Hello readers and writers! You are reading chapter one of my upcoming e-book [title pending]. Please enjoy these tips for the writer hoping to master Instagram to find readers and sell some books.
If you want a more positive, effective approach to understanding your audience, then this chapter is just for you. You will learn my basics for determining your audience and how to encourage that relationship to become mutual.
Creating a social media platform from scratch can be frustrating, overwhelming, and draining. I’ve heard some extreme stories—where a platform becomes the creator’s new life; they’re looking each day for something to post and talk about to the point that their every day is restructured around what will satisfy this beast that is their audience.
Luckily, this example is bonkers and you don’t have to approach social media that way.
Understand that your target audience is not a relentless feeding session. Instead, consider the process the same way you would make a new friend. Whether you’re extroverted or introverted, we often do the same thing when making a friend: we start by sharing an “acceptable” part of ourselves, and we tend to share things about us that attract people that have common ground and enrich our lives.
Try to approach social media the same way—otherwise it can feel like a major drain of your time, your health, and your energy.
Why Are You Using Instagram?
This is an honest question we should all ask to start with. If you’re going to spend all this time and effort to use the platform, it should be clear what you want. Many of us would love some likes and comments. But is that what you actually want? As a writer, you likely want to make money off of your writing. Thus, you should use Instagram to springboard your followers towards your website or product page.
When you acknowledge what you want, then everything about your platform changes from a typical social media account. It chiefly changes how you present yourself and what you share with your future fans. Instead of
When you know what you want your future fans to do, it’s time to establish a call to action and make it deliberate and clear. Be careful; there is a sweet spot between spamming your followers and being wishy-washy. It only takes someone a few seconds to know whether they should follow you or not, so use that first impression to let them know what you post and why they need it.
You can make this clear through your profile picture, your bio, your bio link, your photos, captions, and your username.
Who Are Your Future Fans?
Everything you post should basically convince your following to buy your book or hire you. Again, that’s what you want, so there’s no point in feeling icky about that.
It’s ideal to really think about your audience before you consider what to post. What’s their age range? What’s their budget? What do they look like? What are their values? What’s their favorite genre? There are a lot of easily accessible templates out there with different questions to ask yourself, but the idea is to construct your ideal future fan.
You can’t please every demographic. In fact, it’s just as important to identify who IS NOT your audience. Not everyone will like or buy your work. Eventually every entrepreneur understands this. That means that your efforts should be focused on attracting your ideal audience and not worrying about the others that don’t fit that niche.
Your future fan should also be your ideal fan. Marketing sure would be miserable if you have to arm wrestle them into liking you and your books. Your ideal audience for example loves to read and wants to read as many books as possible. They also invest a lot of their money into books and don’t balk at reasonable prices. They also adore the book cover and absolutely want to share their recent purchase on their own feed.
I hope you see the balance here between hitting your readers’ sweet spots and being true to yourself. It’s actually really liberating to remember that you don’t need to please millions of people; you just need to please the select few who are willing and ready to buy.
Dream big, writer. I know you already do, but dream big about who your future fans are and how you can create an instant connection.
What Will Attract Your Future Fans?
Okay, so once you are super in love with your future fans, you should next understand how your audience uses Instagram. AKA, you need to create a list of the types of posts that will catch their eye. So what would catch the eye of an eager reader?
A reader might rather look for upcoming books and matching merch, especially if they’re a budding bookstagrammer. They might also want to know about your publishing journey and how they can navigate their own. You can basically ask yourself “If I were a fan of my book, what would I click on?”
What if you’re unsure of what to post? You can start by looking at your own feed. Do you gravitate towards blog posts, giveaways, freebies, pretty book covers, author updates, sales, or merch? There is still something to share even if you don’t have a product yet.
I spent 4 years promoting a book that wasn’t published. I did this by sharing parts of the writing and publishing process in a way that translated well for my target audience. I also watched what other writers shared. I didn’t copy them but I basically looked at what they were contributing to the industry and determined what I could specifically contribute. That’s how I started sharing a lot more about my mental health journey; I wasn’t seeing it enough and I wanted to put something out there that my ideal audience would need.
Get Ready to Give the People What They Want
As Lucia Pador teaches, when you create a brand, you often tell a story. Your brand is that story of how you learned about your passion and how you turned it into a career. The story is also what the reader is going through and how you can help them be better or happier. I know you feel like a drop in the bucket of aspiring writers, but it’s possible to stand out and find the people who are ready for you and your books.
Let’s go back to the friendship-building concept. I hope you see that thinking about your audience as future fans or friends helps you realize that you don’t have to show up to social media in a skin suit disguise in order for people to like you. I want you to consider the idea that people out there already jive with you—you just haven’t been properly introduced yet.
My chief goal is to ensure that you are participating in your own promotion process with the agency, creativity, and fun that you already possess. Just a few moments of pondering can lead to a full year of content ideas, inspiration, and focus.
- Consider your followers a future friend or a potential friend.
- Make it easy for future fans to know what to expect
- Understand what your audience needs or why they use Instagram
- Create a plan of what to share based on how you can cater to their wants and needs
- 24+ Instagram Statistics That Matter to Marketers in 2019
- Instagram rolls out shoppable posts for more merchants
- Your Story Matters, Here’s How to Own It
There you go! I hope you enjoyed this chapter. Please give me your suggestions of what you’d like to see in future chapters. Or, tell me what I missed in this chapter; did you have more questions? Contact me or comment below. Thanks, friends!