It’s a truth universally acknowledged that a single author in possession of a good poetry book must be in want of a good marketing plan. One of the best ways to reach readers is by tapping into social media. With the right strategy, you can get your poetry in front of millions of people who otherwise wouldn’t know your work exists. In this article, we’ll show you how to promote your book online, starting with a social media strategy.
Understand objections more than once
Marketing, by definition, means pestering or persuading people to spend their money on your product. The one thing that makes up an effective marketing plan is that it must be constantly, consistently, and visually working to understand what it is your customers are trying to get out of your product. Great marketing means answering from a customer’s point of view why they should buy your books, instead of purely trying to convince them that they should. Just like a retail job, your reader isn’t sitting around waiting for you to tell them what to buy, they have other options— other books and things to spend their money on. Understanding and succeeding with marketing books therefore must be on par with other marketing related fields like retail, which is repetitive. If you want to succeed you’re going to have to stick with your marketing approaches, no matter how much the results may differ.
You should also make sure to go about marketing in the most effective and efficient ways. Don’t spread yourself so thin you can’t focus on which methods of marketing work best for you. To do this, refer back to everything you’ve learned about marketing online, and determine what is important to your audience. Is convenience a major selling point for them? Do they need to be wooed in different ways on different marketing platforms? Also, let visuals work for you— if you can condense an idea into a post, let it be shared on social media, and talk about it with three points, your message will have a wider reach. And all that is a smart way to understand why people purchase your books.
Share your style and your vulnerability
If you want to sell poetry, you’ll have to let people see who you are as an author. Sharing your writing opens the door for readers to connect with your work, but it also allows them to see a little of who you are. In order to market effectively on social media, being human will be your best tool. Your social media is sure to be a powerful means for sales, but personal connection can help you build a lasting fan base. People love nothing more than seeing the human side of an author. Look at the Ying and Yang. What could be more human than looking at a contradiction and celebrating it? This idea translates perfectly to the modern online audience.
It also helps to be transparent in how you market your books and sell your writing. Shaming those who don’t do what you say you do, or calling people out, never helps in book marketing. Even if you disagree with their methods, be positive when bringing other authors into your business in social media. The best way to do this is to share other people’s work. They probably show others this courtesy, and people like to know what you like. Nothing drives sales and relationship building like getting into the minds of people and what they value. Remember to connect with readers by getting to know them, and by walking down a human path.
Read social media on its cycle
Understanding your venues is vital when it comes to promoting your books online. For instance, while the benefits of using social media to market are undeniable, you can’t show up all at once and treat the platforms as interchangeable. Each site — Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Pinterest and more — has a cycle all its own. Unlike a click-and-buy experience in the physical world, in the digital space, you must gain momentum by sharing a piece of content multiple times, according to your audience’s needs and desires.
The right social media cycle will vary by platform. On Facebook, you might like something for the attention it gets from your immediate friends and family, make a comment, then reshare it later with your larger circle of friends to keep the conversation going on social media. On Tumblr, you can dive right in and make a short, snappy observation, tossing in a liberal dose of snark to get the community’s attention. Don’t let impatience or the nagging feeling that “you’re wasting time” stop you. In social media, the more messages you share, the more they’ll spread — Networks know this and give you the tools to reach your audience through cataloguing and targeting.
Of all the ways to promote your book online, a social media strategy may be the most effective in driving traffic to your book’s page. You need to have an insider’s track of what is “trending” and how often. Draw up protocols for yourself that religiously follow the trends and tricks in your genre. If your writing is dominated by short poems, you can never go wrong appealing to your target audience’s primal motivations – poetry websites like Commaful – and brutally going after your marketing. Choose between movies you must see and movies you’ll regret not having seen.
Your content is the key to converting your followers to your leads. Keep your followers abreast of ideas you have crafted in between novels in your series that could be titillating for them. If you have a blog that circulates amongst your fans, give it a freshen up. Refresh your search engine placeholders to ensure that you are on the top of the trending list. Use current event driven titles to enhance your marketing technique and bring your book to light.
Creating influential real-life connections
For best results, you’ll want to understand and create an authentic online presence. This doesn’t mean cultivating a fake persona or a “side hustle” that doesn’t reflect who you are — it means writing intellectual and real thoughts, and building a readership of people who will genuinely engage with you. If you write smartly and regularly, readers will come looking for you.
Establishing your reputation online and choosing a platform like Wattpad and Tumblr is also a way to develop influence by connecting with the right readers . Most writers understand the value of joining social media with their work — there are fewer authors who understand what happens once they actually engage with an audience. What patterns do their followers have? What will cause them to engage, and which followers write an occasional comment rather than contribute to a dialogue? You’ll have to do research, but again, it will be worth it. Once you have a better sense of who your audience can help your books get seen by via social media, it’s time to actually start using social media to promote your books.
Measure actual reach without ads
It can be tempting to use marketing as a way to purchase extra exposure for your book, but be wary of giving money to any platform promising to boost your views or sell books. Even though there are tools you can use to analyze the people who see your ads and how they interact with your page — try using Google Analytics — you won’t know if those people actually click through to your website or buy your book. Focus on bringing in more people over the long term, rather than blowing your budget in one or two big pushes.
Why wouldn’t you want to show your ads to as many people as possible, even if they don’t click through, right? Because while Facebook may be willing to sell you impressions, buying impressions isn’t the same as selling books. There’s an entire science about the difference between reach and exposure, and even though the two may seem the same, the goal of marketing is to reach readers who want to read your book. It may pay to target ads specifically to fans of your current books, so your money is only spent on people who can realistically become fans of your next book.
Networking with readers and authors is a great way to stay motivated in your writing goals. Reach out to others on social media, participate in webinars and web conferences, and more. Again, networking, whether through social media or in real life, doesn’t pay off immediately, but it’s vital to the long-term success of your business, and with time it can pave a pathway to publication and provide valuable feedback on your developing skills. Good luck!
Written By: Hayley Zelda
Hayley is a writer and marketer at heart. She's written on all the major writing platforms and worked with a number of self-published authors on marketing books to the YA audience.
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