A reader asked me about book marketing on Instagram last year. I haven’t used Instagram — I’m a Pinterest fan. So, I asked for tips from Insta authors at our recent writers’ group meeting.
Several of our authors use Instagram as a marketing tool, so these tips come from their experiences.
Firstly, the big question: does social media work to sell books?
Book marketing on social media: does it work?
I asked the group. The consensus was that any form of marketing works, as long as you do it consistently.
Authors agreed that:
- There’s no magic bullet in book marketing. You need a mix of marketing venues;
- Every form of marketing you try requires you to stick with it. (To repeat, consistency.) For example, you won’t gain a thousand reader fans in a week or a month on any social media network without divine intervention or similar;
- All of the Instagram-using authors in the group agreed that a mix of paid and free marketing worked best for them.
Now let’s look at our tips.
1. Create a list of Instagram hashtags you’ll use; readers use hashtags to find authors
In the image below, Natasha offers a list of Insta hashtags.
Almost all of these hashtags are new to me. The only one I was aware of was bookstagram.
Natasha advises that you don’t use more than 30 hashtags per post.
2. Become a committed Instagram user: follow other authors. Be generous and kind
Remember the “social.” Follow other Insta authors. Be generous. You’ll get best results if you promote others, and comment on others’ posts, as well as (occasionally) promoting your own book.
As the saying goes, you can’t fake sincerity. Readers will sense it if you’re just on Instagram to promote your books.
One author suggested that you spend at least a month following other Instagrammers, and leaving comments, before you start promoting your own book.
3. Avoid random tagging: only tag relevant accounts
Avoid irrelevant tags. That is, don’t tag famous authors’ accounts if you have no reason to do so.
For example, if you’ve just read Famous Author’s book, and your post is a mini-review, by all means tag Famous Author’s account.
4. Engage, engage, and engage: add value
The best way to help yourself, is to help others. “Influencer” bookstagrammers have spent years building their audience, one reader at a time.
From The Writer’s Guide to Instagram: Tips from Top Bookstagrammers and Authors:
Sara from @fictionmatters mentioned that many bookstagrammers don’t accept books straight from authors, so she recommends having a publishing or marketing team or assistant reach out on your behalf, if you have one. If you don’t, she suggests trying to build a relationship with a few bookstagrammers whose pages you enjoy.
Book marketing on Instagram: readers are always looking for new books to read
With millions of books on Amazon’s Kindle store (and many of them free), you’d think that hungry readers would be satisfied.
Nope… we’re not. I read long last past my bedtime at least two nights a week. Many of my friends do the same — and every author in our group has the same reading habit. We love books. And we’re always looking for new books.
Book marketing on Instagram and other social media sites helps you to connect with readers who are trying to find your books.
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