How Time Zone Differences Affect Your Book Marketing

Today’s guest post is by social media expert Chris Syme (@cksyme), author of The Newbie’s Guide to Sell More Books With Less Marketing.

Do you know what time it is in Mumbai, India? Knowing time differences in the countries where you sell books is key to social media engagement, and ultimately sales.

Where is your market? 

There are two key demographics you need to be aware of if you use social media to help sell your books: where your readers live and what time of day are they using social media. Let’s start with finding out where in the world your readers are. There are a couple different ways you can do this.

Checking your book sales by Amazon Marketplace will give you a general idea. If you are selling books wide (Kobo, Nook, iBooks, etc) that won’t give you the full picture, especially for Canada where Kobo is very popular, but it will give you a good start.

Recently I did some demographic research for a fiction author who writes both contemporary romance and historical fiction. I found that her book sales on Amazon were strongest in the U.S. (where she lives) and United Kingdom. Next came India followed by Canada and Australia.

Here’s the path to find the marketplace reports in Kindle Direct Publishing: Homepage > Reports > Sales Dashboard > All Marketplaces drop-down menu. All the Amazon marketplaces are listed in that drop-down (red arrow below). You can check your sales over a time period you specify.

KDP marketplace

Where is your market on social media?

Next, you need to know how many of your readers in those various countries are using social media. You can check the social media user base in any country in the world with services like Pew Internet, Social Bakers, and Statista. Since Facebook has the strongest sales potential of any social media channel (AOL Platforms study) and is used by over 70% of the global adult population, I recommend using Facebook as a baseline. The graphic below from Statista reports Facebook use (by country) as of July 2017:

Statista Facebook

After you check general use data, check your Facebook Insights dashboard under the “People” tab to find out where your Facebook fans are and where the highest reach numbers are. This will help clarify if your personal audience follows the data about the general global audience. Global statistics are not a given so be sure and take any differences into account. Here is an example from the same author’s Facebook Insight’s dashboard. We want to take note of the “Country” column in this particular graphic. The city column is irrelevant unless you plan to target particular cities with your social media posts. I don’t recommend doing that.

Facebook Insights

You can also get similar information from other social media channel dashboards.

What time is it? 

Your next step is understanding what time of day people are on Facebook and what time zone they are in. For instance, Mumbai (India) is 12 hours ahead of this author’s time zone. Because she sells a fair amount of books in India, I recommended she schedule social media posts for their peak use time as well as Great Britain and Australia. For U.S. posting times, keep in mind that the bulk of the population is in the Central time zone.

You can check your fans’ peak time Facebook use in Facebook Insights. Here’s the path from your Facebook page menu: Insights>Posts>When Your Fans Are Online. The big blue graphic on that page reports peak use times for your fans and is reported in your time zone. According to this author’s data, peak use times fall mostly between 8:00 AM and 7:00 PM.

Scheduling your posts for optimum engagement 

After I analyzed all the data above, I concluded that this author needed to be posting on Facebook at 9:00 AM and 7:00 PM. The later post will reach her audience in India at 7:00 AM their time, and the earlier post will hit UK readers at 4:00 PM.

The reason we want to be aware of peak use times is that social media posts have a limited lifespan for engagement. According to Post Planner, the engagement of a Facebook post pretty much dies off after five hours. On Twitter, the current lifespan of a tweet is around 18 minutes. 

There are a couple different ways you can schedule Facebook posts so you don’t have to be glued to your computer. First, you can use a scheduler like Buffer or Sprout Social. They also schedule for most of the other social media channels.

If you want to schedule your Facebook posts inside Facebook without using a third party scheduler, you can do that as well. I personally prefer this method for Facebook. There is a drop-down menu on the right side of the Publish button on each post that will allow you to schedule a post to go out at a specific time. If it is a time sensitive post, you can also put an end time on when that post will quit showing up in people’s newsfeeds (white arrow below).

Facebook schedule post

In order to maximize your social media sales, be sure you take the following into account:

  • Make sure your books are for sale in all the countries where you have readers and fans.
  • Know the time zones where your readers are.
  • Use a scheduler to hit their peak times online.

To get the best chance of selling your books with Facebook, make sure you are giving your posts maximum exposure during your reader’s optimum timeline.

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