Someone I know with considerably more followers than I have told me the other day that they were going to tweet about me to get their followers to buy my books. Immediately the likes were coming in and that person remarked how great that was for me. A few days passed and that person asked me if I saw any spike in my sales, fully expecting that the answer would be a resounding “YES!” Nope. Not one sale. They were disappointed, but I knew better. Social media does not sell books.
Likes don’t mean shit in the world of book sales. So why does it appear everyone is so fixated on them? “Oh look! I got [x] likes on my post about my book! That must mean I got [x] sales too!” says no one anymore. Not those of us who know better. I have always operated on a 1%-1% rule with social media posts, meaning that only 1% of followers see a post to begin with and only 1% of that would translate to an action. This means that to capture 1 sale from social media, you need at least 10,000 followers. Anecdotal evidence has shown this is true. Someone like me who has put 0 effort into building my social media presence will get proportionately 0 results until I can sufficiently build my follower base. But is the effort worth it?
What I am tempted to say as an answer to that question is no. In reality, I believe that social media isn’t just important, but it is absolutely needed. Why? Well, for one, access.
Even though it doesn’t typically equate to sales, having a presence online beyond a blog or storefront means you are more accessible. People can talk and chat with you, see who you are as a person. And coming from someone hell-bent on breaking any desire to participate online and someone who is a socially anxious introvert, it’s hard for me to admit. That means the answer to that question above is yes.
The problem also arises however from places like Facebook, who has been making it difficult for those with author pages or pages associated with a business to be seen without forking out money to boost posts. Getting people to see you online is turning into a money game. Algorithms are the name of the game and your equation isn’t included unless you can pay your way. It was already annoying that news feed shifted towards that same behavior, pushing more clickable content forward. Let’s face it, most books and blog posts, or even simple updates, from a writer aren’t clickable in the way Facebook sees it.
Where to begin then? As a writer, I’ve read countless advice columns on how to push sales for a book or raise brand awareness or just how to interact as a person on social media. A lot of it seems superficial. Smart, but superficial. I violate all of those rules. I need to fix them. One bit that is pervasive and makes the most sense (and is the same one that I employ on this site) is making consistent, honest posts. This anxiety ridden social evader isn’t sure how to try that though. But isn’t that the point? To try?
By the way, if you are interested in checking out any of my social media accounts, here they are: