Brand Building

Fall in love with reading again… on Instagram

ModernLit, a trio of friends, are defying the odds with contemplative and copy-packed posts - and their followers are loving it.

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February 12, 2020

So much to scroll, no time to read, right? And then there’s ModernLit, an online bookclub, with a growing community that is eating up word-rich content.

What’s going on?

It was actually this predicament of being time-stretched that spurred Amile Inusa, the doctor of the group, to create a bookstagram account as a means to hold herself responsible to read more. When she later teamed up with two friends; Daniella Nicholls, the creative entrepreneur, and Louisa Villeneuve, the corporate queen, what started as a personal project turned into the brand ‘ModernLit’.

One year running and the powerhouse team have their brand, products and audience down.            

“I can separate our following into largely two groups” says Amile, “Young adults who are hungry to understand the world; they are culturally switched on, short on time, and looking for more value and connection. The other part of our audience are fellow bookstagrammers and people in the publishing industry.”

That’s quite a niche audience. We couldn’t help wondering if this was a strategic move, or if the book-loving trio found their community through a natural flow of events.

“It grew organically initially,” says Amile, “Most of our very early adopters were friends, family and associates. They would interact with our online book reviews. But it was when we started creating offline events that our following really started to grow.  

Most of our audience were young women. And it’s no wonder why! We were always sharing women focussed content. Later on, we decided to make a shift. We put out more gender-neutral content and books written by men. However, we are proud that young women of color find comfort and safety in our online and offline spaces- so they will always be our main focus.”

There’s an art to condensing meaningful conversations into stand-out visual content. Here’s how ModernLit are nailing it.

“Carousels,” says Amile, ”Carousels are everything. Over allows me to create these on the go and to switch between my emails and notes app, so I can create them easily. To keep a semblance of uniformity, we use one of four fonts from Over and use the pre-selected color schemes to help create beautiful, design-consistent images.”

In fact, when it comes to building an online brand, ModernLit are breaking most of the rules - and it’s working! Also, they use Over to achieve this (and we want to brag about it.)

It’s not about pushing out frequent posts, “You’ve got to take time and keep your focus” says Amile. “There’s a temptation with fast platforms like Instagram to jump on the latest trends or release something because its Pancake Day. For us, planned and original content is the best.”

When scrolling through ModernLit’s well-curated feed, you will enjoy a series of visually impactful ‘wordy’ posts that ask to be read, reflected on, and contributed to with thoughtful responses.

“The level of care and attention we lend to our events and content builds a connectedness with our audience, and keeps them engaged,” says Amile. We are vulnerable with our reviews and ensure that our events are a non-threatening space. That way, you can attend alone, feel comfortable, and make friends.”

So, what’s on the cards for ModernLit in 2020?

“Monetizing the brand and streamlining processes is our next focus. The year ahead will include a regular newsletter, a podcast show, and brand partnership.”

Exciting times! And an example of success by disregarding the social media rules. We love how these boss women are optimizing their content for the platform, as well as the unique needs of their niche (and clearly unsaturated) audience.

And all because “Modern stories are necessary. We are here to show you why,” says Amile. Before turning, and dropping the mic.

Follow @modernlit on Instagram to join the bookclub.

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