Are your Facebook ads working?
Yes? That’s awesome! Good job, you. You can stop reading now.
If not, here are some suggestions.
First, look at the content of your ad. Does it include a call to action (which is a response you want users to complete)? If it doesn’t already, you’ll want to add one. It can be as simple as “Click Here to Subscribe” or as involved as filling out a registration form. But you want it to be prevalent and include active words like Click, Call, Buy, Register, etc.
You also want to give people a reason to click on your ad. If your ad just says, “I have published a book,” there’s no motivation for someone scrolling by to want to learn more. Offering them free content, entry into a giveaway, or access to info about upcoming promotions and discounts will garner more clicks.
You’ll also want to make sure your image is eye catching, even as a thumbnail. A book cover that is mostly text may not be legible when shrunk to fit in a half-inch square, and subtle design features in covers and author photos can be lost when shrunk down. Some covers just don’t work in thumbnail and cropping them may make them even harder to understand. If you’ve already had smaller ads designed for use online, try cropping one of those. If not, have some made by a designer (whether through your publisher, a freelancer or a have a friend with a background in design – ask around, you probably have one). If your topic is general you can also buy a stock image. Just make sure to pick something colorful and informative.
Those are the simplest and often the most effective changes you can make to your ad. But if you already had a call to action, strong content, and an attractive and clear thumbnail, try changing your audience. Either broadening or narrowing it may help, depending on your original parameters. Make sure readers in your geographic region (or the geographic region of your subject) are included in your target audience and that your ad is being shown to people with an interest in your subject. At the same time, you don’t want to get too narrow: if you specialize in personal finance, targeting your book to people who have “liked” Business would be more effective than those who have “liked” Personal Finance.
Finally, you may want to raise your budget to make your Facebook ad effective. If your ad is getting taken down every day after only a few clicks, invest a little more money so it has the opportunity to draw more traffic.
As you consider implementing these tips, don’t forget that Facebook will let you run a group of ads simultaneously with the same link, so you can make changes and compare audience responses to see what made the most difference.
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I know. I know. Another social media site you don’t have time for. But hear us out.
Instagram is a photo-sharing and social networking service available for Apple and Android devices that allows users to take photos, apply filters reminiscent of the Kodak Instamatic, and share them with the Instagram community (7.3 million daily users) and on Facebook and Twitter. You should be mixing up your social updates with links, video, and photos anyway, so leveraging the hottest photo-sharing app to help you do so just makes sense (and can be a lot of fun).
Like your activities on a slew of other social media sites, your Instagram activity plays into your Klout score—the measure of your online influence—so the more active you are, the more influential you’ll be. And Instagram profiles aren’t confined to the app anymore: anyone can view and engage with your Instagram photos by visiting instagram.com/yourusername.
Not sure what to share on Instagram? Here are some ideas . . .
Promote what’s new. Your book is probably one of many ventures you’re involved in. Use photos to promote new products and share special offers in a way that’s creative and easily re-shareable.
Feature others. Is your book inspiring others? Did someone reach his or her goals based on your method? Feature that person’s work and let everyone know that you’re paying attention.
Enhance your brand image. Like your high school English teacher taught you, show—don’t tell—how you’re giving back. Highlighting charitable work and community involvement can enhance your brand image and help the causes you support.
Generate engagement. Just like on Twitter, you can hashtag Instagram photos, providing users with a way to find your photos though a simple keyword search. Create your own unique hashtag and encourage others to use it to create a catalog of images related to your book/brand.
Give a peek behind the scenes. Working on your next book? Share how you cultivate your ideas, be it a laptop and cup of coffee or a whiteboard full of notes and scribbles.
Need more convincing? Check out what New York Times Magazine contributing writer Clive Thompson had to say about his Instagram usage:
Do you use Instagram? Share your profile in the comments!
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The ability to interact directly and immediately with your readers is perhaps the greatest benefit you have today over authors in the past. Are you taking full advantage of this privilege?
As authors navigate the long and often confusing publishing process (not to mention the selling cycle!), many lose sight of the end goal of it all—that is, sharing your book and great ideas with others. Below are some gentle reminders of ways you can reach out to and connect with your important, invaluable readership.
GoodReads is a book cataloguing site, on which avid readers can list the books they are currently reading, have read, and intend to read with ratings. Authors have the opportunity to create a profile page with a bio and photo, share their favorite books, create quizzes, post videos, publicize upcoming events, share book excerpts, and more. The site has more than 2.8 million users, so if you’re not yet set up on GoodReads, may we gently suggest that you migrate over there right now.
We’ve said it once and we’ll say it again: social media is essential to making a lasting connection with your readership. Hopefully you’re already set up with a Twitter profile and Facebook fan page. As Amanda Nelson wrote on BookRiot: “At a time when the methods by which an author sells a book are in serious flux, Twitter may become (or perhaps it already is) a serious sales tool.” When you show readers your true value to them by providing great information (via news, blogs, information, jokes, etc.), followers will easily turn into repeat customers.
Taking the time to set up a fully equipped Amazon Author Page is one of the most important steps you can take for your book. Author Pages are a great opportunity to provide customers with a more in-depth view of your platform; you can provide a biography, video, blog feed, events, and more. To learn more about the benefits of an Author Page, check out our blog post here. @Author may also be a great tool; the forum allows readers to highlight certain passages within their Kindle books and ask the author questions about their books. The feature is still in beta mode, so only Amazon-selected authors are currently participating, but the site does plan on opening @Author to the world at large sometime soon.
Paying close attention to certain small website features can also be an unexpected (and easy!) way to foster great communication with your fans. Aside from having a blog, consider adding an events page to your website as well. Also be sure to include your contact information on your site (including links to your social media profiles) and get rid of the lousy contact form, which doesn’t exactly feel like the warmest greeting. The Write Network also suggests setting up an auto-responder to emails. Fans will feel like they’re being heard and will know what to expect in terms of response time, making them feel like the valuable customers they truly are.
You can also add a few features to your actual printed book that will increase communicability with your readers. Consider adding your email address or social media profiles to the front or back pages of your book (and making them link-enabled for e-readers). Reading group questions are also a great idea and one feature you could incorporate into your social media strategy as well (set up a hashtag chat where readers can weigh in on the book, and you can too).
Aside from the potential financial benefits of connecting more deeply with your customers, you might garner some valuable insight into your writing and recommendations for future works from your readers as well. Just last week author Steven Saylor wrote about how a reader’s comment influenced his upcoming book, The Seven Wonders.