Social media is a gold mine of unlocked potential to build a following, showcase your writing ability and helping you gain exposure. If you are a writer looking to get noticed or inspired, Instagram is a great way to connect with other authors and readers.
According to The Medium Well, Instagram’s growth has outpaced the other top four social media platforms in recent years: Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Pinterest. Furthermore, Instagram has very dedicated users who often use the platform daily.
So how can writers use Instagram to their benefit? Here are some easy things to keep in mind to find and engage your target readership on Instagram.
1. Use Hashtags Strategically
Hashtags help your Instagram posts be seen by people not following you. There are countless numbers of hashtags you can add to your post, but if you add more than 30, Instagram deletes your caption entirely—so keep below that limit.
To find the hashtags where your readers are hanging out, looking through #bookstagram is a good place to start. If nothing else, find authors with books similar to yours and see what writing hashtags they’re using and copy those.
2. Run Giveaways
Giveaways help you gain followers while marketing your book at the same time. Set up the giveaway so that entrants have to tag a certain number of friends (two to three is a good number) in the comments section to enter. Thus, those friends see the giveaway and hopefully enter too.
3. Stick to the 80/20 Rule
There’s a marketing rule that says you should promote your own work 20% of the time and post other content 80% of the time. If you simply self-promote over and over again, people will get bored with your posts and unfollow your account.
Instead, share engaging, new content that relates to what you write—perhaps highlight a character or message from your book, or show yourself sitting at your computer writing. Figure out what posts get the most interaction and then lean on those.
4. Engage, Engage, Engage
Find out what other Instagrammers your ideal reader follows and engage with their posts. Strike up conversations with fans about shared passions, and you might just find yourself with new followers.
5. Make Opportunities
Make anything into an Instagram opportunity—especially something you were already using for marketing purposes such as new swag, posters, or bookmarks. Post about them! And tag the designers/creators so they can see it and comment.
6. Post Often
Don't go weeks (or even a week) without posting. Try to post every day if you can. This will keep you top of mind and show Instagram you’re an active user.
7. Ask Questions
Asking questions in your caption gives people something to comment on, and the more comments your post gets, the more likely the Instagram algorithm will think it’s engaging content and push it to more feeds. You can ask followers what they’re reading, what their favorite book is, or what they plan to read this weekend.
8. Don't Buy Followers
While it may be tempting to spend a few dollars to increase your following quickly, those fake followers aren't going to be liking your content, commenting on your posts, or buying your books. It’s best to build your following organically so you know you have followers who actually like what you do.
9. Sponsor a Post
Using Facebook, you can create ads that run on Instagram, and boosting a post can be a great way to target your readers. Just keep in mind that if you’re cross-promoting across Facebook and Instagram with the same ad, a whole bunch of hashtags don't look good on a Facebook ad—and no hashtags means your discoverability on Instagram won't be as good. So create a good balance.
This is how you introduce yourself and make new connections in a genuine and authentic way on Instagram. And the great thing is that when your ideal reader sees what you’re sharing, they will check out your profile to learn what you’re all about.
If you’re interested in finding out more about how to market your book on social media, we can connect you with our marketing team to learn more.