Across various Facebook groups, and other social media platforms, I’ve heard many writers say they think leveraging Pinterest is crucial to building their author platform. Yesterday, over in the Resource Library, I gave readers three reasons Pinterest is an amazing, yet understated tool for writers, and shared seven ways that they could get the best use possible out of the platform.
Today, I want to discuss another underrated social media platform that many writers aren’t taking advantage of. Instagram. Now, I know what you’re thinking. Instagram?! How is that a good platform for authors? I post pretty pictures, a selfie or two, and my food. How is that going to help me? Well, what if you start posting your character inspiration boards, recent blog posts, or pretty places that inspire the world you’ve created for your characters?
See where I’m going here?
If not, don’t worry. Today I’m going to share with you five ways you can use Instagram to market yourself to potentially millions of readers.
How Should Writers Be Using Instagram?
1. Special Events: Do you have a book signing coming up soon? Promote it on Instagram. Will you be speaking at a school or appearing on a panel? Snap pictures during the event and post them to Instagram. (Make sure you tag any other authors or editors that attended the event with you!) Did writers, editors, or readers that attended the same event as you post pictures to their accounts? Repost those images or videos to show readers who couldn’t attend what they missed, and get them excited to show up at the next event you speak at.
2. Promotions: Do you have a book releasing soon? Use Instagram to reveal your cover or other promotional items for your book release. Try posting character quotes or parts of the narrative to Instagram to entice your readers, and get them excited for your book release. Are you being interviewed on a blog or in a magazine? Pull quotes from the interview, and put them on a pretty graphic that you can post on Instagram. (I recommend using Canva for this; it's free! Click here for a tutorial or download the app here.)
3. Inspiration: I don’t know about you, but whenever I post a motivational quote, I tend to get at least 30-40 more likes on that image than on other pictures I post. People love to be inspired. If you come across a quote that motivates, or inspires you, post it. Your readers might love it so much that they encourage their friends to follow you too.
4. Follow Book Bloggers and Authors: Use Instagram to make connections. By following, and engaging, with popular book bloggers you increase the chance that one of them will review your book(s). Also, by following, and networking, with other authors you can gain valuable writing and/or publishing experience, exposure, and you might be presented with additional, and bigger, networking opportunities.
5. Get Personal: Readers like to know that writers are just like them. Share with them pictures of your fur babies, snaps you took on a recent vacation, or a look at your desk. Let readers know what books you’re currently reading, or share with them the image that inspired the main character in your latest book. Do you need coffee or tea to jumpstart your writing day? Snap of pick of your favorite beverage, and share it with your fans. Reading fan mail that was delivered to your PO Box? Snap a picture and post it. Sending a copy of a free book or an ARC to readers? Snap a picture and post it. Of course, you want to be careful and make sure you don’t share too much information, but the more you engage with your readers, the more inclined they will be to purchase your book(s).
Before we wrap this article up, I want you to remember two additional things when it comes to using Instagram.
1. Use Hashtags: To grow a following, and engage with more potential readers, using hashtags is key. It’s recommended that you use at least twenty hashtags under each post, and that you use a combination of popular and less popular hashtags. Need a list of hashtags to get you started? Click here.
2. Links Suck: If you post a link underneath one of your photos, readers can’t click on the link. They will have to copy and paste the URL into a search engine to access the link, and this might deter them from reading your article. To combat this, you can either cross-post your image on Facebook or Twitter using the share button, or ask your readers to click the link in your bio which you can change at any time by clicking the edit profile button.
Was this article helpful? Do you think Instagram can work for you? Are you already finding a lot of success using it? Do you need me to explain something in a little more detail? Leave a comment down below!