Not only has Instagram hit over one billion users, but it has become a bookish hub for authors and readers (they’re called #bookstagrammers). With creative visuals of your book, punchy captions, and consistent posting, you’re bound to gain loyal followers and expand your readership.
Why use Instagram to enhance your author brand?
Instagram is the place where you can show off your personality as an author. The quality of your images is just as important as the quality of your captions. Make sure to post clear and bright images that match your brand identity.
Your brand identity is what distinguishes you from others. It’s what makes you special! Although this does not have to be an official “branding” per se, it’s helpful if you have a general idea of what type of energy and aesthetic you as an author bring to the table.
All of your posts should have a similar feel. On Instagram, the pages that perform best are the pages where there is a common aesthetic throughout. If there is a certain filter, photo style, or even angle you prefer to take your pictures at, use that to your advantage to develop your brand further. Don’t include too much text in your images—leave that for the caption. Keep your visuals clean, engaging, and visually appealing. Read more here about composition, lighting, and all the elements to taking a great photo. As you are posting about your book, try posting different images and graphics so that people know this is a new post and not a repeat of an earlier one.
It can be a struggle to be consistent on Instagram without feeling repetitive. Check out what other authors are doing on their platforms to keep followers interested and see what is working and what isn’t. Here are some ideas:
- Book Cover Reveal, for example.
- Preorder and Release Date Announcements, for example.
- Book Synopsis Reveal, for example.
- Testimonial Highlights
- Promotional Discounts
- Book Signings, for example.
- Media Attention, for example.
Even though Instagram is about visuals, your caption is still important. Make sure that every caption engages, entertains, or educates. You want to make sure that your caption is worthwhile to your followers and gives them something to think about or do.
In your caption, feel free to share a little bit about yourself and try to engage your audience. Is there a theme in your book you’d like to highlight? Is there something you feel that’s relatable and relevant to your audience? Share it! Followers love to feel like they know the people they follow.
Another great way to spice up your captions, especially if you are a new account trying to increase visibility, is to use hashtags! Hashtags are like search terms, so think about what you would search when looking for new books or authors and what you think people will search to find your book. Limit your posts to five relevant hashtags like #bookstagram, #MascotAuthors, #AuthorsofInstagram, #newbookrelease, #reading.
You can also use Instagram stories to engage your audience. Use hashtags, relevant locations, or tag relevant accounts in your stories. Let’s say your book is in a local bookstore—tag them in your story! There’s a chance they might share your story on their account, which will help you gain more exposure. This is not just for stories. You should also tag relevant accounts and locations in your posts.
Another way to use Instagram stories would be to host a poll or hold a Q&A. This allows people to get to know a little bit more about you. If you would like to keep your account focused on your book, you can post polls and Q&As specifically about your book and the writing process instead of about you as the author.
The final video formats to use on Instagram are Reels and IG Lives. IG Live is a live video that your followers can see what you are doing or comment with questions or thoughts. This is a great option for interactive discussions or to include people virtually at a reading or Q&A. Reels are a more curated video format. They can be very fun to experiment with during unboxings, cover reveals, or other active moments.
If this all sounds intimidating, you can share your posts to your stories or share other people’s posts to your stories. That takes some of the pressure off of you, while still giving you content.