The Booksellers Association of the United Kingdom & Ireland Limited

Connecting and building relationships with customers

A key marketing and community-building tool, social media is an extremely useful way to market your bookshop and connect with customers, and it’s absolutely free!

There are many brilliant social media platforms available for businesses including Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube - all of which are great ways to establish relationships and connect with both new and existing customers.

“At Vibes and Scribes, we use social media to share new releases and special offers with our followers, as well as details of upcoming events happening in store. We have found it to be a great way to interact with customers. It raises the profile of the shop and allows people to feel like they are part of a community of booklovers. We find that our followers on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter love to hear about interesting new releases, or unusual and rare finds in our second-hand department. Engaging with comments and questions on our social media posts is really important as it lets customers know that they are heard and appreciated. It’s great to see posts start discussions about books and writers, and you really see the benefits of an active and engaging social media presence when a customer comes in looking for a specific title they saw on your Facebook page!” - @vibesandscribes

Although bookshops might not be selling books online, there’s a high chance that both existing and potential customers are regularly using social media to connect with others. Many consumers actively search for businesses online so it’s absolutely invaluable for bookshops to have a strong online presence to attract them into their shop. 

There's an immense book community online, with booksellers; publishers; authors; bloggers and booklovers all acively sharing their love of books on social media platforms every day and it's definitely a conversation worth joining. 

Social Media can help bookshops:

- Engage with new and existing customers
- Monitor feedback and troubleshoot customer queries online
- Promote stock
- Run competitions and promotions
- Market author events
- Stay up to date with industru news
- Share ideas and thoughts
- Share staff recommendations
- Share in-store photographs/videos
- Source new suppliers
- Interact with authors, publishers and other booksellers


“Here at Charlie Byrne’s we use social media to share books we’re excited about, to promote our events and launches, and to engage with customers new and old. Whether it’s a photo of story time, an update from one of our book clubs, or a quirky find in our second-hand section, we find that sharing on social media helps us grow and sustain our community of booklovers beyond the physical shop itself and to give them a sense of the shop’s character. As many of our customers are visitors to Ireland, it’s great to have a way for them to stay connected to the shop and up to date on the latest books we’re stocking. Facebook, Twitter and Instagram allow us to carry on conversations that begin in the shop and give our customers an insight into life behind the scenes in our bookshop!” @ByrnesBooks

The BA uses social media to communicate with members and to promote bookshops to consumers. We’ve been increasingly using social media to extend the reach of our campaigning work, with Independent Bookshop Week and Books Are My Bag all being active across a range of platforms, as well as bookshops actively supporting our work and reinforcing the campaign messages. We also provide booksellers with a platform to share ideas with other BA members, professional development opportunities, as well as network opportunities – in the form of the Booksellers Network, both a members-only Facebook group and a Twitter account. It’s fantastic to see the increase in bookshops using social media for their business and we do hope that we can introduce these tools to those that are not familiar with them.

"We find that using Facebook, Twitter and sometimes Instagram allows us to reach an audience that is much wider than the website alone. We can let customers old and new know about events, promotions and new titles. It also works the other way and we can find our about all the exciting things that are happening in the book world. We often wonder how we would actually let people know about everything without it, given the reduction of printed media. If it hadn't been for social media we wouldn't have had our 1st ever author event with the amazing Nick Sharratt and to be quite honest most of our events wouldn't have happened!" - @drakebookshop

The Booksellers Association

Bookselling Ireland
- Facebook (closed group for Bookselling Ireland members)
- Twitter

Books Are My Bag

The Booksellers Network
- Facebook (closed group for BA members)
Need help with Social Media?
We offer a free social media guide which include step-by-step tutorials and tips on getting to grips with social media. Our Social Media and Community Manager, Kara Rennie is available to help you with all things social media related. Get in contact with her to arrange a social media workshop in your bookshop, or just to talk through the options.

Kara Rennie, Social Media & Community Manager, T: 00 44 20 7421 4691