Social Media Outposts
I have already talked about how to identify your target audience and where to find them. Now I want to discuss social media outposts for authors. A social media outpost is a common term used online which is better described as ‘setting-up channels online where you have a presence but you don’t have to be constantly engaging with your audience.’
Essentially, these ‘outposts’ are just a way for your audience to discover you and then be redirected to the one place online where you are interacting with readers on a consistent basis. This comes back to my recommendation that you are better to focus your efforts on one main channel rather than spreading yourself too thin.
These outposts still need to be nurtured and updated occasionally, but the emphasis is on occasionally. Their main goal is to allow your audience to find you and then be redirected.
Just as important as what you include on these outposts it is just as important what you should not include. You should avoid links to other outpost channels as you don’t want to be sending them to a social media channel where you won’t be interacting with them. Instead link to your primary social media channel.
Also, avoid putting social media icons of your outpost channels on your website, blog or email signature for the exact reason in that you don’t want to be sending them where you are not being active on a regular basis.
How to Decide Which Channels Are to Be Set Up as Outposts
Select the Channels Where Your Target Audience Visits
In a previous post on social media channels I identified the demographics of the users who use each channel. Now you need to decide which outposts (besides your primary channel) attracts your target audience.
Select the Channels that Allow You to Link Out
Instagram is one such channel that does not allow you to link out of posts or profiles. Remember that a goal of an outpost is to be able to re-direct your readers to your main channel.
Select the Channels that Will Still Be Visually Attention Grabbing
You should spend time on channels that are visually engaging to your readers. This includes being able to add your author photo, eBook covers or other appropriate photos of you.
Select the Channels Channel that has a Powerful Advertising Platform
Facebook is a notable example of where you can also advertise to your audience. It is most likely that Facebook will be your primary channel.
Select the Channels that has a Search Tool So You Can be Discovered
You should only select channels that have a powerful search tool otherwise you will just likely not be found when your profile or page is way down the list. A key component of a search tool is making sure that your audience can find you by your real name and not some nickname.
I was speaking to one author who grasped this concept quite well. She set-up Facebook as her primary channel where she was active on a daily basis.
She then chose Goodreads, Instagram and Pinterest to be her outpost channels. This author created a series of posts and images in advance and then used Hootsuite to release these posts at regular intervals for the next 6 months which allowed her to be active on a daily basis in communicating with her audience on Facebook.
Your Goodreads Author Profile (Outpost Channel) Should Include:
1. A current author photo
2. Current Author bio (including links to your primary social media channel)
3. A welcome message (such as a pinned post that stays at the top of your profile page)
4. Links to your Amazon author page (just in case they are ready to buy your eBook)
As an author you want to be spending more time writing your next best-selling eBook, not endlessly posting to social media channels that deliver little return on your investment. Setting up outpost channels is one way to help you maximize your time.