Social Media: 4 Steps to Sell Books

Social Media: 4 Steps to Sell Books

Kristin Eastman, M.S.

If you’re an author, bookseller, or even a publisher, you’ve probably considered making social media part of your selling and marketing strategy.

You might be thinking, “I’ve been selling books for umpteen years without these new social media platforms. What use could they really be? Could social media possibly help me sell more books?”

The answer is YES! But maybe not in the specific way you’re thinking. To unravel the overwhelming idea of using social media to sell more books, let’s look at four steps you can take to implement a social media strategy like a master of marketing.

STEP 1: Build Your Online Platform

This probably sounds familiar especially if you’re an author or publisher. Your online platform is your overall presence on the Internet. The foundation of your online platform consists of your website and/or blog, social media channels, and any mentions, shares, etc. that flow from those channels across the great expanse of the world wide web.

It is very important for all of these foundational pieces to be tied together into a cohesive online presence. To ensure that happens:

  • Make it simple for website visitors to access your social media accounts and blog, and visa versa.
  • Add share buttons to every blog post.
  • Crosspost and share your blog content on your social media channels—not only when they are published, but weeks even months down the road (if the content is timeless).

These tactics will support the growth of your online platform, which is a major step towards selling books.

STEP 2: Start Becoming Social

Now you’re thinking “How does using social media and sharing blogs help grow my online platform?” Answer: Sharing content is only the first step. Once you begin to engage with those who consume your content, you’ll start seeing measurable growth.

Social media is just that, social. Think about how you use social media for yourself. You find some really funny, informative, or engaging content and you want to share it with your friends. Sometimes you may even interact with the person who posted that content. Using social media as a business mirrors that exact process.

The key here: Be a social butterfly. Engage with the people who’ve taken enough interest to follow you. They clicked that follow button for a reason. They want to know more about you and what you have to say.

Think about your day-to-day relationships. We all have that one friend or acquaintance that only comes around when they want something. How much do you enjoy engaging with them? Exactly. Don’t be a Needy Nelly. Think about the people in your life that you do like to spend time with. Why is that? What do they do differently? They most likely show a genuine interest in you—they freely give you their attention, advice, and time. These are things we all value in relationships, even online.

STEP 3: Offer Valueable Content

You may not be “friends” with your online audience in the traditional sense, as they are first and foremost consumers (or potential consumers). However, they are also people, and now you have a direct connection with those people (consumerfriends?). This is relatively new ground for publishers.

Here is a group of people who have voluntarily followed you online for all of the reasons we just talked about. It’s vital to engage and share something valueable with them to nurture your relationship.

What do you, as a publisher, have to offer of value? You guessed it, content. You know about quality content; you’re in the business of selling books. You understand the concept but you may be thinking, “How do I offer outstanding content on social media?” It starts with getting to know your audience.

STEP 4: Choose Your Target Audiences

Target, target, target. But remember this number one rule: don’t use the same content for everyone. You wouldn’t try to sell a romance novel to a young adult audience would you? We call this audience segmentation.

Create audience segments and target those segments with specific content, whether it’s for a newly released title or a whole genre of books.

These four steps are a great way to start selling on social media platforms. One of the huge advantages of social media is the massive amount of consumer data & analytics they provide. To help you gain even more audience insights, each platform offers unique targeting capabilities that will blow your mind.

Take these simple steps, get out there, and start being social. Once you do, you’ll begin to grow your online platform and sell even more books online.