Updated: Apr 20
Do you love social media? Are you indifferent about it? Or is it the bane of your existence?!
No matter your feelings, it can’t be denied that social media is a wildly effective tool for promoting your brand. Whether you want to connect with fans, advertise events, or attract new readers, a strong social media presence can do all of these things–and more.
One of the best social media platforms for authors is Instagram. With billions of people using it every month, plenty of would-be customers are just waiting to discover your book! Luckily, our resident social media expert, Brittany Plumeri, has five foolproof tips to IGNITE your author Instagram presence–instantly. 🔥
5 Tips for Your Author Instagram
1. Be consistently consistent
Do you forget to log into Instagram for weeks on end? You’re not alone. It's hard to remember to upload a post while you’re also writing, attending events, querying, writing some more, keeping up with emails, rewriting, and meeting with your editor–all on top of, you know, being a parent, spouse, friend, or any other role you may have. We get it. It’s a lot! Still, with Instagram, consistency is imperative to your visibility. Even if you can only post twice a week, great! Just be sure to post at the same time every week. Not only will your followers start eagerly anticipating your posts, but Instagram’s algorithm will promote your content to more people. Consistency is also important for what you post. Think of a few words to describe your “brand”--who you are, what your books are about, and how you want to present yourself to the world. Maybe your brand is “whimsical, witty, and fun;” maybe it’s “educational, vulnerable, and chill.” Whatever you choose, all of your posts should reflect those adjectives. Stay consistent with your brand, and you’ll attract the audience you want!
2. Remember that “name” matters more than “username”
Some people agonize over their author Instagram username or handle. But what they may not know is that the username actually isn’t as important as the name you enter on your profile.
Check out our At Home Author Instagram in the above photo. At the top, we see the username (underlined) is “athomeauthor,” which is great! However, look at the bolded text (starred), which is the “name”: it lays out exactly what At Home Author offers in easily searchable SEO keywords. This means that if someone searches for “publishing help,” “book marketing,” or “author coaching services,” At Home Author will come up as a suggested page. Bingo!
To edit your name (and your username), simply navigate to “edit profile” while looking at your own author Instagram page. Be sure to use those SEO keywords, like “picture book author,” “children’s books authors,” or “author of [your book title].”
3. Be personable
When’s the last time you looooved getting a cold call from an overly persistent salesperson? We’re guessing… Never. Even if someone wants to buy an item–like, say, an amazing picture book–they will probably still cringe at too-obvious, too-desperate sales tactics.
In order to really connect with your audience, show who you are, not just what you’re selling. For example, post fun, easy content to your stories–quick photos of your perfect cup of coffee, or the stranger who reminded you of your book’s protagonist, or even what you’re currently reading. You could also try content that your followers can respond to directly, like polls or Q&A sessions. Overall, instead of treating your Instagram like a billboard that says “buy, buy, buy!” treat it like a window into your life as an author. Don’t worry, you don’t have to get uber-personal–just let your readers see the person behind the product.
4. Use. Those. Hashtags!
If you’re not a regular Instagram user, you might be thinking, “What does a hashtag even do?” The answer: not what it was originally designed for. Hashtags were conceived as a way to group similar content from different users together. If you used a particular hashtag, anyone who searched it would see your photo–along with every other post that used that hashtag. The hope was that people who wanted to see picture books, for example, would search “#picturebooks” and find all relevant posts.
Now, some social media experts proclaim that “hashtags are dead.” However, even though users don’t necessarily search hashtags anymore, the algorithm still does. This means that if you write “#picturebooks” in a caption, Instagram will recommend that photo to users who follow other picture book authors, or like a lot of posts about picture books, or post content about being a teacher or a parent of young kids... AKA members of your target audience.
Social media algorithms get more advanced every day, and Instagram is able to discern a lot about its users. Is that a little freaky to think about? Maybe, but it certainly helps promote your brand to new people. For now, hashtags are the best way to use the algorithm to your advantage.
5. Be savvy with reels
Instagram used to be mainly a photo-sharing app. However, when apps like TikTok became increasingly popular, Instagram realized they had to introduce something new. The result? Reels, or short, full-screen vertical videos.
(Um, not that kind of reel.)
Some people love posting reels, and Instagram users love watching them. Unfortunately, they can be a little tricky to master. We could write an entire blog post just about how to maximize your reels (and maybe we should-see the P.S. at the bottom of this page!). However, if you just keep in mind making reels intentionally, they can do wonders for your visibility.
Don’t get too carried away with random videos; no one wants to waste their time on something boring, even if it’s only a few seconds long! Instead, use trending audio; state your most important, attention-grabbing info right away; and use a call to action that encourages viewers to learn more about your brand. Overall, keeping your reels light-hearted and informative is the way to go.
We can’t wait for you to give these five tips a try! Then, when you're ready to learn even more about supercharging your social media presence, connect with Brittany directly. In just a 30-minute Zoom call, she can help you unlock your Instagram’s full potential! ⬇️
(And if you need more time, you can always book a coaching package)
🤔 P.S. – Would you be interested in a Facebook group to talk all things social media with Brittany and other authors? Sound off in the comments! What would you want to know? 🤔
Disclaimer: This blog post may contain affiliate links to products we enjoy using ourselves. Should you choose to use these links, At Home Author may earn affiliate commissions at no additional cost to you.