When authors hear the advice "show, don't tell," they don't often take it literally. But that's exactly what Instagram is designed to do. This social media site is growing faster than any other, especially with younger demographics. Posting on Instagram is blazing fast -- all you have to do is snap a photo and give it a caption. The secret is in what photos you show and what you write about them, but you can use the site for valuable marketing efforts you can't get anywhere else.
It's a New Audience
You may have some crossover from word-based social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook, but for the most part those who spend the greater amount of their social media time on Instagram are an untapped market when it comes to book marketing. Some smart authors -- especially in the romance genre -- have been using it for a while, but most of the site is promotion free for now. It's growing exponentially, but it's established enough that most people have heard of it.
Just like Twitter, your hashtags on Instagram are crucial in reaching your target audience. You need to add enough of them so that enough people see your posts, but don't add an entire hashtag paragraph. That's just obnoxious. Choose your hashtags wisely, but throw in a curve ball once in a while to see if you get any new followers from a different direction.
Instagram posts are of the moment. They don't mean much individually, but as a whole they paint a picture of who the poster is. Readers want to know about you as a person, not just what you write, and Instagram is the perfect medium in which to do that. Sure, post sneak peeks of your new books covers, but also send pictures of your writing environment, the pie in your favorite coffee shop, your favorite coffee mug or, of course, your cat. The more your readers see you as someone who could be their friend, the more they'll follow you and read your books.
It Encourages Interaction
Instagram posts are so quick and ephemeral, they're almost all impulse-driven. This means every thread takes the form of a quick, casual chat. This encourages others to join in, because it's hardly any commitment at first. Then, once they've posted, they're invested in what others say on your thread. The more people who drop by your virtual spot, the more possible new readers you'll find.
Show Your Process
The writing process is endlessly fascinating to those who don't do it, and Instagram is a great place to give readers a tiny slice of the way you work. Share pictures of environments that inspire your books, people who look like you envision your characters, and even coffee or tea cups that help to spur you on to writing one more paragraph.
Enhance Your Pictures
Instagram comes with about a dozen filters for your pictures, but do a search in your app store for additional programs. You'll find dozens of free or inexpensive apps to turn your ordinary photos into shareable pictures that will spread your fame even further.
Keep the Faith and may the Force be with You!