Should Authors Be on Instagram? Absolutely!

InstagramAn agent recently told a colleague 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 social media network for growing your audience simply because it is another visual platform, and as I’ve noted before, the social web is a visual social web.

So using visual platforms, such as Instagram and Pinterest, and adding images to your posts on other platforms, is critical.

I read a post by Mashable some time ago, 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, 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 … 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.

I think the above 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 you can connect Instagram to your Facebook account so that when you post something on Instagram, it will immediately appear on Facebook without a glitch. (Don’t connect Instagram to Twitter; the posts on Twitter will look spammy.)

Instagram by the Numbers

Consider these statistics about Instagram.

  • A majority of Instagram users visit the app every day. (Pew Research Center)
  • 71% of 18 to 24-year-olds use Instagram. (Pew Research Center)
  • 35% of U.S. adults now say they use this platform, an increase of seven percentage points from the 28% who said they did in 2016. (Pew Research Center)
  • 35% of all U.S. adults who say they use the internet also use Instagram. (Pew Research Center)
  • Instagram has 1 billion monthly active users (TechCrunch)

9 Ways Authors Can Use Instagram

If you still aren’t convinced that you should be using Instagram, consider 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.
  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. 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.
  6. 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.” It’s estimated that you should use between nine and eleven hashtags for each image. You can’t use more than 30.
  7.  Use Instagram to connect and collaborate with your readers. Post images of your book covers as well as images of the book covers you are considering using and ask your followers to help you select one. Also post images of book covers from books you’ve read and enjoyed and share the book covers from your colleague’s books.
  8. 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.
  9. Use Instagram to give your readers a visual tour of your life. Snap shots of your office where you write, or your favorite hiking area. Or take a picture of the outside of your favorite cafe or your dog. Take your readers on a visual tour of your life.


Social Media Just for Writers 2nd Edition

Well written, well researched – well thought out. This book is a must have!

Ryshia Kennie 

Frances CaballoAuthor of this blogFrances Caballo is an author and social media strategist and manager for writers. She’s a regular speaker at the San Francisco Writers Conference and a contributing writer at Frances wrote several social media books including Social Media Just for Writers and The Author’s Guide to Goodreads. Her focus is on helping authors surmount the barriers that keep them from flourishing online, building their platform, and finding new readers. Her clients have included authors of every genre and writers’ conferences. Not sure how you’re doing online? Sign up for her free email course.

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