Are You Using the Right Social Media Channel?

Using social media to promote your books is a smart marketing strategy. Social media is a great way to gain exposure for you and your books. One survey found that 90% of marketers report that investing in social media has a direct impact on their revenue.

Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, YouTube, and Snapchat—with so many to choose from, how do you know where you should spend your time and energy?

Are You Using the Right Social Media Channel?

Which social media platform(s) you choose to spend your time on should be driven by the audience you are trying to reach. However, not all social media sites are great for businesses. According to Social Sprout, people tend to follow brands and companies on some sites more than others. Here is the breakdown:

  • 66% follow brands on Facebook
  • 41% follow companies on Instagram
  • 35% of people follow brands on YouTube
  • 32% follow companies and brands on Twitter
  • 17% connect with brands on Pinterest
  • 14% follow companies on Snapchat
  • 6% follow companies on LinkedIn

Based on these statistics, authors and publishers should choose and focus their time among Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and Twitter, as these sites have the greatest percentage of users following companies and brands.

To decide which of these channels you should invest the most time in, consider your target audience’s age.

Baby Boomers

If you are trying to reach Baby Boomers (those over 54 years of age), this group prefers Facebook. However, only 37% of people over age 65 use any social media. If this is the age-group you are trying to reach, then you should not spend the bulk of your marketing time and energy on social meda. Stick to more traditional marketing strategies.

Generation X

Surprisingly, Generation X (ages 38 to 54) spends more time on social media each week than Millienials according to Nielson data. This group spent nearly an hour more each week on social media. Facebook has the most Generation X users, followed by Instagram.

Millennials

Millennials (ages 22 to 37) rule Instagram. There are over 30 million Millennials on this social channel. Instagram boosts a higher engagement rate per follower than Facebook does, however, the channel does not allow clickable links in captions.

Over half of all Instagram users are aged 18 to 29.Twitter is another good channel for reaching Millennials. Twitter’s largest segment of users are between the ages of 18 and 29.

Generation Z

Generation Z (ages 6 to 21) prefer YouTube over all other social media channels. According to a survey by Visual Objects, YouTube is the most visited website by people age 18 to 24 years.

This generation also likes both Snapchat to Instagram. While there are nearly four million more teens on Snapchat than on Instagram, teenagers appear to use both channels regularly.

You have limited time and energy to spend on marketing and on social media. Choose the channel(s) you use carefully so that you have the greatest exposure to the people you are trying to reach with your message.

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You Must Sow to Reap

One day the phone rang. I picked it up and Ross Perot was on the line. He said, ‘I love your book.‘”

I was talking with a writer who was telling me about a book she published in the 1990s. It was a politically conservative title. She wanted to get the word out about her book, so she mailed copies to a large number of conservative politicians including Ross Perot.

Ross Perot paid attention to this unsolicited book that he received. He read it, liked it, and contacted the author. He then helped this author get additional media coverage for her message.

This author talked about the new book she was hoping to get published and then commented, “Now you have to do your marketing online.

I quickly laid that myth to rest. While there is much talk about author platforms and using social media to promote books, the Internet is not the only marketing strategy an author has at her fingertips.

Much like cold calling, cold mailing is an acceptable marketing practice. Mailing copies of your books to appropriate influencers can pay off.

When my anger management book for teenagers was published, I mailed copies of the book to middle school and junior high school counselors to help spur sales. I also sent copies to counseling center directors. These influencers all worked with the target audience for my book.

I looked at mailing these copies of my books as sowing seeds. The goal was to raise awareness for my book. Farmers know that without sowing seeds, there is no harvest. Seeds grow into plants, and plants produce fruit.

2 Corinthians 9:10 says, “Now he who supplies seed to the sower, and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of righteousness.” I figured that my job was to sow the seeds, and God’s job was to make those seeds grow.

I believe that when we publish books that bring Glory to God, that He does cause the seeds we sow to grow into a harvest. Sow seeds with your books. Mail copies to influencers and reviewers who can help spread the word about your book.

The Biblical principle that “Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously” (2 Corinthians 9:6) applies to all areas of life. So, sow your marketing seeds generously.

To seed your marketing efforts, I encourage you to make a list of influencers in your target audience you can give copies of your book to. Then mail some books and trust God to bring a harvest.

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The Book Distribution Conundrum

The big news this month is that Baker & Taylor announced that they will no longer sell books to retailers as of July 15, 2019. This is industry-changing news.

For years, there have been two wholesale companies that sell books to retailers and librarians—Ingram Content Group and Baker & Taylor. Of the two, Baker & Taylor was a small publisher’s friend.

The Distribution Conundrum

Historically it has been very difficult for a small publisher to get their books stocked in Ingram (and in Spring Arbor, the Christian book division of Ingram). Publishers must have at least 10 titles and meet a set annual sales figure in order to place their books directly with Ingram for sales to retailers and librarians. If a small publisher does not meet these requirements, then they have to use a distributor who stocks their books in Ingram. Some of these book distributors include Anchor (Christian books), Independent Publishers Group (IPG), Consortium Book Sales, and Baker & Taylor Publisher Services (formerly BookMasters).

Using a distributor has benefits as well as pitfalls. A distributor is a middleman, so a distributor takes an additional 15% or more of each book sale—over and above the 55–60% discount that the wholesaler (Ingram) requires. Additionally, distributor’s vet the books they represent. So, a publisher has to pass the additional requirements of a distributor in order to be represented by said distributor.

Baker & Taylor, on the other hand, was small-publisher friendly. Small publishers could open an account with Baker & Taylor and have their books stocked directly so that retailers and librarians could place orders for these books.

With the cessation of Baker & Taylor’s sales to retail stores, only one wholesale book company is now selling books to retailers—Ingram. Some in the industry are concerned about what this will mean long-term for retailers and publishers.

 

Baker & TaylorIf you are an independently published author, Baker & Taylor’s decision to cease distribution to retailers will most likely not affect you. Sadly, it will affect a number of small publishers.

Independent authors have been able to make their books available for sale to retailers and librarians through Ingram using one of Ingram’s print-on-demand (POD) services (IngramSpark or Lightning Source) or Kindle Direct Publishing’s expanded distribution service. You may wonder why the loss of Baker & Taylor is such a big deal since small publishers can also use the POD sales route.

Here is what most independent authors do not understand: Retailers rarely order print-on-demand books to stock the shelves of their stores. Print-on-demand titles have a special code in the wholesale system that retailers can spot. As a result, if you are actively trying to get bookstores to stock your title and your book is only available print-on-demand, you have an uphill battle. If your title is listed as a Kindle Direct Published book, you have an even harder climb to get a retailer to stock your book, since retailers consider Amazon their direct competition.

Bookstore

Small publishers understand that they need to have print copies stocked (not POD copies) with wholesalers to increase their chances of book sales to retail stores. This is why the loss of a small- publisher friendly wholesale option for small publishers is a big deal.

While over 50% of books are purchased online, a good percentage of books are still purchased in stores, including bookstores. Savvy publishers know that they must have their books available in multiple locations to garner the most sales. Therefore, access to a wholesale sales option is important for these publishers.

If you are an independently published author, you can take a lesson from small publishers. Having your book available in Amazon alone is not enough. Not everyone shops on Amazon, and, for certain, libraries and retailers don’t order books from Amazon.

Related Posts:
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Distribution Is More Important Than You Think
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Photo courtesy of Samuel Zeller.

 

Are You Riding a One-Trick Pony?

Scrolling through the apps on my smart phone the other day, I noticed an app called Turo. I did not remember what the app was for, so I opened it to see. Then I remembered. I had seen an ad for Turo on television and wanted to remember the service, so I downloaded the app as a way to help myself remember. My strategy worked.

Are You Riding a One-Trick Pony?

Turo is the latest installment in the new sharing or access marketplace—the move away from organized businesses and toward people providing services to one another. Services like Airbnb, Uber, and Takl all are revolutionizing the way business is done. Turo allows individuals to rent their vehicles to one another, bypassing car rental companies.

One exposure is not enough for us to remember something new. I knew that I would forget the name of the service that allowed people to rent their personal vehicles, but I wanted to remember it. So, I downloaded the app to remind myself. It worked.

The same is true for any new product or service. Reading or hearing about a new product once rarely leads to a purchase of that product. Instead, we need to see and hear about a new product multiple times before we remember it, and before we are convinced that it might be worth an investment of our money.

Most people hear about a new product or service from an ad, radio or television show, or a friend. Often, in our busy lives, we forget about the new product or service, until we stumble upon it again—often a few times. Just like I did with Turo.

Sadly, too many authors fall for the one-trick pony method of book marketing. Instead of realizing that people need to see and hear about their book multiple times and from different sources before they remember and make a decision to purchase, these authors hop onto the hot new marketing idea and think that it is the trick.

Over the years, I have seen numerous hot book marketing trends that are pushed on authors as the “new” way to sell books. These have included:

  1. Blogging
  2. Email Marketing
  3. A Social Media Presence
  4. Facebook Ads
  5. Podcasting
  6. Amazon Ads

Each of these are good marketing techniques. However, any one used exclusively will not be effective in selling large quantities of your book.

Marketing experts know that a good marketing plan involves a well-rounded strategy. In other words, marketing is not a one-trick pony. You have to perform numerous different marketing activities to have the best results.

Book Launch Marketing Checklist

Don’t fall for the latest one-trick pony. Develop a marketing strategy for your book that includes numerous channels where people can see and hear about you and your book. If you need guidance in developing a good marketing plan, here are two options:

  1. Read my book Your Guide to Marketing Christian Books. A bonus to the book includes a link to download a free Book Launch Marketing Checklist that provides marketing activities from six-months prior to launch to on-going marketing activities to engage in.
  2. Join Christian Indie Publishing Association and download the Book Launch Marketing Checklist that is available for Members of the association.

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Does Your Book Have a Firm Foundation?
Marketing is a Mindset

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Photo courtesy of Christine Benton. 

Author: Do You Believe?

If you want to start a new habit or change an old habit, what is the one ingredient that makes the difference between failure and success?

Are you cultivating this habit?

According to Charles Duhigg in his book The Power of Habit, that key ingredient is belief. Charles reports that all habits follow a similar pattern:

  1. A cue
  2. A routine
  3. A reward

He asserts that no matter what habit you are trying to change—drinking too much, quitting smoking, eating healthier, or exercising more—that you must change the routine. Changing the routine writes a new habit over the old habit. The cue and the reward stay that same, but now a new behavior is accessed for the old cue.

Someone who wants to eat less may note that they eat when they are bored. The cue is boredom. The routine is eating something. The reward is not feeling bored. To change the habit, the person needs a new routine. It might be that they decide to go for a walk when they feel bored instead of eating. If they change the routine to a walk, they have written a new, healthier habit over the old habit.

However, for the new routine to actually stick and work, the person has to believe that they can change. Without belief, we have trouble changing a habit. Instead, we fall back into the old routine when things get tough. So, for someone to kick an addiction, lose weight, or get in shape, she has to believe that she is capable of doing it.

What about you? Do you believe:

  • That your book makes a difference?
  • That some people need what you provide in your book?
  • That your marketing efforts will have some success?
  • That the time you spend marketing is meaningfully spent?

If you want to get into the habit of spending time each day marketing your book, then first and foremost, you must believe that your time will be well spent, that it will introduce people to your book, and that your sales will increase as a result. Belief is required for you to develop a daily marketing habit.

Once you believe that your marketing efforts can actually make a difference for your book sales, then the next thing you must do is develop a cue to help you remember to engage in marketing activities. Maybe you decided you will do one or two marketing activities on your lunch break. Then lunch will be your cue to engage in marketing.

Develop a list of marketing activities that you can do each day. That way, you are prepared. If you need ideas, check out the ideas in “Are You Willing to Commit?” and “10 Daily Book Marketing Activities for 2019”.

Developing a marketing habit is not easy, but it is a habit that can improve your book sales. However, you must believe that marketing will make a difference for the habit to stick.

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Do You Have This Habit?
Are You Marketing Effectively?
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