I got the idea for Luxuread while in a bookstore, reminiscing about how much more I used to read before I had kids. I suddenly had the idea for a subscription service that could not only encourage people to read more, but provide some much needed ‘me time’ in people’s lives.
After several weeks of research, I felt ready to put myself out there, and began hustling on Instagram. After the first month, I had 30 sign ups; after six months, the business was profitable.
Instagram and social media are a massive part of where I am today, and I couldn’t have built my business without it. The following are some of the most important tips I’ve learned along the way, along with some actionable steps that every business can take to succeed on social.
During isolation social media use increased massively, as did our sales, as families spent all their time at home. But without consistency and engagement, we could lose some of these social media followers as restrictions start to lift.
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When posting on Instagram you must keep in mind your brand messaging with each post. Planning ahead, and even using a scheduling app can help with this. You need to ask: does it fit with my feed and overall brand? Consider colour palette, messaging, vibe, caption, etc.
With Luxuread Kids, for example, I want to keep the photos on my feed clear, fun, and have most of them featuring children’s books in some capacity (bookshelves, children reading, pictures of the boxes). I wouldn’t post a photo of candles, for example, as it has nothing to do with the Luxuread Kids brand.
However, while our original Luxuread boxes are essentially still selling books, there’s a different brand message which focuses a lot more on self-care and taking time out for yourself, so candles actually feature frequently in our posts.
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Frequency on social media
You need to be posting and engaging frequently on Instagram, or as I call it ‘feeding the beast’. You can’t post once every week or fortnight (or less) and expect to draw customers in and put trust in your brand.
Whilst I don’t advocate posting multiple times a day (most of us just don’t have the time!), once a day or once every 2-3 days is great. And you have to be frequently engaging with other accounts for Instagram to favour you.
A few likes and meaningful comments each day will do wonders, especially on accounts in your niche. I tend to post once every 1-2 days, and post stories multiple times a day, as well as spending approximately 10-15 minutes interacting with followers and also finding new accounts to follow.
Stories are where it’s at. Luxuread gets great engagement on our stories as we give an insight into our day-to-day life. People look at our feed and see that we sell book subscriptions, however look at our stories and you’ll see that I’m a mum of two who bakes a lot, and enjoys a sneaky glass of red after the children are in bed.
People connect to our brand incredibly well through stories, which helps further build trust in our brand. It also increases the likelihood that they’ll order from us over a competitor, simply because they feel like they know us.
Find people in your niche
One of the key strategies I had early on was to follow accounts in my niche: people who love reading. By connecting with them (not just following, but actual interaction), you can build brand awareness with people who are most likely to purchase from you, as people will see your genuine interaction with them.
You can find these people through similar accounts, through their comments on accounts you follow, or through hashtag searches and check-ins.
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Find micro influencers in your niche and send them products to unbox and review. Make sure they have great engagement on their page, and that they’re not part of any engagement pods or loops. These provide fake engagement – you’ll be able to tell as the same accounts will be commenting on every post.
We have used many ‘bookstagram’ micro influencers to spread the word about Luxuread on Instagram, and they work really well because they are usually very engaged with their audience, they are always looking for content, and they will most likely accept free product in return for a post and/or story, rather than charging you for it. Of course, make sure you have the agreement in writing so they actually post after they receive the product.
Don’t always push for a sale
Using Gary Vaynerchuk’s boxing analogy “jab, jab, right hook”, you need to use your ‘jab’ posts to create the engagement with your audience before you use the ‘right hook’ to sell. If you’re simply posting ‘buy now’ or ‘sale on now’, you’ll never build that underlying affinity.
Consumers are searching for a connection with the brands they shop with, and that’s the beauty of social media: it helps build that genuine connection over time.