Thursday, September 15, 2016

Day 2527 - How to use Instagram to gain followers when you're a children's book author

I've just discovered that my readers are all on Instagram.

Due to the recent Book Week celebrations I discovered that my Cheer Chick Charlie readers are on Instagram.  While this shouldn't surprise me, it totally surprised me.  I mean, these kid are 8!

Here I was creating an Instagram feed to attract parents into buying the books when all along I should have been creating a feed that allowed the children to get direct access to the author.

Cue "aha moment".

It's taken me a long time to work out how to promote Cheer Chick Charlie effectively.

I've tried Facebook ads, magazine articles, press releases, book reviews.  All the things I am meant to do to tug on the adults purse strings.

When all along I had this amazing tool that could reach the kids directly which in turn had them tugging on their parent's purse strings.

I guess I didn't realise just how many children in the Charlie age range were on social media.

Book Week changed all of that.  Between the kids and their parents I had photos flying at me from all over Australia of children dressed as Charlie.

By then asking their parent's permission to reshare and make these kids a star for the day my Instagram followers grew by a third in just two weeks.  Which in turn has allowed me to share my author life with even more fans.  Plus it increased my website sales dramatically.

You see, the key point here is that previously I'd been trying to promote my product to adults.  When in actual fact, I should have been promoting myself to the kids.

Fact: Children want to connect with authors. 

I learned:

  • It's not the product that elicits engagement.  It's the person behind the product.
  • It's not the chief financial officer who wants my books. It's their kids.  

That all seems straight forward enough, but because my audience is children it's taken me this long to understand it.  I finally figured it out.

Fact: Children between the ages of 8 and 12 use Instagram.  It's their social media tool of choice.  It's the app they use alongside their parents to increase bonds and share a connection with the outside world. 

My Instagram following is by no means huge (I'm still under a thousand) but there is growth, increased interest, book sales and (most importantly) ENGAGEMENT.

I have children and their parents contacting me with testimonials, questions and comments. Everything I'd been hoping for via other promotional avenues but failed to achieve.

My Instagram followers are growing daily.  Momentum is increasing.

With a bit of luck this interest is now transferring to bookshops to increase book sales on the ground as well.

So now I am revising my Instagram goals, creating all new content, testing new growth tactics and starting to take note of my analytics.

I'm devising competition ideas, creating an "Instagram Stories" schedule, looking at ways to collaborate with others, working on my aesthetics and tapping into as many ideas as possible to keep children interested in my little Cheerleader.

This sudden burst of Instagram energy is exciting.  I've finally found a medium which is showing a glimmer of possibility.

If you're a children's book author directing your product at primary aged kids, then look at Instagram. It could well be your new best friend.  

As Charlie says: "What may not seem possible today, could be possible tomorrow."

As an author, I think tomorrow is looking bright.

Are you a children's book author?

Are you using Instagram?

Want to be insta-friends? 


  1. Kids! Yes, they are on Social Media and ready to like what you have to tell them. The children's author I know too is Newcastle's Susan Whelan whose first picture book is about kids and anxiety called "Don't Think About Purple Elephants. She's someone I've known via blogging since 2011. Do you follow her? She's about to launch her second book. Her IG name is @readupsidedown

  2. This was a great read Leanne - I would have been thinking like you and targeting the parents but if the kids are online, go for it. They are the ones who will put Cheer Chick Charlie on their birthday and xmas gift lists (and nag their parents in between!) With a 12 yo and nearly 11 yo I better start getting them ready for SM quick smart!

  3. I loved how your Cheer Chick fans dressed up for book week that was so adorable :)
    Instagram is awesome! I review books regularly on my blog and share across my social media channels and tag in the authors and I get such a kick when they reply! Instagram and Twitter are great for interaction whereas Facebook is hopeless!

  4. Apparently - and I don't know if this is an urban myth or not - but if you look at characters on cereal boxes in the supermarket, their eyes are all looking down to the kids - not the adults!! Definitely on the right track, Leanne!

  5. Great aha moment! I know my kids were very active on Instagram from a younger age than I would have liked. They are also active on Snapchat but I personally haven't ventured there myself!

  6. Great to have worked that out! I guess as long as parents know / see what their kids are posting (and guide them where needed) they can start from a young age. And it's a great visual medium!

  7. i read a lot of stuff and i found that the way of writing to clearifing that exactly want to say was very good so i am impressed and ilike to come again in future.. buy arab instagram followers


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