Authors: Here’s the Secret to Better Social Media Engagement

Elizabeth Carlton
3 min readSep 8, 2023
Image shows hands typing at a laptop beside the words, “Stop shouting into the social media void.”

In an era where writers often find themselves responsible for their own branding and marketing, social media savviness is a must. Whether you’re looking to appeal to traditional publishers or you’re pursuing self-publishing, you need to build and foster online channels to connect with and grow your fan base.

But in an arena where writers are a dime-a-dozen, how do you make yourself stand out?

The harsh truth is that you won’t if all you’re doing is bullhorning quotes and sales pitches for your book. The key to success lies in the utility of social media to its users. That utility varies from platform to platform, but — with the exception of professional networks like LinkedIn — the answer typically lies in personal connection and entertainment.

Focus on Content That Fosters Connection

Social media users don’t want to be bombarded with sales pitches on social media.

While dedicated followers will embrace periodic updates on projects or products they’re interested in, social media’s main utility is to give users a forum for self-expression, entertainment, and to connect with people on a more personal level.

Before you post yet another link to your book on social media, take a step back and ask yourself:

  • Who is my target audience?
  • How are they engaging with this social media platform?

Maybe they’re active in specific groups on the platform, perusing the web for inspirational quotes, funny memes, or reels, or looking for free advice. If you’re a successful self-published author with an existing readership, maybe what they’re interested in is you — your daily life, your musings, etc.

Figure out what they’re showing up on the platform for, and start producing content that appeals to them. More often than not, your strategy will differ from one social media platform to the next as you adapt to the behaviors of your audience.

Remember That Connection is a Two-Way Street

Producing content is part of the formula to social media success. The other half is engagement. Make sure you respond to user engagement on your posts in a timely manner. This will strengthen your relationship with your followers, encouraging them to engage with you more while simultaneously increasing your content’s reach.

Adjust the Personal Content Dial to the Cravings of Your Audience for Better Social Media Engagement

If you’re a fiction author like myself, you may lean more heavily on personal content that fosters connections with your readers. But if you author non-fiction content and have positioned yourself as an expert in your field, your audience may crave less of you and more of your expertise.

Adjust the dial on your personal content to the level that they’re craving. This may mean less day-to-day insight and more free expertise, tools, and inspirational posts. Test the waters with different content to see what your audience is most receptive toward, then tailor your approach to include more of what generates a positive response.

Elizabeth Carlton is the professional writer, author of The Rogue Trilogy, and a writing coach. Over the course of her 14-plus-year career, she’s worked in research, journalism, SEO, marketing, editing, and book publishing. For more information about Elizabeth, her work, or coaching opportunities, please visit



Elizabeth Carlton

Author of The Rogue Trilogy | 16+ years of professional writing experience spanning journalism, SEO, marketing, research and fiction |