Friday, August 21, 2015

4 Tips to Successfully Using Instagram as a Writer

My oh my...who doesn't love Instagram? Maybe I'm jut crazy about it because I'm a photographer? That's more likely I'm sure, but I did want to take a few minutes to chat about using the Instagram platform as a writer. Not to worry, if you aren't a writer you'll still enjoy this post because I'll include pretty pictures ;)

4 Tips to Successfully Using Instagram as a Writer

1. What to post

Ok, I'm not really going to tell you what to post, but I will give some helpful tips in how to decide what you should post.
1) Ask yourself what type of account you want to have. Writing/book promotion, for fans, personal use, or a mixture of these.
2) Think about sharing photos that fit with the type of account. For example, my Instagram account is for my photography business and writing but it's got a personal flair to it. My point of consistency is in the look of my photos though. We'll talk about that later.
3) Like with any/all social media for promotion sake, think about sharing things that fit with your brand. This picture of a typewriter fits with my writing and I could talk about what I'm up to writing wise in the comments (also more on that in a minute).
4) Consider your audience and followers. If your account is personal, then 10 pictures of your kids may be expected. BUT if you are trying to gain followers, consider their feeds. 10 pictures of your kids in a row (though they may be the cutest kids EVER) will quickly have your followers considering unfollowing  you.
5) Ask why you are posting each picture. This may seem extreme, but if you're serious about gaining followers and posting within your brand (to an extent) then have a purpose behind your post. No, this doesn't have to be some grand concept and you could use a random photo to tell your fans you just wrote "The End" but it helps to have a reason for each post - even if that's just to share a fun quote.

2. What to say

The comment section of Instagram is a hugely untapped resource (in my humble opinion). I know there are Instagramers out there who are super clever and just post one word captions (or no captions). I've done this. BUT, we're writers! Use your words ;-)
I've personally found that people are more willing to connect with me (and like my picture) if I've got something worth saying. Again, that's not to say that my captions are life changing, but they should be relevant to you, your brand, and your followers.
Use Instagram to give out fun info about your day like you do Twitter, but tie it to a picture. Maybe it's your work space, your coffee, your editing screen, or your TBR pile. Whatever it is, share about it. People can love your images, but they can also begin to love your voice even over Instagram.

3. How to make it pretty

Yes, I know that Instagram comes with it's own filters...but there are some awesome apps out there that give you even more control over what your photos look like.

This is my personal favorite! It's what I edit every photo with on my phone. Maybe that's because I like to tweak things (the photographer in me) but they've also got some great presets.

There are some fun things with this app, like the ability to add some old-school flair to the side of a photo, overlays, and great presets.

This app gives you a LOT of control. Maybe too much for those of you who just want to snap a shot but hey, here it is.

Want to combine two photos - or more like I did here? Use this app! It's one of my favorites for the ease and ability to do a whole bunch with it.

P.S. I was in our local Christian bookstore and saw one of my author headshots on the back of this lovely novel. Eik! See that...E.A. Creative Photography. That's ME :D Ok...back to Instagram stuff...

4. How to be Effective
  • Make your account public (and don't post anything you wouldn't want "everyone" to see)
  • Use hashtags (research popular writer/genre hashtags like #amwriting or #books or #scifi etc.)
  • Tag people and products (as long as it's relevant to the photo of course)
  • Use personal captions when possible
  • Post around 2AM or 5PM and on Wednesdays (so they say...?)
  • Follow Instagramers in your "field" as well as book bloggers/reviewers and comment on their images
  • Be interactive! Comment and reply to those who comment to you (don't for get to tag them specifically with the "@" sign or else they won't see it)
  • Be consistent! Build up a fun gallery of images that represent YOU and what you like. Your readers will love seeing that. 
I hope this has been helpful! Instagram is a great platform and can definitely help you connect with more readers on a personal and fun level.

Are you in Instagram? I'd love to connect with you!