I want to get this out there first, right away…I’m terrible at using social media to sell, so my comments here are probably quite different from those you might get from those who have done a lot better on these platforms…but I have a feeling if you got the truth out of them, it might not be all that much different.
You see, social media is all the rage right now, and has been for, well, for forever. But he’s the important thing to note…social media is a money maker, not for the advertisers, but for the people with ad space to sell.
At one point, social media was ripe for the marketing picking. It was an exciting new world of sharing content and businesses were seen no differently from people, and people didn’t really notice the difference because actual business practices of sponsored content wasn’t really there yet. Today, not only do you have to pay for the space on people’s computer screens, but you also get tagged with things like the word SPONSORED, even if the people who are getting your messages are already signed up as being fans.
This is problematic for several reasons, most notably being that you are paying to market to existing customers when you are attempting to market to new customers. Now, social media outlets might be doing you a bit of justice…technically, in that they are forcing you do so something that many businesses forget: remind existing customers that you exist…but the thing is, you used to be able to do that for free.
Of course, this is all just what’s going on right now in social media, and there’s one thing you must know about any attempts to use social media as a marketing platform. What works today, what’s happening today, is not applicable tomorrow. Social media, like the internet itself, is a constantly evolving beast. Just because people respond well to your ads today doesn’t mean anything about tomorrow, because ads on the internet base a lot of their work on attempting to fool people into clicking…then they learn and a new method has to be developed.
So, as you can see, I have a lot to say against marketing on social media. My experiences haven’t been grand. But then again, I’ve only invested a small portion of funding into them. Specifically, as of recent days, about 10 dollars into Facebook and 10 into Goodreads. I’ll get into Twitter later…
The results of my Facebook ad would appear to be amazing, if you look strictly at the numbers of people who saw my ad over the 30 seconds or so that it ran. Something like 3,000 people saw the post. That’s pretty incredible. Of course, I think the actual results that came from it, one new like on Facebook and maybe 2 sales (it’s difficult to judge where sales come from using this method) cause the whole thing to be basically a wash. That doesn’t mean it’s not useful, it just means that you’re probably looking at spending a lot of time getting people to see your ad before they ever decide to click on it…And then there’s also the realization that if you’re showing the ad to the same people again and again, you’re probably going to need to change it often.
My thoughts on the marketing aspect (which, I’ll add here, is pretty much the only way to get anyone to see your page content anymore, unless they mark you page to receive notifications about each new post): It’s probably worthwhile if you’re willing to spend a great deal of time on it. But I really haven’t done the appropriate background to say that for certain. What I can say is that you should expect a small percentage of click-thru rates (people who see the add and decide to click it)…which is what you should expect on most social media outlets…and a person can only see the same ad so many times before it becomes less effective each time they see it.
Goodreads was actually pretty similar, but in a really odd way. First…I’m not sure that anyone actually sees Goodreads ads, at least not the ones for the cheapos like me. If I’m not mistaken, they’re hiding lower on the right hand side of the page in a section most people probably never see…so, take that into consideration first and foremost. But there’s some interesting parts to the Goodreads ad. Specifically, that you can target readers quite directly. From showing it to people who have a noted interest in very specific genres to actually being able to pick fans of authors (even indie authors like myself) you can really make sure you’re finding your true fan base. Also, being able to set the rate you’re willing to pay per click is something I haven’t seen on many other sites. You can choose how visible your ad is by simply stating, I’m willing to pay X amount per click…which is really a pretty cool deal, especially when you put into consideration that you’re not paying per person who sees your ad, but per person who clicks on it.
But here’s the thing…when directly targeting the ad to people who would actually have a great deal of interest in the book, I saw no clicks. The book was shown to somewhere around 3000 people, with nothing happening. When I opened up the targeting to everyone, tens of thousands of people saw it over a 24 hour period to give me the clicks that closed out my ad…of course nothing actually came from it, not even an add to a to-read shelf.
Of course, these ad failures could be the result of bad ad copy, or any number of things. These are just my results.
In the end, I’ve come to realize that social media marketing is yet another attempt to market to the overwhelming void, even if targeting your readers directly. Again, my thoughts regarding all this is that it is probably better to find a more direct method of marketing, something where you are putting your books in front of people when they are actually looking for new books to read. I’ve got a few ideas on this that I’m hoping to try out in the near future.
Have fun out there!