Inspire Your Readers
Just because Instagram is all about photos doesn’t mean you can’t caption it—in fact you should caption all of your photos. Use this space to inspire your readers. There are several apps that can also turn book quotes into Instagram posts; this is a great way to tease your fans with quotes from your latest book—or your favorite quotes from pasts books.
Stories Saves the Day
In 2016, Instagram made changes to their algorithm that made influencers and users alike unhappy. Dubbed the "timeline algorithm" it changed the way photos were shown to users. Before the change, users would see photos in chronological order; with the change, users saw new photos based on photos the person had liked. What did this mean? Many posts were being overlooked by users.
For an author starting out, this is even more problematic. Fortunately, there’s a solution that every author, new and old, should be using: stories.
Stories lets users post photos and videos with different effects; the images (unlike regular posts, which are always available), expire in 24 hours. Stories are the little circles at the top of a person's feed. Why do they matter? In addition to giving you a space to post more casual and fun photos, Stories algorithm is largely chronological.
That means your viewers are more likely to notice you posted something new on Stories than they are in your feed. This doesn’t mean you should only post to Stories—you should be posting to both. A strategy many authors are using is to post their normal Instagram post in Stories and telling their readers to go to the post to read more.
One of Stories features is Instagram Live. This lets you post in real-time. It’s, again, a good place to let your readers see the real you. It’s also a good place to do Q&A’s before and after a book launch.
If you’ve ever thought about doing a virtual book tour, Instagram Live is a great place to start. You can do a live reading and then invite readers to ask questions after.
Like any social media outlet, hashtagging is important. You don’t need to (nor should you) hashtag every post, but do so when it’s appropriate. Also remember to always use geolocation when you are at a public place; never post a photo of you at an event and not check into the library or bookstore you happen to be at!
As with all social media marketing, remember to have fun!
This post was updated on 4/18/2019. It was originally published on 9/5/2017.