By Edward Nawotka, Editor-in-chief
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Using social media to promote books, as discussed in today’s lead story, is less a novelty and more the norm. Naturally, the strategic application of twitter and social media can do a great deal to promote yourself to potential readers. That is without a question. The real question is “Does Twitter make you buy?”
The evidence that Twitter promotions, parties, and reviews actually prompts people to buy books is largely anecdotal. And there are several people who doubt it’s ability to actually prompt someone to buy a book (Chad Post, publisher of Open Letter Books, has expressed his doubt about the power of social media to interest people in books quite recently in these pages).
There are reasons for doubt: for starters, the amount of characters a URL takes up in a tweet is significant, so it’s unlikely that people commenting on books are likely to be including direct-to-buy links in their tweets, that is unless they are paid to do so. That means that a high percentage of tweets promoting a title are likely originating from people with a vested interest in selling you the book . . . and we’ve all been told that it’s a poor strategy to try and sell directly to people on social media.
What’s more, if there’s no direct link, this would then require someone to pop open an window, do a quick search and then purchase a book — and as streamlined as it can be, it’s still several more steps than many people are willing to make when there’s a continual stream of new Twitter traffic to read through.
So, instead of anecdotal evidence, let’s try and glean a bit of real world data. Tell us, have you ever bought a book because of Twitter? And if you’re a publisher and willing to share your data with us — we will be happy to keep your name anonymous — please do get in touch.