Social Media Series: How to Find New Fans and Sell Your Book on Facebook
As a self-published author, you’ve got multiple hats to wear: author, literary agent, publisher, marketing manager, and sometimes even cover designer.
And one of the most important roles you’ll play in your book’s financial success? Social media strategist.
Social media is one of the most powerful platforms for selling your book. More than half of social media marketers said social media helped increase sales for their company.
Not only that, but research suggests that social media influences people’s buying decisions almost as much as television ads.
One of the heaviest hitters for social media marketing is (probably to no one’s surprise), Facebook. As of 2017, more than 50 million small businesses are using Facebook Pages to reach consumers, with 4 million of these companies using Facebook advertising to generate leads and sales.
If you don’t know how to take advantages of Facebook as a marketing platform for your book, you could be missing out on big opportunities for finding new fans and selling your book.
Here’s how to become a Facebook marketing expert so you can find new readers and sell more copies of your book.
Define Your Audience
One of the first steps of marketing your book on Facebook to identify your target audience.
Facebook has billions of daily users (literally), and they’re totally upfront about what they like and don’t like.
These users freely share this information in the “About” sections of their personal pages, by checking in to physical locations, or by adding their favorite sports teams, bands, movies, and — you guessed it — books as interests.
Self-published authors trying to market their books to a target audience have incredible power with so much information available through Facebook. For example, if you want to narrow your audience to readers who are interested in fiction, Facebook will filter for everyone who has shared content related to that genre or who “Likes” works of fiction or fiction authors on their Facebook pages.
This allows you to curate a wide audience, but you can build a narrower target audience by focusing on more specific details (such as those who like a specific book or author).
Create an audience on Facebook through one of three options: Core Audiences, Custom Audiences, and Lookalike Audiences (look for “Audiences” under the “Manage Ads” tool).
Start with a Core Audience based on self-identified interests, like users who like a book in the same genre as your own, or who like authors who write similar content to yourself.
You can then use this to create a Lookalike Audience — a group with similar interests who may buy your book.
Facebook is incredibly effective at targeting groups based on unique details, such as personal interests and their physical locations.
Identifying a niche using this information lets you focus on advertising to users who are most likely to buy your book.
Once you’ve converted those core readers, you’ll need to expand to people who aren’t guaranteed to make a purchase.
Building a wider audience will help you pull in new sales over a longer period of time. Expanding your demographic requirements to users who identify their interests to include “reading” or “fiction” in general, for instance, could help you expose your book to a wider audience that’s still somewhat targeted to remain effective.
Test Before You Commit
If you’re new to Facebook advertising, you’ll experience some trial and error.
You might target the wrong age group for your book, or find that your target audience isn’t responding well to a book description that you thought was very compelling.
One of the most important things is not to commit your entire budget before you’re sure about an ad’s effectiveness.
Invest in a short and sweet advertising effort first — something that costs less than $50. As your short campaign advances, use Facebook’s “Manage Ads” area to identify weak points and learn how to fix them.
Continue to track your click-thru rate and other metrics, and try some A/B testing to see if one ad or description is better than another.
You can also adjust frequency and everything else customizable about how and when your ad is displayed to optimize it before you take the plunge with a long-term effort.
You also don’t want to invest in paid ads that link directly to a store page selling your book until you’ve collected a few reviews and your book has a good rating.
Otherwise, you’ll pay when someone clicks the link, but you may find that they rarely go all the way to buying your book.
Create the Perfect Ad
To create the most effective ad, you’ll need to consider Facebook’s unique requirements when creating the copy (for example, text can only cover up to 20% of the ad).
Here are some pointers for creating an engaging and persuasive ad on Facebook:
Avoid generic descriptions
What are your book’s strengths? The ad copy should be compelling and generate interest in the work. Add a short, mysterious hook or pose a puzzling question that people will want to answer by reading the book.
Choose an effective visual
Avoid a generic image and anything that looks like stock photography; this will make your work look inauthentic. Ideally, you’ll incorporate parts of the design you already have — illustrations or the front cover — into the ad.
Don’t make the mistake of thinking that these things are out of your reach as a self-publisher. Look for affordable cover design solutions for use in a professional and enticing ad.
If you’re advertising your book after it’s released, or you have some pre-release reviews, work those into the ad copy.
Again, look for something that highlights your work specifically (“a good read” is a nice compliment, but could describe any book available).
Use A/B testing as you fine-tune your ad
Pay attention to which descriptions, reviews, and images are most effective, and tweak as you need to find the best results for your book.
Being both a self-published author and acting as your book’s entire marketing team isn’t always easy. But being a Facebook advertising wiz can make selling copies of your book that much easier.
Your online presence as an author makes a big difference — both on social media and on your author site. Your author site can be a powerful tool to earn you more book sales and adoring fans. But does your site have what it to do its job right?