No need to stress over having “nothing to post” on Facebook! Here are 10 suggestions you can customize to your interests and activities.
All the Facebook things: Have you seen a good movie, met an interesting person, had a writing disaster or success, done something stupid, discovered something brilliant, had a prayer answered, experienced the presence of God? Share it! Ask your fans to share their stories, too.
Join us on Instagram! Search OSVAuthorToolkit and give us a “Follow”! We’re happy to follow you back, too.
If you’re not already using Instagram, why not give it a try? You can connect to Facebook friends easily.
Need posting ideas? We have some coming soon. (Check out these Facebook post ideas, too.) Think about pictures of what you’re reading, where you’re working, places you’re visiting and what you had for lunch (why not!?).
Maybe you’re already on Twitter — you’re active and tweet every day, you follow fellow authors and your readers, you enjoy following news and interacting with the Twitterverse.
Or maybe you don’t get it at all and wish Twitter would just fly away.
We’ll leave the arguments for and against alone for now, but if you’re new to the platform, or if your book is about to launch and you’re wondering how to boost interest (and sales!), here are some suggestions:
Here are some helpful links if you’d like to up your Twitter game:
Did you know? The photo/status update/messaging/story app has over 800 million users as of September. Purchased by Facebook in 2012, it’s often the millenial social media site of choice, with most users between 18-29 years old.
Maybe you’re not on Instagram (yet), but have seen posts shared in traditional media from top users like Selena Gomez, National Geographic or even Beyonce. And concluded that Instagram is not the place for you.
What you might not know is that while it’s easy to get lost in those 800 million users, it’s easier than you might think to join Instagram (or up your Insta game) and reach exactly the Catholic audience you’d like to.
The Catholic community is thriving on Instagram. Catholic news and other organizations (including the USCCB), dioceses and archcdioceses, parishes, priests, religious, youth groups, high schools and colleges, people-in-the-pews and more are avid users.
We’ve rounded up a set of links to get you started. But before we get to those, here are the OSV Top 5 Tips for getting started on Instagram:
1. Use the name you write under to sign up. Be clear in the short bio that you’re a Catholic author, and include a link to your web site (or other site) visitors can go to see/buy your book(s).
2. Search for authors you admire/authors writing books similar to yours. You might be surprised who you find! Follow these authors (hopefully they’ll follow back!) and take a look at the people who follow them. It’s easy at this point to follow their followers (sounds redundant, doesn’t it? But it works a lot like Facebook friending).
3. Scroll through other authors’ posts to see the type of photos and status updates they share. But don’t let this limit you! Instagram is your chance to engage your audience (and prospective audience) in your work, your writing life, your travels, your faith!
4. It’s an old social media joke that “nobody wants to know what I’m eating for lunch.” And it’s often true — unless you’re visiting the Vatican and are eating lunch in Rome. Or perhaps you’ve visited a local shrine. Or your home church is beautifully decorated for Christmas. Maybe you’ve visited an interesting church library for research, or interviewed a faith-filled Catholic. Selfies may seem overdone — but introducing yourself to your audience with a selfie — or a photo snapped by someone else — puts a human face on your work and makes a connection. Take a picture of your messy desk, or your stack of research books, or the latest book you’re reading. To accompany the photo, you don’t have to write (another) book — just a few words about what you’re doing. And don’t feel like you have to share intimate details of your life, or every little move you make. You don’t! You’re simply trying to give folks a little peek into your writing life. And when your book finally comes out — let your followers know! It’s a great place to let them know about any interviews, blog posts, accolades or other news about your book
A note about posting: If you want to post everyday, that’s great. Three or four times is week is what to shoot for, but try for at least once a week. Otherwise, it looks as if your account is inactive.
5. Be responsive! If someone comments back on a picture, respond with a friendly “Thank you!” or if a question is asked, answer back. You can set your notifications to alert you whenever there’s action on your account, but if you find that too instrusive, just check once a day or so. And FYI, while you can look at Instagram and like posts, you can’t post from a computer — only a smartphone or tablet.
Okay! Here are some links to help you get started:
We recently worked with OSV authors Catherine Odell and Margaret Savitskas on creating a Facebook fan page for their book, “Angels of the Lord: 365 Reflections on Our Heavenly Guardians.” This beautiful book was published in 2016 and features a year’s worth of stories and reflections on angels and their role in our world.
Your Author Toolkit team is happy to work with authors in getting your social media platform (aka author platform) set up. In this case, we had a conference call with Cathy and Margaret to focus on what they wanted to accomplish on the page. Our design department was able to craft a page header and profile picture using book cover graphics, so the online page and the printed product sync nicely.
Since neither was super familiar with Facebook, we set the page up for them, then had an hour-long training session with Cathy to go over the basics of managing and posting to the page. She’s already begun with two new postings this week. We’ve also shared the page a couple of our OSV Facebook pages and will continue to do so as more posts are available.
Visit the Angels of the Lord Facebook fan page here, and give it a ‘LIKE’!
Many authors and writers have an active social media presence, and it can be an important part of your author platform. But if you haven’t ventured into the Facebook/Twitter/Instagram waters already … must you? Do people really care what you eat for breakfast? How can that help sell your book?
Publishing consultant Jane Friedman has an excellent post on just this topic. She talks about the need for authors to engage in social media, the channels that authors should/could use, and what to post about (not necessarily your breakfast).
You can read her post here.
You probably also know that OSV has an active social media presence. General posts can be found by following @OSV on Twitter, on Facebook by being a fan of Our Sunday Visitor and on Instagram by following @OSV. Book authors should also follow:
We’re happy to retweet or repost your personal updates about your OSV books, talks, radio and TV appearances, book signings and blog posts. Just tag us or email us at email@example.com.
P.S. Need more help about what to post about? Polly King (firstname.lastname@example.org) would be happy to give you some ideas — or Jaymie Wolfe (email@example.com) or Mary Beth Baker (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Try tweeting or Facebook posting about your writing process — tips or tricks you use to motivate yourself, and favorite saints and prayers that help you. Favorite Bible verses and quotes that have meaning for you are also good possibilities. Don’t forget to update your followers and fans on your blog posts, or articles you write for other publications — both new ones and appropriate archived ones.
Readers appreciate little looks into your life, but you don’t have to give up your privacy. Post as little or as much as you’re comfortable with. If you visit a new church, chapel, or other religious location, pictures and short descriptions are wonderful. If you’re on vacation, you might even find yourself posting about a special … breakfast.
Speaking of pictures, if you love taking photos with your phone (or a real camera!), don’t be afraid to try Instagram. There are lots of Catholic accounts to follow. Visit the @OSV account and click ‘Following’ to find some good ones.
Tip: Use the co-posting function on Instagram to make it quick and easy to post to other social media channels. Instructions here.)
Here’s a link to a great infographic to help you determine the best sizes for graphics to create shareable posts on social media. Compelling photos, videos, stories, or links can spread across social media rapidly, increasing your exposure. One idea is to take quotes from your book and create graphic images to post. There are several sites online that offer a free way to combine cool images with your own quotes, but you can also use any photo editing application you have on your computer or tablet. Have you tried this? Let us know how it worked, and any tips you have you can share!
Check out the advice from these authors and post your own tips and tricks in the comments!
St. Isidore, pray for us!