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 maybe it is the immediacy and ability to blatantly promote a product on Twitter.
It is a better fit than other social networking platforms that constrain or demand payment for promoting a product.
For whatever reason, Twitter has definitely become seen as the essential platform for self-published authors. But is Twitter marketing effective in delivering what authors want? Book sales. Does Twitter sell ebooks?
I can only speak from my own experience. I have a substantial Twitter following and use both Twitter Analytics and Google Analytics.
This gives me access to a reasonable amount of data from my marketing campaigns to use to correlate against my own books sales.
Measuring a Twitter marketing strategy
The image below is an overview of my Twitter account for a 28 day period. The important number is the profile visits.
These are visits to my Twitter profile page from a Tweet. 17,000 is a good number of course, but how many then click the link through to my website?
For the exact same time period, here are the statistics for my site visits from Google Analytics for my website.
Twitter (t.co) is 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 bloggers.
But what about a single book promotion Tweet. Do people click on the book buy links?
This is where promotion is one thing, and book sales conversions are another.
Only three Twitter users clicked through to my book on Amazon. But 4,435 people saw the tweet and 43 people engaged with it.
That is a really a very small and disappointing conversion rate.
It is 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. But 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.
But I do believe that book tweets can still be useful as a means of building awareness. Think of roadside billboards.
No one rushes off to buy a product when they drive past one, but they do build product awareness. People remember.
So from this logic, keep in mind that tweets with images (book covers) attract more than ten times the engagement over text tweets.
This can really help to reinforce awareness. It 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.
It 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 selling 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. As long as you are patient, and don’t expect instant results.
More reading: What You Need To Do Before You Self-Publish A Book
I started my working life as a lithographer and then spent over 30 years in the printing and publishing business.
Originally from Australia, I moved to Switzerland 20 years ago. My days are spent teaching English, writing and wrestling with technology while enjoying my glorious view of the Alps.
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