Learn from Half Price Books’ Social Network Marketing

Facebook Audience Blue.fwA new Half Price books opened up recently here in Oklahoma City, and this past weekend my dad and I went to check it out. Great store. I grew up in Dallas and frequently visited the original Half Price Books while there.

$50 later and back at home, I decided to look up Half Price books on all the social networks. They’re doing a great job with their Facebook page, and I became a fan of them there. Then, after some searching, I found their Twitter account. Wow. Did they set it up with the intention of failing?

Edit: While the tips in this blog entry still apply, Half Price Books has contacted me directly to let me know that they did not set up the Twitter account and have already had Twitter suspend the account. They may not be responding on Twitter, but they replied to my blog with a blog comment, then with an email, all in less than 36 hours after the blog went online!

Let’s take a look at both the great things they’ve done with the Facebook page, and the terrible job they’ve done with the Twitter account.


1. They’re not promoting it on their website.

In the spirit of full disclosure, we at T&S are not yet promoting our Twitter account on our website. But we should be. And so should Half Price Books.

2. They haven’t entered in a name.

Companies need to enter in their company name, not just their username. Initially, I searched for “Half Price Books.” That got me nowhere. I tried a few variations, before finally just typing in http://twitter.com/halfpricebooks. So they need to make their account easier to find. This will also help in search engines, as currently the Twitter account does not show up in searches for “Half Price Books.” (Note: I only checked the first 15 pages of results.)

3. They aren’t using it.

Here’s a blindingly obvious one. Twitter is a great method for communication. Half Price Books’ news page on their website has plenty of available content they could be reusing on their Twitter account. But I’m not visiting their website on a daily basis, and neither are you. The average consumer is much more likely to visit Twitter on a daily basis than they are the Half Price Books website. That’s not conjecture, it’s based on hard data.

4. People are talking about them on Twitter, and they aren’t responding.

At the time of this blog entry’s writing, a Twitter search for “Half Price Books” revealed 34 mentions of them within the past 24 hours. And only two results for @halfpricebooks, because people don’t know it’s there. (One of those two is a tweet I wrote.) Most of the tweets are praise, which they should be thanking those customers for. And what kind of statement is it making when they’re not responding to criticism?


1. They’re letting people know it’s out there.

They’ve linked to the page on their main website. What a concept! It’s on the front page, it’s prominent, and people are obviously clicking on it, because they have over 14,000 fans. And I’ll tell you a secret: They didn’t have to get a Facebook ad, they just used a website they already had. (I have no clue if they’ve also purchased Facebook advertising.)

2. They have a username.

They’re keeping up to date on Facebook developments, and have obtained a username for their page. This definitely hasn’t hurt their search engine placement in Google, as their Facebook page is on the first page of Google results for “Half Price Books.”

3. They’re actually using it to communicate.

At the time of this blog entry’s writing, they had five entries over the last month or so. They could probably use it slightly more often, but they’re definitely making use of it while not spamming fans. As with Twitter, more people are visiting Facebook than Half Price Books’ website, so this is a great communication tool for them.

So what’s the overall lesson we can take back to the social network marketing our businesses do? Simply put, utilize what’s out there. Remember, these tools are free, aside from time spent, and are even better than your own website at keeping in contact with current and potential customers. You still need your own website to provide in depth details about your business to those who are interested, but making use of the social networking tools that are out there is a no-brainer.


  1. While FB is run by HPB, the Twitter account referenced here is NOT. HPB has been working to get the account removed.

  2. which is actually a GREAT topic for you to cover on this blog: what to do when someone on FB or Twitter takes your company name. What rights do you have?

  3. Good luck getting the account taken down, KayTee! While some other social networks seem to have a system down for account removal, Twitter doesn’t seem to be quite there yet.

    And great idea for a blog topic!

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