The key rule of marketing to your readers online is to go where they go. There’s no sense in harping on about the merits of your books, if no one is listening. Or if the people who do see your social media posts would never choose a book in your genre. So how do you find out which social media platforms your readers visit?
Who is your reader?
I know, I know, figuring out who your ‘ideal reader’ is can be a scary prospect but you must have some idea of whom that elusive persona might be. Let’s do away with the concept of ‘ideal reader’ and instead call them your ‘best fit’ reader.
To figure out who they are, ask yourself these questions:
- What age group do you write for? Small children, middle grade, teen/young adult, or adult.
- What genre do you write in? For me, that’s fantasy. For you it might be romance, crime thriller, or non-fiction.
- What gender do you think your books will appeal to? Only male? Only female? Gender neutral? Or everyone?
- Can you drill down further within your genre or age group? For instance, do you write for an adult audience but know that your ideal reader would be over 40? Or perhaps you write non-fiction for small business owners.
- Does your book appeal to particular interest groups? This is different to genre. For instance, your book might be a thriller with a sporting backdrop that would appeal to readers interested in that sport. A book set in a past era might appeal to readers who are interested in history or that specific time-period.
Considering all of the above should give you some level of demographic to use as a starting point, such as age, gender, genre, interests, or job/industry.
Which authors write books like yours?
We would all like to think that our books are unique, but if you look hard enough you will find authors who write books that share aspects of your own writing. I write YA fantasy with a sci fi slant – think magic and robots – so I look for authors who write fantasy in the here and now or in a future setting for a teen audience, authors like Derek Landy or Terry Brooks.
If you really can’t find any authors whose books are similar to your own, have a look at your book listing on Amazon. Scroll down and you’ll come to ‘Customers who read this book also read’ and ‘Products related to this item’, both of which should list books that are similar to yours and attract a similar type of reader.
Now, find out where those authors spend their time online. Which social media platforms do they have an active presence on? Where are people talking about their books?
Which online groups are interested in books like yours?
Facebook is well known for its abundance of reader and reviewer groups. Some are linked to particular genres, while other are more general.
Facebook business groups may prove just the thing if your book is non fiction and aimed at some aspect of the business world. Equally, business groups on LinkedIn may prove ideal too.
What about interest groups? If your book is about a dog groomer solving crimes in Cornwall, would it appeal to Cornish dog lover groups?
While not one of the big six social media platforms, Goodreads has plenty of book club/reader groups that you can join.
It’s always worth checking the promotional rules for such groups though. Some will allow you to mention your book in the general feed, while others set aside specific posts or pages for book promo material.
Check the demographics for different social media platforms
Going back to your ‘best fit’ reader, you might have worked out that your reader is, for instance, in their twenties and female.
Do your research to find out which of the social media platforms are used by that demographic.
- Facebook has 2.7 billion users. The largest user age group is 25 to 34 years old. 44% of users are female.
- Instagram has 1 billion users. The largest age group is 25 to 34. 57% of users are female.
- There are 187 million Twitter users. The largest age group is 30 to 49. 32% of users are female.
Judging by this information, there’s a good chance your young, female readers are likely to be found on Facebook and Instagram.
You can find the same kind of information on all of the social media platforms.
If all else fails, ask
If you have a mailing list, ask your subscribers which social media platforms they spend most time on. If you know people who have read your book, ask them the same question. Post a tweet, Facebook post, Instagram ask, or LinkedIn poll to gather this information.
You can always combine the ask with a little book marketing too.
One of the reasons that authors sometimes run themselves ragged promoting their book everywhere, across all of the social media platforms, is because they don’t know which social media platforms to concentrate on to find their ‘best fit’ readers. Don’t do that. Do all of the things that I’ve mentioned in this blog post instead and you’ll save yourself a lot of time and effort that could be better spent writing your books and holding effective conversations with your readers.