It can be difficult for small publishers to grow their social media accounts, especially if they don't have a clear idea of who their audience is, what to post, or how to truly engage with potential readers.
Bookstagram is a huge online community, and it can be an amazing marketing tool for indie publishers. But you can't just make an account - you have to create great content, engage with your audience, and grow your following.
Then you can start creating excitement for your books!
(Note: We'll talk more about Bookstagram and user-generated content in the next Instagram for Indie Publishers blog, so stay tuned!)
Here are five tips for growing your Instagram following as an Indie Publisher:
1. Posting regularly
Posting regularly may seem like an obvious tip, but it isn't always easy. Social media isn't just about posting often - it's about posting quality content at the right time.
Decide how often to post to your feed; at least twice per week, but not more than twice per day, is best. For stories, try to post daily. You can post a lot more on stories without it seeming like spam, but still don't post too much.
You can also look at your insights to see when your audience is most active on Instagram, so try scheduling content for the right hours.
Posting quality content is also important. You need to research your audience and see what might be entertaining or educational for them. A great way to create quality content is to make your posts more engaging. Try polls, giveaways, questions in your captions, controversial opinions, etc.
All content must provide some kind of value to your audience. If you're just posting pictures of yourself, or promotional posts, people won't be interested.
2. Gaining engagement by engaging
One of the best ways to get engagement on your own posts is to engage with others - the more friends you make, the more people who are likely to like and comment on your posts!
Like bookstagrammer's and author's posts
Comment on their posts (answer their questions, reply to their opinions, compliment their photos, etc.)
Reply to their stories (plus vote in polls, respond to Q&As, etc.)
Participate in live videos
Message and say hello to mutual followers
3. Following the right accounts
As an indie publisher, you don't want to be following just anyone - you want to create a community of bookish people who can support you.
Many accounts you follow will follow back, especially if you post similar content, so following people is a great way to build your own following. Try to connect with:
Writers and authors
Publishing professionals (editors, marketers, etc)
Other publisher's business pages
Following the right kinds of accounts is helpful because they're relevant to your content and therefore more likely to become loyal engagers. It also means you have more relevant people to engage with, so you'll make friends quickly.
4. Using the explore page and hashtags
Your explore page is a great place to start finding new accounts, and see the type of content that's trending. Make sure to scroll through it often and engage with the relevant posts there.
Bigger hashtags, like #Bookstagram, are full of bookish accounts you can connect with. It's a great place to find not just new mutual followers, but influencers you may be interested in working with.
However, these popular hashtags are overflowing with content, because everyone is using them (they're also a target for bots!). This means it's harder to find the content you're looking for there, and your own posts could get lost there too.
Make sure you use some niche hashtags to combat this issue. If your publishing company works mostly with contemporary Australian fiction, for example, you could use #AustralianContemporary to find a more targeted audience.
5. Hosting giveaways
Giveaways are one of the best ways to increase engagement and followers, because who doesn't want bookish freebies?
The Bookstagram community is huge, and plenty of people are looking for competitions to enter. Whether the prize is free books, merchandise, or even a service such as a first-page critique, you'll definitely gain some engagement.
When hosting a giveaway, make sure to make the rules and prizes clear. Check out some other giveaways, and research Instagram's rules, so you know you're doing things right.
Some common rules for people to enter giveaways are to follow your page, like the post, share to their story, and tag friends who might like to enter. These aren't big asks for the chance to win a great prize, so many people are happy to follow these rules. Which is, of course, a great way to gain followers and engagement quickly!
Want more? Head to my shop and use code AWSOCIALS20 for 20% off my book marketing worksheets!
And don't forget to follow my Bookstagram, @poppysvintagebooks.