Instagram is a visual social media platform for twenty-somethings and teenagers, right? Is there any reason to join as a writer? The answer is yes! Instagram can be an important part of your social media platform. For more on building your platform, check out this post: Author Brand and Platform: A Lifeline You Can’t Ignore. Instagram offers writers a great opportunity to connect with readers, other authors, publicists, and book sellers. Here’s how to use Instagram as a writer.
First, Why IG?
Instagram’s best attribute is that unlike Facebook or Twitter, your content is more likely to be seen by viewers. We’ve all heard about Facebook’s impossible-to-decipher algorithm, so if you’re just now attending to a social media page, chances are, your message won’t reach many people. Instagram is different, which is why you might actually catch eyeballs with your content. People who use Instagram go on it often and engage with the content they see. This is the whole point of having a platform, which is what makes IG a great option.
How to Set it Up
If you already have a Facebook page, it’s easy to integrate your Instagram page (Facebook bought Instagram in 2012). All you have to do is get the Instagram app on your phone or tablet. It’s specifically designed as a mobile app, so it’s better to do it on one of those devices as opposed to your desktop.
Setting up an account is easy. Just follow the prompts. Once you do, you’re able to find contacts from your Facebook page automatically (well, by clicking one button). Another easy thing is that you’ll have the option of cross-posting to Facebook when you post something to Instagram. If you’ve gotten used to using and engaging with your Facebook page, this is a nice way to supplement it rather than feel like you have to add to the burden of social media engagement.
Setting up your Instagram as a business page will enable you to see insights into your viewership and to run ads, if you want to in the future.
What Should You Post on Instagram?
If you already use other platforms like Twitter or Facebook, you can post similar things to IG, with the proviso that it’s primarily a visual medium. If you have pithy comments on Twitter, turn them into a quote. Pictures you’d normally post on Facebook would be great. Obviously share books and information about your story, but also let people in on your life. Let’s be honest. Social media is all about voyeurism. So give the people what they want.
Instagram Stories vs. Posts
Instagram (and now Facebook too) has “stories,” which are posts you make that disappear after 24 hours. While the posts you put on Instagram stay in a grid of photos and videos that someone will see at-a-glance if they visit your page, stories show up in the top of your feed with a fuchsia circle around them. People notice them more and engage with them. You don’t have to put as much effort into the “look” of stories since they disappear. Posts you make are there forever, so think about photo composition.
Hashtags are a way to add key words to your posts. If you add #bookreview to your post, and someone in the world wants to find book reviews on Instagram, IG will add your post to that keyword search. This is why you see people add like twenty hashtags to their posts. It’s all about enabling other Instagram users to find you.
If you’re still wondering if Instagram is useful for writers, ask yourself the age old question about social media. Will you use it? Will you be social on it? Platforms are only as useful as you make them.