MY FACEBOOK BOOK PROMO WAS ALMOST A TOTAL BUST!!
How many people react to a Facebook post about a book? How many of them click a link in a post to go to the book on Amazon?
These are important metrics, especially for indie authors, and I used them to measure the success of a recent seven-day book promo for a backlist book.
My FB promo Nov. 24-30 boosted the paid Kindle sales ranking in my niche category on Amazon from #213 before the promo to #18 after the promo. I had higher hopes, but it’s not a total bust because the promo produced data and insights to share with other authors.
For my promo, I tracked FB likes and comments and shares because I can’t see organic reach unless I’m an admin for a FB page or group. In the description of the countdown deal, I embedded a Bit.ly link to the book on Amazon that enabled me to track all clicks on the link.
Here’s a detailed description of what I did and what happened:
First, I reduced the price of the 2015 anthology Mexico: Sunlight & Shadows by running a Black Friday countdown deal for seven full days. (I control the publication rights for the award-winning anthology.)
Then, I constructed my target market on Facebook consisting of four segments totaling almost 500,000 FB followers:
· I sent an email to anthology contributors alerting them to the countdown deal and asking them to share the deal on their FB pages when it went live. They have a total of 15,646 FB followers.
· I posted the countdown deal in the FB group I administer for 214 authors and asked the members to share the post to their FB pages. Together, they have more than 230,000 followers.
· I posted the countdown deal in 9 additional regional and international FB groups of writers with more than 204,000 total followers.
· Because the content features book excerpts and essays about living in Mexico, I also posted the countdown deal in 4 FB groups focusing on ex-pats in Mexico that have 43,600 followers.
At the end of the seven-day countdown deal, a total of 65 people had reacted to the promo post by giving likes and comments and shares.
· Contributors for the anthology: 41 reactions
· The FB writers’ group I help administer: 7 reactions
· The 9 other regional and international FB groups of authors: 8 reactions
· The 4 FB groups for ex-pats: 9 reactions
During the promo period, my Bit.ly stats showed that 37 people clicked the embedded link to go to Amazon to see the book. My KDP Select dashboard shows that five people downloaded the Kindle book during the promotion. That’s not good enough to stimulate the Amazon algorithms to start promoting the book during the holiday season.
What does the number of FB reactions to my promo indicate about relying on Facebook posts to promote my backlist books?
· Apparently, I wasted my time posting the promo in FB writers’ groups with multiple genres (only 8 reactions from 204,510 followers in those 9 groups). Maybe the promo for the anthology about ex-pats and villagers living in Mexico drowned in the torrent of promos for fiction titles about romance, thrillers, and mysteries.
· Targeting FB ex-pat groups based on content in the anthology produced a better ratio (9 reactions from 46,000 followers in those 4 groups). Unfortunately, without explanation, admins for three other FB ex-pat groups I’ve joined and followed over the past six years rejected my promo post.
More importantly, the low number of FB reactions overall indicates that I need to find better marketing mechanisms to engage more people and get more clicks on a link to Amazon to generate more downloads.
Some indie authors I follow use Facebook ads during promos and say they have good results and a positive ROI from the ads. A few use Amazon ads during promos and say the royalties from the increased downloads produce a profit. Some also use promo stacking on paid promo sites and say they have mixed results.
I’m planning to test all three of those mechanisms for the same anthology and share the results in future blog posts.
Personal perspectives: Many indie authors, including me, have used Facebook for years to interact with other FB users and for author branding. Some authors I know post frequently on FB with news and reviews about their books with links to see the books on Amazon. The likes and comments and shares for posts about books can be gratifying and often lead to continuing connections.
For a price discount promo to increase sales, I’m much more interested in how many people click on the link to go to Amazon to look at the book. The reason I use Bit.ly to track link clicks for FB promo posts is because it lets me quantify all the link clicks anywhere on FB, even if people shared the original promo post with friends and other FB groups and pages.
Most authors I know don’t track and analyze FB likes, comments, shares, and clicks on links to Amazon. Very few authors try to correlate these reactions with Amazon sales. And hardly anybody divulges the actual data even privately. As a result, what's missing is verifiable data about the effectiveness of using FB posts to promote books.
I’m curious about how my results compare with results for FB promo posts by other authors. If you’re willing to share data about reactions and link clicks and downloads, send an email to email@example.com.
Note: As a refresher, here’s a good overview of metrics for FB posts. Another good source of information is Hootsuite, which explains how to calculate engagement rates. It includes the formula for calculating ER on individual FB posts (ER post = Total engagements on a post / Total followers x 100).
By the way, you can still get the Kindle version of the anthology for only $3.99 for the foreseeable future if you missed the Nov. 24-30 price promo. And the paperback version at only $9.95 makes a great stocking stuffer. Click here to go to Amazon. Thanks!