Social Media for Writers: How to use Instagram to promote your books

April 02, 2017
Instagram can be tricky to master when it comes to promoting your books, so in this post I share a few tips and tricks to promoting your books there.
Following on from my last two posts in this new series – how to promote your books on Twitter, and how to promote them on Facebook…

This post isn’t going to be about how to use Instagram. (I mean, if you’d like a post on that, then maybe drop a comment or message me and let me know?) But I’m going to assume that you guys know a bit more about how it works – how to make a post, how to comment, etc.

This post isn’t going to be about how to use Instagram. It’s going to be about how to use it to promote your books and promote yourself as a writer. 

Remember that one of the most important things to do with your Instagram profile is make sure you set it up with a good description, a profile picture, and a link. (You can read more about that in this post.)

Instagram is one of the social networks where I feel you can share more of your life.

A photo with friends, a photo of something you just baked, etc. Just bear in mind that while it’s a good idea to personable, you’re using it to promote yourself as a writer, so keep it reasonably professional. (That mostly means no selfies of you passed out drunk on a bathroom floor, you know?) 

Hashtags are so important on Instagram – as you probably know. And the more hashtags the better, right?

But then your caption looks cluttered. So how do you win this battle?

(This is where I share a neat little trick with you.)

Put your hashtags in the comment section.

I’d say use up to three within the post caption (when I was in Cape Town for the filming of The Kissing Booth movie, I used #TKBmovie in every caption of photos I posted from the trip). But then post the rest in the comment section, and don’t be afraid to use as many as you can.

A few good ones are:

  • #authorlife 
  • #amwriting 
  • #amediting 
  • #books 
  • #ukya 
  • #readya 

Each genre/type of post will have ‘common’ hashtags. Take a look around the Instagrams of popular authors in your genre and see what kind of hashtags they use. Taking a look around other Instagram accounts will probably give you a few ideas on what to post.

Which brings me to my next point: what kind of things do you post on your Instagram? Here are a few ideas.

  • Pictures of your book (in stores, on your shelf, etc.)
  • Fan art of your book
  • Sneak peeks and extracts from your novel
  • Your word count
  • Nice comments/reviews about your book
  • Quotes about writing/from a book you like
  • Your writing environment (you at your laptop, in a coffee shop, whatever!)
  • What you’re reading
  • Promo images*

*You can create some promo images for your book on free tools like Canva – maybe a little excerpt from your writing, or a book release date?
If someone shares something about your book, regram it (and credit them). If someone shares something about a book you want to read, you could regram it with a comment like ‘Bought this book last week, can’t wait to read!’

It’s also a great idea to link your Instagram to your other social media profiles.

You can do this really easily via the app itself, so that every time you upload something on Instagram it’ll post on Twitter and Facebook too. It just gives you something to share on those profiles.

Just two more important points to make about promoting your book on Instagram, and then I’ll wrap things up…

You have to follow other writers. Authors, Wattpad authors, book bloggers, etc. 

Those are the people in your environment, industry, whatever you want to call it. These are the people you want to connect with. You don’t have to follow back everyone who follows you, but if they’re another writer or a blogger, it’s worth doing.

And connect with people.

Don’t forget that you can share other people’s posts too, using the Regram app that goes alongside Instagram. 

This means replying to comments (and Instagram have that new little ‘like’ function on comments now. This means liking photos from other people and commenting on them. And it means asking questions. For instance, if you share a book you’re currently reading, ask in the caption what other people are reading at the moment. You get the idea.

(Bonus tip: if you want someone you follow to notice you, like a few of their photos, drop a few comments, but don’t just pester them to follow you back or like every single one of their photos. Just enough to make you stand out in their notifications feed.)

PS. Remember to follow me on Instagram!

Next up: Should you start a blog?


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