Posts Tagged ‘Instagram’

How’s Your Instagram Game?

By: Jenny Kate

Instagram: Feed, Story, Reels, IGTV – Oh My!

Facebook bought Instagram for a cool $1 billion, and put its juggernaut of an advertising platform behind it. For that reason alone, it’s worth a look. Yes, there are others making a run for “Best in Show” – SnapChat, TikTok, Clubhouse. But for 2021 at least, if your reader is under 40, Instagram is going to be your new best friend.

Cultivating a following on IG is the same as everywhere else. Give readers a reason to follow you. Make your content fun, entertaining, informative or educational.  Be yourself. Consumers, readers included, buy from those they like, know and trust. IG is a great place for them to get to know and trust you.

But where should you put all that great content you’re going to create?
Instagram has four main places to do this:
Your Feed, Stories, Reels and IGTV.

Your Instagram Feed

The Feed is your main profile page. It’s the blocked grid that followers see when they click on your profile. This is like window shopping. It’s the first impression people will have of your feed. How does it look? How does it feel? Is this something that will keep my attention?

The algorithm changes all the time, but for the most part, it does not prioritize the Feed. So that means you don’t need to spend hours creating beautiful graphics on Canva to post every day. Posting every two or three days works great. But this isn’t your Facebook Feed where you dump photos and go. Curate your best content, make it look great and write a compelling caption with a call to action to click the link in your bio or DM you for more information.

Pay attention to your bio. Have a professional headshot. Use emojis and tell people who you are and what you do. Whatever link you decide to use, make sure you have a strong call to action to tell followers what to do at that link. 

Your Stories

Stories are Instagram’s answer to SnapChat. They can be found at the top of the screen where you see a row of circles. The best Stories actually tell a story. You’re a storyteller, just do it visually with videos or photos or a mix of both. Use emojis, hashtags, GIFs – have fun with it. The name of the game on IG is fun!

Stories are definitely shown more often than the Feed. They are a great place to jumpstart and grow your readership, so consider posting to this every day or every other day.

You can mix it up here. Chat about your day, talk about a current event, or give updates on your writing. But again, just be yourself. This is the place where readers get to know you.

Your Reels

Reels are Instagram’s answer to TikTok. The link for Reels is found toward the bottom of the screen and looks like a movie clapboard.

These have shown to absolutely jump engagement. Reels are short form video that if you use the TikTok rules, it’s a lot of dancing, singing, and general merriment. You can add music if you want.

The best Reels content is entertaining, educational or inspirational. Make people smile. Teach them something to get a result. Tell a story to inspire them.  

A Quick Word about Live Video

You can also go live using IGTV or your Stories. This is what it sounds like. YouTube for Instagram. This is more long-form video content than Reels. You can go live from 15 seconds to 10 minutes. Accounts with larger followings can go up to an hour.

Best practice for using Live Video is to be consistent with your timing. Almost like having a weekly show where people know you’ll be there. Tease it beforehand with a post telling people what time and day to expect you. The algorithm prioritizes Live Video in both the Feed and in your Stories, so that works in your favor.

Content

The location of your content is honestly less important than the type of content you create. Make it fun, educational and motivating. You can read your book, interview a character, talk writing with a friend, go into your research. You can also make this about other hobbies having nothing to do with writing.

Do you hike, knit, play an instrument, sing, woodwork? Any of those are great for helping people get to know you. Readers want to know, like and trust you. IG is an amazing place to help make that happen!


Jenny Kate

Jenny Kate is the founder of Writer Nation, an online space dedicated to helping writers market their work. With 19 years communications experience, she regularly writes on social media, internet marketing and face-to-face publicity. You can find her on her WebsiteFacebook, and  Instagram

Just How Beneficial IS Instagram?

By Jennifer Lovett Herbranson

Are you getting FOMO? The Fear of Missing Out by not being on Instagram? Well if you aren’t using it, you should. It’s the hottest social media platform out there and the fastest growing. According to Statista, Instagram now boasts more than 500 million daily active users. That’s daily. Twitter has only 126 million.  It’s nowhere near Facebook’s 1.5 billion daily users, but it’s gaining, and gaining fast. And Americans report more engagement on Instagram than on Facebook on a daily basis these days.

So how do you take advantage of Instagram as part of your author brand?

  • Use Stories!
  • Hashtags Galore & Engage!
  • Your Feed!

Use Stories.

Stories are showing the most engagement these days. Since you are a storyteller, this one is a no-brainer. Tell a story with a beginning, middle and end. Even if you’re doing a story about pizza (the most common food pic on Instagram), create the story: the search for pizza, the finding of the pizza, the eating of the pizza. Anything can be a story.

There are several ways to create the story.

  • Type
  • Music
  • Live
  • Normal
  • Boomerang
  • Superzoom
  • Hands-free

Type is a simple post with text with creative fonts on fun backgrounds.

Music – add music to your story by choosing the song on this tab before capturing your video

You can go Live and tell the world what you’re up to, just like Facebook Live, only this will fade off Instagram after 24 hours.

You can do a Normal story and create it with photos and/or video. Video is only 15-seconds.

Boomerang is a burst of photos that repeats over and over. Like a wave or jump in the air or opening a book.

Superzoom – really focus on something and zoom in on it Add music to make it sound creepy or funny.

The Hands-free feature just allows you to create video without having to keep your finger on the record button.

Hashtags Galore & Engage!

Hashtags are super important on Instagram so people can find you. Choosing the right hashtags will put you in front of potential readers.

For a regular Instagram post, I recommend only two hashtags in the main caption. Then add up to 30 in the first comment. Make a list and rotate your hashtags so you aren’t stalking the hashtag.

For stories, you can simply add hashtags to the Story so people can see them, or you can add them and then put a sticker or shape over them to hide them.

Distraction and engagement are why people are on social media. The more compelling, interesting, funny and creative your posts, the more people will enjoy them. It’s important to be a presence on Instagram to make it work. That doesn’t mean simply posting photos, slapping on a few hashtags, and then ignoring it. This isn’t a “build it and they will come” scenario. You must engage.

Find the hashtags that represent your author brand, your community, your interests and likes. Then start liking and commenting on those. Be a presence.

Your feed!

There is debate in the Instagram world about the effectiveness of your feed these days with Stories taking off. Tyler J McCall, Instagram Guru and Coach, recommends feed posts only every other day or so and to concentrate on your Story.

That being said, your feed should look like your author brand. What is your brand? What are your themes? The Instagram feed represents the window in the window-shopping metaphor of people looking to find others to follow. If your feed is a jumbled mess, then it’s unclear what you’re offering.

Look at other authors in your genre and see what they are posting. Do they have a theme?

Try celebrities you like. What is their theme?

Sometimes that’s a certain dominant color. Other times it’s a regular pose, like with a book reading or playing with the dog. Other times it’s a certain camera angle. The possibilities are endless, so get creative. Think about your author brand and the themes and messages in your books. What can you out of those to make part of your theme?

Instagram is the fastest growing social media platform out there. If you are considering social media for your author brand and you like photos, I recommend jumping in the Instagram deep end. It’s not as overtly political as Facebook. And it’s not as time-consuming as a YouTube channel. It’s a fun platform and who knows, you might even find some new friends.

Sources:

The 43 Instagram Statistics You Need to Know in 2019

Number of Instagram users in the United States from 2017 to 2023


Jennifer Lovett Herbranson

Jennifer Lovett Herbranson is the founder of Writer Nation, a podcast and Facebook group dedicated to helping writers market their work. With 17 years communications experience, she regularly writes on social media, internet marketing and face-to-face publicity.
You can find her on her WebsiteFacebookTwitter, and Pinterest: @jennylovett