As NetGalley’s Social Media Assistant, I spend a lot of time creating content for our social platforms, scrolling through feeds, and looking at posts from both NetGalley members and bookish creators that I follow. To help NetGalley members who want to grow their social media accounts as part of their 2021 #NetGalleyGoals, I’m sharing the dos and don’t for building your bookish platforms.
Do: Be consistent in posting
Every social media platform has an algorithm, which determines the order of the posts that show up in members’ feeds. While these algorithms aren’t made public, we do know a few things: Posting consistently will help increase the chances of your content being seen by followers, and that reliability promotes engagement. When followers like or comment on your content, they’ll see more of your posts in their feed. If your posts are sporadic and rare, followers are less likely to stay engaged over time. Posting every day isn’t necessary, so find a schedule that works for you and stick with it.
Don’t: Worry too much about the algorithm
Social media algorithms change often (and without notice) and not always in ways that work to support growing content creators. Save yourself the stress and don’t worry about pleasing the algorithm. Post what you want, when you want to, and because it makes you happy.
Do: Engage with other people within the community
Posting into a void will never get you anywhere, no matter how many hashtags you use. The best way to improve any social media platform is to interact with people who have similar platforms to you. Most of the time, they’ll interact with your content because they’ve seen you interact with their content.
Tip: If you’re not someone who usually comments on other people’s posts, make it a daily commitment to comment on the content of a certain number of creators until it becomes a natural habit.
Don’t: Assume that your voice isn’t valuable in the community just because you’re new
Being a newbie can be intimidating, especially because it might feel as like you’re the new kid at school and everyone else already knows each other. But remember that every other member of the book community was once in your shoes, and being yourself is the best way to attract readers who share your same passions. There is always room for new voices in the book community, regardless of how many followers you have. You bring a unique perspective, and that’s what people will gravitate towards when they choose to follow your platforms.
Do: Participate in community events
The bookish community loves events! From readalongs to readathons to book clubs, there are plenty of opportunities to get involved, connect with fellow readers, and make long-lasting friendships. There can be a lot to choose from so start small and don’t overload yourself.
Another option is to create your own! Whether you start with a buddy read or collaborate with a group on a larger themed readathon, hosting an event is an excellent way to meet new people who are excited about the same types of books you are.
Don’t: Spam other creators
Engaging with other people’s content is very important, but going on a liking or commenting spree of a single creator’s posts will appear like fake engagement. If you’re only interacting with people’s content in order to grow your own, people will see through that pretty easily. Instead, focus your energy towards engaging with content that really connects with you.
Do: Be inspired by other creators
Staying aware of content that is performing well and connecting with bookish audiences can be helpful when thinking about everything from the best way to frame Booktube videos to props to include in Bookstagram photos to blog post ideas. If you see a style of post and really like the idea, bookmark it and spend some time thinking about why it worked for you and how it might inspire content on your own platform.
While it is okay to be inspired by others, it is never acceptable to completely recreate or steal another person’s post.
If you are creating a similar piece of content, be transparent and make sure to give credit. For example, if you saw another creator make a post about reading books from the year they were born and want to do the same thing, make sure to credit them with a tag or link to the original post.
Do: Plan out content
It can be helpful to plan ahead and have a schedule of when you share specific content. Try using a spreadsheet to help you outline your posts. Do you always post your reading wrap-up on the last day of the month? Are your current reads always featured on Fridays and do you share a book review every Wednesday? Predictability can be very comforting for you and your followers!
Don’t: Feel like your calendar is set in stone
A calendar can keep you on track and consistent, but don’t let it run your life to the point that you miss opportunities for organic content. If you read a book you need to gush about immediately, do it! Unless you have a specific agreement with a publisher or author to post a book on a certain date, content is easily moved around.
This also goes for the kind of content you’re posting! Sometimes it can feel as though everyone is reading the same buzzy books, and sharing something different (especially if it’s not what you typically share on your channel) can feel like a huge risk. But most of us read widely and across a variety of genres, and a post that might feel out-of-the-norm on your channel could actually be a great way to introduce followers to something new and to discover more readers who share the same interest. It’s your passion that needs to shine through on your channel, don’t be afraid to take chances.
Do: Look at your analytics
Most social media platforms allow you to see how your content is performing, and it can be helpful to track which posts are resonating with your audience.
Analytics can offer you great insight, but don’t worry about changing your content every time you see something not performing well. Above all else, you need to enjoy the content you’re creating.
Don’t: Try to perfect every platform
If you’re just starting out, pick one platform as your main point of focus. This will allow you to properly explore all of the assets that platform has to offer, find your community, and grow without feeling overwhelmed.
You can still have accounts on other platforms, and it’s smart to pay attention to what bookish creators are doing outside of the one you’re focusing on because it may inspire you. For example, a Booktube video pairing Star Wars characters with science fiction books may lead you to creating a roundup of your favorite space operas on your blog.
Do: Have Fun!
We can share endless tips for ways you can try to grow your platform, but the most important is to have fun and enjoy the process of sharing your bookish thoughts in a creative way. It can be easy to spend time comparing your platform to someone else’s—wondering why they have more views or likes or followers than you—but your experience will always differ from someone else’s. What matters most is focusing on what you can control and how you feel about your own content.