Updated: Oct 6, 2021
Marketing your book can be tricky at first. It takes time, commitment, organization, and most importantly, a marketing plan. And one powerful strategy that should be in your marketing plan is social media influencers.
What is an influencer?
Influencers are people on social media with large followings. They're called that because they have some sway in what people like, research, or purchase. There are tons of topics out there with influencers at the helm, and they got there because they are relatable, knowledgable, humorous, outspoken, or all of the above.
How can they help me?
Lots of ways! The key is that an influencer already has a following of your target readers. For example, if you write books for toddlers, reaching out to toddler mom influencers will get your book in front of people who will (hopefully!) buy it.
PRO TIP - Limit how much you send to book reviewers, book bloggers, or book influencers. Why? Because there, your book will be a book in a sea of books. It won't stand out. And...most people who only feature books have authors as a following. Remember, authors are NOT your target audience. But if you give your mindfulness children's book to a wellness coach for moms...your book will not only stand out among the posts, it will be in front of the RIGHT people!
Influencers can also help to build your social media following. When they tag you in a post or story, any of their followers who are interested in your book or concept will start following you.
How do I find them?
This is where you need to get creative and really know your target audience. Instagram is a great place to start because you can search hashtags BUT you need to try many different things. Some of my books are for music teachers but I don't just search "#musicteacher" and call it a day. No, I search: elementarymusic, elementarymusicteacher, iteachmusic, primarymusic, musiced, musiceducation, musiceducationmatters, and so on.
That's the part where lots of authors get stuck. You can't just search one or two things. Use synonyms, rephrase, and try to get inside your audience's head. Where would they spend their virtual time? Who would they follow?
PRO TIP - Look at engagement, not the number of followers. People can purchase followers (bot accounts) to make it seem like they have a large following and then they charge people money to feature their products. This will get you nowhere--it's just a waste of your money. So how do you weed out the fake accounts from the real ones? Look at their likes and comments. If they have approximately 2-5% of their following commenting on their posts with some consistency, that is a great person to send your book to--even if they only have 2,000 followers. That's because a person with a smaller but more engaged following will have a larger impact on your sales than someone with a bigger, disengaged following.
I've found some...now what?
Now, it's time to reach out. Introduce yourself briefly and talk about your book. Why did you write it? Why should they invest time in reading it? What would you like them to do? It's customary to offer a free copy of the book (digital or physical - most prefer physical) in exchange for sharing with their following. Some may charge but many won't. Be sure to keep track of who you reached out to, who responded, and who you sent the book to. You may want to reach out to them for future books!
Also, keep in mind that some will never answer you. For every 10 influencers I contact, only 1-2 actually respond so cast a wide (but relevant) net!
That's all there is to it! Take your time to research influencers and plan out what you're going to say. It's a powerful tool that will support the rest of your marketing plan and sometimes, it can open doors that you didn't know were possible.
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