Monday, October 14, 2019

Tips for Using Instagram as an Author

 

Do you use Instagram?

We do.
Check out our profile page here: The IWSG on Instagram

A while back, I created a post on using Instagram. I thought I knew so much. I thought I was helpful. Well, I've learned a bit more since then.

Here are my new and revised tips for using Instagram from "how-to" specifics to "what to post" and "how to engage."

How to Create an Instagram Post

Instagram is a Smart-phone based app. On your PC, Instagram can be found online, but it’s impossible to use it fully via computer. 

The specifics:
1. Take a picture with your phone and share it via Instagram. (There are three ways to share. I’ll get into those next.) Note that Instagram likes things in the “square” format so you may have to edit your photo.

2. Create an image with an app on your phone – Canva and Textgram are two that I’ve used. 

3. Create an image (jpg) with a program on your PC. After creating the image, e-mail it to your phone (hoping you have this capability). Then, share it via Instagram.

4. (Use With GREAT Caution). Take a screenshot of an image you would like to re-share – like the IWSG logo! Then, share it to your Instagram feed. Remember to get permission if you are going to share artwork or photography that is personal to an artist or photographer. Be sure to give a shout-out to the original in your post.

Three Ways to Share on Instagram: 

1. Feed – this goes directly to your “wall” of your Instagram feed and shows up on the feed of anyone who follows you. Always share the posts you really want people to see here.

2. Stories – this goes to the Story section at the top of the page. Followers have to poke that button to see your current story. You can share fun posts about your daily life, or follow the New York Public Library's recent example and post actual stories you've written. I've experimented recently with both, although I'm just learning on how to post actual fiction and poetry in the right format.

3. Direct – this goes to only the people you choose like a personal email.

What to Post on Instagram

1. Post what you say you're going to post in your profile. Your profile is your preview.

2. Post about your writing - the day to day, the finish moments, the tough moments, the great moments, the actual books you've written.

3. Post about activities or hobbies you have other than your writing: reading, hiking, guitar playing, your cats and dogs.

4. Post what matters to you. Be authentic. If your faith matters to you, go ahead and post it.

5. Post quotes that motivate you.

6. Post about your fandom or about what inspires your writing. 

7. Post something. (Empty feeds are sometimes a telltale of Instagram stalkers.)


Using Instagram to Engage Followers

1. Go comment and like other people's posts (especially if they have liked yours).

2. Use hashtags. #writingcommunity #amwriting #theiwsg #writingfantasy or #YA are just some of a few hashtags that get used regularly. 

3. Follow hashtags. It can help you find like-minded authors.

4. Have at least one post a week that links to your own content - a blog post, a book review.

5. Share through to Twitter and Facebook. Instagram has buttons for this every time you post. 

Finally, don't be afraid to make mistakes! It's okay. Everyone out there who claims to be an expert started out as a beginner and most of the "experts" are still learning. 



13 comments:

Natalie Aguirre said...

Thanks for sharing the tips. I know a lot of people use Instagram but I’m not ready to take the plunge. I don’t have the time right now.

Pat Hatt said...

Great tips indeed. I never bothered with the stories part yet, but yeah, one must keep their profile going as dead accounts are rather pointless and won't get followed much, expect by spammers.

T. Powell Coltrin said...

These are great tips. I guess I've never put Instagram and Writer in the same thought. Of course it would be an awesome way to connect.

Tyrean Martinson said...

Natalie - It's good to know your strengths and what works for you.

Pat - Thanks! And yeah, the feed needs to be somewhat fresh. If you have a personal account and aren't trying to use it as an author, it might be okay to post less often.

T. Powell - it is a great way to connect with other writers and readers!

Patricia Josephine aka Patricia Lynne said...

I had Heather Holden tell me how to share images on the computer. If you right click on the window inspect, you'll see some code and a little icon somewhere of what looks like a tablet and smart phone. It's right by the word element. Click that so it's highlighted blue and reload the page and you should be able to upload if I explained that right. The downside is you can only share one image and not multiple and I couldn't do video.

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

I keep saying I need to be more involved on Instagram. Sigh. I'm going to do more on Instagram. I mean it this time.

Tyrean Martinson said...

Susan - I enjoy Instagram, which is why I'm on there. I think the key is using the social media tools that you like and playing around with them to find your best rhythm. If Instagram isn't your thing, that's okay.

Tyrean Martinson said...

Thanks for the tip!

Mirka Breen said...

Ah, Instagram. When it decides to allow uploads from desk tops, I'll looks at this post again and really use it. Whatever their rational (I suspect it's about mobile/location in real time data sharing regardless of Insta saying it's about keeping the professional photographers away) it's an annoyance to the few of us who still have dumb phones. I did have an account briefly, but uploading was too hard.

Michelle Wallace said...

I have an account but I don't really post.
I suppose I need to work out a posting strategy (whatever that means... LOL)

Stephsco said...

Great tips! I found I really liked the community on Instagram once I started using it more. Readers are definitely there talking about books!

I hope it's ok to share this: I started a Facebook group several years ago for writers on Instagram to share ideas and support each other. Any writer published or unpublished can join. The group is rather quiet despite a large number of members, but everyone is friendly. The main rule is no self promotion of your books or any products for sale. https://www.facebook.com/groups/Instagram4Authors/

Teresa Cypher said...

Thanks for the tips. I'm just learning Instagram. This will be so useful!

Sherry Ellis said...

I use Instagram for the business I work for, but I've never used it personally. Maybe I'll start. Thanks for your tips.