A few weeks ago, in a writers’ group meeting, we discussed using social media for book marketing. Several authors used Instagram, others used Pinterest.
It became a heated discussion: does social media sell books?
Book marketing on social media: does it help you to sell more books?
One author was adamant: social media, she said, is a waste of time if you want to sell books. “You need to advertise,” she said. “Big authors and publishers spend thousands every month.”
However, the authors who’d used social media for a while, said that they did sell more books when they used social media.
I liked this author’s comment: “Nothing works all the time. I’ve wasted a lot of money on advertising and I’m sure I’ve wasted a lot of time on social media too.”
She’s right. Nothing works all the time. Nor does it work equally well for everyone.
As a marketer, I know that marketing is all about the touchpoints. (Touchpoints are contacts or interactions.) The more often a reader sees your name, or the title of your book, the more likely it is that he’ll look further… In this case, familiarity breeds interest.
What about Pinterest? People use Pinterest to explore products and to plan purchases and Hootsuite says:
… people were not just engaging with shopping, they were checking out too.
Between January and August 2020, there was a 300% increase in add-to-cart and checkout attributed conversions.
( A conversion, in marketing-speak, is when someone does something you want him to do on a site, such as filling out a form, or making a purchase.)
Would book marketing on Pinterest work for you? The only way to find out is to try it. Here are some tips to help.
(BTW, here’s my Pinterest profile.)
1. Follow and repin other authors: they’ll notice and may “repin” your pins
As with all social media, remember it’s social, so it’s all about sociability and curation, rather than using Pinterest to solely promote yourself and your books.
Your Home Feed’s content will be generic until you start following people. You can find people to follow using the Search tool, so search for other authors in your genre.
After you follow someone, you can check out their followers as well as who they follow. This gives you more people to follow, who share your interests.
Soon you’ll build up a collection of Pinterest members who are pinning interesting material you could pin too. Pin their content! If you find something interesting about a pin, add a comment… Everything helps, because Pinterest users check out their followers, as well as their comments.
2. Create a “board” for each of your books, as well as for your blog
Pinterest is all about the images. Basically, it’s a kanban-like web bookmarking site.
A lot of Pinterest marketers like to “brand” themselves by creating a consistent look for their graphics. However, to me it’s off-putting when I check out someone’s created pins, and every pin has the same look… My eyes glaze over; I’m instantly bored. Your mileage may vary, of course…
3. Use hashtags at the end of your pin descriptions to help readers to find your pins (optional)
Hashtags are optional. If you check out your feed, you’ll see that Pinterest no longer shows your pin-descriptions in a feed, nor does it show hashtags. And when I searched the Help files, I couldn’t find anything on hashtags. Doubtless because hashtags can be spammy.
That said, using hashtags is a simple way to tell Pinterest and the search engines what your pin is about and many Pinterest users use them—do whatever makes sense for you.
4. Use Pinterest as a user first, then as an author
Many Pinterest tips suggest that you should limit your boards only to topics which are directly relevant to what you’re promoting. In other words, if you’re an author, stick to creating boards about books, authors and reading.
However, I’ve never followed that advice. I’ve found most success when I use Pinterest regularly and pin whatever I want to pin. After all, authors and readers are interested in many topics. Readers eat as well as read, so I’m happy to pin a recipe for chicken-fried steak or vegan burgers.
Book marketing: Pinterest works for many authors
Many authors report that their readers find them via Pinterest.
Will Pinterest work for you? There’s only one way to find out…
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