On Facebook and Twitter, I've tried varying strategies from paid Facebook promotions to tweeting links and sharing picture teasers. I've spent time re-tweeting others or sharing links for other books. What I found was that promotion volume did not increase or guarantee sales. A tweet being re-tweeted two-dozen times made no impact on sales. Even if I paid to promote a Facebook post, I'd be lucky to see one sale. Buy-my-book promotion on social media doesn't always equal sales.
Why? I'll answer that question using Twitter. I follow several thousand people. So many, I don't even bother to check my feed. It's impossible to keep up. On top of that, all those people are also re-tweeting others. So, my feed has twenty to thirty tweets added every few seconds. I do have a few lists, which contain members of my writing group, writers I know, and a few people I want to follow. They are usually the only tweets I check.
It's not just about time. When you constantly bombard me with buy-my-book promotions, I switch off. If you're constantly re-tweeting, I don't have the time to scroll through your feed to learn about your books. In all the time I've been on Twitter, I've bought no more than a handful of books that I noticed via a promotion tweet. Even then, it was usually because the book was free that day.
If direct promotion doesn't work, what does? The answer is in the name - it's called social media for a reason. When I follow someone on Twitter or Facebook, I'm following a person not their books. I want to interact with them. I want to know why they write and what draws them to their genre. Here's the thing - I'm more likely to buy your book if a connection is established. I'm not saying you have to interact at depth and with every person, and posting a few book-related posts each day is okay - you do need to have something there for an interested reader to find. What I am saying is be a person first.
I'd like to share a personal example of how social interaction can be the key to finding new readers. A couple of weeks ago, one of my local Facebook friends sent me a link to a lady selling handmade Star Wars and Star Trek jewellery on Etsy. Being a huge fan, I immediately liked the sellers page and commented on the necklace I loved. What I wasn't expecting was a message from the seller via Facebook a few days ago, telling me she'd read both my books and had left a review on Kobo. Dawn's review starts with, 'I stumbled across Ellie when she 'liked' a piece of jewellery I had made and placed in my shop. Looked her up, saw she wrote books and I bought this collection...'
Social interaction was the key. I'm 99.9 per cent sure Dawn would never have come across or read my books without the connection made via social media, and I never seen her jewellery. It was also rewarding talking to Dawn via Facebook messenger; I hope I've not just found another reader, but also made a new friend. Though I know Dawn is not expecting it, I'd like to give her and her beautiful creations a shout-out. Below are my favourite designs.
I know that using social media is not always as simple as I've discussed. I'm constantly learning, adapting, and trying new methods to see what works and what doesn't. But I'm also reminding myself on a daily basis to be a person first.
What are your experiences with social media? Do you agree or disagree with anything I've said?