I am what you might call a “social media ho.” I am unhealthily fixated on constantly churning out content and/or doomscrolling on Twitter. But the good thing about that is that it means I can provide you with some tips on how to make your social media posts interesting and interactive (she said it! She said the title!).
The only things I’m including are things I’ve tried myself and found useful, at least for me personally. Chances are, they’ll work for you too, so long as you recognize your niche and what makes your followers follow you. Don’t get frustrated if your posts don’t get the impressions or engagement you hoped for right away. Social media is a fickle beast, and it takes persistence to get results.
What’s the fastest way to quickly inform your audience in a way that’s visually appealing and immediately eye-catching? A way to establish yourself as an authority on your industry, or at the very least as a smart cookie who knows what’s what?
An infographic, of course!
This will depend on your niche. If you’re not known for commenting on, say, your respective industry or the kind of art you create, maybe this isn’t the best option for you. However, it’s nonetheless worth considering. Infographics are a super simple and visual way of conveying information. Instagram is probably the best platform for this, as it’s the most visual platform, and few things catch the eye faster than a colorful, aesthetically pleasing collection of relevant information that people might find interesting or useful.
Wherever you decide to post, just make sure you include a watermark (your Insta or Twitter @, username, logo, website, email, etc). You don’t need a call to action, since this is just meant to inform and show potential followers that you know what you’re talking about and are tapped into the industry, or that you’re skilled at what you do.
Ideas for Infographics:
- publishing industry infographics
- stats for your WIP
- outlining guides
- list of common tropes
- book recommendations (if this, then that)
- writing contest pros and cons
- quick and fun writing prompts
Your infographic doesn’t even need to be some super thorough deep dive into an industry. You can also post personal stats like your monthly reading goal progress, writing ideas, or even something funny or relatable like “the woes of the writing life.”
Ultimately, your goal is to create a shareable and eye-catching post, where viewers can take away something meaningful.
One of the easiest (and most fun) ways to boost post engagement is to ask questions. It goes without saying that this will not necessarily be what gets people looking at your posts, visiting your website, or buying your book, but what it does do is create connections and build community.
People don’t care about a stranger’s book link. Nor do they care about a stranger’s article. Lots of people post links to their work. Maybe you’ll draw in readers right away from the post alone. More power to you! But actually making connections with people is how you consistently draw attention to you and what you do.
You can ask anything, whether it’s related to your niche or not. When I started on Twitter, I posted a lot of questions targeted to the writing community, but eventually I realized that it was more fun to mix things up a little. I started posting any random question that popped into my head, anything from “What’s your favorite writing trope?” to “What kind of vibe do you think you give off?”
This is easiest to do on Twitter, a more text-focused platform, as opposed to one more focused on images like Instagram or Pinterest. However, there are ways to get questions out there on Instagram too.
One way is through stories. There’s an option to add extras to your story, including an option to give viewers the chance to respond to a prompt. You can use this to ask questions or start an AMA, both of which are fantastic ways to connect with your audience and boost post engagement.
The other way is by adding a question directly in your posts. Instagram may be heavily image-based, but readers and writers are nothing if not creative. Bookstagrammers and authors alike often add a Question of the Day (QOTD) as part of their caption, so that the post benefits from both the visual element and an interactive, text-based element.
I’m admittedly more of a Twitter fiend than Instagram, but I’ve been enjoying coming up with ideas for stories and questions that readers might like. Try it out: ask a question and see what answers you get!
Ideas for Questions:
- What book are you currently reading?
- What’s your current WIP?
- What software do you use for writing?
- Did you DNF any books this year? Which ones, and why?
- What’s your favorite book of all time?
- What’s a book that disappointed you?
- What’s an underrated book you really love?
- How many books have you read this year so far?
- How many words have you written this year so far?
Create Polls, Relevant (and Not So Relevant) to Your Brand
Like asking questions, polls are one of the most interactive social media posts you can make. People love to give their opinion. They also love something they can interact with quickly, getting that feeling of serotonin and the satisfaction of having contributed to something, all from a single click (or tap). Show your audience that you care about their input and give them something interesting to engage with by posting the occasional poll.
This is another one you can do across platforms. Twitter allows polls with up to four options. Instagram stories let you add polls (also four options). Facebook stories allow polls, but those can only have two options unless you do it through a Facebook Group page (in which case, you can have infinite options). If you’re looking to convince more people to become a Patron or buy you a Kofi, those platforms also allow you to post polls. When I had a Patreon, I had Patrons vote on what I posted next. When I took it down, I eventually added a poll to the front page of this here noodle site instead so that anyone who visits my website could vote if they wanted to.
Polls like this—where you give people input on what kind of content you post—are especially effective because you are giving people a say in what they see from you, and it makes them feel more involved in your work.
Generally, I’d say Twitter is the best for polls, but take that with a grain of salt; if your preferred social media platform is one of the other two, feel free to use whichever one you think will get the most answers and engagement.
Ideas for Polls:
- Which mythical creatures are you? (If you’re not sure what you’d answer, you can always take a certain quiz to find out =). )
- How many books are on your TBR list? (Then give a range for each option like 0-10, 11-50, 51-100, more than 100.)
- Which genre do you like best?
- Which of these story cliches frustrates you the most?
- Coffee or tea? (Writers really like this question, it seems. Definitely a good place to start if you’re not sure what to ask and just want a fun, casual question.)
Not everything you post has to be related to what you’re trying to sell or draw attention to. Be yourself! Ask whatever question comes to mind. Create a poll just for funsies. Take the opportunity to get to know your followers. Polls are a great way to do that.
Play Comment Games
An underrated method for increasing post engagement is the occasional “comment game.” This works best for Twitter, which is faster paced and more suited for these kinds of interactions, but you can do it on Instagram and Facebook as well if you prefer.
Comment games are what they sound like: you provide some kind of prompt and ask people to comment, then respond to each comment. This is purely for fun and interaction; you probably won’t get sales or blog clicks this way. It’s also worth noting that, depending on how many comments you get, it can be a bit overwhelming, so really only do this when you have the time and energy to chat with a lot of people at once, and the spoons to get creative.
Comment games are helpful for a few reasons: 1. they’re a great way to chat with and get to know people, 2. social media algorithms tend to like it when you get a lot of comments on your posts. Crazy, right?! So a post that involves a lot of interaction can be really valuable, 3. it will no doubt pique at least a few peoples’ curiosity to see what they get, and 4. it’s just a lot of fun. I’ve come up with some weird prompts on Twitter, and it’s delightful to see peoples’ reactions.
If you opt to do this on Instagram instead, you can do it either through story questions or a regular post (but make sure that if it’s a regular post, you’re pairing it with a cool image!).
Ideas for Comment Games:
- Comment and I’ll tell you what character from my WIP you are.
- Comment and I’ll tell you which faction from my WIP you are.
- Comment and I’ll reply with a dumb meme.
- Comment and I’ll tell you the impression I get of you from your profile.
- Comment an important fact about yourself and I’ll matchmake you with someone else.
Make Some Memes
Memes. They are everywhere. And no matter your niche or industry, you will find them. They can be about some tea in your industry, relatable shenanigans everyone in your field is familiar with, memes about your characters, memes about querying, memes about your plot, memes about being on submission, anything, really.
For example, when the delightful Penguin Classics trend was going around, where authors would post their WIP as a Penguins Classic novel, I made this dumb monstrosity:
One time I mixed the comment game with memes by asking people to comment and responding with a random meme each time. If it sounds dumb, it is. But that’s okay! Whether you’re trying to build an audience or make some friends, humor is a surefire way to connect with people (as long as you’re not a dick about it).
Pay attention to trends and how you can get involved with them. They’re a delightful way to get involved with the community, and it’s okay to get a little silly every now and then.
Spread the Love
I flippin’ love my followers and/or mutuals. Their support has meant the world to me, and I’ll never forget it. If you have followers who brighten your day, who encourage your work and make you feel valued, let them know!
You can do this by shouting them out on socials, referencing or shouting them out in a post, responding to their comments letting you know how much you appreciate them, or even sending them a message thanking them (only if you feel comfortable doing so, and you know that the person will not mind a personal DM).
I’m not saying you need to bare your soul to the world and get all sentimental (though you certainly can if you want to!). But we’re all human and we like to feel appreciated. So if you appreciate someone, let them know! Loyal, supportive followers are super important to authors and bloggers making their way in the world.