Instagram, is one of the fastest growing social media sites in the world with over 800 million monthly users. With a user base that is between the ages of 18 and 29, it’s globally the most popular social media site beating Facebook and Twitter for online engagement. I’ll admit when I think of Instagram, I image teen girls posting those duck face selfies or foodies, posting pictures of every crumb that touches their plate. So I really didn’t believe that Instagram had anything to offer me, or any author for that matter. I mean, I’m a writer and writers write, they don’t do pictures let alone, video. However over the past several years, I’ve been seeing the trends in social media go from long form text to short visual posts.
Don’t believe me? This past year, Facebook began letting their users choose to frame their text posts within bright eye-catching backgrounds. This is mainly because their algorithms favor images and video over text which has left a lot of people complaining about reach. So this was Facebook’s answer to the problem…
Corny, right? It’s no secret that visual media works better than plain text, it’s one of the reasons why Facebook purchased Instagram back in 2012. It’s also the reason why the most popular and fastest growing social media sites are the ones with richer content like pictures and video.
So using my brand new Instagram account, I went to work and started studying how authors and readers use the site successfully.
Okay, So What Do Authors Post About?
At a place like Instagram, a long form post is not very practical. The content you share on Facebook or Twitter is most likely not going to work here. You need to tell a story with your posts which shouldn’t be too hard for an author. Below, I’ve listed several examples of how authors are using Instagram to share their work and reach readers.
Ideas For Instagram Posts:
- Share quotes (usually short)
- Include teasers from a WIP (work in progress)
- Ask questions to followers. Here’s writer @macxlopes asking followers if they would even want to read his book if it were published.
- Share behind the scenes peeks. For example, author Barbara Freethy posted a pic of her cat starring intently while she worked.
- Post pics of book swag like this one from author K.S. Thomas.
- Reveal new book covers via pic or video.
- Upload book trailers.
- Do a live video. Many authors and celebs use live videos to do live Q&As but you can also use live video to make announcements about publication dates.
Here’s a tip: If you have a text post you’d like to share on Instagram be sure it’s written on visually appealing pictures or backgrounds. There are many sites that offer free graphic design software like; Canva, Stencil and Crello. These sites will provide backgrounds, and even resize your work according to the requirements of various social media sites.
Book Related Hashtags
After figuring out what to post, the second step on my journey was to find all the book and publishing related conversations. To my surprise, it wasn’t hard to find readers and book reviewers.
- #Books 24,140,100 people used this hashtag in their posts
- #Bookstagram: 14,223,284 posts
- #Bookworm: 8,347,983
- #Reading: 14,298,588
- #Writing: 7,730,884
- #Author 3,612,412
- #Ebook: 892,842
- #Shelfi: 836,264
- #Readers: 565,197
- #ReadersOfInstagram: 394,919
- *Bonus: #Bookstagrammer: 1,251,555 to help you find reviewers on Instagram.
A List of Popular #Bookstagrammers:
I recommend just looking at these accounts to observe and learn about how Instagram functions. Find an author in your genre and look in the comments section. Engage and follow them, these people are your target audience.
- ReaderOf Winterfell
More Word & Book Related Accounts:
- Amazon Kindle
- Barnes & Noble
- Kobo Books
- Penny Sansevieri
- Tyler Knott
- John Green
There you have it, tips authors can actually use for their Instagram accounts. Stay tuned for next time, because I’ll be sharing how to use Instagram for book promotion as well as sharing useful apps.