How to leverage social media to market your nonfiction book

by Anna Kiousi

If you’re an aspiring nonfiction author and you’re already active on social media, this can be a great way to start marketing your book and finding potential readers. Whether you’re still writing your book or are getting ready to publish, you can leverage social media to begin sharing your book with the world.

  • Build your online brand

One of the best ways to market your book is to build a strong following and online community specific to your book and topic of expertise. If you’re already active on a few social media platforms, first consider which you want to promote your book on, which might be one or more. To choose between LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook, X, and TikTok, consider which genre your book falls under and consequently, what type of content you want to put out there.

For example, LinkedIn is best for corporate and thought leadership audiences if you’re writing a business book about sales, so it’s worth spending your time there. But if your book is self-help or a journal with illustrations, consider platforms like Instagram and TikTok that are better suited for lifestyle content.

Think of yourself as a one-person brand that needs to mesh with your book’s identity. As such, it would be confusing to readers if you are writing a light-hearted comedic memoir but your social media profile is full of hostile political rants. Your online brand should present you as a subject matter expert in your field, and your book will be an extension of that.

  • Engage with your audience

This is something that many people forget nowadays, so let us remind you: social media is meant to be social! Yes, you should be posting content on your socials, but don’t forget to actually interact with others. Respond to comments on your posts and direct messages to show that you appreciate those who interact with you.

What’s more, make the first move and invite your audience to engage with you. This is particularly useful to get the ball rolling if you’re not getting much engagement yet. Some interactive content ideas are posting polls for people to vote on (like which cover design to choose), scheduling Q&As or posting FAQs inspired by what people usually ask you, and organising giveaways where your audience has a chance to win early or signed copies of your book. You can also invite your followers to be beta readers for your book.

The authors who are best at social media engage their audience throughout their whole journey of writing a book and make people feel like part of the journey by getting them involved.

  • Create shareable content

To spread the word about your book even further, it helps if your audience want to share your content with their networks too. Shareable content often means catchy quotes, images, and short video clips. For the more visual platforms like Instagram, this means visually appealing content. But even on writing-focused platforms like LinkedIn, you can still create visual, shareable bits of content that people want to repost (and posts with photographs get 650% more engagement than text alone!).

An easy way to do this is by pulling quotes from your book and turning them into aesthetically pleasing visuals using templates from software like Canva or design your own. You can also find inspiration in other authors’ visually appealing posts on their social channels.

To make your online author brand look professional and easily recognisable to your audience, stick to a consistent style and colour palette for your posts. If in doubt, use the same colours and fonts as your book cover and/or interior typesetting or your business brand if you have one. Again, remember that your social media should present you as a subject matter expert, so stick to visuals that work for your brand, your topic, and your book.

  • Offer free content

Another way to engage your followers is to offer something exclusive and only available on your social media platforms. Exclusive free things and sneak peeks can make your audience feel special and give them a taste of your work to help them decide whether to buy the book.

Before launch day, you could share a free chapter or smaller snippets such as 1-2 pages on your social media. You can post these a PDF on LinkedIn, but it’s even better if you link back to your website as you can encourage people to sign up to your mailing list, read blogs, and engage further with you.

When it gets near to launch day, if you’re going to be selling the book on your own website, you can share a time-limited discount code on your socials. You can also do this on a special day like International Book Giving Day (14th  February) or one more specific to your topic.

  • Post genuinely valuable content

With all of that being said, marketing your book on social media doesn’t mean that you should just focus on selling. On the contrary, your audience will quickly become bored and disengaged if they perceive that you’re only trying to sell copies of your book as nobody really likes being sold to.

Instead, it’s better to regularly share valuable content with your audience on your topic. This might be your thoughts on new trends in your industry, tips and tricks, or more opinion-based posts. It could be written content, visuals, or videos, or even sharing other people’s content. Either way, your aim should be to share genuinely useful things that will add value to your audience, not just talk about your book all of the time.

In this way, you position yourself a thought leader on your chosen topic and so when you do mention your book, your audience will already see you as a respected voice on the subject and are more likely to engage and even consider buying the book. Plus, for many people, it feels better to offer genuinely helpful content than it does to try to sell something.

Leveraging social media

In essence, to leverage your social media platforms to promote your nonfiction book, you should focus on building a consistent online brand that positions you as a thought leader on your topic—sharing genuinely valuable content with your audience, occasional freebies, and ideally visual content that they will want to share with their audience.

Still need help? We’re here!

It’s important to note that social media is not the only way you can market your book! If you’re reading all of this and feel that social media just isn’t for you, there are many other book marketing methods you can try.  Don’t commit to a marketing strategy that doesn’t fit your skillset or comfort zone as you probably won’t stick to it. Lean into what works for you!

If you need more specific marketing advice or an expert to take over your book marketing, get in touch here! We can help you share your book with the world.