Do you want to know how to market your book using TikTok?
Listen as Samantha Vlasceanu, founder of The TikTok Coach shares some of her marketing magic to help you attract your ideal clients and feel excited about creating content regularly.
Do you want to know how to market your book using TikTok?
Listen as Samantha Vlasceanu, founder of The TikTok Coach shares some of her marketing magic to help you attract your ideal clients and feel excited about creating content regularly.
In this week's powerful episode "How to Best Market Your Book Using TikTok" you will discover...
What makes TikTok so popular and why people are so excited about it
What you need to do to generate a following on TikTok
Common mistakes to avoid so you don't make a fool of yourself
And a whole lot more...
To find more about Sam's TikTok workshop on November 17th go to her Instagram at the TikTok Coach
Susan Friedmann: Welcome to Book Marketing Mentors, the weekly podcast, where you learn proven strategies, tools, ideas, and tips from the masters. Every week, I introduce you to a marketing master who will share their expertise to help you market and sell more books. Today my special guest is the TikTok coach, Samantha Vlasceanu, is on a mission to convince businesses and brands that TikTok is not just for our teenagers. She's an entrepreneur at heart and spent the last 10 years as an operational consultant. She specializes in working with mompreneurs who are looking to make more by working smarter not harder, and there's no dancing required. Samantha, what an absolute pleasure it is to welcome you to the show. And thank you for being this week's guest expert and mentor.
Sam Vlasceanu: Thanks, Susan, so much for having me. I'm so excited to be here.
Susan Friedmann: And I'm going to call you Sam, because you gave me permission to do that. So, Sam, I know I've talked a little bit about TikTok with some guests, but I've never spent a whole podcast talking about it. So I'm excited to do that because as I mentioned to you earlier, I really know very little about this platform. Let's talk TikTok. Let's start off by understanding exactly what's the purpose of TikTok as a social media platform.
Sam Vlasceanu: 100%. So I think TikTok has this negative stigma around it, where everyone assume it's just for kids, it's just for dancing, it's just for silliness. But it's evolved so much in the last 18 months, Susan, that it's a huge opportunity for businesses to jump on. And it's a great way to convey your message in a short form video. At the end of the day, what I love about TikTok is that it's all about video and we all know video converts about 80% higher than reading a static post, seeing an article or a blog post about it. And it's because people like photos, people share videos at the end day.
Susan Friedmann: What makes it so popular? Why are people so excited about it?
Sam Vlasceanu: The algorithm side is actually very, very different than any other social media platform. What I mean by that is you have Instagram, you have LinkedIn, you have Facebook, they're all based on a network driven, meaning your content is getting sent out to the same 20 to 30% of your followers who always engage with your content. So that's great. You have your friends, your family, other entrepreneurs you interact with who are great to see your posts and hype you up. But on TikTok side, it's a great lead generation tool because your content or the video that you post is actually going out to more individuals who don't know who you are and aren't following at the moment than actually are. So you're reaching a huge entire new audience, potential new readers, potential new partnerships organically without paying a dime.
Susan Friedmann: And how does that happen? I mean, what are they doing if I go on today or tomorrow, how's that going to work? I mean, I've got no relationships at the moment on TikTok so.
Sam Vlasceanu: When you first get started on TikTok, what happens is you're going to get a video right off the bat, but it don't actually know who Susan is yet until you spend a little time absorbing the content, seeing which content really resonates with you. For example, Susan, what are you into? What is your interest?
Susan Friedmann: Aside from working?
Sam Vlasceanu: Aside from working.
Susan Friedmann: I love yoga, I love swimming, I love watching foreign movies.
Sam Vlasceanu: Perfect.
Susan Friedmann: Yeah, those are some of my hobbies.
Sam Vlasceanu: If you start seeing certain videos where they're doing yoga poses or teaching you about the health benefits of yoga, chances are Susan, you are going to stay and watch the entire video to learn more or engage or share that video yourself. The more times you do that, TikTok algorithm will really hone in on what Susan wants to watch and they'll send you other content that's relatable to your interest as well. That's a beauty where I say your content now gets sent out to the individuals who enjoy your types of content. So if you like sharing non-fictional books or the process of writing a book, or just you being a thought leader to educate your audience on the specific topics that you write about, it's a huge opportunity to get on TikTok right now.
Susan Friedmann: I start talking about non-fiction books, people writing them, where to start or more importantly, which is what the side that I'm involved in and that is the publishing side. And then what an author would do once they actually have the book or getting ready to market the book. What would that look like?
Sam Vlasceanu: On that front, what you would want to do is you want to show up on TikTok and start talking about certain sections within your book that you write about. You want to prime your audience on reasons why this book is needed in their life. But let's take a book for example, about psychology. You can talk about sections that you write about the book and explain why certain personality traits are more affected by X than Y for example. I'm making all this up right now, I'm not a psychology major. Or you can talk about, and why you peak your audience interest using TikTok because you're only showcasing your film in short forms. They are anywhere between 15, 30 seconds up to three minutes long short videos.
Then if you want to entice your audience to, if you want to learn more about this specific topic that we just talked about, check out my link in bio. This is where you can purchase the books. You start funneling in your audience to get on a wait list to when the book is ready to be launched or when it's ready on Amazon or ready in this bookstore for them to be notified. So we want to use TikTok as a lead generation tool where you get their email and be able to market to them continuously off of TikTok.
Susan Friedmann: So let's go down that route because I know for instance, you can't put in links necessarily on Facebook, or I don't know about LinkedIn. And correct me if I'm incorrect here, but you've got to be careful about the promotional side on these sites. How does this differ?
Sam Vlasceanu: You would have your own personal link that you can put in on your profile. Similar to Instagram where you have a link in your bio, you can do the same thing with TikTok. So this link is anywhere you want to send your audience. So whether it's a landing page for a wait list to be notified when the book's ready, if you want them to be signed up to be part of your Facebook group, it's anywhere where you want to send your audience to take action.
Susan Friedmann: So I've got a new lead magnet, for instance, three false beliefs and how to, every author can avoid them. I would put the link in TikTok?
Sam Vlasceanu: Yep. What I suggest for most people is to create a mock version of a linktree option. So a linktree is where you can put multiple links to give your audience three or four options of where to send them. So for example, for me, I created a mock linktree where it sends them to either to book a call with me, to download my freebie, to join my next workshop, to check out my Instagram feed, wherever I want them, send them. You want to create a mock version on your own domain because a, it helps with the ranking on Google. If people are clicking your link a lot, your ranking also bumps up on Google searches as well. And two, you own the analytics at the end of the day when it's on your own website.
Susan Friedmann: Interesting. You've got the opportunity to put several links in there you're saying depending on what they may be interested in doing. Would you then on, you're putting out your little video, you would just mention one I'm assuming.
Sam Vlasceanu: In your videos, what you can now do is when you have that one set link, then that link, it can then direct them to where they want to go. So if you, for example, in your video, you want to do different call to actions, you can do so, which is using that one link on your profile.
Susan Friedmann: Okay. So that's a whole different other thing, setting data. I don't want to get too lost in this process. Who's primarily on TikTok? I mean, you say it's a good lead generator. Here I am, I'm higher up there in almost the fourth quarter of my life here. Well into the third quarter, going into the fourth quarter. And then you've got a lot of, I'm assuming teenagers, you go after the mompreneurs. I mean, this age disparity, how would that be of benefit for me or be of benefit to the people on the platform?
Sam Vlasceanu: That's a great question, Susan. Okay. I'm ready to get your socks blown off. I'm going to tell you some stats and they're going to surprise you I think. TikTok has been downloaded over 3 billion times, and of those downloads, you have over 900 million active users on any given week, okay. It took Instagram more than six years to get to those active user accounts. It took TikTok less than four. Of those active user accounts, you have over 400 million active users over the age of 30 spending 82 minutes a day on TikTok. Over the age of 30 is our ideal target audience for most of us. They are the audience that have the disposable income to spend on our books, on our services, on our products. And most importantly, this type of individuals or this demographic group, they're spending a lot of time on TikTok and absorbing other people's content. So you have to jump the line and get in front of them with your books that you're publishing on TikTok.
Susan Friedmann: It's fascinating. I'm just like, my mind is going crazy with this. It's funny because I was just on a call. I have a mastermind group that I work with and I mentioned that I was going to be interviewing you. And the gentleman who's well into his 50s and he said, "Oh my goodness, my wife is all over TikTok." And I'm like, oh my goodness. I mentioned your workshop, which I know you're going to tell us about in a little bit. And he said, "Oh, send me that link. Send me that link. I'm sure she's going to love to attend that." I'm like, oh my goodness. And here I am thinking like many people in error that TikTok is only for teeny boppers.
Sam Vlasceanu: Yeah, I hear you. I hear you. That's the misconception of what TikTok is and yes, it did start off for teenagers. It did start off with dancing. But Susan, so did Facebook, so did Instagram, look where those two giants are right now. I would've jumped on Instagram back in 2009 if I knew where it was going to go by 2021, but it was also targeted just for kids back then.
Susan Friedmann: What got you involved in TikTok?
Sam Vlasceanu: Oh, Susan, oh, that's an interesting story. So what happened with me, I actually had a different business two years ago. I had a travel business and guess what happened? COVID came around. I was like, nope, you're not operating. So when I shut down, I felt like the only entrepreneur at the moment that couldn't pivot through any of this. I felt like I did not know where to turn to, I did not know what to do. I turned to TikTok as a way to distract myself from the bad. I actually found the good of what TikTok does, I realized businesses weren't using it to its advantage. I tested it out for myself, marketed my old business on TikTok. And that's when I realized not only do you grow so fast on a platform on an organic route, but I was getting booked with PR opportunities and getting featured in radio, magazine, TV, I'm getting orders coming in. And that's when I knew I had to help businesses do the exact same thing before it's over saturated.
Susan Friedmann: Talk to us more about that, you say you got PR opportunities. Speaking opportunities, by whom? Who is looking at this and what are they looking for?
Sam Vlasceanu: It's more for some social proof side of things. So yes, they've reached out to me first on most of them. So like blog TO is an example, Global News Radio, and you use it as a way of, if people are talking about you, you use it to your leverage. This gives you proof that a, you are a thought leader. You're giving your audience enough value for them to be interested and you want to share your two cents as well.
Susan Friedmann: So I know that you're going to give our premium members some more insight, some more insider secrets for on TikTok and what you share with your clients. But give us a little taste of, what do you share with your clients in terms of, and I'm assuming these are businesses that you're working with as to how they can use TikTok to their advantage.
Sam Vlasceanu: What you want to do is, every single video, think of it as a full movie within 30 seconds. So what I mean by that is you want to have a great hook in your video. So you want to hook in your audience, making sure that they stay on the video if it resonates with them. You can share a question, a pain point that your audience is going through and answer it through the video format. You can share a surprising fact that would surprise most of your viewers on TikTok. And it can go into it, explain why that happens.
So for example, if you're writing a business book on how to get started as a business entrepreneur, you can start off your hook by the saying, 80% of businesses fail by year two. Why? And that really starts priming them in it and priming your audience to be like, I got to learn more from this individual on TikTok. And you want to do a call to action. So whether your call to action is the small one, like follow for more or learn for part two. Or you can do a big one where you get them to get off of TikTok into your landing page, into your wait list, into your Facebook group, wherever you want, get them to join. You have a hook, you have the meat which is the content itself, and then you have the call to action you want them to take.
Susan Friedmann: Okay. And all within 30 seconds to three minutes, you said?
Sam Vlasceanu: Yes.
Susan Friedmann: That's the time period that you've got to do this?
Sam Vlasceanu: Yep.
Susan Friedmann: Now when you do this, how much of this do you map out beforehand?
Sam Vlasceanu: I love working smarter, not harder. So I actually batch a lot of my content as much as I can. So I batch all the topics I'm going to do. Then I batch my script so I know exactly what I'm saying for each video. And then I batch create the content itself. So what I do is, I normally block off two to three hours on say a Monday at 9:00 to 12:00, and I'll create six to 12 videos, which is then my content for the next two weeks. And I'm done and I don't have to be on TikTok for so long. So I try to be as efficient as possible and batch all my tasks together.
Susan Friedmann: So you are appearing what, twice a week? Did I get that correctly?
Sam Vlasceanu: I'm on TikTok probably about max five hours every two weeks. And then I'm done posting by then.
Susan Friedmann: So when you say five hours in two weeks, but that five hours is split up into three minute segments or? Make me understand that better.
Sam Vlasceanu: Yeah, that five hours includes any research that I do on TikTok, any posting, if I do any engagement I do on TikTok, so all of that is around five hours every two weeks.
Susan Friedmann: Oh, okay. So it's not you necessarily appearing, but it's you looking at other posts. And then if somebody is responding to you, are you responding to them personally? I mean, messaging them as you do it on other platforms, how does that work?
Sam Vlasceanu: Oh, for sure. I mean, if someone spent the time to engage with your content, spending a little time to engage back, right? It's their time as well. You want to build a loyal community. You can't just be one of those people that posts and goes and expect, oh, well, I'm too good to engage back with my community. No, you want to build that community up because at the end of the day, your TikTok followers are then now potential prospect clients.
Susan Friedmann: Yeah, it sounds as if they are, wow. Let's talk about mistakes. I know that our listeners love learning about mistakes and I'm sure that there are many that you can make here. What are some of the common ones?
Sam Vlasceanu: Some of the common ones I've seen that business make on TikTok is, they produce content, it's not linked to what they sell or do. I think that's the biggest one. I feel that some people just go for viral content and the problem is everyone always wants their videos to go viral. But if you don't have a strategy in place of what you want to do with all that virality, then it doesn't really do much for you if that makes sense. At the end of day, followers don't pay for the bills, they don't pay for your mortgage, they don't pay for lights. Clients do or readers do, or people who will purchase your books do. And so you have to make sure you have the right strategy in place for when your videos do go viral, you know where you're sending your audience.
The next thing I would say the biggest mistake is not knowing the difference between producing free content and paid content. Your free content should be focused around the who, the what, the why. And your paid content, which is at the end of the day, your book that you want audience to purchase the book itself, is the how, okay. So what I mean by that is you want to prime your audience to really think, see why are your book will help me in my life or in my business or wherever I want to grow in or my mindset. And by priming your audience on the who, the, what, the why, really makes sure that your audience can see how your book will fit in that gap and solve my problem at the end of the day.
Susan Friedmann: Okay. So you're not actually physically selling though on TikTok, is that correct?
Sam Vlasceanu: Used as a lead generation tool? So again, it's more of a, you get in front of your audience, you get them to thinking about you, you get them to move the value off of TikTok into somewhere else where you, at the end of the day, you get their email and that's how you can get to getting them to a client.
Susan Friedmann: Okay. And so let's go back to getting started on this. Talk us through, I want to get started let's say. I mean, you convinced me that this is a platform that I should investigate. What would my first step be?
Sam Vlasceanu: The first step I want you to do, I want you to absorb content honestly. That's the easiest thing I want you to do. And the reason why is because I want you to see how other people are doing their videos on TikTok. If there was a video that really sparked your interest, start writing it down. What do you think their hook was? What do you think captivated you into watching the entire video. And there're videos that wasn't very good but they're in your industry, write that down as well. Write down ideas of what you would've done differently to make it more engaging or interesting for your viewers. Once you're ready to start making your videos on TikTok, I'm going to say, keep it simple. Keep it simple where you're just talking straight to the camera and start with your top 10 FAQs you get asked by your audience all the time. So for example, if you're in history, you're a history writer, 10 biggest questions that everyone always asks you that you can always answer in your TikTok video sound.
Susan Friedmann: So would you let's say do all 10 at the same time, or would you do three today and three another day?
Sam Vlasceanu: I would split those 10 FAQ questions you get asked into 10 mini videos.
Susan Friedmann: Okay.
Sam Vlasceanu: So each video is like a three second video.
Susan Friedmann: Mm-hmm (affirmative). And then what?
Sam Vlasceanu: And then you pose, make sure you add some texts around it. So that because about 60 to 70% of viewers on TikTok are also watching videos on no volume. So it's always great to make sure that you always add text context to your videos so that if they are interested, they'll turn up the volume to listen to what you have to say as well.
Susan Friedmann: Okay. So that text would be a summary that basically condenses everything that you're saying in that video, in what, a couple of sentences or one sentence?
Sam Vlasceanu: Yeah, I would use a text feature as more of a, either as a closed caption option, if you would just want to read what you try and say instead of turning out the volume. Or as a way to paraphrase what you're saying and showcase the key points that you want your audience to remember.
Susan Friedmann: Okay. And does TikTok have that capability of doing the captioning for you or is that something that you add? How does that work?
Sam Vlasceanu: Yeah, so TikTok is very intuitive, you can add the close caption option. You can add text where you want them to go. It's very intuitive. It's scary than it actually is. I will say.
Susan Friedmann: All these things actually are until you get into them. Yes, I mean, just the eating the idea of it at the moment, I mean, I'm just like, okay, I'm sweating a little. And yes, what's it going to mean? So, yes, when you're new at something, it does take a while to learn how to ride the bicycle.
Sam Vlasceanu: Absolutely. Being on camera is not a skill you know automatically. It's something you have to practice on, right. And getting in front of a camera and talking to thousands or millions of people, that sounds really scary. But it does take practice and it is a learning curve, but it gets much easier once you get used to it.
Susan Friedmann: And I've said this before when I've talked to people about video, it's like, yes, I can stand up and do a presentation in front of thousands of people. But when I'm looking at that little screen, that camera, that lens is like, oh, something else happens. I don't know what.
Sam Vlasceanu: The red blinking light for sure. It's a little deer and headlights, right, moment.
Susan Friedmann: Yeah. Now are people concerned about the quality? How particular does one need to be here?
Sam Vlasceanu: So that's a really good question, Susan. So because of TikTok is so short form and because people are watching say, they're watching 100 or 200 videos in one sitting, and your video happens to be in that batch of videos that they're watching, you do want to consider the quality of the film that you're doing. So my best answer for this is to use your back camera instead of using your selfie camera. So you don't see yourself. So use the back camera, that's usually a higher quality as well.
And make sure that you just have good lighting. So when you're filming your TikTok videos, make sure it's filmed during the daytime, if you can film it in front of natural light so if you can film it in front of a window, that's great. Or if you can use a ring light, ring light makes everything much easier to see. And the reason behind that, why quality matters so much on TikTok is because you only have about two to three seconds to hook in your audience for them to decide whether or not to stay on your video. And by having poor quality, that's making my job a lot easier to be nope, I'm going to scroll past this video.
Susan Friedmann: I just can't imagine sitting down and watching 100 videos. I mean, just the thought of that makes my head spin. But there are people who are doing this, obviously.
Sam Vlasceanu: Yeah. It's very addicting, Susan. I will say, if you have too much work going on, don't download TikTok. You're going to lose a lot of time watching a lot of entertainment and educational videos so.
Susan Friedmann: Well, and it's funny you should say that because one of my guests, Estie Rand, who talked to mention TikTok and how she's excited about it and how it's working for her. And I literally, I went on to her page to have a look at what she's doing, thinking, oh, maybe I can do what she's doing. But she's dancing around and she's walking around her house and I'm like, ah, I don't see myself doing that. I've got to be still and focused on what I'm doing. So it would be a very different approach.
Sam Vlasceanu: I think what your guest was talking about, that's who her brand is. Keep in mind, you want to always be you because nobody else can. If you don't want to walk around or do these fancy transitions, you don't have to. Most of my clients are literally just talking straight to camera as if they're doing a Zoom call. But they make it a little bit more interesting obviously with adding a great hook with a great question in the beginning. Keep it simple. Don't worry about all those fancy editing or dancing or pointing. Just keep it simple and just talk straight to the camera.
Susan Friedmann: Yeah. So there isn't an expectation that I'm there to necessarily entertain so to speak?
Sam Vlasceanu: No, no, not necessarily at all. I mean, my clients, they don't dance. They're all in the professional service to chill and in a product based business, they don't dance.
Susan Friedmann: That's too funny. And you say no dancing required, which is, I think that's an important point because again, there's this visual of you seeing people doing these dances or singing or doing something crazy. And I'm like, that's not what I'm about. So yes, with your hand holding, I'm definitely going to look into this. So Sam, I know you've got this exciting workshop coming up I think November 17th. Talk to us about that because many of our listeners, if they're interested in TikTok and they want to use it as a lead generation tool should definitely be there. So tell us more.
Sam Vlasceanu: Oh, this workshop is an intensive workshop. It's going to be November 17th and it's going to be two session times. So you can choose the 9:30 session or the evening time. It's going to be two and a half hours long live with me. And we're going to make sure that you understand the entire strategy of TikTok and how to get started on TikTok. What kind of content to produce, how to do those videos itself and making sure that you funnel your audience into the correct spaces and having the right conversion systems in place. It's an intense workshop, but you'll leave with a clarity and understanding of how to use TikTok for your business.
Susan Friedmann: I love it. And how can people find out about that?
Sam Vlasceanu: Yeah, I mean, if you guys want to just check on my Instagram at the TikTok coach and just take a look at the link in bio, you can take a look straight at the workshop.
Susan Friedmann: Fabulous. And I will put that link in the show notes. So if people are doing yoga or doing something else, running on the treadmill or mowing the lawn or driving the kids somewhere, that they can get that when they look at the show notes. Fabulous. Sam, if you were to leave our listeners with a golden nugget, what would that be?
Sam Vlasceanu: Oh, this is my favorite, favorite saying for my business, for anyone's business really. It's work on MVP method. So MVP stands for minimal viable product and that can be applied to any part of your business or in the writing side or getting your book launched or even TikTok. The idea here is I don't want you to aim for perfection, just aim for done. Whether your book or your video for TikTok is only at 50% of what you expect, just keep going. And keep going and just launch because you want to make sure that you don't spend too much time and money on something without validating it first. Launch, even if it's not done and test the demand out first.
Susan Friedmann: I love that idea. Yes, and interestingly enough, that's exactly how I started the podcast. I know that my coach at the time was John Lee Dumas, who many people have used. And he just said, "Make six, 10, and have them in the can and just go with it. Don't aim for perfection." And I'm a bit of a perfectionist. And I was like, if I don't go with it, even if it wasn't perfect. And now I look back and I listen to some of them and I was like, oh, and I cringe. However, five years later, this is a whole different podcast to what it was when I first started and I'm sure that same approach would happen with TikTok as well.
Sam Vlasceanu: 100%. Trust me Susan, my videos in the beginning were so cringeworthy. I'm like, oh my God, I did those videos. And I'm like, I have to keep them up because I have to show my clients. I keep my old videos up. You guys all have to do the same thing. It's going to be cringeworthy, but you have to learn. You can't learn unless you do.
Susan Friedmann: Yes. I mean, you're learning on the job, so to speak, but I love the idea of cringeworthy. Yes, I love that word. Well, Sam, thank you so much for sharing your wisdom. And I know that we are going to jump into the premium membership site in a moment. And you're going to give us some more insider TikTok secrets there for our premium members. So I look forward to that. And in the meantime, thank you all for taking time out of your precious day to listen to this interview. And I sincerely hope that it sparks some ideas you can use to sell more books. Here's wishing you much book and author marketing success.