Twitter is great for author promotion, but does Twitter sell ebooks?
Twitter has become the go to social media platform for self-published authors over the years. Perhaps this happened because both self-publishing and Twitter were launched at roughly the same time, or the immediacy and ability to blatantly flog a product on Twitter was a better fit than other platforms that constrain or demand payment for product plugging.
For whatever reason, Twitter has definitely become seen as the essential platform for self-published authors, but is it effective in delivering what authors want? Book sales. Does Twitter sell ebooks?
I can only speak from my own experience, and as I have a substantial Twitter following and use Twitter and Google Analytics, I have access to a sizeable amount of data to correlate against my own books sales.
The image below is an overview of my Twitter account for the last 28 days, with the important number being profile visits, which are visits to my Twitter profile page from a Tweet. 17,000 is good of course, but how many then click the link through to my website?
For the same time period, here are the statistics for my site visits from Google Analytics, with Twitter (t.co) clearly leading the way with about a 15% conversion rate of profile visits to site visits. This is a great conversion, and says a lot about the power of Twitter for promotion, and especially for websites and blogs.
But what about a single book promotion Tweet. Do people click on buy links?
This is where promotion is one thing, and book sales conversions are another. Only three link clicks through to my book on Amazon, even though 4,435 people saw the tweet and 43 people engaged with it.
That is a very small conversion rate, and no surprise to discover that I did not sell one copy of this book on the day of this particular tweet. But, three people did go to my book page on Amazon, so it had a small positive result.
My book sales have remained steady, and I have never seen a correlating jump in book sales when I increase the number of my book tweets. I have tried this experiment many, many times.
However, I do believe that book tweets can still be useful as a means of building awareness. Think of roadside billboards. No one runs off to buy when they drive past one, but they do build product awareness.
So from this logic, keep in mind that tweets with images (book covers) attract more than ten times the engagement over text tweets, and really help reinforce awareness, which may convert the next time a potential book buyer readies to make a purchase.
So what does this small sample of my Twitter data prove?
It proves that Twitter is a fantastic promotional platform, and is very effective in attracting people to information, such as blogs, articles and creating awareness of your books. But it is, like most social media platforms, not great as a means of direct selling.
So use Twitter to promote yourself as an author, and encourage people to interact and get to know you, but as for flogging books to strangers is concerned? Nope. It doesn’t work well at all.
But, in building awareness and product recognition, it’s a winner. So in the long term, Twitter should have a positive effect on your book sales, if you are patient, and don’t expect instant results.