Social media offer great ways to connect with customers and promote your eBooks, but it can be difficult to determine where and how to invest your effort to get the best results. Here are eight key activities we’ve found to help unlock the secrets of increasing eBook sales through social media:
#1 WIIFM – What’s in it for me?
Social media is not going to the golden goose that lays all your golden eggs unless you understand how customers would like you to engage with them on social media. In order to develop and execute a great social media strategy that will generate meaningful and real returns for your eBook sales, you need to figure out which platform and what message is right for you. One of the big challenges here is that most publisher brands are really B2B. Lately, we see a lot of publishers foregoing their own publisher brand and focusing on niches, verticals and genres. It does seem to drive better results as a B2C channel because there is more WIIFM for the audience.
#2 Engage, don’t just sell.
Social media is about communicating with, not at, people. Don’t make the mistake of talking only about your books or pushing too hard for quick sales. Social media offers opportunities for building awareness of your brand and the titles you offer. Avoid direct sales pitches, which are often viewed as spam. The mantra we use is FIND-LISTEN-ENGAGE.
#3 Define objectives and metrics.
Before you begin, identify what you expect from social media and decide how you will measure progress. You need to know if your social media efforts are worth it, and understand what influences sales (and what doesn’t). It seems obvious to want big follower numbers, but the quality of a follower’s experience is what converts him from a follower to a customer. Engaging followers in conversation builds relationships and brand awareness, which in turn drives eBook sales.
#4 Look beyond Facebook and Twitter.
Certainly you want to use both of those, but media such as Instagram and Pinterest are also useful. Consider this: A recent study from L2 Think Tank found that Instagram registers consumer engagement 18 times that of Facebook and 48 times that of Twitter. The researchers attribute this stunning difference to the power of visuals and their ease in sharing with others.
You will also want to engage with reviewers on book sites such as Goodreads, follow book bloggers and learn from other publishers who have experience with social media. Check out this article from the Huffington Post that highlights the best publishers on Twitter.
#5 Use pictures, illustrations, charts and memes.
Post photos from travel eBooks along with quick tips about the area shown. Use cover images in creative settings and campaigns. Pull charts and graphs from nonfiction titles. Create provocative or ironic memes -- photos overlaid with text quoting a book. Develop infographics that chart a journey, lifetime, fashion trend or a news story.
#6 Think broadly and creatively about ways to engage book lovers.
You might, for instance, post several options for cover art on an upcoming title and let followers vote on the final choice. Host an “Ask the Author” chat session on Twitter. Post news items on the book business in general, not just on your own titles. Create “best of” lists and ask followers to respond with lists of their own.
#7 Save time by writing several posts at once.
Then scheduling them for release throughout the week, using a free application such as BufferApp or TweetDeck. This gives you time to interact with your most engaged followers. Archive all posts and pictures on a particular topic or theme with an application such as Storify. Then repurpose those posts for use on your website or blog.
#8 Assess progress carefully.
Measuring activity against the objectives you developed in #3. Modify your social investment accordingly. Maybe it’s going to be worth your while adding extra resources to social media? Maybe it’s not for you and you should divest yourself of social media… How will you know unless you measure progress? The marketing department at ePubDirect can help you analyse your social media performance and perhaps suggest ways to improve results.
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