Growing your Author Instagram

If you've been following along with my articles, you'll know that I talk a lot about why building your author platform is so important to your career as an author. Not only can your platform show literary agents how serious you are, making them more likely to sign with you, but the larger platform you have, the more readers you can target.

This article is going to explore some helpful tips on how to grow your Instagram author account specifically.

How to use hashtags correctly

Make quality content

The most important rule of Instagram, and really any social media, is to create quality content. One thing that social media users don't want to see on your grid is constant book promotion, so it's important you have a variety of posts that will encourage users to follow you and engage with you. Here are a few ideas of what else you can share, other than images of your book:

  • Pictures of other books - the bookstagram community is huge and, if you're growing your following by sharing other books that make others want to read, then when you share pictures of your own book, those same people will be more likely to buy your book.

  • Behind the scenes - you also want to start building a fan base of users who are constantly liking and sharing your posts, and engaging with you as an author. Users love to see behind the scenes of your life as a writer, whether it's what your work desk looks like, your favourite reading spot, holiday photos or something else!

  • Pictures of yourself - posts like 'meet the author' posts always work well as your followers, especially if they're new, want to find out more about you. What works especially well for this, is if you share a picture alongside some interesting facts about you as the caption!

Focus on engagement

It can be tempting when starting a new author Instagram to put all your focus on the number of followers you have, but the number of followers should not be the most important thing. Rather, the engagement should be your focus. You could have thousands of followers, and find that that few of them will actually order your book. However, if you're focussing on creating engaging content, and regularly engaging with other users, then you'll find that this will reflect on your sales reports.

You can increase your engagement in a few of the following ways:

  • Always ask a question in your caption, that entice users to comment - QOTD posts work wonders for this and I've made a post with over fifty QOTD ideas. Click here to go to that post.

  • Regularly engage with content by other users - this entices them to engage with your posts, and helps to build valuable connections.

  • Reply to every comment - this is such an important one that I see so many often miss. On Instagram, when you reply to a comment, it adds your comment to the number of comments on the post. Say that one person comments and you reply to it, it will show that two people have commented on your post when really it's just one. The higher the number of comments shown to other users, the more likely they are to comment themselves as they want to also gain a sense of community.

  • Post your hashtags in the comment section - if you schedule your posts in advance, I wouldn't recommend doing this as you'll have to remember to add the comments on the post at the time of posting, however, if not you should add your hashtags in the comments. Why? Because many people don't want to be the first comment. By posting your hashtags in the comment section, it will show that your post has one comment already.

  • Take part in random act of kindness (RAOK) posts - these are great to give back to the community, and those you give to and more likely to follow you. You can find these posts by searching for the hashtag #raok.

  • Host giveaways and competitions - more on this to follow below.

Use the correct hashtags

You want to be targeting the right people, in order to gain relevant followers who will be more likely to engage with your posts and buy your books. Here are some great hashtags to use:

Not only should you be using hashtags such as the above, but you should also use a variety of hashtags that have a low number of uses. This is because your post is more likely to show up on the 'top' section on these hashtags, over larger ones that bigger accounts are using. I have made an article about using hashtags, so click here to check it out.

Create saveable content

The Instagram algorithm has changed, and it will most likely change again and again to our dismay. Instagram now values content which gets a high number of saves, alongside shares and engagement, over likes, and the content with these things they will now share to other users, over posts without saves and engagement. So, one way we as authors and writers can combat this, is by creating saveable content. Here's a few ideas as to how you can do that:

  • Make your pictures saveable-worthy - users will save posts that they want to take inspiration from.

  • Make your captions saveable-worthy - similar to the photos, users will also save posts with captions that they want to use. This could be a good QOTD post, or a certain caption style.

  • Informational posts work wonder - posts which aim to provide useful information to other writers are more likely to be saved. These can be writing tips, author updates and so on.

  • Asking is okay - don't be afraid to ask if your users can save and share the post in your caption, everyone knows how the algorithm works now, and most will want to help!

Host giveaways and competitions

One of the easiest ways to gain engagement and reach new accounts on Instagram is to host competitions and giveaways! This is because you can create certain rules that entrants must do, in order to enter, such as tagging two bookstagram friends in the comments (which will further increase your reach) and having another rule that they must be following you (which will increase your following alongside the increased reach).

Here's an example of a giveaway post that has worked really well!