The Personal Journey of Social Media
Let’s be clear from the outset: there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to social media. Your journey will be as unique as you are. Perhaps you’re a social media novice, or maybe Facebook is your comfort zone. Or perhaps you find the whole thing a bit overwhelming and time-consuming. That’s okay. Your online presence is a personal journey, shaped by your goals, your skills, and the time you can dedicate to expanding your digital footprint.
The Instagram Phenomenon
Instagram is popular for a reason. Yes, it can be overwhelming, and yes, you might not have the time or the understanding to fully embrace it. And let’s not even start on TikTok. But before you dismiss Instagram, let’s explore why it’s considered so important.
Instagram: A Writer’s Haven
There are several reasons why Instagram should be a haven for writers. It’s easy for someone to say, “You should get on Instagram,” but has anyone ever explained why?
A Clean, Distraction-Free Feed
If you’re thinking, “Social media IS a distraction,” you’re not wrong. But Instagram’s platform is much simpler, with fewer native linking options, no busy sidebar, simple text comments, and no in-feed sharing option. This creates a cleaner platform with an engagement rate that far surpasses other social platforms.
The Bookstagram Phenomenon
This is probably why people keep telling you how great Instagram is for authors. LOOK AT ALL THE AUTHORS THERE! This is both a plus and a minus – you want to network with other authors, book reviewers, etc. But these aren’t necessarily the people who will buy your book. The GOOD news is that your readers are probably on Instagram, too.
A Free Marketing Tool
The most crucial thing to understand is that Instagram is a marketing tool. It’s a way to get people to connect with you as an author, and then connect with your work. The reach potential is vast, the content presentation is beautiful, and you get to control how little or how much you want to share. You get to control your aesthetic and your messaging. You get to build relationships and support others.
If you recognize Instagram as a marketing platform, then all of your content is marketing content. You are your own product. What story do you want to tell?
Direct Shopping Links in Your Posts
Seriously. Instagram has a “Shop This Post” functionality, which means you can sell things IN THE PLATFORM. If you’re trying to sell books, this should matter to you. Here’s a link on how to set everything up.
It’s easy to talk about this theoretically, but how do you even start to build an account? Once again, this is a situation that does not have a single answer. However, there are some guidelines that might help things feel more manageable.
Building Your Hashtag Bank
I’m mentioning this first for a reason, and that reason is it will force you to research. Understanding the space you’re trying to participate in is critical. If you’re looking to connect with Bookstagrammers who will help you by photographing and reviewing your book, then you need to know which feeds you should tag. And no, #bookstagram is not enough.
In fact, you should be using up to (not more than) THIRTY hashtags on Instagram. Look at larger accounts and accounts that are similar to you in genre, explore their hashtag banks. Create a mix of broad author hashtags like #authorsofinstagram and more niche hashtags like #momswhowrite. You can save these hashtag banks in your notes app on your phone, a Google doc,
or some other accessible place so you don’t have to pull them every time. Copy/paste and you’re good to go!
And no, it probably doesn’t matter if you put the hashtags in the comments or in the caption of the post. Do you, boo.
YOU DON’T HAVE TO DO EVERYTHING AT ONE TIME! I promise, it’s okay to take it one step at a time. We all have a wheelhouse. If videos come naturally to you, start with Reels or Stories. If images come naturally, take pictures and write captions. Text your thing? Drop words on an image and own that. Then, you can build out your content as you become more comfortable and figure out what works and what doesn’t. Give yourself room to grow.
Consistency is Key
You need to post around 5-7 times a week minimum. Show up. Nothing else matters if you aren’t posting. Figure out a flow that works for you and stick to it.
Here’s an example:
You know you are comfortable with text on image posts, which you make in Canva. Since these are an easy lift for you, you create 3 a week.
You decide to add in one video. Maybe it’s just a 30 second Reel.
Then, you add in 2 photos posts a week, focusing on you and your writing environment.
That gets you to 6 posts a week! Figure out what is easiest for you, and start there.
What to Post?
The first question I like to ask when people say this is “Well, what do you WANT to post?”
“Authenticity” has become trite, but it is still a critical component of success on social media. Nobody wants to read a book written by someone they don’t believe. You have to be yourself – or at least a version of yourself that you are comfortable with.
One dimensional people are boring, and you are not one dimensional. You do things outside of writing a book. Do you have other creative outlets? Other endeavors you are proud of? In the trenches of momming young children? Coffee addict? Go to interesting places? Obsession with collecting offbeat comic books? Talk about it! Give people something to agree or disagree with you on. It sparks conversations and leads to relationships and community.
Some content suggestions:
SHOW YOUR FACE. We want to know who you are. Other creative projects True stories from your daily life Travel photos Daily coffee mug photos if coffee is your thing Photos of your writing space Illustrations of your characters Causes/groups/things you support Memes (Create your own. Don’t just steal them.)
It’s Going to Be Okay
If you’re just getting started, there’s going to be a learning curve. You’re going to make mistakes and you’re going to be uncomfortable. It’s always that way when you step out of your comfort zone! But don’t let it stop you. You have to start if you’re going to learn, and once you learn it’ll get easier. Just like everything else in life, you are so much more aware of your awkwardness and your mistakes than anyone else is. Typos happen. You’re going to get cut off on a Story at some point. It’s all going to be fine – own it, move on.
You can do this!
A Shortcut to Success
Starting an Instagram account from scratch can be a daunting task. It requires time, effort, and resources to create quality content and build an audience. However, there are platforms that offer established Instagram accounts for sale. This can provide a quick way to kickstart your Instagram journey, allowing you to focus on creating content and engaging with your audience.
The Final Word
Remember, your journey on Instagram is unique to you. It’s about finding your voice, connecting with your audience, and sharing your story in a way that resonates with them. It’s not about perfection, but about authenticity and consistency. So, take a deep breath, embrace the journey, and remember: you can do this!
But before you dive in, it’s important to ensure the quality of your audience. Tools like FameAudit can help you check the authenticity of followers and detect any fraudulent activity. This way, you can ensure your efforts are reaching a genuine audience that’s truly interested in your content.
Remember, Instagram is not just a social media platform; it’s a tool for building your brand, connecting with your audience, and sharing your unique story. So, embrace the journey, and let your unique voice shine through.