As we discussed in an earlier post called Happy Book-Planning Strategy Season, starting your holiday book marketing and publicity plans early is essential.
There is a reason HSN (Home Shopping Network) and QVC (Quality, Value and Convenience) begin the holiday onslaught right after Labor Day. It’s because it works. People who watch these networks love to shop, are always looking for a good deal, and are well on their way to having all their purchases made (and wrapped!) by now. (That’s not me, by the way, and perhaps it’s not you either.) The good news is that if you have a book to promote and sell, there is still time, although it’s growing short.
When is it too late to start thinking about storming the holiday market? November. (And you would be amazed at how many people contact me in December for help on a holiday campaign.) September is perfect, but we’re past September now. October is iffy, but better late than never, so let’s get to it, as we’re well into October now.
Know your hashtags
Sometimes when you’re deeply involved in a topic, as I am with book publicity and marketing, I don’t always know when you need more information on any given subject unless you tell me. After reading the post I referred to above, a few people got back to me with questions about hashtags, so here are some of the basics on this important social media tool.
What is a hashtag?
Think of a hashtag as a key word in an index that someone would use to look up all the content that uses that same hashtag — hopefully including your content. Are you Tweeting or publishing a blog post about calico cats? Add a hashtag #calicoCats at the end. The next time someone is looking for information on calico cats and searches for it, you have increased the chances that they will find the content you posted.
Hashtags originated on Twitter, and indeed are used mostly on that platform. But you can (and should!) use hashtags in your other online content, too. This will encourage others to use your hashtag and make it more popular.
Come up with your own #hashtags
Identify your keywords and hashtags and use them in all your posts leading up to Christmas and on major shopping holidays. You can use your book title, your topic, any special, relevant words that really speak to you and your message. If you want to promote your book as the ideal holiday gift, consider some of the usual favorites, such as #blackfriday, #cybermonday, #christmasgift, #holidaygift, etc. Research Twitter and Instagram to see what’s popular and use them.
Those particular hashtags point toward the best days for sales, which includes all kinds of sales — including books.
Holiday-themed hashtag research
As we all know, the holidays are full of excitement and enthusiasm. Hashtags are a big part of that and they exist for every event and activity of the season. Figure out which hashtags get the most attention, or what’s trending, and make a list. Go to Twitter, for example, and type in whatever hashtag you think might give you a good response. A very basic example is #holidays2019. Another one I’m seeing a lot of is #Christmasiscoming
What are others searching for?
The whole idea is that when you are promoting your book, event, product, cause, or whatever, use a hashtag for others who are searching on that very topic to help them find you. Remember that your own brand plays into this too. If you have a book on Judaism, #Christmasiscoming is probably not your best choice. That one is pretty obvious, but the point is you want to keep your own brand and your specific topic in mind.
Discover what your Niche Mates are up to
Another way to find the best hashtags is to search and find out what your Niche Mates are using. (You remember about Niche Mates, right? Others call them competitors, but I see them as those who share your particular space in the marketplace.) Learn from authors in your genre who are perhaps a little further along the promotional continuum. Success leaves clues, after all, and you can even find out what your competition did right last season. It takes some research and scrolling, but the data is there, so why reinvent the wheel?
Evergreen hashtags during the Ho Ho Ho Season
Here are some evergreen hashtags that have stood the test of time in recent years. Remember to insert the current year to make your hashtags timely:
If you celebrate a different tradition, use the appropriate words for you. For all my Jewish friends, check this one out for #JewishHolidays. Now this might be more about Yom Kippur and Sukkot at this point in time, but then there is #Hanukkah2019. You may be aware of the various spellings, so check them all out.
It’s worth repeating here that while a certain hashtag might be trending, or even evergreen, if the hashtag goes against your branding or doesn’t fit your personality, look for a different one that makes more sense. Hashtags enhance searchability and relevance, but they’re also an extension of your personality, so be thoughtful.
Additional tips about hashtags
- Keep them simple and relevant
- Use hashtag on multiple social media marketing channels, but be mindful of each platforms etiquette. For example, hashtags aren’t big on Facebook, but they’re huge on Instagram and especially Twitter
- Search the hashtag before you use it. Make sure you know what others are using it for. I’ve been surprised before, so be sure and look
- Don’t over use hashtags, except with Instagram I’m not sure that’s possible
- Be specific and unique
- Create brand engagement
Remember, you can create your own hashtags and I encourage you to do so. I talked mostly about holiday-themed hashtags here, but of course those are just the tip of the iceberg. You can use your book’s title, the name of your business, etc., but explore first and see what other authors are doing.
If you have questions after reading our Savvy Sunday News, please ask! It lets me know what you think is most important when it comes to your book and your business.
To your success!
P.S. I love getting media for my clients. While my clients are #1 in my book, now and then I get interviewed too. Here are a few places.
#hashtags | #bookpublicity | bookmarketing