• Margaret McGriff

Should Writers Run Social Media Ads?

Updated: Jun 14


Social media ads don’t necessarily fall into the content marketing bucket, it is an important tool in marketing our books.


While I won’t be talking about how to run social media ads, we will cover the content marketing principles that apply to create them.


It’s important to really understand them before you jump into using them. Otherwise, you’ll end up spending a lot of money and getting very little results.

And nobody has time for that!

You have to know your ideal reader inside and out. It’s something you just can’t wing, especially when there’s money involved. Not only do you have to make sure the text in a Facebook or Instagram ad speaks to your ideal reader, whatever image you use has to catch that reader's attention. You also have to make sure your ad targets the right people.


For example, when setting up a Facebook ad, you have to enter information such as gender, age, demographic, where do they live, what kind of books do they like, etc in order to narrow down your ad audience. If you don’t have the proper targeting on that ad it won’t work. And it's not like blogging or creating videos where the only investment you lose is your time. You can also lose a lot of money.

You have to be well versed in the type of content you’re using in an ad. What I mean by well-versed is being comfortable with producing the content – from shooting videos to creating stellar images. If you want to use a Bookstagram image as an Instagram ad, you need to make sure that the image speaks to who you are and what your brand is all about. If that Instagram image doesn't catch the right attention or any other piece of content you create is of poor quality, then that ad is not going to do well i.e. convert.

Social media ads require time and patience. When it comes to creating long-form content like blogging or podcasting, there’s a big-time commitment involved. Not only do you have to do them well, but you also have to do them consistently. So with social media ads, there’s also a lot of time involved.


The writers who build their platform and sell books using social media ads follow the practice of running more than one ad at once. They aren’t two completely different ones but rather variations of the same one. They all may have the same caption but different pictures or vice versa.


They run these ads for a set amount of time to do this to see which ad performs the best – gets the most clicks, visits, etc. The underperforming ad gets shut off and they continue with the other. If you don’t keep an eye on them, it’s super easy to spend a lot of money in a short amount of time. So you have to make sure that you have the bandwidth and the time to really devote to doing ads.

Now that you have a good idea of what you need to know before you start using social media ads, you’re probably wondering if you should even do social media ads?

It really depends on where you are in your writer's business. If you’re an unpublished author or you just have a book or two under your belt, now may not be the time for you to jump into ads. You’re still learning who you are as an author, who your ideal reader is, and trying to balance writing and marketing.


Instead of putting money towards ads invest in a great editor and cover designer so you can jump-start your writing career with the best book you can write. This is something you can plan for in the future, but social media ads shouldn't be on your radar. You need to focus on writing a book and creating a community.

If you have quite a few books out and are looking to boost your sales by getting your books in front of more people, then it's probably a great time for you to start looking at ads. At this stage of the game, you have a good idea of who your readers are and have some great reviews under your belt that you can use in your ad copy or images. You may want to create ads that promote your first book in a series because when people find and read that book, they are more likely to buy the others.


You may have a new series you want to launch and need to build your email list – something that social media ads can do for you. Before you start creating that ad, seek out a course or coach that can really teach you in the ins and outs of social media ads.


There are so many technical things that go into creating an ad on top of the creative aspect of the ad itself. Because money is involved, you want to make sure you know what you're doing and feel comfortable making and running social media ads.

While social media ads don’t fall into the content marketing bucket, concepts such as ideal reader and having a strong brand are important to do this type of marketing successfully. Whether you should do them or not depends on where you are in your writing career so don’t feel pressured about having to run ads like these on your social media platforms.

Your turn! Are you thinking about social media ads for your writing business?




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© 2019 by Margaret McGriff