How To Use Instagram To Promote Your Content

How To Use Instagram To Promote Your Content

Abigail Shepherd

Instagram is a great platform for writers, but just like anything there are things that work and things that don't. I have not only successfully created and organically grown my own account, but also other author's accounts. I hope my experiences can help you do the same.

Here are my top four tips for promoting your content on Instagram:

1. Don't Use a Personal Account

You may already use Instagram to post pictures of your cats, shoes, or scrabble parties. Fine. But don't use this account to publicize your writing. It isn't just a hobby - you need to view it as a business. So take it seriously enough to setup a professional-looking account. Short and simple.

Extra Tip: Post something on it every day if you can.

2. Choose a Content Theme and Stick To It

What do you write about? Fitness? Food? Flamenco? Great, you have a target audience, so now you need to choose a consistent theme for your content on Instagram.

First of all, name your account something that will attract them, and then post pictures on your subject.

What if you write fiction? Then consider what genre it is. Whether it is mystery, romance, thriller or YA, it will appeal to certain people and needs an appropriate theme. Even if you write in a mixture of styles and genres, you can always focus on one particular content theme, but there is one type of person who will be interested in them all - bookaholics. These story-junkies are often writers too, so you can also choose to gear your theme towards this group.

Extra Tip: Support their work and they will support yours.

Once you’ve decided on a content theme, stick to it. For example, if you're writing a historical fiction novel, and you have decided to post interesting facts from that period, then make sure you do just that. Those who like your content are going to be more engaged if you keep providing more of the same type of content.

Of course, you can also post other things for variety, such as pictures of you writing in different places (coffee shops are always a winner), or doing research. However, never forget that people who follow you are doing so because they like your content. If you suddenly start posting nothing but pictures of Larry the Labradoodle, when you promised tasty food, then you are likely going to start losing a lot of followers no matter how cute Larry is. True, you might also gain some dog lovers. But they will not be very interested in your writing.

Extra Tip: A note of caution - if every one of your Instagram posts is an appeal for people to buy your book, then they will eventually get bored. Your aim is not just to tell people you have written one, but instead you need to show them why they will love it. So post good photos with interesting captions. If you bore people on social media why would they not expect to be bored when reading your longer pieces?

Related: 30+ Free Ways to Market Your Book

3. Use Hashtags Wisely

Hashtags help others find your posts on Instagram. If you are not sure what to use, then look at what other authors in your niche are using. Hashtags like #writer or #indieauthor are both always good to use. However, a hashtag like #writeroffantasyfictionsetintheottomanempire might just be a bit too niche.

Also, use multiple hashtags. Something between 7 to 12 hashtags is a good number. This amount is enough so that you are easy to discover, but not so much that you annoy people. Of course, make sure your hashtags are relevant to your post.

4. Most importantly - Be Friendly

There are rules of etiquette on social media, just like daily life. If someone comments that they like your post, say thank you. This simple gesture also doubles your comments.

Also "follow" back at least some of the people who follow you on Instagram.

"Like" other people's posts. Interact with them. Be social. That's what social media is for! Your followers will soon notice if you don't interact with them!

Authors who have loyal and supportive followers have them because they are loyal and supportive themselves. It is easy to get the "numbers." But 100 engaged followers is much better than 5,000 uninterested ones. Indeed, there are many apps that can help you get more. But these followers are not friends - they are not engaged. Engaged followers are harder to get. But it is the engaged followers who will read your blog, poetry, and short stories. It is engaged followers who will leave reviews and buy your book.

And isn't that the whole point in the first place?

Related: Lessons on Marketing from the Customer's Perspective

Marketing Articles

Abigail Shepherd is a 29-year-old author living in Scotland. Her work has most recently been published by The Flash Fiction Press and Mystery Weekly, and she also has a series on Channillo.com 

She hopes her soon to be published novel, Victoria's Victorian Victory, will encourage teenage girls to think about their futures and set goals for themselves. You can find her on both Instagram and Twitter under the name @abiwriting.

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