Instagram For Writers: 10 Compelling Tips

I first started using Instagram to promote Writing It Wells and to share my writing journey back in December of 2019. I was new to #writergram, and had no clue what I was doing.

New to sharing my writing online, I cringed thinking about having to come up with a marketing plan to promote myself as a writer. I knew that social media, when utilized properly, could open doors that otherwise I had no way of opening– agents, publishers, publicity, networking- all of these great things can come from finding your readers even before you publish.

As a self-published writer and later freelance book editor, I started out with doubts like: How would I get people to pay attention? How could I make the necessary networking connections to help me further my career?

The trick is to get started. You learn the rest as you go.

Building any kind of online following takes time and patience. It’s not an overnight gig by any means. The key is to adapt your mindset.

Social media marketing requires you to open up, share knowledge, and engage with your audience. It’s not a chore. It’s an opportunity to get creative, make friends, and dare I say it… have fun!

Fast forward almost five years, I consider myself to be fluent in Instagram and I’ve learned a thing or two about being on Instagram for writers. I’ve made over 1,759 posts and have gained over two thousand followers.

Infographic showing the average lifespan of each type of post on Instagram.

Here’s a few things I’ve learned from my experience:

Maximize your content’s impact: Lengthen the lifespan of your content by sharing it in more than one area. Instagram features multiple formats- posts, stories, reels, highlights, etc. Forgetting to upload your chosen content to each of the formats offered is a missed opportunity. Each form reaches a different audience posting everywhere ensures that more eyes will view it.

Create highlights to boost longevity: Highlights allow people to see what you post indefinitely, offsetting the shorter lifespan of a regular post (which only stays relevant for 48 hours). Don’t forget to tie it all into your branding by creating cute covers on Canva!

Post your feed to your stories: Make sure you’re sharing your posts to your stories as well. This tends to get overlooked, especially when we’re busy. But sharing your content twice will ensure more people will see it.

Use hashtags wisely: Hashtags are the biggest way to gain followers. Choose hashtags that vary- with the majority having smaller numbers of posts, those that are specific to your niche, and ones that are popular with readers for the best results.

Show personality but relate it back to your books: Use whatever you can as an Instagram opportunity. Did you just receive a mock-up of your book’s cover? Post it! Did you bake cookies that are your main character’s favorite kind- write a post. Did you just query your manuscript or receive your first book review? Share it.

Post often/consistently: The more you post, the more material you’ll have for people to find. More importantly than that is consistency. Whether you post twice a week or every day, having a schedule that you stick to will help provide your audience with dependability, which will in turn give them a reason to come back.

Don’t buy followers: As tempting as it may be, the option to buy followers is a waste of money. You may gain a bunch right away but they aren’t real people- mostly fake accounts and spam. Choose genuine connection over followers. Better to have 50 real, loyal followers than thousands of fake accounts that will never buy your book.

Sponsor a post: Another great option to boost visibility is to sponsor a post. By creating sponsored ads, you can reach more people without the hassle of direct engagement. It does cost money though, so this may not be an option for starting out but rather something to grow towards.

Don’t be afraid to try again: When in doubt, try, try again. You never know what is going to work for you and your ideal reader. Try new things, learn from making mistakes, and grow from the knowledge of what works and what doesn’t.

Study and apply knowledge: The best way to succeed is to find others who are currently succeeding. Study what these other users are doing. What are they doing? Why is it working? Once you know the answers to these questions you can begin to mimic their techniques in your own personal style.

Keeping your Instagram feed fresh and interesting can be exhausting, but with consistent, well-strategized effort you can ensure that your book baby is being seen (and bought) by the right readers.

 

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Alina (1)

Alina Wells is an author, blogger, and development editor based in the Midwest. When she's not helping writers, writing her debut novel, or building her fantasy author empire, she's reading under trees, cooking yummy things, spending time with her husband, or catering to her miniature pinscher overlord. She loves reading fantasy, young adult, and romance and has never met a pumpkin-spice product she didn't like.

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    • Writing It Wells says

      Thank you! I agree, the ever-changing algorithm is challenging. I’m glad you found my tips helpful!