Should Authors Be on Instagram? Absolutely!

4-6-15  Find Your Readers on InstagramYou’re reading the text version of the Social Media for Authors Podcast, Episode 19, written and copyrighted by Frances Caballo.


[smart_track_player url=”″ color=”d8570b” title=”Should Authors Be on Instagram? Absolutely!” artist=”Frances Caballo” ]I surveyed my newsletter and blog subscribers as well as visitors to my website before launching my podcast and asked all of you which topics you would most like me to cover in the podcast. A high percentage of you said you wanted to learn more about Instagram. So here we are ready to delve into Instagram.

As usual, this week’s episode includes summaries of four blog posts with awesome suggestions and, of course, I have your tip of the week.

Why Authors Need to Be on Instagram

Let’s start with your weekly tip.

Okay, first I have to start with a confession. I am not an avid Instagram user. I do have an account, I have played around with it, but it is one of those social media networks that I have to get busy and start using on a regular basis. So in a way this episode is helping you and me.

Now that I’ve gotten that off my chest let’s get down and dirty about Instagram.

An agent recently told my colleague and friend, Nina Amir, who happens to be a fabulous nonfiction book coach, that if authors want to find a publisher they need to use Instagram.

Well, some of you may not be interested in finding a publisher and others of you might want to find one. Either way, Instagram is an important network for growing your audience simply because it is another visual platform, and as I’ve noted before, we are increasingly moving toward a visual social web. So using visual platforms is becoming critical.

While researching this topic, I read a post by Mashable, and this is what they had to say on this topic:

One thing is clear: A focus on visuals is dominating the social media landscape. Snapchat, Vine, Pinterest and Instagram all offer unique advantages and opportunities for promotion and engagement. Some authors pin book cover art for inspiration for their upcoming projects, or keep a virtual “quote book” on Pinterest; others target college-aged students with Snapchat stories. You can use Vine for promotional purposes, or authors can ask fans to create mini videos depicting their favorite compelling scenes (in six seconds, of course) from various works. Running these types of contests is an excellent way to raise awareness about a book launch or start a conversation among readers around a specific plot point.

A focus on visuals is dominating the social media landscapeClick To Tweet

I think this paragraph sums up the importance of visual platforms, including Instagram. Especially if you write young adult, new adult, middle grade, and books intended for the millennial demographic, Instagram is a must have in your social media marketing arsenal.

Even if you don’t write for those markets, visual marketing is as important as text-based marketing. So I encourage you to at least dabble in it. One benefit is that whenever you post a visual on Instagram, it will automatically appear on Twitter and Facebook. Pretty cool, right?

Okay, let’s move on to the second portion of the episode.

Now for the second segment of the show …

Awesome Tips for Authors Using Instagram

Jim Devitt, writing for Indies Unlimited, wrote a great post titled Instagram: Should You Be On It?

Of course, his answer is an authoritative yes. First, he shares these impressive statistics:

  • 300 million active users
  • 70 million posts per day
  • 70% of users are outside the United States (Think about the worldwide audience you can reach.)
  • Average time on the site by users is twenty-one minutes per day
  • Forty-one percent of the Internet users age 16-24 use Instagram while usage among 24-34 is at 35%.

Now here’s the kicker. Devitt notes that according to Socialbakers, “the top brands on Instagram have a post engagement rate 4700% higher than on Twitter.”

The top brands on Instagram have a post engagement rate 4700% higher than on TwitterClick To Tweet

All I can say is, Wow!

If you’d like to see examples of some author Instagram accounts, then look at what these writers are doing: Jon Krakauer and Stephen King.

I don’t know about you, but I know that I need to get busy and get more active on this platform.

Next, there was a post on Joel Friedlander’s blog titled Top 7 Ways Authors Are Using Instagram that was written by Adrienne Erin.

If you still aren’t convinced that you should be using Instagram, she offers these reasons:

  1. It is a great platform for following bloggers who review books. Many book bloggers use this platform and the more you connect with them, the more likely they will review your books.
  2. Use this platform for marketing. You can use this network as you would Facebook or Twitter. In other words, you can host contests and ask for photo submissions that revolve around the theme of your book. She has other ideas about this too.
  3. Instagram is another platform you can use to post quotes to provide visual inspiration. Who doesn’t like to read inspiring quotes?
  4. You can collaborate with readers who can also help you with research for your next book.
  5. Now this is a fun reason. By taking pictures of your office, a walk you take on the beach, a hike to take in the woods, you are connecting with your readers in a new, deeper way. And you are letting them get a more rounded look into your life.

Adrienne has some other suggestions in this post so be sure to read the entire article.

This next post is by Louise Myers, who I recently discovered. If you don’t subscribe to her blog, I recommend that you check it out. In this post, You’ll Flip for Instagram Layout App’s Fast Photo Collages! you will learn about Instagram’s new layout application.

According to Louise, this new application allows users to set up nine pictures for a grid. It uses a Faces tab to allow you to select only the photos with faces in them. The application gives you 8 to 15 different layouts to choose from – awesome!

Louise quotes John Barnett, product manager at Instagram as saying, “Creation should be simple, intuitive and fun.” These applications look simple and a lot of fun.

The final post I want to talk about is from Social Media Examiner, one of the top social media marketing blogs on the Internet. If you can block out the word business in this post, and replace it with author, you will learn some great tips for marketing your books on Instagram.

This blog post discusses four tips you can use to promote your books on this network.

  1. Use hashtags. Yes the popular hashtags from Twitter that are also used on Google+, Pinterest, Tumblr, and to a lesser extent on Facebook, are also used on Instagram. Now here is what Max Woolf said after analyzing 120,000 Instagram photos to figure out whether there was a correlation between hashtags and Likes. As Social Media Examiner explains, “He found that the more hashtags an Instagram photo has, the more likes it gets. Why? Because hashtags give photos a larger reach.”
  2. The second tip is to build trust. A personal trainer started posting images and videos of herself with fitness selfies, short videos of her workouts, and images of the meals she enjoyed. She followed this up with an e-book and a 12-week training guide. Guess what? She now has more than 1.7 million followers and quite a customer base. And her book is flying off the proverbial shelf. How’s that for a great book marketing example?
  3. Use Instagram to connect and collaborate with your readers. Post images of your book covers. I want to add this suggestion: add images of the book covers you are considering using and ask your followers to help you select one. Now this is a tactic I’ve used on Facebook, and my friends and fans always pick the best cover.
  4. The final tip is a typical one. Don’t create an account and then abandon it. Just like you don’t want to create a blog and then not write a post for months, once you create an account on this network, keep posting images several times a day.
Use Instagram to connect and collaborate with your readersClick To Tweet

Remember my experiment with the fun posts? I’ve decided to delete the fun portion of the episode because I think all the information I share is fun and because it was making my episodes too long.

I like keeping my episodes at about 10 to 11 minutes so that you can listen to it quickly, check the show notes for links, and in less than half an hour get all the information you need. As writers, we have to be careful how we allocate our time and so I am dedicated to keeping these episodes to about 10 to 11 minutes so that you’ll have more time to write.

And that brings me to another topic: If you just happen to be looking for more time to write so you can spend less time on your marketing, check out my book, Avoid Social Media Time Suck. You will find some awesome tips in this book, which you can pick up for $2.99 on Amazon. Learn more about the book here.

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Frances Caballo- Author of Avoid Social Media Time SuckYou’re reading the text version of the Social Media for Authors Podcast, written and copyrighted by Frances Caballo.Connect with Frances on FacebookTwitterLinkedInPinterest, and Google+. Loved this episode? Subscribe to the podcast on iTunes!

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