Does Using Social Media Really Help Sell More Books?
People tend to either hate social media or love it. One big complaint many authors have is they want to sell more books with the help of social media sites, but they end up spending hours liking cat pictures, playing games, and otherwise wasting time.
Honestly any tool can help or hurt, depending on whether you use it well. But you may wonder if authors REALLY sell more books thanks to social media.
Here's a great article that will help you. Stick around after, because I'll share a few tips to help you streamline your efforts.
Recently there has been a spate of research and opinion on social media and its effect – or lack thereof – on commerce. Attribution studies abound; critics of such “last-click conversion” studies point to “dark social” and the nuances of driving sales. I’ve been watching all of this with as open a mind as I’ve been able to muster and have come to the following conclusions:
Nearly everything I’ve seen is incomplete, misinformed, or reflects an inability on the part of people and organizations to actually use social as opposed to just doing social; and that social media will always work for marketing and selling books (and ebooks).
Here are the top five reasons why:
- The Core Book-Buying Audience Uses Social Media (and so do all those other folks who will buy books if they hear about them…)
This is true unless your audience falls outside of the 85% of the U.S. population that uses social media or isn’t between the ages of 18 and 65+. Check the most recent Pew stats. Perhaps even bump them against some book industry studies. The audience is there. Fish where the fish are.
- Real Consumer Data
The audience data that marketers, publicists, and salespeople can gather about social media followers, fans, and general users should be invaluable to anyone marketing or selling books. Acting on an understanding of the demographics, psychographics, and behavior of an audience with regard to an author, a title, or a site will grow sales and marketing efficiency. If it doesn’t, then something else is very wrong. Gathering and acting on data certainly helped Obama whip Romney. And it can even be predictive (Holy Grail!); in 2010 a couple smart HP researchers predicted opening box office using Twitter volume and sentiment along with number of screens. They did so with 97% accuracy.
- Identifying Adjacent Audiences
Once you’ve analyzed your core audience, it quite straightforward to identify key attributes of that audience and find “look-alikes.” In other words, folks with similar key attributes (hobbies, beliefs, activities, likes, dislikes, locales, marital status, education level, etc.) and place your book in front of those folks who, it happens, will behave much like your core. This is the social graph and it is major.
This could be an essay. Short, over-simplified version focusing on two key points: 1) Both the “general” engines such as Google and the more-specific engines (eg. Amazon) use social “signals” to assist them in determining the authority of everything – including authors and books. Authority=rank. So, positioning. If the title holds up (eg. garners clicks and/or more links over time), it will retain that rank or rise… and 2) As a corollary; an author or title’s presence on the major networks will nearly always enter the first page of a Google search for the author, title, and even some of the longer tail terms. Ranking higher in search sells books; ask Google or Amazon.
- Making the Next Campaign Easier
We hear a lot of talk about scaling marketing efforts. Social is often seen as a hurdle to scale. Social is actually scalable using technology. But it doesn’t really matter if the “IT” hurdle is too great; scale is inherent in using social to market. A marketer’s ability to look at the performance indicators and underlying consumer data of past social campaigns will increase her understanding of what works, for what, and how well. Also, what doesn’t work. This will speed and hone her next efforts. Every time. Knowledge, process, and a better “feel for the game” is scale. Lather, rinse, learn, repeat. Scaled marketing sells more books.
Bottom line: As publishers realize – or perhaps more accurately stated – embrace the fact that they must demonstrate to authors and retail partners that they are the best at connecting books with readers and driving demand, the question becomes how to do so. It is difficult for me to think of any other efforts publishers can employ that will yield the insights and long-lasting audience development of social media. Very difficult.
Peter McCarthy has more than 15 years experience in book marketing and is programming our upcoming marketing conference in in New York on September 26. Learn more about the conference here. Or, register today!
What does all this mean for you as an author?
- You truly can't do without having a strong social media presence.
- You need to be “everywhere” without losing your day to social media sites.
- Your author success depends upon you being visible, and that requires social media.
How can you use social media the right way?
Here's what you crave:
- Connection but not losing your day.
- Being everywhere but not losing your day.
- Sell more books with the help of social media.
- KNOW you got a good return on your time investment.
Effortless Social Media for Authors shows you a simple formula for getting in and out of the networks quickly so that you can put your SM time where you can reach more of the influencers in your audience.
You can get in and out of any network in under 2 minutes!
That means you can put a little more time into the places that really matter most.
For example, I know it's important to be on Twitter, but it's mostly useless for my audience, so all I need is some presence and interaction. Using the Smart Effortless Social Media formula, I can go in real quick a time or 2 each day, still be perceived as interactive because I am interacting, then go on to where my audience REALLY hangs.
You can get started right away at WriteOnPurpose.com/social. The time you save in 1 week will be more than worth the small investment!
Ronda Del Boccio, the Story Lady
#1 bestselling author, speaker, and mentor helping you sell more books.SHARE!