At first sight, Instagram, a free social media app focused on images, might not seem like the best choice for writers. But if you use it correctly, Instagram is an excellent way to promote your writing and connect with fans—in fact, nearly half of all US adults use Instagram daily! With Instagram, you can take a photo or video with your mobile phone and then instantly share it with all of your followers across multiple social media platforms, including Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr.
Here are six fan-building tips to help you build an Instagram fan base:
1. Don’t set your account to private
This is a big no-no if you want a lot of followers. If you set your account to private, you might get a few requests for followers—but most of the people who come to your page and see that it’s private will simply move on to another page. Make it easy for fans to follow you and learn more about you and your writing by keeping your account open for your readers to see.
2. Stay active
Try to post a new picture at least twice a week. If you can post more than that, even better! But make sure the pictures you post are good quality. Use your photos to show fans who you are, share inspirational quotes, and promote other writers you love—and to showcase your own work!
3. Use hashtags wisely
Using hashtags is a great way to help fans find you! But you need to use them wisely. Some of the most used and searched-for hashtags are #love, #instagood, #cute, #happy, #me, and #photooftheday—however, these are very general and not specific to your audience, so we don’t recommend using them to build your fan base. Instead, use hashtags specific to reading and writing: #bookstagram, #bookworm, and #readinglist. Try others—or come up with some of your own—to see what works for you! Make sure your hashtags relate to your image, and don’t overuse them. A wall of hashtags is tiring and makes you seem obnoxious.
Don’t forget to use hashtags in your bio section! By using a few key hashtags to describe yourself, your profile will appear in more searches!
4. Cross-post to your Facebook and Twitter accounts
When you post a photo to Instagram, you have the option to also post it to other social media accounts. This is a great way for your Twitter and Facebook followers to find you on Instagram. But don’t share all of your Instagram photos on your other social media accounts, or people won’t have a reason to follow you on Instagram. Share a few teaser photos on Facebook and Twitter and let your fans know they can find even more interesting images when they check out your Instagram page.
Find and follow writers and readers by searching some of the previously mentioned hashtags. Interact with the people you follow: “Like” and comment on their photos. This will get the people you follow interested in you; some of their followers will take notice and then take a look at you! But don’t spam people—make sure your comments are sincere and related to the photos, and not just thinly veiled attempts to promote your own writing.
6. Hold a giveaway
Boost your promotional efforts and gain followers by giving away a copy of your book. Post an image of the book with the contest information. To enter your contest, have people follow you and repost the image with a specific hashtag like “#usernamegiveaway.” You’ll get new followers in no time!
QUESTION: Have you used Instagram to engage with readers? Tell us about it!