Yrsa Daley-Ward, a traditionally published poet, attracts quite a crowd to her poetry readings at bookstores.
How did she gain this popularity? One word. Instagram.
She’s one of a growing breed of poets who uses Instagram and has been referred to as Instapoets.
Most Instapoets are self-published, such as Lang Laev (1 million+ followers on Tumblr), Robert Drake (1.3 million Instagram followers as of three years ago), and Tyler Knott Gregson (335,000 followers on Instagram).
In the New York Times last weekend, journalist Lovia Gyarkye reported that Daley-Ward:
“is part of a new generation of writers using social media to share their work, build their brand and find an audience.”
Perhaps the New York Times reporter just realized it but writers have been doing this for several years now. (In fact, I wrote a blog post about this phenomenon among indie poets three years ago.)
According to the 2018 Pew Research Center report on social media data, Instgram is the second most popular online platform, after YouTube
And as of last week, Instagram now has 1 billion users.
The New York Times reported that Instagram poets vary the way they use the online network.
“They use the platform in multiple ways: adding images to their poems, taking photos of printed text or, in the case of Daley-Ward, filming their laptop screens as they write.”
Below are examples of some of Daley-Ward’s Instagram posts. In this post, she shares a poem from the printed page of her book.
In this post, she encourages people to attend an event.
This is a post from Tyler Knott Gregson:
And here’s a post from Tumblr from Lang Leav:
Now Follow These Four Tips
If you’re a poet, and you’re wondering what you need to do to reach your audience, follow these steps:
- Join Instagram and learn how to use it. Post, at least, two text images with your poetry daily. Check out these posts to get start: Should Authors Be on Instagram? Absolutely! and Instagram Tips for Every Author
- Sign up for Tumblr. Add your blog posts, poetry and images. Remember to keep it simple, don’t be afraid to show your true personality, join conversations with readers and other poets, and above all, be visual. Post daily.
- Sign up for or step up your presence on Twitter. Send five tweets daily, tweet your poetry, engage with readers, and use the hashtags #poetry, #poem, and #haiku. Refer to your Instagram posts on Twitter with the hashtag #Instapoet. Check out these posts to learn more: Grow Your Twitter Tribe with These Tips, 10 Things Authors Should Never Do on Twitter, and Advanced Twitter Tips for Authors.
- Some poets, such as Gregson, find Facebook helpful as well. Add visually appealing text-based posts, like the ones shown above, at least twice a day. In addition, notify your following of upcoming readings and signings. Check out these posts to learn more: Learn How to Create Shareable Facebook Contentand Do Authors Really Need a Facebook Page?
What If You’re Not Strictly a Poet?
Are you wondering how the same fame that these poets have achieved could possibly apply to your career?
I’m sure you’ve written a couple of poems in your life; I know that I have. So why not put them on Instagram, Twitter, Tumblr or Facebook? Who knows what might happen?
Learn more about Instagram, Twitter, Tumblr, and Facebook in my new edition of Social Media Just for Writers!
Whether you’re setting up your social media for the first time or wanting to take it to the next level, get the newest edition of Social Media Just for Writers.
I would not limit this book to the audience of only writers, it’s a great resource for anyone that wants to take full advantage of the online platforms available. Janet Kinsella
Author of this blog: Frances Caballo is an author and social media strategist and manager for writers. She 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.
Online Book Marketing Strategies for Writers