If you're anything like the average internet user, you've spent your fair share of time camped out on social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and blogs.
While you may feel that your time would be better spent working on your next manuscript, the truth is that as a self-published author having a strong social media presence is more important than ever for attracting and growing a loyal audience.
Social media has become a part of everyday life and if the trend during the past two decades is any indication, we can safely assume that it is here to stay and will continue to boom as a powerful marketing tool.
Instead of viewing your social media accounts as time-sucking distractions, make the shift towards seeing them as effective and affordable ways to connect with more of your prospects and build relationships with them over time.
Does Using Social Media Actually Lead to More Book Sales?
Many authors and publishers shy away from creating and purchasing to a long-term social media strategy because they don't believe that it helps them to sell more books.
But take a closer look and it's easy to see why that thought process is deeply flawed and how it can lead to missing out on a lot of valuable opportunities.
While it is true that social media isn't generally a channel for actively selling books like an e-commerce shopping cart or dedicated book-selling platform, it is very possible to use it as leverage for spreading the word about your book offerings far and wide.
When your message resonates with the right people it leads to your brand gaining rapid exposure through word of mouth.
It also establishes and deepens your relationships with groups based on common interests and allows you to give your prospects an easy way of getting to know you that just wasn't possible before the advent of social media.
The bottom line is that if you want to sell more books you need a bigger and more loyal reader base to make it happen.
Social media may just be the tool that can get you there faster if you combine it with a comprehensive marketing plan.
How Social Media Helps You Get More Readers
Using social media as part of a well-rounded marketing strategy can help to boost your audience numbers and allow you to sell more books, but how?
There are many ways that social media connects you with the right people and grows your list of prospects.
- It Helps to Promote your Brand
Brand recognition is one of the most important aspects of marketing.
When someone from your target audience sees or hears a marketing message and instantly connects it to you and your books, you know you have a well-established brand.
Generating awareness of your brand becomes much easier when you promote your books and yourself across several social media platforms using messages that feature consistent branding elements.
- You Easily Gain Access to New Audiences
One of the best things about social media is the ease with which you can get referrals and recommendations from your existing audience.
One click sharing of posts, videos, pictures and tweets allows for quick transmissions of your message to a new audience. If those new prospects like what they see or hear, following you for future messages is as simple as one more click of a button.
- You Increase Traffic to Your Website and Email List
Social media is an excellent tool for driving traffic back to your website.
This is an important part of a long-term marketing strategy because it lets you create a situation where you can establish ongoing communication with your prospects who would likely only visit your website once and then click away never to be seen again.
- It Allows You to Gather Social Proof
In modern times, consumers are savvier than ever. Instead of taking your word that your books are good enough to warrant their attention, consumers look to their peers for feedback about your offerings before they buy.
If your books have ever improved or changed someone's life enough for them to share their experience with others, that is very powerful.
Reviews and testimonials are two of the most potent forms of social proof that can encourage more people to believe in, and pay attention to your brand.
- It Establishes and Deepens Relationships
Another amazing aspect of social media is that allows you to establish and grow a base of loyal fans who go on to become ambassadors of your brand.
If you bring enough people together under the umbrella of a common interest it's amazing how quickly they will organize and take the initiative to champion and spread your message to other like-minded people.
- It Facilitates Networking With Influencers
Social media has made it easy to connect with just about anyone in the world, including the most influential people in your space.
An incredible marketing strategy for increasing your reader base very quickly involves leveraging the audiences of influencers.
Think about Oprah, who is one of the most influential people in the world, and you'll begin to truly understand the potential that social media has to grow your audience simply by being introduced to someone else's.
- The Viral Effect
The viral aspect of the internet has given self-published authors the ability to quickly and thoroughly penetrate a market through the power of peer-to-peer sharing.
It doesn't happen very often, but if you somehow manage to strike just the right chord with your audience you could find your message spreading like a wildfire across the internet.
This makes it possible to gain exposure to a massive amount of new people within a very short period of time.
- It's Easier to Pre-sell Your Prospects
Social media is powerful because it gives you fast and direct access to your audience.
Use it effectively, and you can communicate inspirational, educational and entertaining messages to your reader base outside of the confines of your books.
For self-published authors who focus on non-fiction types of writing, this can be particularly valuable. However for all writers, social media gives you a unique opportunity to showcase the things that make your brand special and different.
You pre-sell your audience on an ongoing basis by giving them snippets and previews of what's to come. With regular communication and through delivering value to your prospects, you move them closer to buying your books whenever they are released.
Over time and you increase the level of excitement and passion that your readers have for your message, your brand and eventually, your books.
- Show Your Personality and Be a Real Person
Not too long ago authors were seen as faceless entities shrouded away behind the iron curtains of their publishing companies.
Nowadays, with the introduction of social media and the fact that many authors are self-published, that has all changed.
Readers have now come to expect to get to know the person behind the manuscript, and social media is the perfect vehicle for making that possible.
You can let your true voice and personality shine through and let your audience know that you are an actual human being with thoughts and feelings like their own.
All of these factors lead to a gradual increase in your numbers of warmed-up and ready-to-buy prospects, which ultimately means you do no more promotion than you normally would through your marketing channels, but generate more readership and sales for your efforts .