What the rise of #BookTok means for brands in the literary space and how to utilise it in PR strategies

With over 34 million posts and 60 million views, #BookTok isn’t going away anytime soon – so how can brands tap into the noise while still being visible in a crowded space?

What started as a hashtag tag on a social media platform has now defined an entire retail category. #BookTok has inspired and formed a new generation of influencers, where young book-lovers across the globe review and discuss their recent reads – not only inspiring others’ book purchases and helping new authors rise to fame, but causing a resurgence in past reads too.

For example, Adam Silvera’s 2017 novel They Both Die at the End is just one of the books to have benefited from the #BookTok effect. After teenage TikTok users began filming themselves before and after reading the book, capturing their reactions on the platform, it shot to the top of the teen fiction charts and began selling more than 4,000 copies a week and has now sold more than 200,000 copies in the UK – more than half of which came after 2021.

BookTok is now one of the world’s biggest social media communities for books, with over 29.1 billion views. In particular, there is a strong focus on young adult fiction, fantasy, and romance – making it a popular source of inspiration for Gen-Z audiences.

Where readers would previously source book recommendations from broadcast and broadsheet charts, including the likes of Richard & Judy’s Book Club, The Amazon Book Chart, and Sunday Times Best-Sellers, walk into any bookshop today and you’ll find a dedicated ‘#BookTook’ section – defining a book’s credibility by the number and quality of influencers that have posted about it on social media.

It’s no wonder authors, book retailers, and publishers have utilised the trend by gifting copies of books to #BookTok influencers – meaning potential customers can access short, snappy and honest reviews in the click of a button while feeling like they are connecting with like-minded individuals.

But the #BookTok trend isn’t just limited to fiction, and there is great opportunity for brands in the accessory spaces – as users are discovering new reading lights, kindle holders, and bookmarks alongside their new favourite reads. However, as the trend continues to grow it also has potential to become a crowded space, so there are key considerations brands should take to stand out from the noise:

Define your influencer audience strategy

Utilising influencers is a key tactic to getting eyes on your product in an engaging and creative way, while helping you tap into a wider audience and expand your product’s reach. Understanding your target audience – including their age, demographic, and interests – is crucial to effectively promoting your brand and products on social media.

As TikTok is primarily popular with GenZ audiences, #BookTok influencers are also associated with this age group, however, this is continuing to evolve. Around 80% of TikTok users are between the ages of 16-34 and 26% are between the ages of 24-44. meaning there is an opportunity to target a variety of users.

Maximise paid partnerships

While some influencers are happy to receive products on an organic, gifted basis, this does not guarantee coverage or any control over their content. Therefore, partnering with influencers with a wide reach and high engagement guarantees product placement in front of their followers, and potentially supporting with customer acquisition.

To ensure a successful partnership, choose influencers that resonate with your own audience and create content in line with your brand. Create a full briefing and agree the content theme in advance, ensuring that any product placement is clear while still remaining authentic, and your brand is clearly mentioned and tagged.

Consider your e-commerce and affiliate platform

Finally, while influencer partnerships are key to building and maximising brand awareness, there is also an opportunity to increase customer acquisition – so it is vital that any partnership results in return on investment (ROI). Before any partnership takes place – consider where your product is sold, so that customers can access and shop it as quickly and easily as possible. You may want to consider a listing on TikTok Shop, or a mainstream platform such as Amazon, where influencers can easily link-through to a product page within their content. Likewise, affiliate platforms are a key incentive to help influencers promote your product. While there is an initial investment associated with affiliate platforms, this can support in driving sales and encourage other users to promote products via an incentive.

If you’re interested in discussing an influencer strategy for your brand, get in touch with our team of experts today.

Get in touch with the team