Instagram may not seem like the natural social media choice for writers but with over 2 billion users, it is a behemoth of community, opportunity and dialogue. Writers on Instagram are a huge community that spans genre, form, purpose and experience. It could be easy to jump on and follow everyone using #author in their bio but there are a few steps that can help writers stand out on Instagram.
The Architecture of an Instagram Post
Image + Caption + Hashtags = an Instagram post.
It really is that simple. What isn’t easy is creating that post to start with. If you’re happy with a candid, shoot-and-go approach that’s great, you do you. But the accounts that grow furthest are definitely those that put the effort in. That doesn’t really have to mean anything further than actually thinking about what you’d like to share.
Don’t just point and shoot; view each post as a chance to tell a story and do it with the same level of passion and dedication that you would write. Look to other accounts for inspiration but remember that you will always be strongest when crafting a narrative that comes from your own soul.
Once you have your image, write your caption with your voice, be personal, truthful, include a call to action in some way, and utilise your 30 hashtags. A simple formula is to use 15 that relate to your image, 10 that relate to your caption and 5 that are general to you (in this case writing hashtags). Find them by looking at the hashtags used by those you’re following, try to stick to ones that have between 10000 and 250000 images, with a couple of the bigger, million-plus ones thrown in. For a list of our 100 favourite hashtags, check out our free Ebook The Writers Guide to Instagram which is available to all our subscribers.
After you’ve posted, spend half an hour engaging across the platform. Follow, like and comment on other posts mindfully. Like photos that you actually like, reply to questions or call to actions in posts rather than ‘great photo *thumbs up*’ on every single one, and only follow people who you genuinely want to follow.
Find Instagram challenges to participate in. We think the best ones are ones that ask you to share your writing journey and favourite books as opposed to the ‘follow loops’. While there’s nothing wrong with joining in a follow loop, it should be a carefully considered decision for your account and not one that we would recommend as right for everyone.
Instagram challenges, on the other hand, will give daily prompts to post about. They’re great when you’re first starting out as it gives you content ideas and things to talk about in your captions that will help your audience get to know you. Don’t forget to interact with others participating in the challenge.
Find Your People
Instagram is a strange beast at the best of times. For writers, it is even harder. Should you be building a community of readers? Other writers? Potential clients? Depending on what kind of writer you are, and where you are in your journey, the answer might be a little different. For a journalist, it may seem more natural to post on your specialism, e.g. interiors, with beautiful pictures and captivating captions. For an author, you may gravitate to a bookstagram feed or one filled with quotes (We’d caution using text sparingly; you can’t all be Rupi Kaur).
In simple terms; your audience is often going to be people just like you or at the very least,
When we started writing this article, we soon realised that this was not a quick topic so we’ve created a free ebook The Writer’s Guide to Instagram which goes into much more depth on this topic. Sign up to our newsletter below (we promise no spam, just one carefully crafted email each month) to download it now!