How to Make Your Bookstore a Best-Seller: 3 Social Marketing Tips

Bookstores in today’s day and age are facing an onslaught of competition not only from other bookstores, but libraries, e-books, and online in general.

With more and more people replacing books with online substitutes, it is more important than ever to look at innovative ways to increase brand awareness and in-store traffic. Wishpond can give your store the online tools it needs to win back the hearts and minds of customers.

As a bookstore, the proper use of social media is absolutely crucial to the success of your company. By connecting fans and followers to various social networks, there is incredible potential for the reach of your product and business across social platforms.

What ROIs can I achieve by using Wishpond?

  1. Increase engagement with your fans.
  2. Reach new customers through social networks.
  3. Obtain a deeper understanding of your audience through Wishpond’s analytics.
  4. Increase the awareness and build excitement for new releases, increasing their popularity.
  5. Drive sales and traffic for your business.

Here are three types of promotions offered by Wishpond that are particularly effective for bookstores. Note that this is not an exhaustive list and that Wishpond offers many other services.

  1. Facebook Sweepstakes
  2. Essay Contests
  3. Vote Contests


A Sweepstakes is a tried-and-true contest. Using Wishpond, you establish the parameters of the contest – such as a prize, an associated photo, and when your Sweepstakes will run. To enter, applicants need to enter some basic contact information and they will be entered into a random draw.

While not very risky, people may not be very willing to give up their contact information. This drop off rate is ~10% and should not be a concern with the invaluable information you will gain about your consumers. With the information, your business has access to the emails of entrants as well as personal details. You can view the extent of the information your business will collect here. Wishpond will also continually track the effectiveness of your Sweepstakes.

Once signed up, entrants will automatically share a post on their Facebook profile. The posts encourages others to join and adds an element of buzz to your campaign.

How do I make my sweepstakes a best-seller?

Even though the physical book market may seem to be in decline, there are still plenty of opportunities to attract the market share of book readers that are left. There are a number of examples of incredibly popular books in the past decade like Twilight, Harry Potter, and Fifty Shades of Gray that have flown off the walls of bookstores all across the western world.

It is important to observe the market for any indication of which books may become more popular. For example, the release of the new Hobbit movie may spur an increase in demand for The Hobbit or the Lord of the Rings series of books.

In terms of new arrivals, try to position any sweepstakes (or any other promotional effort) behind the arrival of a new book by an author with a solid track record.

For brand new books with high demand, libraries will not have enough reserves to satisfy the readers, and an e-book may not yet be available. Doing a sweepstakes with these books as the prize as soon as you can can give your store a lot of attention.

Vote Contests

Vote Contests are one of the most versatile and effective contests that Wishpond has to offer. It works for virtually any industry, has very low barriers to entry, and can even empower your followers.

Quite simply, participants submit their email addresses and are then allowed to vote between any number of options. Unless the pictures submitted to your contest belonged to your customers/clients, there is no prize awarded. Keep in mind your audience will want to voice their opinion  if given the chance. Vote Contests are great for listening to what your audience is saying.

How do I make my vote contests a best-seller?

There is a fine balance for vote contests for bookstores. It may be tempting to set up a vote contest with regards to one particular series or genre, but it is important to do this in moderation. Even if it is a national bestseller, not all of your customers and followers may read or even like the series.

For example, while there are a great many Twilight fans, there are also many people who detest the series wholeheartedly. Focusing only on one series or genre in your vote contests may ultimately turn off and annoy the rest of your customer base (unless you are already a niche bookstore. Then you’re in the clear!).

Try to add some variety to your contests by appealing to different niches, or doing a more overarching promotion. For example, a vote contest could list the top ten books in your store, with participants voting for their favourite.

By doing this, you will also gain valuable insight on consumer preferences for your next big promotion.

Essay Contests

Although the words “Essay Contest” may seem daunting, the length does not have to be anything near an actual essay. Essay Contests require a lot of consumer effort because they cannot simply enter their email or take a photo, but actually have to write something.

Often this acts as a high barrier of entry for many participants, as they simply do not think it is worth it. Two ways to generally get around this and boost participants are:

A) Offer them a prize that is very appealing to them. If people think the prize is worth the effort, they will enter.

B) Limit the maximum amount of words in the contest. Once participants realize that all they really have to write is a paragraph or two, they may be more open to entering the contest.

How do I make my essay contests a best-seller?

Bookstores are in an interesting position with essay contests because some people have a lot of passion towards particular series. Furthermore, those who are avid book readers probably have a higher disposition to reading as writing, so they may be more likely to actually participate, especially if they are passionate about the essay topic at hand.

Good essay questions could range from very general, like the example below, to even something more casual, like “Where do you best enjoy reading?”. The more people talk about and participate, the more exposure your store is getting.

Tracking and Analysis

With Wishpond, tracking the effectiveness of your campaign is incredibly simple. Most of the work is done for you and condensed into an intuitive dashboard. All the contact information collected (if any) is also available for your company databases and mailing lists.


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