Should Authors Pay for Advertising on Social Media

Should Authors Pay for Advertising on Social Media to Promote and Sell their eBook

As many social media sites go public or are acquired by revenue-seeking companies there is a growing trend (and requirement) for social media sites to ‘monetize’ their platforms.

Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn and Goodreads are just some examples of sites that have been moving away from the ‘freemium’ model to a business where they want to generate revenue through advertising.

Yes, they are still free to join and a lot of their services are free and will likely continue to be free. However; they are introducing new premium services and advertising opportunities at a cost. This ultimately has a direct impact on an author’s experience on the site.

Social media sites will likely continue to entice new members through joining for free. It will be the ‘up-sell’ as used by LinkedIn that will help generate extra revenue. It will be using the data obtained from a member’s profile to make their on-site advertising more targeted as used by Facebook.

The question asked by authors is; ‘Should I pay for advertising on social media to promote and sell my eBook?’

My immediate questions to you would be:
1.    ‘By paying for advertising will they guarantee your advertisement reaches your target audience of readers?’

2.    ‘Can they provide you with figures on how many members on their site match your direct audience?’

3.    ‘Can you reach your target audience for free by using the tools we provide you?’

Measuring Your Return on Investment (ROI)
Another question you need to ask is how will you measure your return on investment? Will it be by the number eBooks you sell? Will it be by the increase in ‘friends’ to your Facebook page? Will it by an increase in followers on Twitter? Will it be because you are now able to get your content in from of your target audience?

Social media should primarily be used to connect and then build a relationship with your target audience. Using social media to directly sell your eBooks is not the way to go.

There will always be special cases where an author succeeds by consistently self-promoting on social media. Well-known and best-selling authors will achieve greater success with this compared to unknown self-published authors.

Advertising on social media can be worthwhile for you if you identify how you can measure the return on your investment. I have found that advertising on social media is a completely different beast to traditional advertising. The return on investment from traditional advertising has always been measured by sales generated and brand exposure.

With social media, you are more likely to measure ROI by:

  • The friends you gain.
  • New followers.
  • Re-tweets.
  • Likes.
  • Members who join your discussion group.
  • Increased conversations involving your eBook.
  • Sharing of your free content.
  • Viral marketing.
  • Click-throughs to your blog or website.
  • Comments posted.

Social media involves building engaging communities and then selling. Build your list of followers and then slip in the occasional announcement of your new eBook or blog post. If advertising on social media can increase these new ‘metrics’ then it will likely be worthwhile for you.

How Much Should You Pay?
This is a difficult question to answer as each site offers multiple advertising packages based on different variables. Know your budget and what you can spend on advertising.

s it worth spending $1000 on advertising for your eBook if you only earn $1 from each eBook sold? That means you would have to sell 1000 eBooks just to break even. If you sold 10,000 eBooks then that would be an investment worth making.

Do Your Due Diligence:

  • Identify the best social media sites for you and your eBook.
  • Identify the social media site where your target audience hangs out.
  • What is the size of your target audience on this site?
  • What guarantee can you get that your advertising will be targeted to reach your ideal readers?
  • Compare advertising costs for each site.