Instagram for Authors

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Social media is tricky to manage, especially for promotional work. How do you build a super-fun Instagram profile that draws followers and builds your fanbase? A few simple tips, however, can help everyone improve their online brand.

What to Avoid

The number one mistake new Instagram users make is pushing products. This counts for authors, too. People don’t follow celebrities just because they like their special perfume, their movies, or their clothing line. Followers want interesting content. You need to share your work rarely and strategically. Acknowledge what you do tangentially and make different items or events the focus of individual posts. Your Instagram isn’t the same as your author website. Show more personality, promote less product. That means snapping pictures of the audience at your latest reading, showcasing the steam rising from your favorite mug as you edit, and – yes – giving your cat some time in the limelight.

Be Yourself – And an Artist

Social media platforms rely on a blend of reality and artistry to create authentic-feeling content. In order to do well on Instagram, you need to learn how to show off the right parts of your life in the best life. Practice taking pictures before you post. After all, Instagram is a visual tool. Experiment with lighting, positioning, filters, and photogenic parts of your home and office.

Post about things people would ask an author in an interview. What are you reading? What are your favorite books? Where do you find inspiration? What does writer’s block look like in your world? Most importantly: what do you do when you’re not writing? Authors tell stories with words, but try to make each Instagram post its own story.

Use the Platform’s Popular Topics

We’re talking about more than hashtags, but those are – of course – also important. What we’re talking about is the magic of children, pets, food, and travel. These are four of the most popular types of Instagram posts, and you can leverage them to promote your author ‘brand’ without over-pushing your product (your book).

  • Family and Friends: Followers enjoy seeing you within the context of people you love. For a writer, this means funny kids in your life, entertaining friends, fellow writers, and fans you may meet at events.
  • Pets: Very few people actively dislike pets, and they won’t mind a few pictures of your weird dog or photogenic cat. Even fish can brighten up your Instagram feed.
  • Food: Taking meal pics is easy, but remember that you can take pictures of tea, coffee, energy drinks, and all the lovely things that keep you awake as you write. Your food and beverages can play discreetly into your creator narrative.
  • Travel: We love to see the world, even when we can’t travel ourselves. That’s why travel shots are so very popular online. If you travel, use that to your advantage. If you travel to share your writing, all the better!

What parts of your life would make great Instagram shots? Do you live in the woods? Is your dog a cutie? Just like writing, your Instagram must draw inspiration from the world around you.


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