One of our favorite past-times is scrolling incessantly through our countless social media platforms. With over 1 billion active users, Instagram is one of the most popular apps in use today, and it’s a haven for bookworms. Instagram’s focus on images makes it ideal for author promotions, because they’re able to showcase their books within relevant settings — something that drives readers to their posts. In fact, that’s what Bookstagram is all about: posting stunning pictures of books, with beautiful aesthetics and strict color palettes.
Our tip – as an author, you can even make captivating posts featuring quotes from your books.
Here are some easy ways you can use Instagram to market your book!
01. Host Giveaways.
Whenever I open the Instagram app, there is at least one person who would have tagged me in some giveaway. While I have yet to win one yet, giveaways are an amazing way to increase engagement on your posts, and to introduce strangers to your work. Giveaways have a set of rules that each participant has to follow: following the required Instagram accounts, liking the relevant post, tagging people in the comments and/or sharing the post in your story. And a participant who has followed all of the rules is then picked at random as the winner.
Get creative with the prizes. You can even partner up with famous bookstagrammers who would repost the giveaway on their Instagram for all their followers to take part.
02. Make Use of Stories and Instagram Live
Instagram Live, launched in August 2020, is an amazing way to engage with your readers. It lets users stream a live video to their followers (who are sent a notification) through Instagram Stories. You can have live Q&A sessions with your readers where they can ask you questions directly, or you can simply discuss your upcoming releases — but, most importantly, you can even broadcast your virtual Book Launch via Instagram Live!
Followers can also ‘Request’ you to let them join your live-stream. Who wouldn’t love to speak to their favorite authors live?
Besides Instagram Live, you can use Stories to ask questions from your followers using a simple question sticker, or even carry out polls to see what the majority prefers about a certain thing. Some authors also like to upload fun videos of them going about their work day, writing in the midst of chaos, and let fans have a glimpse into the writer life — also a glimpse at their adorable pets.
03. Reach Out to Popular Bookstagrammers
Bookstagram is not a separate app or platform. It is simply a sub-community of Instagram users — readers and authors who love talking about, and taking stunning pictures of the books they read. There are Bookstagrammers with hundreds of thousands of followers, and if they read and liked your book — and told their followers about it — you could be looking at a potential sell-out of your novel. Yes, a community of bookworms is that powerful.
And yet, when reaching out to Bookstagrammers with a request to read your novel, make sure you find those who read your genre. You can’t expect a YA reader to be fascinated by your mystery novel. And make sure you’re authentic and ask nicely, in a way that will make the reader want to read your book, not simply obliged to do it. But remember, even if they did accept your offer, it might take them weeks to actually start reading your book — a Bookstagrammer is still a person, after all, so they would have other commitments.
04. Use Hashtags, and Carefully Plan and Organize Your Content
Instagram users follow strangers if they like what they see — an organized page that sticks to an attractive color palette (not obligatory, but gives some nice effects) with useful content. Plan how you want your page to look like. Upload posts that are timely and regular. Ask for your readers’ opinions about something in the captions, and watch them engage in the comments.
Hashtags are also an important part that comes into play with your posts. Readers tend to follow hashtags of their favorite genre of books, so if yours falls into that remember to tag it! Another way to determine what tags to use is using third-party hashtag targeting sites. Simply just input a single hashtag you think is related to your book and it will generate others that are similar and trending. This simple step can greatly increase the amount of people your post is put in front of!
You can use third-party apps like Preview to see how things would turn out on Instagram, and even schedule your posts beforehand.
05. Use Instagram Ads
Instagram Ads are paid advertisements that businesses (and even individuals) can use to target people who would be interested in their product. At this time Instagram (specifically Story Ads) is the most affordable way to advertise and set your own budgets. Their ‘auction’ based selling system consists of two types: you can choose to pay according to Cost Per Click (CPC) which could be anywhere between 2 cents to $2, or Cost Per Mile (CPM) which is about $5 per 1000 visitors. You can also specify your target audience—you can easily make sure the advertisement finds users of a specific age group, locations, and interests. Instagram ads have a tendency to blend in with ordinary posts, and most users are unlikely to find these advertisements annoying—increasing the click rate.
Sharika Hafeez is a nerd, and she’s proud of it. Growing up, she fell in love with books and writing, and is currently following her undergraduate degree (for some mysterious reasons) in Physics. She likes procrastinating by watching the stars with a steaming cup of tea, composing poetry in her head.