Think you need to master social media to sell your books? Think again.
If you’re like most authors I know, you have a bit of a love-hate relationship with social media.
On the one hand, you like checking in with friends and family and your writing groups. On the other, the pressure to grow your brand on social can feel overwhelming.
Social media is often most people’s starting point for marketing, whether you’re marketing a book or an online business.
This makes sense because most of us are already using one or more social networks. Social channels also allow us to reach a lot of people, and we don’t need to rely on anyone else to get started. Plus they’re usually pretty easy to use.
But social media will not sell your books, for reasons I’ll get into. Instead, I have 5 alternative things you can do to improve your book sales.
Let’s get started!
1. Focus on connection
Social media is for being social – not for selling. People aren’t in a buying mood when they go on social media. So rather than use social media to sell books, either via your posts or through ads, focus instead on building your community. This is what social media is for. Sales will come later if you focus on connection first.
2. Grow your email list
Email marketing is still the best way to make sales online. According to research published by OptinMonster, the average conversion rate for email is 6.05%. That compares with 1.9% for social media. You can use social media to grow your list, for example, if you invest in ads, advertise your reader magnet rather than your books for sale. You can also share your reader magnet in posts or in your group.
So use social media for engaging with fans and growing your audience. Then you can entice those people over to your email list. Once they are on your list, then you can think about making book sales.
3. Amazon optimization
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, you need to optimize your book’s listing on Amazon. This is to ensure it shows up in search results. It also helps people who do find your book recognize it’s perfect for them, and to buy it without hesitation. This is crucial for book sales. It doesn’t matter how great your social media marketing is if people land on your Amazon page and find it’s a hot mess. They will not buy!
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4. Get in front of readers
If you have a Facebook page, you probably already know that not everyone who likes your page sees your posts. Facebook has become a pay-to-play platform, which means you often need to boost posts to ensure a decent number of people see them. Even our own friends on our personal profiles don’t always see our posts.
On other platforms, such as Twitter, it’s impossible to see everything that’s posted because there’s too much content, it goes by in a blur. That goes for the content you’re posting too. So even if posts about your latest book do engage your fans, not enough of them see those posts for them to be effective.
A far better strategy is to get off social media and get in front of readers elsewhere.
My preferred strategy is outreach – writing a guest post or appearing on somebody else’s podcast. But live events, such as book signings or festivals, can be great too.
5. Create original content
As well as being a guest on other people's content platforms, it’s a good idea to create your own regular, valuable, original content too. Not only will your content attract new fans and nurture existing ones, but it will give you something to share and talk about.
Non-promotional content does far better on social media than purely promotional content. Few people will ‘like', comment on, or share a ‘buy my book’ social post. But they will do all these things with engaging original content. And the more they engage with your non-promotional content, the more likely they are to see and respond to your more promotional posts.
Socialize, don't sell
So there you have my reasons why social media won’t sell your books and my 5 alternative strategies to focus on.
Remember, social media can still play an important part in your brand building and for reaching readers. But it’s not the best sales channel.
If you want to know more about how to effectively market your book using a proven system, download my free 7-step guide to growing your author platform!
How do you feel about social media when it comes to book marketing? Do you love it or hate it? How do you use it and what works for you? Let me know in the comments!
Social media marketing should only be thought of as a tool, not as a guarantee to sell books.
Absolutely – it’s a great amplification tool!
Thank you for this post. On a personal tip, I avoided social media at all costs. Decided to use fb as a platform and it has been mostly unsuccessful. 'Boosting' posts….these platforms including Amazon…too much greed. Thank you for providing a strategic and well rounded article.