You’re looking for book marketing ideas. Although social media can seem like a no-brainer—you’ve got to get the news out about your book—it’s also a time sink.
How do you promote your book without wasting hours on social media?
Start with a strategy. Last year, when we discussed social media at our writers’ group, just one member had a social media strategy. The rest of us posted whenever we remembered. Of course we got sidetracked and achieved less than we expected.
Book marketing on social media: start with a strategy
Here’s a simple strategy:
- Decide how many posts you want to make each week, on each platform, as well how much time you’ll spend;
- Generate content ideas you can use repeatedly;
- Aim for engagement: ask questions, even if you only have one follower;
- Track what you’re doing, as well as your results.
Let’s look at these ideas in more detail.
1. Book marketing: how many posts each week?
If you want to achieve anything, you need to track what you’re doing. You need a content calendar, as well as a content scheduler. Here’s the good news: all you need is a spreadsheet.
Although content calendars and schedulers are easy to find on the web, often they’re way more than what you need and are confusing.
Here’s a simple content calendar you can create in seconds. Open your spreadsheet app (I use Google Sheets, because I can use them on my tablet as well as office machine) and create a new document.
Your column headers are up to you.
My column headers are:
- What? This is the type of content. You’ll need to create a list of content types in your content scheduler (see the second idea, below.) Once you’ve created your types, choose one and enter it in this column;
- Post text;
- Accompanying image;
- Post date;
- Responses: comments, retweets, pins, etc;
I used to keep a both a content calendar and content scheduler. Then I combined the two, by adding a Post Date column. Now I just create a new content calendar for each month, and schedule the posts using the Buffer app.
At my day job, I post three times each week for each social media network, and create a blog post a week too.
2. Social media content types and ideas: create a list
Your content types might include: a blog post, a quick tip, a poll, a joke or humorous quote, a testimonial quote, a shareable from others, a question, a recommendation, product images, etc.
This post from Social Media Today has an excellent list of social media content types, with an infographic.
Create your own list of content types so that you can create ideas for content more easily. If you’re new to social media, or to a network, check to see what others in your industry are posting. Get creative. You can get ideas for content types anywhere.
Once you’ve got your list of content types, mix it up. Vary the types of content you post.
3. Engagement: ask questions, follow up, and respond to others
Social media is social: engage
Your keyword is: reciprocation. For example, if you want followers, follow others, and if you’d like others to engage with your posts, engage with others’ posts.
Try following hashtags in your chosen social media networks, then engage with the posts and people you find. Your aim is quality, rather than quantity. A thoughtful response to someone’s post will encourage others to check out your profile and perhaps follow you.
4. Track what you do: use Trello, or a spreadsheet
For best results, you need to track your book marketing in general, and in social media as well. Consider this: a single repost could get you increased engagement, or traffic. If you don’t know which post achieved those results, you can’t replicate what you did.
Please be aware that it’s almost impossible to gauge ROI on social media. A friend said to me, “I know when I don’t engage on social media it shows in my bottom line.” You won’t see direct one-to-one results. That is, one post won’t equal one or more sales. However, your presence adds up: you’ll see more book sales when you engage on social media. You don’t need to spend hours: you’ll see great results in 15 minutes.
I use Trello to track all my marketing, because it’s easy to use on my devices and I can share my marketing board with colleagues. I also use a spreadsheet. Use whatever is easiest for you.
Book marketing on social media: spend a little time and achieve results
Although social media marketing isn’t magic, it does get results. A big hidden benefit for authors is that it helps you to make friends. We all need friends, and chances are that you can find beta readers as well as fans on your social networks.
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