I think I’m asked marketing questions at least once a day. And don’t get me wrong, I love it. As a Digital Marketing Manager, I know a little about a lot, and I also know how overwhelming marketing can be if you’re just starting out.
The thing is, when I’m asked about marketing, the first thing I say is “do as I say, not as I do.” My own marketing has been woefully ignored as I focused on the querying process for Touch of Death. That’s all about to change.
Last month, I finally wrapped up my querying journey. There will be more on that later, but for now, it’s time to kick my butt into gear with a 21-day author brand building challenge. I’ll be using the little I know about a lot to build out my marketing channels and figured I’d take you along with me.
This challenge is going to be specific to Instagram, but you can tailor it to fit any social media challenge. It’s the first of many I have planned as I put in the legwork to grow my channels.
The Instagram Author Challenge Schedule
Day 1: Clean up your Instagram profile
- Update your profile picture to a high-quality headshot that accurately represents you
- Write a compelling bio that showcases your work and personality
- Include a link to your website or blog
Sure, you might have already done these things, but have you updated them in a while? If not, now is the time.
Day 2: Define your brand aesthetic
- Choose a color scheme and filters that represent your brand
- Make a plan for consistent visual branding across all posts
If you have Canva Pro, you can utilize their Brand Kit to keep track of your color palette, templates, and logo. If not, that’s okay! Any notekeeping app, like Notion, is a great way to keep your color scheme in check.
Day 3: Share your work
- Post a picture or video of your latest book or writing project
If you don’t have anything published yet, don’t fret. This could be a picture of a WIP (work in progress), behind-the-scenes, your desk, whatever works for you!
Day 4: Engage with your followers
- Respond to comments and messages
- Ask questions and start conversations with your followers
While social media is great for marketing, it’s also amazing for building a community. Engage with readers and writers! Don’t just respond; ask questions.
Day 5: Collaborate with other authors
- Reach out to other authors in your genre and propose a collaboration
- Collaborate on a post or IG story to reach new audiences
Like I said, we’re here to build community. Make some friends with other writers. No one knows the struggle of writing quite like another writer.
Day 6: Showcase your writing process
- Share a behind-the-scenes look at your writing process
Just like I mentioned earlier, show your followers what your process looks like. It doesn’t have to be anything deep or groundbreaking, just make sure it’s authentic.
Day 7: Highlight your personality
- Share a personal story or anecdote that showcases your personality
- Use humor and vulnerability to connect with your followers
Your followers are here for you. Even as an introvert, I try to push myself to show a bit of myself to my followers. Usually that includes humor, though I’m probably the only one who thinks I’m funny.
Day 8: Utilize Instagram’s features
- Experiment with Reels, IGTV, or shopping to showcase your work and merchandise
- Get creative and try new things!
Instagram has a lot to offer. Try something new, whether it’s a live or reels or an Instagram takeover.
Day 9: Share book reviews and testimonials
- Share book reviews and testimonials from your readers
We’re writers, but we’re also readers too. I love finding new books from Instagram recommendations. Post one of your own and invite your followers to do the same.
Day 10: Host a Q&A session
- Ask your followers to submit questions for a Q&A session
- Host the Q&A session on Instagram Live or IGTV
I don’t know about you, but I love Q&A sessions. If you’re not up for a Live, try recording the answers as Stories.
Day 11: Share book club recommendations
- Recommend books to your followers and start a book club
Another option? Try sharing your favorite online book groups or Bookstagrammer.
Day 12: Share your reading journey
- Share your favorite books and why you love them
Or, talk about what you’re currently reading.
Day 13: Highlight your community
- Share fan art, photos, and videos from your readers
If you don’t have any, that’s fine! Use this time to highlight something that helps you as a writer, whether it’s a cup of tea or a craft book.
Day 14: Collaborate with other creators
- Reach out to creators in other genres and propose a collaboration
- Collaborate on a post or IG story to reach new audiences
You may be sensing a theme here…Continue building your community by reaching out to another writer/creator to collaborate.
Day 15: Share sneak peeks
- Share sneak peeks of your latest project or work-in-progress
I love seeing what others are working on. I’m sure your followers feel the same.
Day 16: Utilize Instagram Stories
- Share exclusive content, behind-the-scenes, and daily life on your Instagram Stories
I know using Stories can be scary, but this is about getting out of our comfort zones!
Day 17: Share your values and beliefs
- Share your values and beliefs as an author and a person
Now, this doesn’t have to get controversial if you don’t want it to. For example, I believe the main character shouldn’t die in a book and I’m sticking to it.
Day 18: Share your journey
- Share your journey as an author and the ups and downs
Let other writers know they’re not along in whatever they’re going through.
Day 19: Host a virtual event
- Host a virtual event for your followers, such as a book club or Q&A session
- Use Instagram Live or IGTV to host the event
Really, the sky is the limit here.
Day 20: Share your successes
- Share your successes as an author and celebrate your accomplishments
One of your successes can be making it to day 20 in this challenge!
Day 21: Reflect and evaluate
Figure out what worked and what didn’t, and make a plan for going forward.
Starting the Challenge
The challenge starts tomorrow. I hope you’ll join me as I work my way through walking the walk. Follow me on Instagram @taylormunsell to see how I do!
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