I was listening to the local radio station today as driving through Kilkenny and I was delighted to hear at the end of the news that Instagram, Pinterest and Tumblr are the three most popular and fastest growing platforms at the moment. Instagram now has over 300 million active users – even more than Twitter.
As publication date approaches for my second self-published book (September), I am using Instagram as one of my social media tools for growing brand awareness of my book, increasing my numbers of relevant followers and leading to book sales.
Are you using Instagram yet? Here’s 5 Instagram Tips regarding the kind of content that readers respond well to from writers.
1. Using Relevant Hashtags
People use hashtags to search Instagram as they would use search terms to look for relevant content on Google or other search engines. Therefore, you need to use relevant hashtags so your target audience can find your updates.
Writers tend to support each other so it is a good idea to become involved within a writing community by using writing-related hashtags. Examples include #amwriting, #writing, #writingtip, #writingprompt, #writinginspiration and #writingabook . If you read books of genre you write, you will find your target readers by using hashtags such as #bookoftheday, #bookworm, #readinglist and #readthisbook as well as hashtags related to that genre when sharing pictures of your favourite books and book reviews.
You can also find your target readers by searching for them by using relevant keywords, following them and interacting with their updates. You can search for them under ‘people’ which will present those with that keyword in their username or bio. Searching under ‘hashtags’ means you you can then use relevant hashtags within your own photographs. One of my main target groups are female farmers and farm wives hence I use (and search for) the popular hashtags #farmerswife, #farmer and #farmersdaughter quite often.
Whenever you read interviews with authors, the questions always seem to include references to where they write and their writing schedule. Provide your readers and fans with some glimpses into your life – be it photographs of your midday snack as you take a break from writing, the colours of the dawn sky as you pour your first coffee and start to type or the room where you write.
I love this photograph of @Kimbarl’s writing desk – the place where books are dreamed up, written, illustrated and brought to life. It piques my curiosity too, what is she working on at the moment?
3. Provide Sneak Peeks
Speaking of curiosity, providing followers with sneak peeks of your work will whet their appetite for more. Examples could include showing a select few of the illustrations for your book, photographs of excerpts or samples of writing at the various stages or even finished poems.
@AJ_Burgos shares many photographs of his poems, typed on woven paper with an old typewriter, compelling in both their form and their content.
What sneak peeks can you share? I’ll be sharing some illustrations and snippets of writing as well as asking for opinions on the front cover design.
4. Relevant Subject Matter
Take photographs of the topics and themes of your book and share them with relevant keywords. As I mentioned above, my next book focuses on farming hence I share photographs of animals and activities from our farm. In order to promote our 365 Social Media Tips book, we will be sharing visual representations of individual social media tips on our We Teach Social Instagram account, just like this one.
Other examples could include photographs of the scenes that inspire you, the beach where the opening scene is set, the river where the body is found, the bridge where a character proposes to the love of his life, the Victorian dress from the era your historial novel is set ……..
5. Photos of You
Not every writer or Instagram user likes including photographs of themselves. However, fun selfies are a great way to help readers identify with you, see you as a real person and maybe even dream of having their photograph taken with you sometime!
John Green, author of The Fault In Our Stars, has many selfies with various people in his Instagram account and most people see him as a really nice guy because of it.
That’s my five tips regarding the type of visual and written content you could share on Instagram to grow your following. If you would like to learn how to use lots more Instagram tools, drive more traffic to your website, link to your other social media accounts and grow those sales, we have two eLearning courses that would suit you: Instagram for Business and Learn How To Sell More Books Using Social Media.