The Power of One to One Engagement

All too often authors use a push strategy in their social media efforts, sharing out messages to their audience without engaging with their audience at all. To do so is to ignore one of the most effective marketing tools in the marketing arsenal, the power of 1:1 conversations.

Individuals in social media are looking for those connections, especially from people that they admire. Twitter, in particular, seems to be the network I see authors using a push strategy rather than engaging, but it’s not something unique to that channel.

Directly engaging with your readers can be hard and time-consuming. But the rewards are worth it.

So how do you get started?

Begin with understanding your audience. Watch and listen to not just your followers, but also the types of individuals that you want to have follow you back; people that you think might be interested in your books. See what they are talking about, what they are passionate about, what makes them engage with each other and with other brands. Take note of topics, trigger points to avoid, and what types of conversations get people the most excited.

And while you can take that information to develop more effective content, it will also help you understand how to better engage with your readers.

Start small. Pick one channel where your audience is most engaged and start there, then expand to other networks as you grow. 

Start talking to your readers. A novel concept, right? Answer questions, thank them when they say nice things about you. 

Consider re-sharing those nice things with the rest of your audience, in the form of a retweet or reshare, for example.

Be funny. Responding with a funny .gif can go a long way to foster engagement. Just be careful that the .gif won’t offend in any way (hint, if you question it at all, don’t use it). Know your audience and be true to your voice. 

Use emojis! Cute but powerful in showing sentiment, these little graphics can boost your message visually and show that you care or that you have a sense of humor.

Take advantage of #hashtags and jump on the bandwagon for specific holidays, events, or activities.

Here are a few other ways to think about engaging your audience:

  • Offer value. Provide additional information such as a link to a blog post or a book title that you loved that corresponds to their inquiry. It doesn't have to be about you--that's a key thing to keep in mind. Be helpful, not self-serving.
  • Ask for reactions. Ask people what they think about things, ranging from the latest news, how they are hunkering down in the upcoming storm or what their weekend plans might be. Tie it in to your brand personality and make sure it sounds authentic as part of the ongoing conversation you are having with your audience.
  • Ask for reviews. This is a tactic that is especially good if you have a loyal base that loves your book. Sometimes all you need to do is ask to get people to tell the world how much they love what you are doing.
  • Conduct polls. Twitter and Facebook make this super easy. You can have casual, fun polls or ask serious questions.
  • Live stream videos and respond to comments in realtime. Realtime is where it’s at!

It might sound like a lot of work, but the good news is that this type of engagement is often the most rewarding. Individuals who engage with you on social are likely to trust you more, have deeper loyalty and will be more likely to recommend your books to others.

Engaging directly with your audience should really be, in more ways than one, the heart of your social media strategy. If you want to start making big advances in driving loyalty, reach and awareness, then get talking in social with your readers!

grubstreet Image
About the Author

Crystal King is a 30-year marketing, social media and communications veteran, freelance writer and Pushcart-nominated poet. She is the author of the FEAST OF SORROW, about the ancient Roman gourmand, Apicius, and THE CHEF'S SECRET about the famous Renaissance chef Bartolomeo Scappi. Currently Crystal works as a social media professor for HubSpot, a leading provider of Inbound marketing software. Crystal has taught classes in writing, creativity, and social media at Harvard Extension School, Boston University, Mass College of Art, UMass Boston and GrubStreet writing center. A former co-editor of the online literary arts journal Plum Ruby Review, Crystal received her MA in Critical and Creative Thinking from UMass Boston, where she developed a series of exercises and writing prompts to help fiction writers in media res. Find her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or at her website:

See other articles by Crystal King
by Crystal King