Instagram Tips for Writers

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If you are a writer and you think you can't use Instagram to sell your book or advertise your freelance writing services think again. The caption area us where you can really display your talents. It's just a matter of shifting focus and pairing your writing with compelling images or quotes. Here are some ideas on how to make Instagram work for you as a writer.

Bookstagram - If you need some inspiration check out the #bookstagram hashtag for great ideas on how to frame shots of your own book as well as others. Check out how @WellReadBlackGirl uses to highlight authors in her feed!

Free Images - There are many places on the web where you can get images for free or on the cheap. My favorites are @unsplash and @canva right now. @getrepost can be used sparingly as well BUT be sure to CREDIT the artist or photographer you are reposting!

Weekly Themes - Choose a theme and post about it for a week. Poetry. Mystery, Suspense, Motivation, Motherhood, etc. I'm sure you could come up with more on your own.

Quotes - Turn one line of your narrative into a post. Think of some of the best quotes from your favorite authors. They can can say so much in one line! Pick a passage from your own work and then use apps like Wordswag, Over or sites like Canva or PicMonkey to make a simple but on-brand quote with it. Don't forget to include you or your character’s name in the post!

Hashtags - Posts that have 10 or more hashtags are more likely to get found in Instagram’s search and get you new followers. Many folks say to use between 25-30 hashtags in every post, but I’ve found that if you’re growing your page, about 20-25 works fine, but there are a few rules:

  1. Don't use only super popular hashtags, (ones with over 1 million hits), because then no one will be able to find you! Use three or four super popular tags and the go for a mix of less popular ones.

  2. Its a good idea to take some time to build 3 or 4 sets of tags that you alternate.(Otherwise the algorithm might think you're spam)

Add posts to your stories (if you can) - When you click the little paper plane icon under your feed posts you many see an option that says “Add Post to Story” In which case you can make an IG story out of your, or someone else’s Instagram post right from the feed. The great thing about this is that is makes the IG post clickable and you can also tag folks in it. For instance, you might use this to call attention to a new post that you’ve made OR possibly shout out some else whom you admire! (Note: This feature is a little wonky because you have to have over 100 followers to activate it, and even then, Instagram doesn’t grant the feature to everyone)

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Make mini books out of IG Stories - Speaking of IG stories, you can built a great little narrative out of a series of posts! Take a paragraph of content, or a poem and break it down into a little swipeable IG story! Just don’t make the type too small or get too wordy, each page is only up for less than 10 seconds! And besure to send folks to your profile link to swipe up to take them to your product or service.

Take us Behind the Scenes - Share your experiences and process working on your book or script. I'm sure someone else out there has been where you are. The image you use for these posts doesn't need to be your computer screen. It can be a coffee cup, or even your cat!

Giveaways - These are great ways to connect with your audience and grow your following. By offering everything from gift cards to books and journals, you can really see who your real fans are! For some great giveaway ideas, check this out.