Category: Social Media


How to build a community: Interview with Will Rycroft

Will Rycroft is Community Manager at VINTAGE, and speaker at our next event, ‘How to build a community‘, on the 18th May. VINTAGE books have over 80,000 Twitter followers and over 250,000 fans on Facebook, so it’s quite the community. Here Norah Myers interviews Will to learn more..

1) Why was it important to include a podcast as part of Vintage’s community?

Audio has been growing in importance for several years now and podcasts and audio books have never been so popular or easy to download. The intimacy of the listening experience means it’s a really effective way of communicating about our books. We knew that we had a range of writers and books that would allow us to create brilliant monthly podcasts involving interviews and readings but also stimulating content like cocktail making, food and location-specific recordings. All of this is to show the diversity of VINTAGE’s publishing and also our place as part of a wider cultural conversation.

2) How have you seen Vintage’s offline community – book launches, literary events – grow as a result of the online conversation?

Social media has allowed us to live-tweet events so that people could get an idea of how amazing they can be (this enhanced even further when they see tweets from other people there too). We’ve definitely seen our online community keen to meet us and each other offline and when we trialed a literary walk in London last year, with no idea if anyone would turn up, we were thrilled to see so many join us. We’ll be doing even more VINTAGE Walks this year.

3) Which social media platform has been the most effective for engaging conversation? Why?

Twitter, without a doubt. That’s how the platform is set up really and our approach on there is all about starting and participating in conversation. The fact you’re communicating in real-time, to multiple people but without a clogged feed, means it’s perfectly suited. We’re not there to sell books directly; we’re there to share our passion for them. Even things like the new polling feature can help stimulate conversation and engagement.

4) Why does using visual content in posts – GIFs and pictures – increase engagement?

People love to share things on social media so if you have a gorgeous picture of your books, or a scene to share, then your followers are more likely to share it to theirs. I love GIFs, mainly because they make me laugh and can communicate several things at the same time. They also allow you to reference films, music and popular culture whilst talking about your books. If you imagine someone scrolling through their feed, what posts do you think are going to stand out: text-only or those with a picture, GIF or video?

5) How should social media managers prepare themselves to use new apps and platforms?

Don’t rush in with your brand account. Download new apps and platforms and try them out personally first. Follow other accounts to see what they’re doing and keep an eye out to see what works and what doesn’t. Beware of spreading yourself too thin however. New apps and platforms seem to launch every week and very few of those that break through are attracting lots of users a few months down the line. We concentrate our energies on the main platforms whilst keeping an eye on those that might fit us in the future.

6) What is the best publishing-specific advice you could give to social media managers?

Keep it authentic. People can spot a phony (and will relish the opportunity to point it out!). When it comes to books, the readers you’re talking to will be passionate and fervent so you have to know your stuff – if you get something wrong they WILL tell you. But generally, as long as you’re communicating who you are, what you stand for and doing so with belief, you can’t be wrong. Unless you’re actually wrong of course.

Will Rycroft seeks to engage the reading community wherever they are with his passion for books. He commissions and creates digital content for VINTAGE’s social media channels and the new Penguin consumer website. You can follow his musings on Twitter, his vlog on YouTube and hear him interviewing authors and more on the VINTAGE Podcast.

10 things we learned about omnichannel selling at #Quantum16

Matthew Walsh (Retail Membership Manager, IMRG), Kieron Smith (Digital Director, Blackwells) and Matt Haslum (Consumer Marketing Director, Faber and Faber) formed the panel discussing omnichannel selling at the Quantum conference on Monday. Here are our top 10 takeaway points from the talk.

How consumers spend

1) 27% of retail spending goes online.

2) Tracking a single customer’s path to purchase is the holy grail. E.g. being able to track when they browse on their phone or tablet and then make a purchase in store, or vice versa.

3) 32% of online sales are coming from smart phones and 19% from tablets, and sales from tablets are increasing. Beacons in stores register your smart phone, know what you’ve previously searched for, and send you a voucher based on that search when you walk into the shop. Though, this is not something booksellers are currently adopting for their customers.


4) Each channel has its own strengths and weaknesses, and different customers need different experiences. Better customer service is available in store, but it’s easier to search for products and there are more options online.

5) Because of complex supply chain, the challenge for booksellers is delivery. All channels are currently too slow to meet customer demands.

6) Email is a vital channel for online retailers, accounting for 12% of the revenue. This has doubled over the last four years (from 6% in 2011), which is largely down to smartphones. But effective campaigns rely on having amassed are large number of subscribers from which you can segment and target appropriately.

Social Media

7) Social media contributes less than 1% (0.3%) of a retailer’s revenue. It should be viewed as an additional marketing method, not a revenue stream. Social media is the modern day equivalent of a shop window: just because the consumer may not buy immediately, it doesn’t mean that they won’t return or buy the product elsewhere.

8) Consumers use social media to raise problems and ask questions – it’s a customer service channel and should be viewed as an extension of the bookselling service.

9)Think about your market and the channels they use. For example, students don’t tend to use email anymore and are instead on  Yik Yak, Facebook and WhatsApp.

10) These channels are constantly shifting and you need to be there to reach them. Pinterest is soon to have transaction facilities and Instagram is an increasingly important tool for retailers. While direct revenue is currently minimal, social media is likely to become an effective last click tool.


All about BookTube: Sanne Vliegenthart interview

Sanne Vliegenthart has been making videos on her YouTube channel, booksandquills, for the last 8 years, documenting everything from studying English in the Netherlands, to moving to London to find a job in publishing. She loves to travel, visit museums, go to as many bookshops as possible and discover and review the latest books, graphic novels and book to movie adaptations. Here Norah Myers interviews her.

1) What inspired you to start a BookTube channel?

I had been watching YouTube for about 2 years before I made my first video. Channels like the Vlogbrothers (John and Hank Green) and fiveawesomegirls made me realise that there were people with similar interests online that we’re talking about the stuff they love. When I saw that there were ‘auditions’ for a Twilight related collaboration channel, I decided to film my very first video.

2) How do you generate ideas for new material?

I have a Google doc (which I’m a massive fan of) that I can access on my laptop and phone, in which I write down any ideas that might pop into my head. Sometimes they disappear to the bottom of the document, other times they turn into a full video or even a series. Very often I will be looking for something online, realise it isn’t there and end up creating it myself. Examples of this were a guide to how not to crack the spines of big books and also a guide to upcoming book to movie adaptations, in case you’d like to read the book first!

3) What’s the BookTube community like and how do you fit in?

The BookTube community is in general a very welcoming place, though, like every other community, there happens to be some conflicts from time to time, which I try to stay away from. There is a huge variety of BookTubers but I always think there is space for more and for people who want to approach things differently. Working in publishing has given me the chance to be able to make some videos from the ‘other side’, talking about how books are created and giving advice on how to get into publishing, which I’ve found really fun.

4) What have you learned about yourself as your channel has evolved?

I’ve learned that I really enjoy getting feedback from people and I love starting a conversation. I also get the most satisfaction from helping people get the information that they need, whether it’s travel tips, or the best bookshops in London. I’ve also become way better at public speaking and I discovered that I really enjoy speaking on and moderating panels, so I try to do as much of that as I can.

5) Where do you see your channel and BookTubing going in the future?

I’ve been doing this for almost 8 years now, so I don’t see it going away any time soon because I enjoy it way too much. I know that the BookTube community in the Netherlands, where I’m from, has really started growing in the last year, and in general BookTube is getting more recognition and more companies are interested in working with BookTubers. I’m excited to see what the future will bring!

6) Did your BookTube channel help you land your current publishing job?

I actually first got in touch with the company where I got my first publishing job to review one of their books and, after I made a video and shared it with them, I stayed on their radar. I studied literature and translation, and everything I know about social media and video production I learned from building my channel. I’m currently working as Social Media Producer at Penguin Random House UK and it’s been great to work across the company and talk to different people about the YouTube-related projects they’re working on. As a side note, both for my previous and current job, I sent in a video application instead of a cover letter, and I do think that helped quite a lot.

7) What advice do you have for people who want to start their own BookTube channels?

As Shia Labeouf would say, JUST DO IT! It doesn’t matter if you don’t have the right equipment or don’t feel like you’re an experienced reviewer. Just take whatever you have and talk about the thing you love. I started with a picture camera the size of a brick that could only hold 30 seconds of footage at a time and I edited everything in Windows Movie Maker, so everyone has to start somewhere. I promise you will learn everything you need along the way.

Frankfurt book fair

Top PR and marketing tips for an international audience

Kathrin Grün is the PR Manager for the Anglo team at the Frankfurt Book Fair and is in charge of all media relations with the international news outlets. She also coordinates the PR activities for the Frankfurt Book Fair’s offices abroad.

The Frankfurt Book Fair is the international publishing industry’s biggest trade fair, with around 275,000 visitors meeting in Frankfurt over five days. They network, they have meetings, they eat, they drink, they sleep occasionally, and they walk. A lot. In the PR and Marketing team we play our part in organising the 4,000 or so events which take place every October in the Business Club and on the Fair Grounds and, of course, we liaise with the press all year round. During the Fair itself, roughly 10,000 journalists descend on the Halls, so we are always on call.

But it’s not all about what happens during those 5 days in October. The Book Fair team are busy all year round, so it’s important that we keep abreast of what’s happening in the world of books, films and games on a daily basis, and that we keep our PR and Marketing messaging up-to-date.

As our thoughts focus on the London Book Fair, where we will meet up with friends and colleagues from around the world, I thought it might be useful to share some PR and Marketing tips with you, focusing on reaching an international audience.

1) Planning

Planning is crucial. Look at the entire calendar year ahead, so you can dovetail any promotion or announcement into an important/relevant event. Other international book fairs, like London and Bologna, are always good opportunities to unveil new initiatives. But timing is important, so make sure you don’t clash with something else happening at the same time, and spread your announcements out as much as possible.

2) Identifying what is relevant to each market

Do you research before sending out any press release or email blast. What might be relevant in one country may be totally irrelevant in another. Remember, if people can’t see how it affects them, they will bin it. If it’s not relevant, don’t send it.

3) Keeping the messages simple and easy to understand

Don’t get too close to the project or announcement you are working on, and don’t make it too complicated. Simple and concise language is always best. If no one understands your messages, it’s a waste of time and money.

4) Using social media to reach people internationally

Make the most of as many social media channels as possible. It’s the quickest and easiest way of getting to lots of different people around the world, all at once. And it’s free. But do remember about different time zones. It is pointless announcing something huge when half the world is asleep!

5) Trying to keep ahead of the curve

Keeping ahead of the curve is always a challenge, but it’s really important to be up to date with all the latest trends and developments around the globe. Try to build up contacts in as many international markets as you can, so they can keep you up to speed with what is happening where they live. Any press releases or marketing initiatives should reflect the very latest activities in a particular region, and should include the most recent statistics.

rebecca swift media

Free webinar – How social media is influencing the way brands portray women

On Wed 16 March (1pm GMT ) Rebecca Swift, Director of Creative Planning at Getty Images, will take an in-depth look at the changing depiction of women in the media, the important role social media is playing in this, and the impact it’s having on brands’ image choices.

Register for this free webinar here:

grow traffic

5 tips for growing traffic and engagement for your content

Getting a new blog or social media platform noticed can be difficult. It is important that you are effective and systematic when you engage with the publishing community. Follow this step by step guide to get you closer to your target audience and increase traffic to, and engagement with, your content.

1) Follow big influences

Image credit: @demelzagriff95

Big names in the publishing world won’t necessarily follow you back but repeated, and meaningful, engagement with their content will eventually get you noticed. You need to get your name and brand out there for people to come to you. Start with @samatlounge, @jobsinbooks @publicitybooks and @SamEades.

2) Network

Finding like-minded bloggers is half the battle, but next you need to engage with them to form relationships. The beauty of the internet is that you can meet new people without even needing to attend industry events. Make sure you follow, like and comment on content written by similar bloggers on your platform. Engagement is what you want, so you need to reach others first. Why not offer to host a guest post to advertise their blog? Many bloggers are happy to reciprocate.

3) Don’t hashtag randomly

Hashtags are one of the best way for similar people to find your account. Whether you’re using Twitter or Instagram, make sure you are taking notice of the official and trending hashtags that the majority of people are using. Don’t exclude yourself from the conversation by simply using the a less popular ones. Both Twitter and Instagram have useful features to highlight the most commonly used hashtags. Instagram can even tell you exactly how many posts have used a certain hashtag.

4) Think outside the box

There are thousands of sub genres of book that your blog or social media platform may cover. Once you’ve followed big names in publishing and started networking with similar bloggers, it’s time to get specific. If you aren’t writing about YA, there isn’t always a well-established community to join. It’s time think creatively. Are you writing about politics? Follow journalists or relevant magazines. Writing about lifestyle books? Follow beauty, health and cookery accounts. Search Facebook for relevant groups and events.

5) Create your own community

If you are still struggling to engage in your online community, there is a chance that there isn’t an established community already online. Why not start your own? Creating a Facebook group or blogging hours on Twitter are a great way to bring like-minded people together.


demelza griffithsDemelza Griffiths is an English Literature finalist and social media enthusiast who can’t wait to escape the ivory towers of university to seek a career in book publicity. Her blog, Books feat. Politics covers the latest and greatest in political non-fiction and literary fiction. Find her on Twitter, Instagram and WordPress.

Feature Image Credit: mkhmarketing, CC License


Pinterest for publishers

Change is certainly the only thing that is constant among all social media networks. You can’t afford to grow comfortable with the way things are because today’s Facebook may look different next year — or even next month.

The same goes for Pinterest. The founders keep arguing that this website is a search engine, but everyone else keeps calling it a social media network. Whatever you call it, Pinterest has changed as well.

If you haven’t been using Pinterest, this post will help you to get started. If you’ve been on Pinterest for some time, you’ll learn about changes that have recently occurred.

We’re Part of a Visual Social Web

Social media has been trending toward a visual social web for the past several years. Take Instagram for example. It’s entirely visual. Tumblr has transitioned increasingly to a visual media website.

It was rumoured when Facebook purchased Instagram years ago that the move was made to compete with Pinterest. And Twitter recently began accommodating large images in its newsfeed.

What’s happening?

“Researchers found that colored visuals increased people’s willingness to read a piece of content by 80%.” – James Mawhinney,

What the above quote and the research Mawhinney refers to tell us is that If you don’t use images in your marketing, you’re making a mistake. Pictures improve engagement with your readers on social media and bring traffic to your website and dedicated readers.

For example, if you write insightful blog posts, but you aren’t incorporating images into the posts, you may be losing valuable readers who, over time, would purchase your books and retain you for any services you offer, such as editing.

In the same blog post, Mawhinney goes on to say this, “Content with relevant images gets 94% more views than content without relevant images.”

The importance of images is what makes Pinterest an essential part of your marketing.

A Closer Look at Pinterest

One of the beauties of Pinterest is that you can pin images from your website to a dedicated pinboard, and thus enjoy increased traffic to your blog, website or other landing pages.

Take a look at the people who are using Pinterest. Source: SproutSocial

  • As of February 2015, 71% of Pinterest’s users were women.
  • Men are a growing demographic on Pinterest. One-third of sign-ups is now coming from men. “…more men use the platform in the U.S. every month than read Sports Illustrated, and GQ combined.”
  • Pinterest is increasingly mobile. Seventy-five percent of Pinterest usage occurs on mobile devices. 45% of users are from outside the U.S. (September 2015).
  • Users are avid online shoppers.
  • Millennials are avid users.

Other sources indicate that its consumer base is international (think book sales in India), and that is has a broad consumer base of Millenials (those born between the early 1980s and the early 2000s).


Frances-Dixie-8-15-12-1024x682This is a guest post by Frances Caballo. Frances is an author, podcaster and social media strategist and manager for writers. You can read the full post and more on her blog, Social Media Just for Writers.

Snapchat for publishers

Although Snapchat has been around since 2011, it has recently become one of the top ways young people communicate. However, Snapchat is not exclusively used by YA tweens and it is time that publishing took note of the platform. The latest data reveals that 71% of Snapchat users are under 34, and Snapchat has potential to reach far more audiences than the YA market.

With new features such as live video and chat boxes, Snapchat has revolutionised the way hundreds of millions of people communicate with friends, and celebrities, every day.

The ability to share visual content through a Snapchat story, rather than directly to friends in your address book, allows it to be the perfect social platform for forward thinking brands and bloggers alike. Followers can view images and videos as many times as they like over 24 hours before it disappears. Snapchat can help you create a personal relationship with your followers while keeping content fun, fresh and interesting.

So, how can publishing use it?

1) Bloggers

@officialzoellaTop bloggers become personalities, and even celebrities, in their online communities. Brands such as Kylie Jenner (@kylizzlemynizzle) and Zoella (@officialzoella) have made an art form of promoting themselves through their Snapchat accounts. Why not do the same? Posting video and picture content is an easy way to advertise your bookish lifestyle.

Posting images to your Snapchat story is a great way to announce the publication of a new post as it only lasts 24 hours. It is also a great way to forge connections to other bloggers by promoting other blogs and Snapchat accounts.



2) Publishing professionals

Already managed to create a hype around a new book? Intensify it by allowing fans to witness every stage of the publishing process: from the arrival of proof copies to publicity coverage and bookish events. This is particularly effective for sequels or books coming out as part of a series.

3) Recruitment

Credit: Penguin Random House Work Experience

It makes sense to recruit dynamic, diverse and creative social media experts from their natural habitat – social media. Penguin Random House revolutionised publishing recruitment when they announced the introduction of ‘The Scheme’ an 18 month paid training programme via Tumblr.

The decision to launch ‘The Scheme’ was clearly designed to reach a more diverse, and younger, cohort to the entry-level scheme. Many publishers also use Facebook to advertise work experience placements. While some brands are clearly utilising social media to reach the talent they want, no publishing house has yet managed to create an entirely social recruitment process. Snapchat would be a perfect way to keep applicants up to date with the latest developments in the application process.


demelza griffithsDemelza Griffiths is an English Literature finalist and social media enthusiast who can’t wait to escape the ivory towers of university to seek a career in book publicity. Her blog, Books feat. Politics covers the latest and greatest in political non-fiction and literary fiction. Find her on Twitter, Instagram and WordPress.

The power of visual design: How to make your blog stand out

You’ve got a blog. You’ve got Twitter. You post regularly. But how do you stand out?

Almost everyone in publishing is sharing online content but, without a loyal following, posting blog articles and tweets can feel like shouting into the void.

Luckily, there is one majorly underappreciated weapon in your social media arsenal – visual design.

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Reading via Snapchat? Social media updates you need to know

Social media is always evolving, and that’s why I like it. If you don’t keep up with the latest updates, you’ll get mired in old ways that worked six months ago but have since bit the proverbial dust.

Here are recent changes from 5 of the big players.

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Reaching new audiences with Twitter: The #YAtakeover

In an age of apps and games, of Facebook and Twitter, it seems you’d be more likely to see a teen texting a mate than reading a book. And, in many cases, I fear, you’d be right. I’m a firm believer that there’s a book out there for every reader; it’s just about connecting the right book with the right person. It’s difficult, though, to vie for attention in a world that is becoming increasingly digital. As a blogger, I have often wondered what I can do to encourage teen reading. I was aware that the audience I was targeting wasn’t aware that I existed. So I thought about it repeatedly, trying to work out a way to reach these teenagers and, the simple answer was, I couldn’t, at least not in the way I was thinking. I couldn’t just reach out and expect them to pop to Waterstones the next day and buy a bag load of books or register with their local library.

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6 beginner Twitter tips for publishing companies

This is the first in a series of our Twitter tips for publishers, with info on how to use the tool for book campaigns, events, personal profiles and more. Here are 6 beginners’ tips for your company account(s).

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