Ep 48: The Power of Reels to Grow an Author's Audience
Remember Kara Forney’s @BoyMomsBook reel that got 4 million+ views, brought in 13,000+ followers, and sold 70+ books in the first 6 days?
We said we didn’t know how she did it. And we don’t 100% know. Not to the extent that we can now sell you on “the perfect formula to reach IG and life stardom in 27 seconds.”
Yes, it seemed random, and one certainly never knows what will “hit.”
A viral reel is rarely the singular key to "success." But even though Kara's reel wasn't necessarily "intentionally strategic" (meaning that she didn't spend hours concocting the perfect video, verbiage, caption, and hashtags), we did identify four key takeaways EVERY author can benefit from.
GET TO KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE
It’s not just about getting people to follow YOU. You need to know what hooks the types of people you want to attract!
Boy Moms: Collective Tales of Mothers and Sons launched a year ago. Since then, Kara has been keeping tabs on where her ideal audience is. In other words, who are other Boy Moms are following, and what kinds of posts get traction with that audience?
Put simply, she set out to understand the “Instagram language” of her audience.
She determined the answer to be short, funny, repurposed posts, so that's what she posts a lot of.
“When that particular video clip came across my feed,” she told me, “I absolutely recognized I could do something with it ‘my’ segment of the Boy Mom audience would relate to. Did I think it would get 3.5 million views? Definitely not. But I knew that, on some level, Boy Moms would think it was funny.”
STAY IN YOUR LANE
Kara isn’t a “boy mom coach.” She doesn’t help people become better boy moms. Her book isn’t directive or prescriptive in any way, nor is it meant to be.
She’s an extremely successful corporate consultant. (Remember The Bump? She founded it. It was later acquired by The Knot.)
Her book isn’t about how to be a better boy mom. It’s not filled with explicit tips on how to raise boys. It’s a collection of essays written by boy moms about the heartwarming, hilarious, idiotic things boys do as they’re unknowingly teaching us about life and about ourselves.
Knowing that her target audience isn’t looking to her for advice or guidance but simply the kind of content that makes you declare, “That’s so true!” while laughing out loud at the relatability, or clutch your heart while holding back tears, she knows to focus on creating posts that attract Boy Moms who love that.
They’re the exact moms most likely to purchase her book.
Once this post “hit” and she watched her follower count go through the roof (compared to what it was), she knew she couldn’t take her foot off the gas. Did this mean pulling an all-nighter creating oodles of content? Of course not. But now that she had fresh eyeballs who not only liked the reel but followed her as a result, she wanted to be sure she was serving them.
With similar-toned posts (and a quick post that showcased her book so new followers know she has one and older followers are reminded), repurposing other funny content to make it applicable to moms of boys, she continues to speak to and serve this audience exactly what they followed her for to begin with. Which is why the majority of them will stick around!
If they show up as your new follower and then all you deliver are ads and content that isn’t the same “vibe” as the one that got them interested to begin with, you’ll lost them.
This is why jumping on trends—if they aren’t in line with your “brand”—isn’t sustainable. People feel like they met one person, but now they’re on a date with someone different. And they want to go home and get in their own bed. Alone!
BRAND VERSUS CONCEPT
Kara isn’t positioning herself as the brand. The brand speaks for itself. It’s similar to Third Eye Thoughts or Thirty Something Probs (Not expert-based direction)
Resources Mentioned Within Episode
Ways We Can Work Together on Your Book!
Through this pay-what-you-can on--demand workshop, you'll discover the 5 components of all bestselling books, learn how to zero in on your core message, and get access to the outlining spreadsheet I've used to write six books (and help countless authors write theirs) so you can masterfully organize your thoughts, perspectives, and insights.
A program for writing powerful nonfiction or memoir that readers can't put down. it's time to share your message, tell your story, and make your impact.
The Book Writers Collective provides twice monthly coaching/guidance calls and co-writing sessions. It’s a monthly membership that you can cancel anytime (or upgrade into Write the Damn Book Already to get access to the online book writing trainings).
Step-by-step guidance on how to self-publish a book that's indistinguishable in quality from any New York Times bestseller (while retaining your rights, maximizing your profits, and shortening your time to market).
Eliminate book launching overwhelm for good so you can sell more books and build a tribe of loyal, raving readers