Thanks for joining me on the 31 Day Author Platform Challenge. Have you read yesterday’s “31 Day Author Platform Challenge Prep Day” yet? If not, it’s on this page–hit this repost. The rest of us will wait. We need to be sure you’re set up and ready.
Is your notebook or online list handy? (The one we talked about in the link above?)
As we kick off our author platform growth, we have a choice: breadth or depth. We can go all in on a few, like a company that offers a handful products but specializes in them all (depth), or do our best across as many as possible like a store that has a little of everything (breadth). It’s kind of like a small business vs big box store. All have pluses and minuses.
For this challenge, we are going for DEPTH. We want to spend as time as we can handle on a few chosen platforms, in order to master what best suits our audience. At the end of the month, we’ll have better data to see if we’re reaching the right audience in the right places.
For Day One, as excited as I am to kick things off and start “doing,” our first task needs to be looking at the big picture. That means we’re not mass-posting yet. Today we are first noting where we stand on each outlet, then picking three or so outlets to focus on. There is a lot of text here but not all that much sweaty work; it’s assessment and prioritization. And, I have a bonus task if you’re itching to do something right off the bat.
Today we are going to start by taking an overall assessment of our platform, because, to paraphrase a scene in Alice in Wonderland, “If you don’t know where you are going, how will you know when you get there?”
Grab that notebook or open your To Do list app. Time to take some notes.
Part 1: Where do you stand today?
- Write down every social media platform you have an account for. Create a new page for each, writing the name at the top of the page. Let each one have its own front and back page to itself. Include (if you have them) your newsletter, website, blog, FB, Insta, Twitter, YouTube, Thread, LinkedIn, True, Post…whatever you have. My LinkedIn account is often ignored and I wonder if I still need it. But I’m including it the list since my name (and brand) is still on it.
- As an aside, I should point out I use the term “platform” several ways and it might be confusing at first. I talk about our “author platform”–meaning how we are viewed online, and I talk about “social media platforms”–meaning the specific app used, such as FB or Twitter. Sometimes I refer to the latter as social media account, or social media outlet, app, site, etc. I assume you’ll be able to follow along.
- Add to the list any account or platform you’ve been thinking about adding. For me, I wanted to start a newsletter. I also want to work on a YouTube channel waay in the future.
- Now go to each of your current accounts. On your newly-written-page-for-each (see #1) write down:
- a. the number of followers you have for each
- b. the number of people you follow right now
- c. the audience you currently talk to and/or the purpose the account serves (you may not have thought of it. OK to write ‘don’t know’)
This is your starting point.
Part 2: Where do you want to go?
You should have one overarching goal for the 31 days (like consistency in brand or more frequent posts). My goal for your (and my) brand is consistency. Not perfection. Not even X#s of new followers, because unless you buy followers, it’s sorta out of your control. You can do everything right but you can’t make someone hit “like” or “follow.”
- In your spiral or virtual notebook, write down one goal for each social media platform for these 31 days. You might have a different goal for each. Maybe it’s up FB followers by 30%, increase Twitter by 20%, etc. For me, I want to interact authentically on FB more. For Insta, I want to spend less time scrolling and more time interacting with the right audience. For Twitter, I want to EVENTUALLY grow to 10K followers, but I’ll settle for growing from almost 3K to 5K for now (which I know will take probably 2+ months if I’m aggressive). For LinkedIn, I want to figure out how to best utilize it. I want to start a newsletter and figure out YouTube.
- If you want to work towards a certain number of new followers, that’s great! But come up with a goal that’s SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time) or it won’t happen. I mean, wanting to grow from the 300 followers you’ve had for 8 years to a total of 10,000 in a month is unrealistic. But 30% increase? Sure—if you work for it. A study by the Dominican University of CA showed 42% of people that wrote down their goals were more likely to achieve them. Telling people about the goals increases the likelihood even more, as it makes you feel more accountable. But I want you to write them down simply so you know where you’re going. Place it on your vision board, if you have one. Refer back to it often.
Part 3: From that list, pick your top three favorite or most used platforms and look at some of your most recent posts.
What do you see? Use that newly-created standalone notebook page to write down observations. Ask yourself questions like:
- When people visit my profile page(s), or see my posts, can they instantly tell it’s “sooo me”?
- When they read my posts, regardless of the topic, do they hear or see a consistent “voice”?
- Am I welcoming and engaging?
- Do I come across as consistent, or haphazard?
- Is the voice, font, colors, content all in line with my brand?
What will it take to get you to a place where you like the answers to these questions in all these places? Make some observations and come up with some ideas in your notebook. DON’T CHANGE ANYTHING YET. Just make note and write down on each page. (See why I said to give each platform its own two-sided page?)
Can you make these changes and create the perfect author brand in a day? No. But you can work on it from here on. (Am I perfect at this? No, but I’m always “me,” so I know that’s consistent!)
Part 4: Let’s look at time spent, and why.
That app you first went to and looked at in Part 3–why do you spend most of your time there? Who are your followers there now, and is the general potential pool of followers the right audience for you? Think about that for a minute before answering. It’s important.
Interestingly, I realized I spend the most amount of time on Insta, which is probably dumb, because I have the fewest number of followers there . . . so branding aside, that was an instant THINK moment for me: Why am I spending the most amount of time in a place that’s giving me the lowest ROI?
I need to ask: even if I had perfect branding, am I reaching (the right) future customers in this space? Am I there because I am interacting there for fun (which is fine! but make a mental note of it), or am I simply losing precious time scrolling and scrolling? Now that I see I’m there A LOT, if I choose to continue spending time there, I need to ask if it’s someplace worth dedicating more branding time, so that time is better spent. Or, I need to choose another outlet.
I also realized that my LinkedIn profile and followers aren’t honestly the best potential buying audience. BUT I’m not ditching it because it’s a GREAT place for potential work-for-hire. I need to make sure any and all content there is directed at a completely different audience, and modify posts accordingly. TBH I’ve made myself feel a little better about how I’ve been ignoring it, as WFH isn’t a huge priority for me right now. So I realize it needs to take a back seat. I can only do so much!
After reviewing and listing all your platforms…
PICK THREE PLATFORMS TO FOCUS ON THIS MONTH.
**Do not work on all of them, it’s just too much. Trust me.**
When I refer to “across all your platforms” from here on. I am referring to these top three.
We have to decide if a platform where we have low reach is where we want to concentrate our efforts, or if we need ditch and go back to a different one and revive those contacts. Maybe our website is where we have the most solid followers? We need to look into what it will take to reach our preferred audience at whichever social media platform we choose to prioritize. The choice should be based on a combination of what makes us happy and where we’re more likely to find our audience. *scribbles new note in To Do List notebook to do the math for each platform*
[As an aside, you’ll notice I never mention the ol’ TiketyTokety by name. That’s because as big as the chances of going viral there are, IMHO that audience, the demographics, ISN’T a picture-book-buying audience. Teens and 20-somethings and influencer wannabes aren’t shopping for baby books. But the mainly 30-to-60+ year old women on FB are! They are a perfect PB audience. And, they are (or can be?) kind and chatty and people I enjoy talking with. We can discuss this all you like; you may have a very different experience or perspective on apps. But that’s my take on why I won’t be mentioning that clock app over the course of the 31 days. If it’s been proven to work for you, feel free to include it in your plan!]
We want to look at AND clean up our branding across every site/app we have or are thinking about. We should start with the one that has the largest or most engaged audience, and work our way down the list.
Bottom line: as far as author branding, we should ultimately spend the most amount of our time where there is the biggest potential payoff.
And we’d never know where if we didn’t just take that assessment.
Now, since I’m an action girl and this feels like groundwork, if you’re like me you probably don’t feel like this is really “getting started” because you haven’t acted on anything yet.
Be careful what you wish for, lol, because I have an ongoing daily task for you. Pick either the platform you like the most (for me, Twitter) or the one you most want to grow your following (for me, toss up btwn FB and Twitter). Right now, open your fave and follow ten new people. Yep 10. Should be super easy. Don’t angst over it, just follow 10 people that you want to engage with. And do it again every day this month.
First action task:
EVERY DAY, when you wake up, before you even get out of bed, follow 10 new people.
I know you have your phone next to your bed, don’t make excuses already, it’s only Day One lol. You have time to do this. If you get stumped on where to find them, scroll for someone you admire, or an influencer in your genre and age range with a huge following, and see who they follow. See who follows them. Befriend those peeps. You already know they are the people you want to connect with!
Recap: Today you made a huge list of assessments in your notebook with one page for each social media site listing current number of followers and SMART goals, and you chose the top three platforms to focus on this month.
And you will follow 10 new people in one of those platforms–every day this month!
Helpful Day One? Too much to do, or read? Leave a comment and let me know.