THE BLOG
01/03/2015 12:53 pm ET Updated Mar 05, 2015

6 Ways for Authors to Build an Engaging Platform Using Social Media

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There's so much out there on platform building for authors. It's a very hot topic right now since traditional publishers are looking to see if your numbers are high enough to reach a significant number of readers before offering you a contract. Some will go past the numbers (although numbers indicate a hard copy of engagement) to see what you are doing to actually engage your target audience.

What is Platform Building?

In today's digital age, promotion means online promotion, having a social media presence, a website, followers and fans. A platform is a tool used for promotion. It's a way to sell yourself as an expert and to sell the products, books or services that you have to offer. It's a method for publicity and can be a way of branding yourself.

Whether you're self-publishing or going the traditional route (or hybrid), you must map out the strategies for how you intend to build an engaging platform once you've reached those readers. Adding a number of followers or fans is important to help you spread the word about your books (and you are spreading the word, aren't you?) but you really need to do something to keep those listeners engaged.

1. Stick to one form of platform building at the beginning. Don't try to do Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest all at once otherwise you'll wear yourself out and your readership will dwindle. Stick to one or two forms of social media -- preferably the ones you feel you connect with the most. I will tell you that every author MUST have a Facebook Fan page and preferably Twitter. Twitter and Facebook are the two primary forms of social media you'll want to use to build your platform and you can link them both so that when you post to Twitter, your post always shows up on your Facebook author page.

2. Be as user-friendly and personal as possible even down to the "Connect with Me" links. Be user-friendly when building a platform means using "you," sharing quotes and asking questions. Provide shorter links and if you want people to connect with you, make sure you are making it easier for them to know where to find you.

3. Make Twitter your friend. You must stay current of the trends in your niche and industry. Use this handy little link to help you narrow your search. And then share. Share very generously. Your platform will feel like you're looking out for them and then they'll start favoriting" your Tweets and the word will spread. This is what I mean by building an engaging platform.

4. To build your credibility as an author, connect the themes of your book to world-life events and preferably to other posts. Remember, building an engaging platform isn't only about you. Share links to other posts that offer a meaningful twists. For example, the war happening in Israel right now is a natural extension to posting snippets about my memoir, Silence: What the Israel Defense Forces Taught Me about Faith, Empowerment and Courage. And of course, that region of the world is always under strife so I'll be linking and sharing "evergreen" type posts.

5. Use the question technique. An engaging platform means you're being as interactive as possible. There are some successful authors who do ask their peeps questions even if they are New York Times bestselling authors, although the majority have very dry author pages.

6. Using the word "FREE" in your post still has a high attention getter. But consider not just outcome (the free part) but words associated with a deeper feeling or, a High Vibrational quality such as "Love," "Power," "You," (see above) as well as "success." These words have the power to elicit a positive response.

When it come to maximizing your presence via social media, what would it take for you to take that courageous step?