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Social Media for Writers: How to Blow Up on Instagram

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Promoting your work as a writer can feel a little daunting. There are so many channels, and long-form content doesn’t cut it on social media like other formats do. So, what’s the best way to attract new readers and promote your work?

In this post, we’ll cover the possibilities Instagram offers to up-and-coming writers. Plus, we’ll explore:

  • How some of the most popular writers worldwide use Instagram
  • An easy-to-implement strategy you can follow to grow consistently

But first, is Instagram a good platform to promote your writing?

Let’s take a closer look.

Is Instagram the Best Social Media Platform for Writers?

Given its visual nature, you may wonder whether Instagram is a suitable platform for writers. Let’s break down Instagram by the numbers, according to the latest statistics

  • Instagram is the 4th most popular social media platform after Facebook, YouTube, and WhatsApp
  • 45.8% of internet users access Instagram every month 
  • Most Instagram users are Gen Z and millennials
  • Instagram has the second highest engagement rate across social media platforms (0.6%)

In short, Instagram is definitely worth it. Although this platform might appear counterintuitive for writers in the beginning, it's an excellent choice because it allows you to:

  • Authentically showcase your personality and build a loyal community
  • Expand your reach and connect with new readers
  • Promote your books effectively, as Instagram users are more inclined to make purchases compared to other platforms

In conclusion, Instagram presents an invaluable platform for writers to get discovered and blow up in the literary world. By understanding the power of Instagram, optimizing your profile, creating captivating content, and building an engaged community, you can harness the potential of this dynamic platform to elevate your writing career and connect with a vast audience.

Understanding Instagram’s Algorithm: An Actionable, Non-Technical Explainer

Instagram's algorithm, often viewed as a mysterious force, is essentially a set of rules that determine which posts get seen by whom. For writers, this means understanding what makes content visible and engaging on this platform. Overall, the algorithm favors posts that receive quick and frequent engagement in the form of likes, comments, shares, and views. It also considers the timeliness of posts and the regularity with which users engage with an account.

For writers, this translates to creating content like: 

  • A captivating excerpt from your latest book
  • A thought-provoking quote 
  • A question about writing processes

All these types of content can trigger responses from your followers. Moreover, regular posting and engaging with your audience's comments are also crucial. This engagement signals to Instagram that your content is valuable, thereby increasing your reach on the platform.

Is Video Content Essential To Growing on Instagram?

For starters, there are two kinds of video content on Instagram: stories and reels. Back in 2016, Instagram launched Stories as a response to Snapchat, and more recently, it introduced reels as its counterpart to TikTok. Both have become a significant driver of user engagement since their launch. Let's take a look at some noteworthy statistics:

  • Over 990 million users actively use stories every day
  • Reels captivate a global audience, with 2.4 billion people engaging with them every month
  • Compared to standard video posts, reels are 22% more likely to engage users on Instagram

Therefore, yes, videos are one of the most important forms of content you can post on this platform. 

Social Media For Writers: 5 Key Tips for a Succesful Strategy

Now that we’ve covered the basics, let’s dive into 5 key tips to grow your presence on Instagram as a writer, we suggest you:

  • Optimize your profile
  • Repurpose interviews, readings, and media appearances
  • Mind about trends and post intentionally
  • Use relevant writer hashtags
  • Share your writing process

Let’s take a closer look.

Optimize Your Profile

Optimizing your Instagram profile involves a combination of strategic content creation, profile management, and engagement techniques. Here are some key steps to consider:

  • Profile picture: Make sure your profile picture is clear and recognizable, such as a headshot or logo.
  • Bio: Your bio should be concise yet informative. Include who you are, what you do, and a touch of your personality. 
  • Use keywords: Use relevant keywords in your bio that describe your account. This can help with discoverability.
  • Include a link: Your bio is the only place where you can include a clickable link (unless you have the swipe-up feature in stories), so use it wisely. We suggest you create a Linktree site to consolidate all your relevant links in a single dashboard, such as your website, online store, and other social media platforms.
  • Highlight stories: Use Instagram Stories highlights to neatly categorize and display important details about your work that can't be accommodated in your bio. It's advisable to avoid cluttering with too many stories, as users may skip most of them. Instead, opt for a concise selection of key highlights.
  • Content quality: Post high-quality photos and videos. Maintain a consistent theme or style in your content, which could be a specific color scheme, type of content, or editing style. Instagram is a visual platform, so aesthetics matter a lot.
  • Engaging captions: Write captivating captions that encourage followers to engage. Ask questions, share interesting facts, or include calls to action.
  • Post regularly: Consistency is key. Develop a posting schedule that keeps your audience engaged without overwhelming them.

Remember, each Instagram account is unique, so what works best can vary. It's important to keep experimenting and adjusting your strategy based on what resonates with your audience.

Repurpose Interviews, Readings & Media Appearances

Repurposing interviews, readings, and public appearances into short videos is a strategic move for writers aiming to grow their audience. Instagram Reels, for instance, have an average engagement rate of 1.95% and boast a significant reach rate, outperforming other media types on the platform​​. By converting your longer-form content into short, digestible videos, you're leveraging the platform's preference for video content, which resonates well with the Instagram audience.

These short videos serve as powerful tools for storytelling and personal branding. They give your audience a glimpse into your world beyond the written word, showcasing your personality, insights, and experiences. This form of content is not only more likely to be shared but also helps in building a deeper connection with your followers. A great example of this approach is Robert Greene, an American author known for his books on strategy, power dynamics, and human behavior.

Here are a few examples:

https://www.instagram.com/p/C2u0X4fsafG/

https://www.instagram.com/p/C20LXPvx9hI/

https://www.instagram.com/p/C2nH_jhuVD4/

You should pay close attention to the topics in these examples, which leads us to our next tip. 

Post Intentionally: Mind About Trends and The Best Time to Post 

In the examples above, the main themes are procrastination, failure, and identifying toxic relationships. All of these topics are highly relevant and trending nowadays, particularly among millennials and Gen Z. This isn’t a casual move, it’s important to post strategically with trending topics in mind that may resonate with your target audience, instead of posting randomly. 

It’s also important to consider the best time to post your content. This varies from day to day as you can see in the table below.

DayBest time to post on InstagramEngagement at its peak
Monday6 a.m, 10 a.m, 10 p.m.11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Tuesday2 a.m, 4 a.m, 9 a.m.10 a.m to 3 p.m.
Wednesday7 a.m, 8 a.m, 9 a.m.11 a.m to 1 p.m.
Thursday7 a.m, 8 a.m, 11 p.m.1 p.m to 3 p.m.
Friday5 a.m, 1 p.m, 3 p.m.10 a.m to 11 a.m.
Saturday11 a.m, 7 p.m, 8 p.m.10:00 a.m.
Sunday 7 a.m, 8 a.m, 4 p.m.At noon

Keep in mind that these suggested times might not be suitable for everyone. Before determining the ideal posting schedule, take into account:

  • Time zone and geographical location, for both yourself and your target audience
  • Your primary audience demographics

Additionally, it's worth noting that Sundays typically see the lowest user engagement throughout the week. So, you may want to skip posting on that day.

Use Relevant Writer Hashtags

Hashtags are the lifeblood of Instagram, allowing your content to be discovered by new readers and fellow writers. We suggest you use relevant and targeted hashtags to increase the visibility of your posts. You can easily find these by searching in the "hashtags" tab on Instagram's search bar.

When selecting hashtags, aim for specificity within your niche. While broad hashtags like “poetry,” which boasts over 81 million posts, may seem appealing, they also mean intense competition for visibility. Instead, opt for hashtags with fewer posts that closely align with your specific content. You can also mix popular and niche hashtags.

Share Your Writing Process & Inspiration

Striking a balance between showcasing your writing and allowing glimpses into your personal life adds depth and relatability to your Instagram feed. Sharing quotes, excerpts, or even short stories can:

  • Captivate your audience while building anticipation for your upcoming work
  • Create a connection with your audience as quotes can resonate with your followers on a personal level, fostering a community.
  • Increase engagement on your profile as quotes often prompt likes, shares, and comments, especially if they are relatable or thought-provoking.
  • Enhance the visual appeal of your Instagram feed if you share well-designed graphics.

Creating content with quotes is relatively easy and can be a great way to maintain a consistent posting schedule without the need for complex content creation. Additionally, interspersing these writing-related posts with glimpses into your life as a writer humanizes your brand and makes you more relatable. 

While promoting your books or literary endeavors is essential, it's crucial to strike a balance to avoid coming across as overly salesy. Craft engaging and visually appealing promotional posts that highlight the essence of your work without sounding like blatant advertisements. Incorporate storytelling and personal anecdotes to create an emotional connection, enticing readers to explore your books further.

Create Moving Video Content - No Editor Needed

Using social media to promote your writing can be a rewarding experience if approached strategically. You can establish a strong online presence by creating relatable content and engaging authentically with your audience.

Sharing quotes from your writing is an effective way to present your work. Plus, in the era of Instagram where short videos reign, using audiograms can be a game-changer in sharing your work in an eye-catching way.

Enter Audiotease: a tool that lets you create audiograms directly from your browser with ease. It requires no editing skills or costly software. Intrigued? Give Audiotease a try and create your first audiogram for free.