Refresh Social Media through Different Voices

Chances are the booksellers in your store were hired because they have different reading tastes and can serve a wide range of reading sensibilities. If the current staff tends to shy away from history, or biography, or young adult literature, you can bet those subjects will be top of mind during the next round of interviews.

Just as a varied staff is vital to reach a broad range of readers, it’s equally important to allow those booksellers a voice through social media. Did Sally just share with you her dilemma over which book in the stack to pick up next? Encourage her to share it on social media, asking your followers to help her decide. She can either take a photo of the stack of books or, better yet, have somebody take a photo of her holding the stack. This is a good way for your customers to learn which face belongs to Sally.

Other ideas worth sharing include:

  • Images of a bookseller “caught” reading.
  • A great line from a book they’re reading.
  • A book-related quote or image. Or both. (ShareAsImage)
  • Posts from favorite authors.
  • Images of little readers in the store. (Get parental permission before posting.)
  • Book club news, including images of those clubs that are meeting.
  • Photos of happy customers in line at signing. (Get permission before posting.)
  • Images of your receiver surrounded by boxes.

Even though the posts are being shared through the bookstore accounts, it’s important for the staff to sign their names to their posts. It brings them one step closer in forming the bookseller/customer relationship.

Not only will this relieve the work load of the person in charge of social media (it can be difficult to create 3 to 6 posts a day), it also varies the voice, giving your readers a nice break.

When asking booksellers to share in the social media responsibilities, give them some guidelines and plenty of notice so they know what’s expected of them. Are they encouraged to post every time they work? Encourage them to use Facebook scheduler or Buffer when they have more than one idea. The social media director can manage the posts through the activity log to ensure proper timing. Or if you use a social media calendar, share it with the staff.

Even through other booksellers are writing in their own voice, remind them that they’re still representing the bookstore when they write posts. Various companies have shared their social media guidelines for employees through Social Media Governance. Reviewing some of these shared guidelines will help you create guidelines for your own bookstore. Some might include:

  • Do not reveal confidential information. If you’re wondering if what you’re about to post will violate that confidentiality agreement you signed, don’t post it.
  • Post responsibly. Avoid posting inappropriate, demeaning, or offensive material. If a follower posts a negative comment or tries to pick a fight, keep the bookstore in mind and try to turn negatives into positives. Otherwise, disengage.
  • Maintain the privacy of others. If you want to post an image of a customer, obtain permission first.
  • Use your words. Grammar matters. Write in complete sentences, never use ALL CAPS, and avoid abbreviations such as K or U or R or IDK. It’s a good idea to have  a fellow bookseller proofread your post before you send it to the masses, not only for grammatical errors, but also for accuracy.
  • Clarify misinterpretations. Even well-thought-out statements can create confusion. Recommend that booksellers review sites after they have posted comments. In the event that people have misinterpreted an employee’s comments or taken them out of context, take steps to clarify them immediately.
  • Trending and tagging. Is the bookstore using a specific hashtag or should an author be tagged? Check with the social media manager to see what’s trending in the bookstore and follow/tag appropriate authors and publishers in the posts

Good social media takes time and effort. By utilizing different voices, you will increase your chances of being heard.

Beth Golay

Beth is a reader, writer, marketer and Books & Whatnot founder. Even though she knows better, she's a sucker for a good book cover and will positively swoon if a book is set in appropriate type. @BethGolay