In my last post. I talked about Instagram and how authors can use it to build a social media following as well as what type of content to post. Today, I’m going into the specifics on how to use Instagram to promote a book. I’m also going to give a few ideas on when to post as well as how to maximize your time spent there so that you don’t spend all day posting pretty pictures. So without further ado…
A Free Feature Authors Can Use For Book Promotion:
Instagram recently released a new feature (copying SnapChat) called, Instagram Stories where you can post a series of pictures, or videos for 24 hours. Why would somebody want to do that? It’s to create a sense of urgency and trigger the impulse mechanism within a human brain which can be ideal for things like:
- A presale
- A limited sale
- A book giveaway
- Or even a contest
The images or videos appear as a slideshow and you can post throughout the day. The only drawback is, there’s no ability to interact with your followers because there are no comments or likes for these kinds of posts. If you’re interested, here’s a post from Instagram’s own blog which goes into further detail.
Last year, Instagram launched a feature of slide shows posts called Carousel where users can load up to 10 photos or videos to one single post just like the Stories feature but without the time limit. Like the Stories feature, users can spread their posts out over a period of a day or several weeks building up to a big sale or your even the release of your next book. It’s all up to you.
Here are more ways authors can use Instagram’s Carousel feature:
- Post a set of teasers from your work
- Reveal a book cover
- Announce a book release
- Have a book sale
- Hold a giveaway
- Host contests
- Post a series of book trailers
A refreshing example of an author using the carousel feature wisely is author Krystal Sutherland, who used it to display her book covers in various languages. Also, blogger Ana Hoffman, took the feature and used her pics to introduce herself, as well as her work to her followers. These two ladies knocked it out of the park.
Instagram Polling Stickers
One big complaint that many users had about Instagram was it’s very basic features. I mean, there really wasn’t much you could do to engage your followers outside of responding to comments. So in response, Instagram recently introduced polling again, copying SnapChat’s Polly service.
Ways authors can use polling:
- Ask about questions about pricing for example: Is $5.99 too much for an ebook?
- Opinions on book covers.
- Thoughts on book titles.
- Ask about various characters for example: Do you think Character A deserves his own book? Should Character B get the ax?
This feature can be very helpful to authors wanting to mine data from their followers. And the good thing is, people love to give their opinions so it’s not considered intrusive.
Scheduling Apps Are A Complicated Business On Instagram
Sadly, Instagram doesn’t allow third party apps to post to their site. But, there are several companies that have gotten around that by offering reminder services, where you create a post on an app and after you schedule it, it sends you a reminder to your phone. When you receive this reminder, you can post it through your phone. It’s a roundabout way to get past the obstacles that Instagram has created for users. If you’re wondering why do they do this? It’s to keep people posting through their (Instagram’s) mobile app and not via a desktop or third party app. However, there are a few rogue services that break those rules but I won’t mention them here, because if you’re caught, your account can be suspended. Remember, Amazon is still suing multiple companies as well as several individuals that repeatedly broke the rules on their website.
I have to admit, I do make it a point to preschedule things just so my account doesn’t lie dormant for months at a time while I write my next book. However, I only use the services approved by Instagram, I’ll list those later on.
Before I do that, I’ll discuss why authors should consider pre-scheduling apps. During a book launch, you might be asked to do interviews or even write a guest post on a popular blog. Most hosts would appreciate it, if they don’t require an author to promote the project on their own social media sites. Now I know that sounds like common sense but you’ll be surprised at how few authors actually do this. It’s not because of ego or the fear of marketing but usually because during a book launch, authors are busy or just plain nervous. Nonetheless, this can be seen as rude or unprofessional by those trying to help promote us and our work.
What can scheduling/ reminder apps help authors promote or remember?
- Book signing dates
- Radio or television interviews
- Online or offline book tours
- Holiday posts: Wish your followers a Happy New Year or World Book Day. Yes, that’s a real holiday.
- Post while on vacation or even while sick.
Many authors use these scheduling apps for pretty much all their social media accounts, though I don’t recommend relying solely on these apps to post, I do believe they can be aides in helping keep authors organized.
The more popular scheduling/ reminder apps are:
- Schedugram: Free 7 day trial after that, it’s $20+ for your first 10,000 followers.
There you have, it more tips and ideas for authors who want to use Instagram for their book marketing. If you have anymore tips, please let me know in the comments section.