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How to Run Social Media Ads for Books

Updated: Sep 20, 2023

Engaging on Facebook and Instagram is a great way for authors to market their books but you can expand that reach much further with social media ads.

Social Media Ads for Books

Running social media ads can help you increase your following, get more book sales, and expand your email list. But figuring out how to target the right people with advertisements can be tricky. In this blog post, we're going to cover our top tips for running social media ads for your books, even if you don't have advertising experience.


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First, you need to understand your target audience.


What is a target audience?


Your target audience is the group of individuals who will (hopefully!) purchase your book. For my own books, it is toddler moms and preschool teachers whereas Vicky's target audience is music educators.


Notice that our target audience is NOT children because kids typically don't purchase their own books. Keep in mind the people who will actually be buying your children's book.


My audience and Vicky's are different so they are not going to be found in the same digital spaces or using the same hashtags. So first things first, narrow down your audience.


Other tips before you run social media ads for books:

  • Do your research! Take some time to identify who your target audience is, what they're interested in, and where they are spending their time online.

  • Use analytics tools to get a better understanding of your audience. These can help you analyze the demographics and interests of your followers, as well as gain insights into how they interact with your content.

  • Utilize hashtags and keywords that are relevant to your target audience. This will help you reach more people who may be interested in what you offer.

  • Engage with your followers on a regular basis. Ask questions, start conversations, and share content that your target audience will find interesting.

  • Build relationships with other influencers and brands in your niche. This will help you reach a wider audience and create a sense of community.


Now that we know our audience. Let's break down the different platforms.


Facebook


This social media platform provides a variety of features to help people stay connected, such as messaging, news feeds, photo and video sharing, and a live video streaming service. It also offers powerful advertising capabilities, allowing authors and publishers of all sizes to reach their target audiences. The confusing part for more authors is that Facebook actually has two ways to run ads!


Boost Post vs. Ads Manager


Boosting posts on Facebook allows you to quickly and easily reach more people with your content. You can target general audiences and select a low budget and duration for your boost. Facebook Ads Manager, on the other hand, gives you more control, allowing you to create highly targeted campaigns. With Ads Manager, you can target people based on interests, location, age, gender, and more. You can also set up A/B tests to optimize your campaigns and track your results. Ultimately, both tools can help you reach your marketing goals, depending on your specific needs.


What is the Facebook Pixel?


The Facebook pixel is an analytics tool that can help you track how effective your advertising campaigns are and your website conversion rates to help you measure how effective your advertising campaigns are. It’s a piece of code that you can place on your website, and it will track the conversion from Facebook ads and help you to retarget people who’ve engaged with your site with future advertisements.


It can assist you with understanding your target audience and how they react to your advertising campaigns. The pixel can be used to ensure your ads are shown to the right audience, which in turn should help to drive more sales for your new book. And since you’ll be able to measure the results of your ad campaigns, you can get a better idea of which ads are impactful to your audience.


How Does the Facebook Pixel Work?

When the Facebook pixel is placed on your website, it triggers cookies that will track your users as they interact with your website, Facebook, and Instagram accounts. If you’ve ever wondered how Facebook and Instagram can offer you ads that are so targeted to what you’ve recently been viewing online, this is exactly why.


For example, if you’ve been browsing for a new book online and swiped up on an Instagram story, the Facebook pixel noticed. The next time you log on to Facebook or Instagram, the chances are that you’ll see another advert for the same book, especially if you didn't buy it the first time. This is what’s known as retargeting, and it can be used to reach customers who didn’t complete their purchase or sign-up on your website. This is important because most people don't buy something after seeing it once. Most of your audience will need to see your book (and like it!) multiple times before feeling enticed to add it to their shopping cart.

Why Should You Use the Facebook Pixel?


There are many reasons why any author should be using the Facebook pixel. Firstly, it will allow you to keep track of your website visitors actions. You’ll also be able to get a better idea about who your audience is and ensure you convert them into loyal readers of your books in the future. When someone browses your book titles but doesn’t go through with the purchase, you can retarget them and try and entice them once again to go through with the purchase or sign-up for your email list, launch team, etc.


You’ll find your ROI on your advertisement spending is much improved after using Facebook pixel, stretching your marketing budget further than before.

The Facebook Pixel Standard Events


In order to collect data about your customers and the actions they perform on your website, there are 17 standard pixel events built in. You can customize these using parameters, adding information such as currency, basket contents, and content type. To use these events, just copy and paste the Facebook event code onto your site. Doing so, you can retarget people who have performed specific actions on your website!


These are the 17 default events:

  • Purchase

  • Lead

  • Complete registration

  • Add payment information

  • Add to cart

  • Add to wishlist

  • Initiate checkout – someone starts checking out on your site but may or may not finish

  • Search – using the search function

  • View content – landing on a specified page on your site

  • Contact

  • Customize product

  • Donate

  • Find location – searches for your business location

  • Schedule – books an appointment or call with you

  • Start trial

  • Submit application

  • Subscribe

On top of these standard events, there’s also the option to use a Facebook custom event. You can either use these independently or alongside a standard event from the list above.


Adding the Facebook Pixel to Your Author Website


Now that you know all of the benefits of using the Facebook pixel, you no doubt want to get started with using this handy tool. The great news is that it’s completely free to use, so there’s no reason not to use it.


Start by creating a Facebook pixel, which can be done on the Facebook Event Manager within your profile. Select pixels from the dropdown list under the menu button, and then when the page opens, click “create a pixel.”

Once you’ve created the pixel, you can then add it to your website. The method you use will depend on the type of website you use but can involve integration or the tag manager method, manual installation, or you can ask your website developer to complete this for you. To manually install the Facebook pixel, click “manually install the code yourself.” Copy the code and add it to the header code on your site on each page, ensuring you post it after the opening tag and before your closing tag. Toggle the automatic advanced matching on and click the send test traffic button by entering your website address to check it works.


You’ll then want to select from the standard events we discussed above and toggle the ones you want to use to activate them. Alternatively, set up a custom event in Facebook Events Manager.


While it takes some practice to get set up and to learn to use, it can make all the difference in your social media marketing campaigns!



Instagram


Instagram is a popular social media platform that allows users to post photos, videos, stories, and messages. Because it's so visual, Instagram can be a powerful tool for marketing your book and connecting with readers.


Need help creating your Instagram account? Check out this video:


Instagram is a great tool for authors to help promote their work and engage with their audience. It allows authors to post images, videos, stories, and more to reach new readers and build relationships with existing fans.


My favorite tool is utilizing stories to make engaging content. I can showcase a character or run polls to engage my audience.


Additionally, authors can use Instagram to showcase their writing process, offer sneak peeks of upcoming books, and even host virtual book signings or giveaways. Ultimately, Instagram is an invaluable platform for authors to keep their readers engaged, excited, and up to date on all their new projects.


Instagram Ads


Since Instagram is owned by Facebook, when you run a Facebook advertisement through the Ads Manager, it integrates with Instagram automatically. But if you would like to set up an Instagram ad separately, you are able to do so as well.


How to set up an Instagram Ad:

  • Go to your business profile and select “Create Ad” from the top right menu.

  • Choose your ad objective. This will determine the type of ad you create and your available targeting options.

  • Set your budget and schedule. You can choose a lifetime budget, daily budget, or a budget optimized for the best results.

  • Select your audience. You can target based on location, demographics, interests, and more.

  • Choose the ad placements. You can choose to place your ad in the Instagram Feed, Stories, or Explore.

  • Create your ad. You can upload images, videos, and carousels, or use the Instagram Ad Creator to create your ad.

  • Check the preview of your ad and make any changes.

  • Submit your ad for review.


Twitter


Twitter was originally designed to be a social platform to quickly update your friends on what you were doing in a sentence or so. (It reminds me of an AIM away message.) In the past ten years, Twitter has evolved completely to hosting millions of accounts and averaging over 500,000 tweets per day.


Twitter can be a great way for authors to reach out to their readers and build an engaged following. It can be used to share snippets of new books, promote events, and connect with other authors and readers. Additionally, authors can use Twitter to increase visibility and audience reach by taking part in conversations and trends, as well as sharing content that is helpful and interesting for readers.


Twitter is also the perfect social platform if you are wanting to break into the traditional publishing world. Many agents and editors are extremely active throughout Twitter.

Every few months there are pitch parties that you are able to participate in. Each party will have a different hashtag that is assigned to designate these different events. You pitch your book and if an agent likes it by pressing the heart emoji, they want you to officially query them. Learn more about these events here.


How to set up a Twitter Ad:

  • Log in to your Twitter account and select ‘Ads’, which can be found on the top menu bar.

  • Select the campaign objectives you would like to achieve. This could be anything from increasing website clicks to building brand awareness and more.

  • Set up your budget and duration. Twitter will estimate how many people you can reach with your budget.

  • Fill in the details for your campaign. You can choose your audience, target location and more.

  • Upload your creative assets. This could be an image, video, or GIF.

  • Review your campaign and click ‘Launch’.

  • Monitor and analyze your campaign. You can track the performance of your campaign using the analytics dashboard.


Pinterest


Pinterest allows users to bookmark and share images, videos, and other digital content. It's a great way to find, save, and share inspiring ideas, recipes, DIY projects, and more. You can also use it to create boards and collaborate with others on their projects. It's a great way to discover new things and get creative!


Pinterest is my favorite secret weapon I use to promote my work because unlike other social media platforms, it's a search engine. It allows authors to create boards where they can share their book covers, quotes, and behind-the-scenes photos with their readers. Authors can also use Pinterest to join conversations in their genre, as well as to connect with readers who are interested in their work. Pinterest is a great way to increase visibility and to drive traffic to your website or blog. Plus, Pinterest can be a great source of inspiration!


How do you set up a Pinterest account?

Setting up a Pinterest account is very straightforward and easy. First, go to Pinterest.com and click "Sign Up." Then enter your email address and password. Once that's done, you'll be asked to pick some topics you're interested in. This will help Pinterest show you content that you're interested in. After that, you can start creating boards and pinning content to them. You can also explore Pinterest to find content from other users that you may like.


How do you run Pinterest Ads?


To get started, you'll need to create a business account on the platform and then create ads using the Pinterest Ads Manager. There are several different types of ads you can create, including promoted pins, video ads, and shopping ads. Once you've created your ad, you can customize it to reach the right audience and further optimize it by setting a budget and targeting specific keywords.

  • Sign up for a business account on Pinterest and make sure your profile is filled out completely.

  • Create a goal for your campaign and decide what kind of ad format you want to use (promoted pins, promoted videos, etc.).

  • Create content for your ad that is visually appealing and on-brand.

  • Choose your audience and budget for your campaign.

  • Monitor your campaign performance and make adjustments as needed.


TikTok


TikTok is a social media platform where users can create and upload short videos of themselves. Its popularity has become a way for users to express themselves, be creative, and share their lives with their friends and followers. It's also a great way to discover new music, trends, and people.


TikTok provides a unique way to engage with readers by creating fun and creative content like book trailers, Q&As, and sneak peeks. Additionally, authors can use TikTok to develop relationships with other authors and professionals in the publishing industry.


Tik Tok ads


To get started, you'll need to create an ad campaign in the TikTok Ads Manager. From there, you'll be able to create an ad and target it to the right users. You can also customize the look and feel of your ad, as well as your budget and goals. If you need help setting up your campaign or have any other questions, feel free to reach out!


  • Set up your business profile: Make sure you have a business profile set up on TikTok and that all of your profile information is filled in, including your website and contact information.

  • Analyze your target audience: Research and analyze the types of people that are using TikTok, and determine who your target audience is going to be.

  • Choose an ad format: Decide which type of ad format you want to use, such as TopView, In-Feed, or Hashtag Challenge.

  • Create an engaging ad: Create an engaging ad that appeals to your target audience. Make sure to include an eye-catching video and an effective call to action.

  • Set your budget and launch your ad: When you’re ready to launch, set a budget and launch your ad.

  • Monitor and adjust: Monitor your ad performance and make adjustments as needed to make sure you’re getting the best results for your efforts.

 

Overall, social media ads are a great tool and can be used to promote new books, increase sales of existing books, and build brand recognition. Most social media ads are also very cost-effective, allowing authors to reach thousands of potential readers for a relatively small investment. By utilizing social media ads, authors can take advantage of the huge potential of the online world to reach a much wider audience than they could with traditional marketing methods.


Want more tips? Check out this video:

Disclaimer: This blog post may contain affiliate links to products we enjoy using ourselves. Should you choose to use these links, At Home Author may earn affiliate commissions at no additional cost to you.

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