Ingram Blog

Go the (Social) Distance: How to Make the Most of Social Media

As the world practices social distancing, activity on social media is flourishing. Tap into a more engaged network and make the most of social media with these tips from our @IndieBookBuzz crew and examples from fellow booksellers.

Let’s break it down into three steps:

1. Bring Books to Your Followers

Books connect people at a time when connecting is difficult. Keep that connection going by turning what would have been an in-store event into a virtual one on your social media platforms.

Ask a local author to record a reading of their latest book that you can share on Instagram’s IGTV, Facebook, and other channels, or record a Zoom Q&A with them. With many publishers granting booksellers permission to use content, there’s no better time to record a staff member reading a children’s book for storytime. Be sure to follow publisher guidelines for readings on social media, with more information here. And remember – storytime is not just for kids! Ask your followers
to do a Battle of the Books and choose between two classics, then do a reading of the winner. Many bookstores are posting timely themed bundles of books and sidelines that can be shipped right to customers through Ingram’s Direct to Home service. Do a giveaway of books or a store giftcard to drum up even more interest. The more interaction you can facilitate, the more engaged your network will be – and an engaged network is a supportive network.

If your store is new to virtual events, check out the American Booksellers Association’s helpful guidelines for hosting on different platforms.

2. Bring Your Store to Your Followers

The people following you are already interested in your store, so keep it front-of-mind with your social media posts to encourage them to stay invested in your store. Have a steady flow of staff recommendations – and make sure to include a call to action of how customers can order, with links or contact info.

Promote services that may be new to customers, like curbside pick-up, delivery, and direct shipping. Take pictures in your store and behind-the-scenes shots to let your customers know you’re still working hard for them.

3. Bring Yourself to Your Followers

You, the bookseller, are a key part of your store. Your story matters to your customers and their stories matter to you. That personal element may have drawn you to bookselling and it certainly draws customers to choose a local bookstore. Even if you can’t be face to face, this time can be an opportunity to learn even more about your customers and to let them learn more about you.

Ask thoughtful questions, ask fun questions, and, of course, ask book questions! Find out how your customers would describe your bookstore in one word – or what they’d like to see next from you. Let them know how you’re doing and check in on how they are.

Creating social media content can undoubtedly be time-consuming and an added entry on a growing to-do list. Yet, in this uniquely challenging chapter, we’re reminded that we derive strength from connection. Meet your customers where they are right now, and they’ll be encouraged to do the same.

And speaking of connection, be sure to stay connected with @IndieBookBuzz as we spread the #booklove and the Shop Local message!