I believe they can! Aren't hashtags just like keywords? Aren't your username, name and bio like headings?
Here are three tips for search engine optimising your author social media:
Many new authors make the mistake of not specifying they're a writer (or at least in the book industry) in their username.
You should make sure to use the full name used on your books, whether or not that's your real name. If you write under a pen name but all your social media profiles are under a name readers don't recognise, they won't be able to find you.
Also, adding 'writer', 'author', 'writes', or similar to your username will allow people to know right away what you do, and make it easy for fans to find you. You might even add your genre, to create an extra specific username like '@annasmysterybooks' or '@horrorwriterjohnsmith'.
If there's a separate section for your name (outside the username), use the same principles.
Your bio can now even include hashtags, and it should be used to draw in the right potential readers.
Remember, you only have a certain amount of words (depending on the platform), so use them wisely. Spice up your bio with emojis that reflect your genre (i.e. hearts for romance), and a list of your books.
Make sure you tell people what you write, and lead them back to your website or book sales page with a compelling Call To Action. Some authors also tag their agent and/or publisher in their bio (if they have them), and a contact email for press.
Now the obvious one - hashtags! These are just like keywords, so they're extremely important to use. (Remember to read the rest of my Author SEO blog series to get more info on keywords!)
People will search for specific hashtags for content, so if a potential reader is searching #YAfantasybooks on Twitter and you're a YA fantasy author, you'll want to make sure your posts show up under that tag!
You can start by hashtagging with your list of keywords (use as many as you can) and wait to see which ones gain the most engagement. But you should also see which tags your competition is using, and how popular they are, and trial as many as you can.
The trick to hashtags is finding the balance between what's too popular and what's too niche. Although popular hashtags are used widely, the competition will be very high (i.e. #bookstagram). But if your hashtags are too specific and underused, it's unlikely people will search for them.
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