author (or doctor, storyteller, comedian, advocate, etc.). The benefits can be numerous.

Credibility and Visibility

People are more likely to follow you online when they know what they can expect from you. Instagram, for example, provides a list of categories for users to choose from when they create a business account, which will display on their profile for their followers to see. The category can quickly indicate what the person behind the account is best known for, so it’s a great place to include your profession and identify yourself as an author.

One of the toughest parts about building a presence online can be figuring out how to make your content appear before more people. Meta provides a helpful solution to this for business account users. Through the Account Status feature, you can ensure that your profile and content meet the Recommendations Guidelines, so they can appear on the Explore page and in other areas where users may be shown content from profiles they aren’t already following.

Online Safety and Security

If you are concerned about online safety, a business account can help with that as well. Many apps feature special moderation tools to keep unwanted interactions out of your direct messages and comment sections. You can preprogram words you don’t want to see or prevent bot accounts from posting suspicious links. In the event of a security issue, many platforms have a team of representatives specifically for addressing the needs of business users and creators.

Creator Tools

Business accounts often come with extra perks that can be fun to experiment with and might be helpful as you promote your books. Meta allows business account users to schedule live events, and offers them better organization of replies and direct messages so you can prioritize more urgent messages from potential collaborators. Pinterest and TikTok have exclusive Creator Hubs with extra best practices for business accounts. Often platforms will beta test new features by rolling them out to specific user groups. As your following grows, you may be able to take advantage of new features before they are broadly launched across the app.

That said, there can be drawbacks to a business or professional account. For example, TikTok’s business accounts offer a Commercial Music Library with more than a million songs cleared for commercial use, but they restrict access to regular trending sounds to prevent copyright issues. On Facebook and Instagram, a business account cannot be made private. It’s certainly worthwhile to explore the offerings on each platform to ensure that they meet your needs.

Despite the drawbacks, there is still one major reason why you may want to consider a business account: analytics!

 

3. Analytics

The better you get to know your audience and their behavior, the easier it is to boost your engagement and reach. Thankfully, many social media platforms now offer in-app analytics tools to their users. These tools show how many users are viewing and engaging with your content, but they can also reveal what content your followers prefer, specific days and times they engage the most, and their demographic information such as age range, location, and gender. By tracking these closely, you can cater your content toward your following or pivot your content to reach your exact reader base.

Often this data is restricted to business account users, but some apps, like TikTok, offer analytics to everyone who has one public video posted in their Creator Center. Some platforms have specialized sites for analytics to help you consolidate the data. Creator Studio for Facebook is great for someone looking to create videos and track their performance. X (formerly Twitter) has their own analytics site, but notably stopped tracking audience demographics in January 2020. Most platforms offer access to these insights in-app. You can find instructions to locate them on Instagram, LinkedIn, and Pinterest’s respective help sites. (The still-developing Threads doesn’t track analytics quite yet.)

If you are an author transitioning your social presence from a personal one to a more public one, these tools can help you feel a bit more confident. Even if you are well-practiced at the social media game, it can be helpful to refresh your knowledge of what each platform has to offer, since they are constantly adding new resources to meet the needs of their users. Regardless of the platform you choose to represent you as an author, make sure to take advantage of these free, in-app resources, because they are made to help!

 

Jacky Bethea is the Associate of Author Development for Penguin Random House.

 

Author U Videos on Demand: Reaching Readers with Newsletters & Short-Form Video Content

by The Author Newsletter Team |April, 2024

In March, the Author Portal team brought you Author University: Reaching More Readers with Newsletters & Video Platforms. The recordings are now available on demand on the Author Portal for your viewing pleasure.

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Finding a Social Media Freelancer (If You Want to Work with One)

by Jacky Bethea|April, 2024

At our last Author University virtual learning event, we had the pleasure of hosting Payton Mitchell, a freelance social media expert, to lend her advice on how to create great video content for social media. We heard from many of you that you were curious about working with a freelance expert, what that would entail, and how to find one. Here are some tips to help you decide if it would be the right move for you!

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How to Increase Social Media Engagement for Short-Form Video Content

by Jacky Bethea|March, 2024

Between Reels, TikTok, and YouTube Shorts, short-form video content is on a major hot streak. These platforms can offer the opportunity for instant virality, so creating content for them can be an attractive way to promote your book and connect with readers. If you have scrolled through these platforms, you may have encountered a video that had an interesting topic, but something about it wasn’t right. Maybe the audio sounded weird or you could barely make out words on the screen. Most viewers will scroll right past. It’s easy to overlook the technical aspects of making short-form videos, which can absolutely affect how your content performs in the algorithm. Here are some tips to help you compose your videos for ultimate success.

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Newsletters 101: How to Start Your Own Newsletter

by Stephanie Bowen|February, 2024

Thinking about starting a newsletter? As an author, you may have a lot to say beyond the content of your book, and an email newsletter can be a great medium for this. In this article, we cover the basics of creating and launching your own newsletter.

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How Authors Can Prevent Phishing Attacks

by Phil Stamper-Halpin|January, 2024

Across emails, texts, and social media, phishing attacks have skyrocketed over the last few years. As public figures, authors might be particularly vulnerable. Read on to learn how to protect yourself from scammers.

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An Introduction to Threads

by Jacky Bethea and Andrew Taets|January, 2024

In light of ongoing controversy and rapid changes at X (formerly Twitter), there has been a race in the social media market for the next big text-based platform. Threads appears to be Meta’s answer to the call. Launched in July of last year, the app has accumulated more than 100 million users. Since it is so new, there are a lot of questions around the app, how to use it, and what kind of content can be found there. Our friends at Meta have offered some of the first available pointers on how an author can optimize their experience on the app. Read on to learn more!

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Am I Shadowbanned? A Guide to Post Ranking on Instagram

by Jacky Bethea|December, 2023

Creating content for Instagram can be time-consuming, so you’ll want to make sure your content gets in front of as many viewers as possible. Instagram’s algorithms can seem a bit unpredictable, but there are ways to improve your experience.  Read on to learn more about Instagram’s post ranking system.

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Getting Started on a New Social Media Platform

by Jacky Bethea|November, 2023

There are plenty of reasons to consider making an account on a new social media platform. Maybe you’re not a social media user and would like to start, or you are at the beginning of your journey as an author and making your first audience-facing account. Maybe another platform you frequent has undergone some rapid changes and you would like to show up for your audience elsewhere. Perhaps you took our Playbook Quiz and would like to take a crack at a platform it recommended. Whether you’re trying a newer social media site or a more established one, starting out somewhere new to you can be quite the task. Here are a few tips to help you find your bearings.

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How to Reach More Readers on Goodreads

by Phil Stamper-Halpin|September, 2023

With more than 150 million members, Goodreads is the world’s largest community of readers. Read on for tips on how to reach more readers using your Goodreads Author account.

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