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Instagram for Indie Publishers: User-Generated Content & 'Bookstagram'

In our last Instagram for Indie Publishers blog, we talked about ways to increase your Instagram following. Now let's talk about two of the greatest tools for small publisher Instagram accounts - user-generated content, and Bookstagram!

What is user-generated content?

User-generated content is any content created by other social media users that is related to your brand, and therefore, can be utilised by your brand. For example, pictures of your books taken by fans, snippets from reviews, story posts, etc. that you can use in your content.

What is Bookstagram?

Bookstagram is the hugely popular bookish community on Instagram, made up of readers, writers and authors, publishers, publishing professionals, and booksellers. A major component of this community is posting book photography and opinions/reviews.


Here are my tips for using user-generated content and Bookstagram to grow your small publisher Instagram page!


Finding your place in Bookstagram

In the last Instagram for Indies blog, we talked about gaining engagement by following the right people, and that's a really important aspect of Bookstagram.

Finding your place is easier if your publishing company has a niche. If you only publish romance, you'll find it simple to find and connect with romance Bookstagrammers. (It's also very helpful to have an age-range target.)

However, if you publish a range of books, it can be more difficult to start building a loyal following. You can start by following lots of Bookstagram accounts that you believe would like your books. Like and comment on their posts. As I mentioned last week, you have to engage with others to get people to engage with you.

You can also find publishing companies similar to yours and look at who they're following (and who follows them). Or, if any of your authors have Instagram accounts to promote their books, follow the people following them. This is a great place to start finding your community.

Follow your hashtags for books and check tags

This is an aspect of what's known as 'social listening', which is when a brand keeps a close eye on social media to see what people are saying about the company and industry.

Are Bookstagrammers talking about your books or your brand? Is what they're saying good, or bad?

If there are accounts regularly sharing your books, make sure to connect with them, and even offer them an influencer partnership!

Resharing the right way

After some social listening, you've hopefully started to find people posting about your books, so now it's time to find posts you love and share them!

This is the great thing about user-generated content: you get content to use for your brand, for FREE.

Often, Bookstagrammers are very particular about their posts, using good cameras, staging great pictures, and editing them nicely. This means you're getting fantastic content without having to even open your camera app.

But there's a right way to do this. You can't just screenshot a picture and repost it - that's stealing!

Bookstagrammers do, of course, want you to repost their content (it boosts their account too), but only if you give credit. Make sure you tag them in the photo if you share it, and don't edit it without their permission.

Also make sure you repost the content in a high quality, and make sure their original image is high quality. You can use apps for re-sharing, screenshot, or simply share the post straight to your story.

Encouraging user-generated content

As a Bookstagrammer myself, I wish publishers considered photography more when designing covers. Bright, loud, shiny covers may be easy to spot on a shelf, but they don't photograph well, and this discourages people to share them.

As I mentioned, Bookstagrammers can be very particular about their posts. I hate when I want to share a book but the cover looks bad in my feed. So, in upcoming releases, consider how you can optimise your book covers for being photographed.

Another way to encourage user-generated content is to share it often. Don't spam, but select at least a few posts each week to share from your audience. This will make people more likely to share your books, because they'll hope for a repost from you (which shows their post to more people).

You can also create hashtags for your books and company that people can use, and host competitions such as 'post a photo of X book and our favourite will win X prize!' which will give you many new photos to use. It's a win-win with your target audience.


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.


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