How to Promote a Book on Social Media

How to Promote a Book on Social Media: 7 Keys Factors to Drive Book Sales

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Calling all self-published (and aspiring) nonfiction authors who are eager to learn how to promote a book on social media effectively. Continue reading to find out more AND to download the “20 Social Media Posts to Promote Your Book” PDF to help you get started.

As a self-published author, you’ve invested time, creativity, and passion into crafting a story to share with your audience. However, writing a book is just the beginning of your journey to reach your publishing goals. Harnessing the power of social media is one of the most important book promotion tools you’ll want to focus on. It’s not just about creating an Instagram account for the sole purpose of promoting this one book. Rather the seven key factors in this article cover best practice recommendations for social media to help engage your target audience and build a community. We’ll also cover tips to help maximize your book’s visibility, along with specific book promotion post ideas for your social media accounts to help you reach your sales goals.

Let’s dive in!

#1 Know Your Target Audience

Understanding your target audience is the cornerstone of successful book promotion on social media. By identifying specific details about your ideal reader, you can tailor your marketing efforts more effectively. These characteristics include: 

  • Demographics: age, location, occupation 
  • Interests: What are they passionate about? What do they want to know more about?
  • Online behaviors: social media platforms and search terms most commonly used by your target audience
  • Pain points: problems or challenges your target audience faces  
  • Additional traits: values, beliefs, attitudes, and lifestyle 

Using this information, you can focus your messaging on the social media platforms where your audience is most active. You can also craft your content with their needs in mind, ensuring your efforts are more relevant and impactful. 

As you build your social media following and engage with your audience, listen to them. Pay attention to the discussions and comments to understand your audience’s reception. Use their feedback to help you refine your social media strategies and craft content to connect with them on a more personal level.

TIP: Look up the social media platforms used by authors or books in a similar niche as yours. Analyze their followers and the type of content that appears to resonate best with their audience. Use this valuable insight to better craft your social media approach.

#2 Choose the Right Social Media Platform to Promote Your Book 

Knowing your target audience will help guide you in choosing the right platform to focus your efforts. Each platform has a unique audience demographic, engagement style and content preferences. Consider the platforms that your target group is most likely to use. Let’s take a look at characteristics for some of the most popular social media platforms.  

Facebook

Facebook is one of the largest platforms, with a monthly active user count of 2.9 billion. Features like the Facebook Author Page and Facebook groups make this platform an ideal site for helping build a dedicated following for your brand and is a great social media option for self-publishing authors to promote their book.  

Who uses Facebook?  

How often should I post?

  • There is a lack of consensus on the ideal number of times to post. Advice ranges from 4-5 posts per week, to 1 post per day, to 2 post daily.

What type of content works best?

  • Facebook offers a number of ways to deliver informative and meaningful content to your audience. From Facebook Live to videos, stories, photos and more. Try out the different tools and see what your audience responds to. 
  • Check out how Christy Harrison, a dietitian author, uses her Facebook page to engage with her audience and strategically place posts promoting her books. 

Instagram 

Instagram also has a large monthly active user base with over 2 billion users worldwide. The United States makes up one of the largest audiences. 

Who uses Instagram?

  • 25-34 year olds make up its largest audience followed by 18-24 year olds.

How often should I post?

  • It depends on your audience’s preference. Advice ranges from 2-5 times per week. Monitor Instagram Insights and Analytics to better understand the perfect number of posts for your audience.

What type of content works best? 

  • According to a 2023 survey by Statista, Instagram users reported funny content as the most preferred, followed by creative, informative and relaxing content. 
  • In different surveys from 2021 and 2022, carousels were found to be the leading type of content when it comes to user interaction. In the same survey videos received the lowest amount of user engagement. 
  • Check out how dietitian author Elyse Resch, utilizes her Instagram page to promote her book and brand. You’ll notice a mix of posts including author event announcements, photos of her book and other products she sells, images of books she’s currently reading, and inspirational quotes.

LinkedIn

LinkedIn is a social networking platform known for enabling working professionals to promote themselves and gain exposure to potential job opportunities. LinkedIn can also be a valuable platform when it comes to marketing your business or products like your book. According to a recent survey of global marketers, LinkedIn was considered the third most important social media platform for marketing.

Who uses LinkedIn?

How often should I post?

What type of content works best? 

  • According to a LinkedIn post on inspiring content ideas, video posts are the most effective type of content to start a conversation among members.
  • Carousel posts, newsletters, LinkedIn Live events, and polls are other types of popular content found on this platform.
  • Check out the LinkedIn page for dietitian author, Melissa Halas for book promotion inspiration. Her LinkedIn post pictured below is a great example of how to turn a review or testimonial into a social media post. This helps to strengthen the credibility of your book with your target audience.

YouTube

YouTube is the largest online video platform worldwide. The vast majority of users access YouTube through their mobile device compared to a desktop. 

Who uses YouTube?

How often should I post?

  • Posting 1 video per week is most commonly recommended.

What type of content works best?

  • YouTube shorts and YouTube Live have gained significant popularity on this platform.
  • Other popular video genres that do well are how-to guides and tutorials, product reviews, vlogs and educational videos.
  • When it comes to promoting your book, YouTube is also great for showcasing your book trailer. Check out this book trailer example for The Nutritionist’s Kitchen by dietitian author Carley Knowles.

#3 Create Engaging Content 

Crafting engaging content requires a blend of creativity, understanding your audience, and using different mediums effectively. Each post on your Instagram page should not be a blatant advertisement for your upcoming book. Rather, be sure you social media page offers value beyond just selling your book. 

Diversify your content to discuss broader topics and share articles within your book’s niche. This is essential for establishing your authority in the area and engaging with your audience authentically.

How to Promote a Book on Social Media – 20 social media post ideas

This image below gives 20 examples to promote your book on various social media platforms. You’ll notice some of the ideas should be implemented while you’re still in the writing phase of your book. These posts aim to build excitement and anticipation with your audience. The other ideas are best implemented right before or after your book is released. 

Downloadable PDF of 20 boxes, each one describing a different post idea to promote a book on social media.

Take advantage of content creation tools

Graphic design tools like Canva and Adobe Express provide an extensive library of professional looking templates for different social media platforms. While there is a learning curve to using these tools, they are designed to be user-friendly and can improve the efficiency of the design process for your social media content.  

Additionally, using these graphic design tools allows access to a large selection of high-quality images. High-quality images are crucial for social media as they instantly grab attention. Paired with humor, an inspirational message, or valuable insight, it is these types of posts that effectively resonate with your audience and further compel them to share your posts with their networks. 

Therefore, clear, vibrant visuals not only help to enhance engagement but also increase your reach and contribute to a positive perception of your brand. In addition, the more you’re able to build this trusted following, the more beneficial it will be to drive increased interest and sales of your book and other products down the road.   

Content Scheduling Tools 

Along the same lines as taking using graphic design tools to help streamline your social media strategy, content scheduling tools are also worth looking into. These tools are helpful for maintaining engagement with your audience, especially during busy periods, like when you’re in the middle of a book launch. 

Some graphic design tools like Canva offer a social media scheduler and planner feature through their paid subscription plan. You can also find content scheduler features on most social media platforms. 

If you’re looking for additional assistance with your social media strategy, consider social media management tools such as: 

Using these paid subscription tools enables you to manage your posts across your different social media accounts from one platform. Along with the benefit of helping schedule posts in advance, other features may include hashtag suggestions and data on best times to post for your audience. 

#4 Build a Community

Prior to your book’s release, focus on establishing a vibrant community on social media that centers around the themes of your upcoming book. Growing and nurturing the online community early-on serves a number of functions. 

First, it helps gather a dedicated audience that trusts you as an authority figure that can address their pain points. Second, the strategic placement of book promotion posts help generate buzz for your book. Third, putting in effort with your community better ensures you have an enthusiastic group ready to support and promote your book upon release.  

Responding to comments

While posting regularly and at the right times are key factors in social media engagement, there are other effective strategies that you’ll want to keep in mind. Spark discussions with your audience by posing thought provoking questions related to your book’s topics. Invite your audience to share their opinions and experiences. 

When it comes to responding to comments and messages from your audience, the sooner you reply the better. A quick glance online reveals most consumers expect a response within at least 24 hours. Some studies show shorter window times of only a couple hours for ideal audience satisfaction. 

Show appreciation for as many comments as possible. This may be responding to comments by providing clarification for an individual’s question, typing a simple “thank you” for taking the time to comment, or even asking a follow-up question yourself to further engage in a discussion. To save time and maintain consistency in your message, keep a list of go-to responses for questions or comments that you frequently address. 

TIP: Turn frequent audience questions into future social media posts or answer the questions in a live Q&A session on your social media platform. Live videos are an excellent way to connect with your audience in real-time. 

Other strategies to encourage engagement

Additional ways to cultivate an active and engaged audience include:

  • Collaborate with other authors or experts in your field: follow them, like and interact with their posts, pitch specific collaboration ideas
  • Run contests and challenges: offer attractive incentives such as signed copies or your brand merchandise, have one of your collaboration partners help run the contest, make sure to follow all contest rules specified by the social media site that you plan to run your promotion
  • Share usergenerated content: repost content shared by your followers (reviews, testimonials, fan art, other images, videos) to demonstrate their enthusiasm and buy-in to your book and brand.
  • Show your human side: social media works best by adding your personal touch, don’t be afraid to show your face (profile photo, online live events, photo and video posts), utilize proper tone and wording that is relatable to your audience, share behind-the scenes posts

#5 Leverage Hashtags

When it comes to promoting a book on social media, don’t forget hashtags! Think of hashtags as a sorting system, organizing content around specific themes, topics, or keywords. Using the right mix and number of relevant and trending hashtags in your posts makes your content visible to a wider audience interested in those topics. They can help to generate buzz for your book, and also get your book in front of the target audience that is outside of your existing followers. 

How to choose the right hashtags

Aim for a mix of popular, niche, and branded hashtags. Each serves specific functions. Popular hashtags broaden your content’s exposure. Niche hashtags target a more specific audience relevant to your book. 

Additionally, creating a unique branded hashtag specific to your book or author brand can allow readers to more easily identify and engage with your content. This may be as simple as a # symbol followed by your business name. 

Another idea is to create a hashtag tagline. A hashtag tagline is a short and catchy phrase related to your book (or author brand). For instance, #AdventureWithin for a book about the journey to self-discovery or #GreenLifeDelights for a plant-based how-to guide book.

TIP: Create a unique branded hashtag for any contests or challenges you run on social media when promoting your book. Encourage your audience to use the specific hashtag when participating in the promotion. The hashtag allows you to easily track and showcase contest entries. It’s also a great way to generate buzz and encourage more readers to actively participate, helping to amplify the reach of your book promotion campaign.

As with other aspects of social media promotion, consistency in using hashtags across various platforms and monitoring their effectiveness through analytics are vital. This ensures you optimize their potential for driving engagement and increasing the visibility of your book in the digital space.  

#6 How to Utilize Social Media Influencers to Promote a Book

Another way to amplify your book’s visibility is partnering with social media influencers. Look for influencers with an established trust and dedicated following within your book’s niche. This does not necessarily mean that you need to seek out an influencer with tens of thousands of followers. Depending on factors like your current social media following, your book goals, and specific niche, you may find it more ideal to work with an influencer with a smaller following of few thousand instead.

Start by identifying influencers whose audience aligns with your target readers. Also, look for ones that frequently share content related to your book’s genre. Ideally you want to build a genuine relationship with the influencer. 

Reach out to them through email, or through their social media page with a personalized pitch, showcasing the value of your book. Often, you will want to offer a copy of your book so they can read, review and include it in their posts. Through their endorsement and recommendation, your book can gain credibility and reach a wider audience. 

What are Bookstagrammers and Booktubers?

Bookstagrammers and Booktubers are types of book influencers on social media. They provide reviews, book recommendations, and engage in discussions about various books that fall within their specific field of interest. 

Bookstagrammers are book influencers on Instagram. Typically, their posts are visually appealing images of books they are reading, photos of their bookshelves, and artistic arrangements featuring books with captions sharing their personal insights. To get started locating a Bookstagrammer to work with, search popular hashtags like “#bookstagram,” “#bookstagrammer,” and “#booklover.” 

Booktubers are individuals who create and upload video content on YouTube related to books. Video content may include the influencer: giving a review, reading book excerpts, discussing themes covered in the book, or conducting an author interview. 

Booktube has gained immense popularity for its engaging video format, allowing for a deeper and more personal connection between the Booktuber and their audience. This makes it an ideal platform for book promotion and engagement with avid readers. 

You can search YouTube using #booktube to find Booktubers to work with. Another way is to use the search bar to search for reviews of books from a similar niche as yours. Then look into those reviewers that appear in the results to see if they would be a good fit for your book and brand.

TIP: Check out the About section or Profile page of potential influencers you would like to work with. Before you put effort into writing a stellar pitch, make sure the influencer is accepting requests for book reviews in the first place. Book influencers get many book review requests from authors. Some influencers may not accept any requests, while others accept requests for a fee.

#7 How to Promote a Book on Social Media Using Paid Ads

Paid ads on social media offer a more strategic and targeted approach to reaching potential customers compared to organic content. These ads appear in various formats (i.e., images, videos, stories) that are typically integrated into users’ feeds seamlessly. 

How much do social media ads cost?

Costs for paid ads vary from platform to platform. Factors that affect costs include: target audience characteristics, time of year, location, time of day, and ad format. Costs are also affected by the advertising model chosen, such as cost per click (CPC) or cost per acquisition (CPA). 

Typically you will set a budget on the social media platform of your choice for each ad placed. Facebook and Instagram for example allow you to set an average daily budget or one fixed budget for your entire ad campaign. 

Tips to get the most out of social media advertising

To better ensure the success of your paid ads on social media, consider the following tips:

  • Educate yourself on the costs and ad selection process for the different platforms (i.e., ad auctions for Facebook and Instagram).  
  • Choose ad placement based on your understanding of your audience’s behavior and preference.
  • Make sure your ads provide value to the audience by addressing their pain points or offering solutions. 
  • Design ads to be mobile-friendly and use high-quality images.
  • Define clear objectives for your ads and use relevant metrics to measure the success of your campaigns against these goals.
  • Regularly review performance metrics of your ads and make adjustments as needed.
  • Keep an eye on your ad budget and adjust your bidding strategy to optimize cost-efficiency and maximize results.

Final Thoughts

The strategies discussed in this article provide a roadmap to navigate the complex world of social media marketing. As mentioned repeatedly above, having an understanding of your target audience is key to a successful social media strategy. Another key factor, monitoring metrics, allows you to figure out what content resonates, what falls flat, and what deserves a second attempt. By interpreting the analytics and being willing to tweak your approach, you not only enhance the effectiveness of your current book promotion campaign but pave the way for the future business endeavors as well. For additional reading to help you throughout your self-publishing journey, check out The Dietitian Editor website.

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