So, I shared a few basics last month in part one of Using Instagram as an Author’s Platform. Now, we will go into greater depth. Let’s consider WHY you want a business account and WHO you want to reach. First, what is your goal in using Instagram?
Do you want to Inspire? Then post quotes of your favorite authors, or images that inspired your latest WIP.
Do you want to Inform? Have you written a non-fiction book? Then flesh out it’s contents with a short blog-type post (three or four short paragraphs) on your chosen topic, accompanied by appropriate images.
Do you want to Connect? Are you an all-around nice person, doing fun things and sometimes getting yourself into a pickle? By all means, share it! Have fun. Then, once you’ve built an audience of adoring fans, feel free to share author-related posts, especially if your book is about to launch.
Do you want to Encourage? Does your heart go out to those who are struggling in life, whether due to Covid or trials of all sorts? Share Bible verses, quotes from missionaries and preachers, or historical figures from the past who have endured trials.
Do you want to Share your life as an author? Maybe you want to reveal your WIP, your workspace, your struggles to complete a manuscript, or your ever-growing list of rejections. That’s real life. And your followers want to know you are real, too!
Instagram Tips to Encourage Interaction
Always remember to ask questions in your post to get a conversation going. And make sure to respond to each comment, not only with a “heart” but a comment as well. Instagram will sense the interaction and place it higher on your follower’s feeds.
And don’t forget the hashtags! They connect your post with other hashtag users with the same interests so they can find you.
Begin typing a word that relates to your post, always thinking of who will be attracted to it. As you type, a list will drop highlighting other options. Pick the ones that apply, and look for ones that reach a large audience (3.5M), medium audience (250K), and smaller audience (1,000 +) You are allowed up to 30 hashtags.
And here’s an insightful tip: put your hashtags in the first comment box. It looks less crowded and makes it easier to share your post to FB (doesn’t use them) or Twitter (uses up to three). See the example below:
Customizing your IG Bio
Remember, people want to know what’s in it for them when they decide to follow you. Below on the left is my personal bio, which my friends who follow me probably don’t even read. Not because they don’t care, but they already know me, and are following for that very reason.
The bio on the right is my business bio, which shows potential followers (many who don’t know me personally) what they will see in my feed, and of course, what my business is all about. Can you see the difference?
And last, but not least, is the appearance of your nine image grid located below your bio. Is it crowded with images, like mine on the left, or open with breathing space as the example on the right? Which seems more appealing?
Where Do I Find Images for My Posts?
Canva, of course! You can choose images, text, and designs they offer or download your own. It’s user-friendly and safe – all the images are royalty-free. I recommend you choose three colors to use in all your images (if possible) that reflect your brand.
Are you a fantasy writer? Choose brilliant colors and images. Do you write picture books? Maybe primary colors would work for you. Perhaps you’ve published a book and want to feature the colors on your cover. But be careful. Your next book may have an entirely different color scheme, so choose wisely.
The same goes for fonts. Pick a print that reflects your brand (light, airy, bold, educated, dark, etc.) then find a script that complements it to use interchangeably. Be sure to use only those fonts in your posts — your brand will come through!
These ideas and many more were found in Kat Coroy’s Instagram Makeover course which I highly recommend. I’m only scratching the surface here, but it’s enough to get you started. If you have any questions or comments, I’d love to answer them below. And if you’d like to follow me @jarmdelboccio please do! I am still learning, so you can witness my growth as I continue my course. #happyinstagramming!