Book Marketing on TikTok: Tips & Best Practices to Reach Book Readers

July 26, 2023
Austin Graf
Taylor Shelton
Book Marketing on TikTok: Tips & Best Practices to Reach Book Readers

TikTok: The Multi-Prong Approach

Every player in the book industry wants to know how to use TikTok best to market and sell books. At Ingram, we’ve found successful strategies using TikTok to reach book readers for our consumer brands consisting of a network of websites and newsletters reaching millions of readers across dozens of categories. 

This comprehensive approach has led to a staggering 248% increase in baseline site traffic for our consumer brand, Bookfinity. The tangible impact of these efforts is illustrated in the graph below, revealing a significant surge in traffic triggered by a viral influencer video in October 2022, followed by a consistent uptick from November 2022 onward.

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Our multi-prong approach focuses on three buckets.

  1. Organic Social: Start with organic social to cross-promote your viral videos and cross-share them via omnichannel marketing on Instagram, TikTok, and even Facebook reels
  1. TikTok Influencers: Partner with TikTok influencers and leverage their audiences and brand authority
  1. Use Assets for Paid Ads. Use those influencer assets and commission them to run paid TikTok ads and reel ads Q&A with Ingram’s Digital Marketing Experts

TikTok Influencer Viral Video

Let's dive into the extraordinary impact of a commissioned TikTok video and its profound influence on our online presence.

One viral influencer video accounted for 19% of our website traffic in 2022. However, it's crucial to bear in mind that working with influencers on platforms like TikTok or in any campaign does not guarantee viral success every time; some may lack that viral appeal. Nonetheless, by adopting a multi-prong approach, we have observed a higher rate of success overall.

Building a Strong Organic Book Marketing Strategy on TikTok

To succeed organically on TikTok, here are some key rules to follow:

  • Be authentic. On TikTok, it's important to be authentic and provide real and relatable content, as people are not seeking something overly stylized on the platform.
  • Hop on trends. It's important to embrace the platform's numerous trends that hold significance within the community, and we suggest incorporating your brand or book title into a specific trend while maintaining an authentic and organic approach.
  • Video length does not matter. Regarding ads, video length plays a role, but for organic social media, you should prioritize quality content irrespective of video length. A short video lacking good content is unlikely to perform well.
  • Caption your videos. It's important to put text on your videos as many users are scrolling without the sound and won't be able to hear the audio.
  • Use “9:16” video formatting for the best viewing experience.
  • Include strong calls-to-action (CTAs) to encourage conversions.
  • Incorporate relevant hashtags: For example, if you are marketing a romance book, use #romancebooks.  

Benefits & Challenges of Organic TikTok


TikTok's algorithm is the primary advantage of being on the platform, offering an opportunity for organic reach surpassing other social platforms. The algorithm targets audiences that resonate with your content, simplifying the targeting process. With TikTok's fast-growing user base of Gen Z and millennials, it becomes an excellent space to engage with your readers. While the older audience may be less prevalent, TikTok is expanding into that demographic, and posting organic content can help establish authority in your niche.


Just like with organic social media in general, TikTok requires a significant time investment. Active participation on the platform is crucial to engage with trends effectively. Maintaining an engaged audience can also be challenging as many users rely on the algorithm-driven "For You" page, making it uncertain whether you'll consistently retain a re-engaging audience. However, despite these challenges, TikTok remains a powerful tool, and one of the most effective strategies to leverage its potential is through TikTok SEO.

TikTok SEO

When users think of TikTok, they often think of typical social media engagement, but it’s a powerful search engine, with 40% of Gen Z using TikTok for search. If you can master TikTok SEO, your organic TikTok videos have a better chance of ranking.

TikTok SEO Strategy

To optimize your TikTok content for better visibility and organic reach, consider the following strategies:

Use relevant hashtags: Incorporate appropriate hashtags, such as "romancebook" for promoting a romance title, to help TikTok understand the content of your video and present it to users searching for related topics.

Include keywords: Place keywords in the video and caption to help TikTok accurately match your content with the right audience.

Leverage trending audio: Take advantage of trending audio as users actively search using these popular soundtracks, increasing the chances of your video appearing in relevant results.  

Engagement over audience size: Focus less on the size of your audience and prioritize engagement instead. Having a highly engaged audience will boost your ranking within the TikTok platform.  

Collaborate with influencers: Collaborating with influencers allows you to tap into their established authority and influence. Consider influencer marketing as a way to enhance organic reach alongside running paid ads, leveraging the benefits that come with TikTok influencers and influencers in general.

Gen Z & the Impact of Influencer Marketing

According to Hubspot, 71% of Gen Z discovers products on social media, and 33% of Gen Z have purchased a product recommended by an influencer.

Gen Z is also more likely to take recommendations from influencers than their family and friends, which means you need to be employing influencers in your marketing campaigns.  

Sourcing the Right Influencers on TikTok

TikTok Creator Marketplace

Regarding sourcing influencers, we've found the TikTok Creator Marketplace effective and user-friendly among the available platforms. With TikTok Creator Marketplace, you can search for influencers using relevant keywords specific to your niche. The platform also offers valuable insights into influencers' engagement, reach, and follower demographics, enabling you to assess their suitability for your campaign. Additionally, managing campaigns, coordinating payments, and accessing suggested pricing can all be handled through the marketplace. This feature helps quantify the influencer's value and allows negotiation to reach mutually agreeable pricing terms.

Manual Search

Outside of using the Creator Marketplace, we also recommend a manual search to get a more comprehensive scope of the influencer. By spending a little more time looking through their feed and building a personal connection, you can better identify what book genres they're talking about and their personality, which is essential when placing if they're a good fit for your brand.

5 TikTok Influencer Marketing Strategy Best Practices

Once you identify an influencer that you feel confident with, you will want to have a strategy in place.

  1. Set campaign goals. For example, our goals at Ingram are to drive traffic to our consumer brand websites and boost awareness. 
  1. Find relevant influencersthat fit your brand and your niche of readers.  
  1. Customize the outreach with your specific influencer. When you're talking to them, make it very personal. The more they like you, the better they will work for you. 
  1. Provide quick but comprehensive brand and title briefs.Give them a brief rundown of what you're looking for so they can quickly decide if they fit your needs.
  1. Trust them. Influencers are going to know their audience. They're going to know what performs well, and they're incentivized to have your sponsorships perform well because, for them, it means more business in the future. Let your brand and title briefly explain what you're looking for, then give them the creative freedom to produce what will work best for their audience.

Using TikTok Influencer Assets to Support Paid Ads

The last phase of our multi-prong approach is using influencers to support paid ads. To make the most out of your influencer budget, we recommend using influencer assets for your social content strategy.

TikTok Influencer Contract Tips: Get Raw Footage & Permissions

Ensure your influencer contract allows you to receive the raw footage of any assets created by the influencer. Another contract tip is to ensure you have permission to use the influencer's name and likeness for your own organic or paid social strategy. By doing these two things, it will enable you to  use that video in your own marketing efforts.

How to Advertise on TikTok

To get started on TikTok advertising, creating a TikTok business account and connecting it to an ads manager is important. If you handle multiple brands, each with its ad manager, ensure they are linked to a unified business account. Although TikTok doesn't mandate having an organic account to run ads, we strongly recommend creating one and linking it to your ads manager. This enables you to launch TikTok "Spark Ads," similar to a “boosted” post on other platforms, extending your reach facilitated by the TikTok algorithm.

TikTok Spark Ads

TikTok Spark Ads offer a convenient way to include direct URL links in your feed, allowing you to drive readers to desired destinations such as Amazon for book purchases or your website for more information, aligning with your specific goals. Moreover, Spark Ads can direct readers to your organic account page, enabling further engagement, increased reach, and brand exploration.

If you've obtained influencer permission, TikTok Spark Ads allow you to promote influencer content by boosting their post with your chosen URL link. However, it's important to note that this approach directs users back to the influencer's TikTok page, rather than your own TikTok page, which reduces control compared to utilizing your own account. One important limitation of Spark Ads to note is the use of royalty-free music only, which may limit the ability to capitalize on trending TikTok sounds and virality.

6 TikTok Ad Best Practices

  1. Keep videos short. The best practice recommendation is to keep videos under 30 seconds. The video length should make sense for the message you're trying to convey, so keep it brief and make the content valuable. One in four top-performing videos is between 21 and 34 seconds.  
  1. Use the full-screen vertical “9:16” ratio. Avoid that square that you might be familiar with on Instagram or anything horizontal, like a YouTube ad, for example.  
  1. Use on-screen text and closed captions.  An increasing amount of social media users are watching videos without sound, so adding closed captions and on-screen text will increase the likelihood of getting your full message across to everyone who sees your video. In fact, up to 80% of consumers said they’d be more likely to watch a video to completion if there were closed captions.
  1. Use 3-5 ad creatives per ad group, as the TikTok cycle is quick and attention spans are short.
  1. Add and update new creatives weekly to keep things fresh and viewers engaged. We recommend focusing on evergreen content to increase the longevity and relevancy of each creative.
  1. Let the algorithm work its magic! Lean into what TikTok does best and reap the benefits of better reach, engagement, and click-through rates by using their auto-targeting for advertising.  

Repurpose TikTok Videos on Meta Reels

You can easily repurpose your TikTok video content for Instagram and Facebook Reel ads, which can help extend your creative budget. Plus, you get the benefit of reaching that older demographic of Gen X and older millennials who frequent platforms outside of TikTok.

Reels can also be used as promoted Instagram Story ads or Facebook posts, increasing your reach and click-through rates.  

Best Practices for Using Reels

  • Request that raw footage and create original content for the platform. For example, videos with the TikTok watermark are less likely to be promoted within Instagram's algorithm. When creating content, we also recommend using Meta tools like fonts and trending sounds to get the most out of your ad spend and lean into Meta's algorithm to push your video.  
  • Use on-screen text and closed captions. With Facebook and TikTok, there are some differences in where you want to place on-screen text; make sure the text does not cover the usernames, the captions, or any of the call-to-actions on the side. 
  • Include 3-5 hashtags. This is important not only in organic posts but for paid ads as well, especially for Meta. The Meta algorithm is good, but it's less powerful than TikTok. Adding relevant hashtags will increase your reach to get in front of the people likely to respond and engage with your content. 

How Ingram Can Help

Ingram has several customizable consumer marketing services to help you reach and connect with book lovers searching for their next favorite book.

Reach Millions of Verified Readers with Ingram iD

  • Market your titles across social and retail websites from our easy-to-use consumer advertising platform.
  • Target an audience of active readers who have recently expressed interest in a specific genre, exclusive to Ingram.

Advertise to a Community of Readers through Ingram’s Consumer Brands

  • Ingram’s network of websites and newsletters reaches millions of readers across dozens of categories.
  • Find the right audience for your books with customized marketing solutions.

Harness the Power of our Consumer Marketing Agency*

  • See greater sales opportunities with a customized plan and dedicated point person through our Marketing Advantage program.
  • Watch your backlist titles grow and only pay when your sales grow.

*Currently only available to publishers distributed by Consortium Books Sales & Distribution, Ingram Academic & Professional, Publishers Group West, and Two Rivers Distribution. 

Book Marketing on TikTok: Tips & Best Practices to Reach Book Readers
Austin Graf

Austin Graf

Austin Graf is the Consumer Marketing Specialist for Ingram Content Group’s Consumer Marketing division. In this role, he manages social media strategy, influencer marketing, and digital PR for Ingram’s consumer facing brands. Austin has over 7 years of digital marketing experience, with previous roles including marketing for VaynerMedia's small business sector, Sasha Group. His various job roles include content marketing, social media management, and ecommerce.

Taylor Shelton

Taylor Shelton

Taylor Shelton is the Digital Marketing Manager of Ingram Content Group’s Consumer Marketing team. In this role, she leads the strategy, development, and execution of paid acquisition for Ingram’s consumer facing brands (Bookfinity, Shelf Savvy, Little Infinite, Page & Pairing). She began her book industry career with Ingram in 2020 and has helped grow the Consumer Marketing database to over 3 million names. Prior to working at Ingram, she worked in email and social media marketing in the fashion industry.

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