I’ve been using Instagram nearly as long as I’ve used Twitter and WordPress. Overall, it’s been a great experience where I’ve been able to share some photos and enjoy the photos of others. More recently, I got a second account for my books. I’ve learned some things along the way and I hope to apply some of these lessons as I go forward with it.
The more you post, the more engagement you’ll receive. This is a hack I’ve learned more recently. Over the years I was always more concerned with over-posting, which can be an issue as well, but apparently, if you’re a smaller account and you want more exposure, posting more often (Even on the daily) is helpful in reaching more people who will want to engage with your content. I’ve noticed when I don’t post for weeks, my followers will start to drop off. When I post more frequently, I’ll gain more followers. There’s definitely something to it. (I know, it’s not all about followers. I’m not one who wants to gain popularity for the sake of it ((I’d say I actually feel uncomfortable with the idea of being famous)), but as an author, engagement is helpful for the business aspect).
It’s the most fun when you’re authentic. The phrase “Be yourself, because everyone else is already taken” is so true. When it comes to building any brand or growing a following, people respond the best to authenticity, especially in this era. At the start of the Instagram craze, it was more popular to “fake” a 100% happy positive life where you look richer than you are. Now, people are being more open about their moods, struggle, how they’re doing, etc. and it makes them more relatable to their followers. Of course, if you’re naturally upbeat and are genuinely thriving, post that. Your real friends will want to see you succeed when you’re on the up & up.
While it’s okay to dabble with trends you like, it’s important to stay true to yourself. We all grow and change perspectives as we go through life, and it’s okay if your “brand” or “image” grows with you. You’ll have more fun on social media when you’re true to yourself; people connect with that more. One of the reasons why I joined Instagram was so I could share elements of my personality & experience.
Follow the accounts that inspire you. Your online experience will be happier if you follow the accounts that you enjoy seeing – don’t follow things just because they’re popular. Some influencers might be bad for your soul – you don’t need to follow them if you don’t want to.
Don’t follow accounts that make you feel bad. There are some toxic aspects of social media and Instagram is notorious for making people feel bad. I’ve honestly never experienced the negative side of Instagram, because I won’t follow accounts that make me feel bad. I stick with creatives who inspire me in some way. Life’s too short to engage with accounts that don’t make you happy.
Most random DMs don’t come from a good place. Aside from a very small minority, random DMs from strangers aren’t beneficial for your life. At best, they’re bored and just looking to waste time with someone they find interesting, and at worst it’s someone who wants to get information about you so they can track you. Best not to risk it. It’s easy to get comfortable with people on the Internet, because all communication is from a distance, but remember that they are strangers. Don’t engage with them unless they’re respectful – and even then, don’t give any personal details about yourself. No one should be asking you personal questions when they don’t know you.
You can make money being a “micro influencer” on Instagram. A micro influencer is considered to be someone who has anywhere from 500 to under 10,000 followers. I honestly haven’t ever monetized from Instagram before, but I’ve followed some people who have been able to get paid from brands for modeling their clothes (or taking pictures with their product). I used to think you’d need thousands of followers to be a real influencer, but some brands will work with smaller accounts if their content is good quality.
Depending on the brand, they’ll pay you per post or they’ll send you free things. I may look into doing something like this for fitness and fashion wear. If I do go down this path, I’ll certainly update you on how it’s going! I love that we live in an age where anyone can make an income simply from having a phone and an Internet connection. Why not go for it if it interests you, right?
Bookstagram has a lot of potential! Bookstagram is basically a hashtag that you use when you post pictures of books or bookish things on Instagram. Popular ones include #Bookish #Booklover #Bookstagrammer #authorgram #authorsofinstagram #booksofinstagram etc.
I have a separate account for my author Instagram – that sphere of the app is simply amazing. You can browse pictures of lovely books, read reviews, and support authors by buying their book. I’ve found and purchased a book from Instagram before – and I’ve made a few sales that way. Bookstagram is a wonderful medium to entice new readers to your books if you post them there.
If you’re a girl who posts fashion pictures, you’ll get a lot of offers for free jewelry. I’ve received probably over 100 messages over the past few years from jewelry/accessory companies wanting to work with me as an influencer and offering to send me free jewelry (the caveat being I pay for shipping). I took a few of the offers and it was pretty fun receiving these little gifts in the mail for such a low cost, but I’m not a big accessories person, so the novelty wore off. Still, it’s nice if you are looking to get a new necklace or something like that, just post a few well composed fashion shots and some companies are guaranteed to message you!
I still have a lot to learn about Instagram. I’ve used this app mostly for fun, but it’s actually a powerful business tool if you want to learn the ins and outs on how to make it work for your brand. There’s tricks on how the alogarithm can work in your favour, as well, that I am still learning about. I’m excited to dive deeper into how the app can help me market my books and of course, keep it fun and creative as always.
I hope you enjoyed this post! 🙂 Do you use Instagram?