Are you on Instagram? Let’s collaborate there!

Are you on Instagram?

If you are, I’d like to use my Instagram business account to give your book some attention.

I’m about to make a few changes to that account that were inspired by Hilary Rushford’s “Free Instagram Class” on how small businesses can use that social network more effectively. I tuned in to last week’s webinar specifically because I wanted to start doing more with my Instagram business account and was looking for inspiration.

I got it.

What I’ve been doing on Instagram

I’ve used my business account (versus my personal account) to consistently post my weekly blog image and occasionally post an image that reminds people that I’m not a blogging robot.

It’s lame.

I know that.

Hilary’s webinar gave me ideas about what I could be doing differently. One of the best “ahas!” I got from the free training was that I should view the images on my profile as a collage of photos that needs to be visually balanced.

This screenshot below from my Instagram profile about a year and a half ago is a good example of what you don’t want to do — every post but one is an image with text. Most of those text images come from  blog posts.

It’s monotonous. There’s no visual variety.

authors and Instagram

What I’m going to do now

In order to figure out what types of images I can and should be sharing so I get both the requisite visual variety and relevant content for my Build Book Buzz brand, I needed to think about my purpose on that platform.

My goal here and on every social network I use is to help authors learn how to market their books.

I usually do that by providing links to helpful information online but that’s not possible with Instagram. Links are only clickable in profile descriptions and ads. So . . . I had to look at this network differently.

I had to shift away from providing how-to information to supporting authors in another way.

The solution is obvious by now, right?

I want to share images of your books!

By doing that with the full titles in the accompanying text (caption), I can bring more awareness to them.

Will it rock your world? Nope. Will it help you? Who knows? Will it hurt your book. No way!

Here’s what I’d like you to do

Will you let me to support your book with my Instagram account?

If yes, here’s what I’d like you to do — and please follow these instructions carefully:

  1. Follow my business account. Find me on the Instagram app by searching for “Build Book Buzz” or “BuildBookBuzz.” This is required. I will follow you back. Followers mean book exposure.
  2. Send me an email message with the subject line: Instagram. Click here to send the message. Attach a photo of your book cover. (Link not working for you? Email address is on about/contact page.) It can be just the book cover, you and your book, whatever — just make sure that the book is the main attraction. In the message, provide the full book title and your Instagram profile name so I can find and tag you easily.
  3. Follow the instructions in steps 1 and 2 carefully. I’ve set up an email rule so that all messages with an “Instagram” subject line go into a specific folder. If you don’t send what’s requested and I have to contact you, we will both be disappointed in resulting delays.
  4. Watch my Instagram feed for your book. Consider sharing it with your connections, too, so you have what marketers call “social proof” that people are talking about your book.

Note that if you don’t use Instagram, I won’t be able to share your book cover and title.

Thank you for helping me start using my account in a way that helps you. I appreciate it.

How do you use Instagram for book promotion? Tell us in a comment.


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Sandra Beckwith is an award-winning former publicist who now teaches authors how to market their books. Three groups have recognized her BuildBookBuzz.com site as an outstanding resource for authors, so you know her advice is author-tested.

Download Sandra’s free “Top 5 Free Book Promotion Resources” (https://buildbookbuzz.com/gift) and you’ll also receive the free weekly
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16 Responses to Are you on Instagram? Let’s collaborate there!
  1. Kathy Steinemann
    January 10, 2018 | 10:20 am

    Thanks for this, Sandra. Excellent information.

    I’m not on Instagram yet, mostly because they don’t allow clickable links. However, I’m bookmarking this page for future reference. Maybe I’ll join someday and participate in your promo.

    • Sandra Beckwith
      January 10, 2018 | 11:00 am

      From a marketing perspective, I think what matters the most is whether your target audience is using it. But from a personal perspective, I love taking and looking at photos, so this platform gives me a chance to share mine and enjoy those from others. All good!

      Sandy

  2. Jennifer Wilck
    January 10, 2018 | 11:24 am

    I have a separate account for my writing. I post daily–book covers, what I’m reading, photos of my writing life, contests, my critique group, inspiration for characters, etc. I’m making lots of contacts in a short amount of time, so hopefully it’s working.

    • Sandra Beckwith
      January 10, 2018 | 12:37 pm

      I’ll bet you’re having fun, too, Jennifer!

      Sandy

  3. Lisa Romeo
    January 10, 2018 | 1:11 pm

    My book publishes in about four months, and what I quickly learned on Instagram is that I can’t possibly post only pics of my own book cover all the time. Nor, as you say, should all my pics have generally the same type of look and feel.

    It’s been challenging to learn to compose pics that are in the optimal proportion (mostly sqaurish) for Instagram, and to think of new ways to bring attention to the book without being repetitive (or obnoxious).

    Thanks for doing this, and for passing on the new insights.

    See you on Intstagram! (@LisaRomeoWriter)

    • Sandra Beckwith
      January 10, 2018 | 1:16 pm

      When I take pics on my iPhone, I use the Camera+ app, which lets me select a square frame rather than a rectangle before I take the pic. That helps a lot. Likewise, when I use a tool like Canva or on my phone, WordSwag, I chose a square format as my starting point. I hope it becomes fun for you!

      Sandy

  4. Annette Dollard
    January 10, 2018 | 3:09 pm

    I definitely will follow your business instagram. I would love to send you a photo of any of my books – but they are all in Danish, so I don´t know if it would make sense?

    Regards,
    Annette

    • Sandra Beckwith
      January 10, 2018 | 3:12 pm

      That’s not a problem, Annette. Please go ahead and email everything.

      Sandy

  5. Stephanie Weaver
    January 11, 2018 | 5:25 pm

    Hi Sandra, I have been on Instagram for a long time since I started as a food blogger and food is BIG on IG. I post a variety of images… from my life, what I’m reading, etc. I do find it tough to grow on that platform because it’s so closed, but because I enjoy it I keep up the account. I was fascinated to learn about #bookstagrammers, who have large followings (and no websites) and post their reviews, beautiful images of books, their bookshelves, etc. I try to post more interesting images of books now that I have seen those accounts.

    • Sandra Beckwith
      January 11, 2018 | 5:41 pm

      Thanks, Stephanie! I have also been fascinated by the #bookstagrammers and had hoped that the images authors sent me would be more like those, but it didn’t work out that way. I might need to find a way to get a little creative with the nothing-but-the-cover shots I received, but that’s OK.

      I’m looking forward to following along with you there!

      Sandy

  6. Tracy Campbell
    January 15, 2018 | 11:44 am

    Hi Sandra (Sandy),
    Thank you for your generous offer.
    I don’t use Instagram, but I’ll certainly share
    your post so that others may be able to take
    you up on your offer.
    Enjoy your day!

    • Sandra Beckwith
      January 15, 2018 | 11:49 am

      Thank you, Tracy! I appreciate the share.

      Sandy

  7. L.C. Walters
    January 19, 2018 | 5:53 am

    Great info. I’ve followed the instructions to send you the information on my book. Thanks kindly.

    L.C. Walters
    http://www.underdogunderbite.com

    • Sandra Beckwith
      January 19, 2018 | 10:10 am

      It’s not much, but it’s better than nothing!

      Sandy

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