35 Ideas to promote your book on Instagram – Author Toolbox Blog Hop
As part of this month’s Author Toolbox Blog Hop, I want to discuss Social Media as a way to promote your book. Everyone should know that you should start building a following early on, and not once your book is complete. Now, a huge following won’t necessarily translate into sales unless your following is well targeted and they are engaged with you.
Let me say this: Talking about your book all the time won’t help you. I’ll even go one step further by saying it’ll probably kill your chances to succeed. Build your following by being genuine and helpful to others before thinking of your book. That’s why it’s important to start building your following before you need it.
Now with that said, when you’re ready to launch your book, social media is a must. I strongly suggest developing 1 or 2 platforms – 3 at most.
Because it takes an impressive amount of time to do it well. So it’s better to be great at one or two than below average at 6 or 8. The idea behind social media is that it will help you spread the word when the time comes. Last week, I provided tips on how to grow your platform on Instagram and this week, I want to go over ideas on how to promote your book on this growing platform.
35 Ideas to promote your book on Instagram
#1 – Open a business account
It’s not a random number #1. You need to open an Instagram business account if you’re new to this. It will be far more valuable to you, as a writer/author, over the long haul.
#2 – Add URL in your profile
Update your URL to make sure you provide a way for the people you connect with to check your website and get to know more about your books.
#3 – Update the bio to tell more about you
Be funny or practical, whichever is best for you, but make sure people know who you are, the genre you represent, and what you have published or will publish soon.
#4 – Tease your readers with revealing pictures
Once you’re ready to promote your book, start your campaign 3 to 6 months before the release date, and tease your readers. You have an infinite number of ways to do this. (i.e. When you receive the first copies of your book, receive marketing materials, showing you doing something about it…)
#5 – Tease with a video.
It could be a video of you or the new books to be released (5 to 10 seconds is ideal), you reading to your audience and so on. Unleash your creativity!
#6 – Reveal your book cover
Before you unveil your book cover, you should post about it coming up to build interest, then release it as you would for a winner of a giveaway or a major event.
#7 – Don’t post to post.
Don’t feel pressured to post if you don’t have anything to say. This might sound strange, but be relevant. Aim at adding value to your book/campaign or at engaging the right audience for you. Each picture needs to reflect the image of your brand (you and your book). Be professional.
#8 – Edit your pictures to make them look better
Instagram has anintegrated edit function that you should take advantage of when you need. You can add filters, crop, and do much more. Play around with it. If you don’t like it, discard the changes and start over. There is also an app called Layout, which allows you to create collage if you need to showcase a few pictures at a time.
#9 – Be subtle about your promotion.
Don’t ever post the same picture over and over (maybe unless if it’s a giveaway.). You’d be shooting yourself in the foot. Be original. If you posted your book cover, great, now move on. Don’t post book covers or someone holding your books every single time. It’s not interesting unless if the people who display your book are participating in a contest, or they’re engaged readers, not random people in your family.
Maybe during a brunch, have the book left on the table. Make your pictures visual reminders instead of harassing your readers with it. The tricky part is to be subtle without fading completely.
#10 – Spice it up! A new picture a day, not all from your book.
Take pictures related to your book, but also pictures of what you’re doing to make it happen, or something interested you saw.
#11 – Connect with Book Bloggers
When you’re building your platform, connect with book bloggers. See how they do things, get ideas, and connect with them.
#12 – Connect with Bookstagrammers
They are fantastic creative people. You should get plenty of ideas for creating visuals, but also connect with them especially if they showcase your book.
#13 – Promote deals
If you have a limited-time offer, create a visual to talk about it and give people a chance to read it at a price that would feel more attractive to them.
#14 – Promote books already published and also an upcoming book.
Never forget to promote all your books. If you have an upcoming book, don’t hesitate to remind everyone it’s not your first. 🙂
#15 – Think carefully about your picture before publishing it
Stunning and funny pictures will get the most result. For example, make your cat read your book or take a picture of someone sitting on a porch watching the sunset, drinking a warm cup of tea with the book on his/her lapses. Create a visual that will leave them laughing or dreaming.
#16 – Comment with readers who help to promote your book
It’s always nice for a Bookstagrammer or a reader to have an author unexpectedly say something nice about a picture they took. Always take advantage of this!
#17 – Respond to the comments if you only have a manageable number and they’re nice.
Otherwise, have a general thank you and move on. Don’t answer to haters.
#18 – Follow other authors and even collaborate when possible.
It’s not uncommon to see several authors promoting their book at the same time. It’s a great way to reach a larger audience and split the cost of promotion.
#19 – Look up other successful authors on Instagram
Before you get into it, you should look at what authors do on this platform and get more ideas this way.
#20 – Build visuals with Quotes, how to for non-fiction, or 5-star reviews
Canva is great for this. The paid version will give you access to free stock pictures if need be but will have a large choice of templates already sized to Instagram. They offer so much more and can be used for blogging, e-book cover, social media, website, etc.
#21 – Post pictures of your writing environment
Another idea is to take pictures of your desk, your laptop, or any updates on your writing.
#22 – Post screenshots of accomplishments (press…)
Always share if you have a great press release, a nomination, or anything that will add value to you and your books. It will add to your credibility as an author.
#23 – Create a movement with your hashtag
Don’t hesitate to create a hashtag for your book and use it consistently when you refer to your book. It will always let you create a movement and engage your readers. It’s also a great way to find pictures of your books easily.
#24 – Host a giveaway with your hashtag
Don’t break the bank. Offer something of value to your readers, something they can only have with you. Giveaway often requires the participants to follow, tag 1 to 3 people, so it helps target a larger, but similar following, and use the hashtags you created so you can keep track. This is an excellent way to boost your following.
#25 – When you have a winner, make it all about them.
Make sure this person feels special. They are helping you, so make sure to thank them. Remember they are your ambassadors.
#26 – Create a competition and challenge your readers to take a picture with your book and use the hashtag.
Have them tag someone else to increase the audience.
#27 – If you created goodies, showcase them.
Whether it’s displayed on their own or you use them in your daily life, it’s perfect to include them in your pictures and your giveaways.
#28 – Look for the best time to post
If you want to push this one step further, Neil Patel also has a great article on this. Iconosquare provides information on best time to post your pictures to maximize the engagement. Research the reader’s behaviors with Iconosquare.
#29 – Also look at your stats available with the Business account.
It’ll give you a better understanding of how Instagrammers interact with your material and when they do.
#30 – Don’t forget to publish stories.
They will help you connect with your followers. Share something unique that they will want to see.
#31 – Connect your Instagram with your other social media
It will allow you to share your pictures on other social media with no extra steps and reach a larger audience.
#32 – Post regularly and be consistent.
Have a goal in mind. Maybe once a day? Whatever goal you have, stick to it.
#33 – Use the Law of Pareto – 80/20.
80% of pictures related to your book and 20% not related to your book at all during your book launch and the other way around when you’re building your platform.
#34 – If you have a budget, consider using Instagram ads.
But word of caution, if you aren’t familiar with it, you might want to ask a professional to do it for you. You need to know if you want to do carousel ads, photo ads, video ads, or stories ads. There are many options and features to consider, and you need to know what would attract Instagrammers. It could be a waste of money if not well targeted. Only consider promoting pictures that either promote your book, announce a giveaway, or feature a book sale. You need a call-to-action.
You also need a business page to be able to promote. You have the ability to set your budget, but you should always refer to an expert if you have no idea how to do it. While setting it up is relatively easy, wasting money with Zero return on investment becomes as easy. You now have abilities to do split testing and should take advantage. Basically, you run a few ads and see what generates more returns. Once you know, you stop the others and normally run the one that creates the most engagement/sale/view. This is a good way to avoid spending too much at once.
#35 – If you use MailChimp, consider creating these ads directly from it.
The ads can target the people on your list or people similar to those on your list. Make sure your list reflects the audience you’re looking to reach if you’re going that route.
There are many ways to promote your book on Instagram. Not everything will make sense to you, but apart from the ads, you can apply them all at no costs. The only thing that you’ll need is your book, your creativity, and your time. So I guess it isn’t totally free because time is money, right!?. 🙂 Instagram is different from Twitter, Facebook, or Pinterest, but it certainly is a meaningful way to build your community and find your promoters.
What’s your experience with Instagram? Feel free to share the good, the bad, and the ugly.
Here are two more articles that I thought were thorough on this topic.
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