The Best Way to Use Social Media To Sell Your Books


(This post originally appeared on Girlfriends Book Club. Republished with permission.)

The Best Way to Use Social Media To Sell Your Books

I’m often asked this question, as both a successful author and book marketer, and my answer is always the same: don’t use social media to sell books. [share ]Social media is social, not selling[/share]. If you plan to sell a whole bunch of books on social media, you will be disappointed. Manage your expectations, author friends.

Let’s deconstruct.

What IS Social Media?

Social media is comprised of different channels like Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Google+, Pinterest, Instagram, StumbleUpon, etc., that work in different ways to connect people together. The actual definition of social media changes almost daily, mainly because it’s comprised of tech-based systems, which as you know, change almost daily!

Let’s go with the standard, go-to Wikipedia definition (as of today):

Social media is media used for social interaction, using highly accessible and scalable communication techniques. Social media is the use of web-based and mobile technologies to turn communication into interactive dialogue.”

So the key terms here are social interaction, communication, and interaction dialogue. 

Why then, do you think, authors do nothing but constantly spam their book links screaming BUY MY BOOK!!! on Twitter and other sites? How is that interactive?

It’s not. I think, more than anything, it’s a combination of ignorance and laziness.

Social Media Best Practices

Keep in mind that social media is but one small part of your author platform. If that’s all your using to sell your books, you will likely not sell much, especially given that social media is not a very effective selling platform, as we just discussed.

How can you best use social then? It seems like a no-brainer, but be social! Here are my top tips:

  • Focus: Focus your social efforts by identifying your ideal reader. What’s your demographic? Who are they? What do they read? Age? Income? Write it all out.
  • Keywords: Now write out about five or so keywords that will help you to find topics that you are interested in or passionate about, that will help you connect and interact with those readers. Don’t only focus on YOUR BOOK ALL THE TIME. You are a three-dimensional person, right? You don’t only talk about one topic all the time. If you’re interested in cooking, have cooking be a keyword. If you love restoring cars, discuss that.
  • Be generous. Share, retweet, and give back to your community in ways that you enjoy. Find a blog post you love? Share it. One caveat: don’t ever let anyone pressure you into sharing something you aren’t comfortable with. If it doesn’t feel right, don’t do it.
  • Be consistent. Tweet, share, or pin a few times daily. Building up your social media presence will help your SEO ranking on Google. Be sure to have all your social media icons in a prominent place on your website and linked (typically, top right). It takes only a few minutes each day to share content and you can even schedule (some, not all) using Buffer or Hootsuite. There’s really no excuse to justify worming your way out of it – you’re only hurting yourself. You may not want to be on social, but your readers are ! Social media is this generation’s word of mouth. How can you connect with your readers if you don’t connect with your readers?
  • Be authentic. We can all spot a poser a mile away. Share content that really interests you. Set up Google Alerts about topics that you would already read anyway and share, or use Hootsuite’s Suggested Topics tool – enter in a few keywords and it pulls up articles to choose from. Ask questions (people love to give opinions and talk about themselves), share quotes or visuals. Be interesting! 


Pulling It All TogetherHuffington Post, RachelintheOC, BadRedheadMedia, Writing, Authors

Does a social media presence matter for selling books? Remember, social media is all about building relationships. Build relationships and people will be more likely to purchase your work – we buy things from people we like — humans are funny that way. Here are a few more reasons:

  • Your readers are on social media. The latest Pew Research shows 74% of all Internet users are active social media users. If you are not, you are missing out on potential opportunities.
  • Focus, again. That entire 74% is not your demographic. The biggest mistake I see authors new to social media make is spamming their book link to everyone. Everyone doesn’t read your genre. [share ]Find your readers by – you guessed it – building relationships.[/share]
  • SEO matters, too. While you may think Twitter is stupid or Google+ is a waste, Google doesn’t. Google indexes tweets and Google+ updates, and that means they count far more than your many Facebook interactions (which don’t count at all).
  • Visuals matter. Set up Twitter cards to increase images (which increases your RT rate and chances of indexing). Learn more about Twitter cards here.

The-Broken-Collection-663x1024These little tips count, and this is how I’ve successfully sold my five books (Broken Places is currently #1 on Amazon’s Poetry list), how I work with my own BadRedhead Media clients, and how I’m working with the authors of the Gravity Imprint (which I’m directing) of my publisher, Booktrope.

Do a little bit every day and create a plan of action so you can get yourself up to speed in no time. Share your thoughts, experiences, and questions below!

Further Reading: Check out my latest article on The Huffington Post, Top 3 Reasons Censoring Your Writing Is Holding You Back.


Pictures courtesy of royalty free Unsplash.


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