Writers: Grow Your Instagram Account Organically

by | Mar 21, 2018

By Frances Caballo

On March 1st, Pew Research Center released its newest report on social media use.

As everyone would expect, YouTube and Facebook lead the pack, capturing a good portion of Internet users.

But not far behind, with an estimated 800 million users as of September 2017 (Statista), Instagram proves that it’s continuing to flourish.

If you’ve never used Instagram, I recommend that you read an earlier post I wrote for Joel Friedlander titled Instagram Primer for Indie Authors. Since that time there have been a few changes: Instagram is more nimble on desktop computers, and you can now schedule posts without reminder notifications with most scheduling applications if you have a business account.

But today we’re going to be more concerned with growing your Instagram account.

Now, as with most social media accounts, authors want to know how to grow them and rack up follower counts.

What I always remind writers is that social media is about socializing. Maybe having high follower counts make us feel validated but what really matters is the relationships we develop. Are you attracting readers and conversing with them? Do you take time to socialize?

Because socializing, conversing, and using hashtags are the best ways for you to grow your Instagram account.

It’s that simple.

Some businesses can help you buy followers, but shortcuts never work with social media and buying followers – whether it’s Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook – is always a bad idea. You’ll end up with followers from Sri Lanka who might not have any interest whatsoever in what you write about.

7 Steps to Growing Your Account on Instagram

  1. The first step to growing your account is to have patience. Lots of it. Know that it will take time to attract followers. The best way to build an account is to engage socially with other users so spend time commenting, liking posts, and engaging with others.
     
  2. Try to create a focus for your account. Maybe you want to appeal to readers by posting all things bookish. In that case:
     

    • feature author quotes
    • take pictures of nooks in a used bookstore
    • post unusual bookcases

    Make your account into a reader’s haven.
     

  3. Or maybe you want your account to reflect the themes of your books.
     

    • Did you write a book about adopting or fostering rescued dogs? Then visit local shelters and take pictures of dogs up for adoption.
       
    • Did you write a cookbook? Feature some of your best dishes.
       
    • Did you write a romance novel? Maybe you want to visit lingerie stores and feature sexy lingerie, chocolate, and bottles of champagne.

    Whatever you decide to do, have fun with it and make your pictures as appealing as possible.

  4. Post regularly. Once or twice a day is sufficient.
     
  5. Reveal some of your life to readers. Think of your favorite authors. Wouldn’t you love to know what their writing nook looks like, whether it’s an office, a café, or some other place? Give your readers a peek into your world. Show them your garden too, and places that you like to frequent. Maybe it’s a local café or a pier if you live on the coast. Just show your readers as much of your world as you’re willing to show them.
     
  6. Tag readers in photos, especially when they appear for your readings or when you post images you know they’ll love.
     
  7. Use hashtags. Lots of them. You can use up to 30 hashtags per post. Some users think that 11 hashtags are sufficient and I side with them. But some users feel they have a better chance of connecting with followers when they use even more hashtags.
     
    Whatever you decide, definitely use them. Experiment with the number of hashtags you include and determine which number of hashtags works best for your account. If you use hashtags on Twitter, then you are already familiar with many of the hashtags that can apply to Instagram.

    You can use hashtags to connect with readers, other writers, and to reflect your genre or theme.

    The genre hashtags are similar to those you are already using on Twitter:

    • #romance
    • #RomanticSuspense
    • #fantasy
    • #YA
    • #GraphicNovel
    • #ShortStory, etc.

    There are hashtags you can use to connect with other writers. These include:

    • #WritersofInstagram
    • #amwriting
    • #writing
    • #PoetsofInstagram
    • #WritersLife
    • #WriterWednesday
    • #NaNoWriMo

    You can also use hashtags to connect with readers:

    • #bookworm
    • #booklover
    • #bibliophile
    • #reading
    • #instaread
    • #bookstagrammer
    • #currentlyreading
    • #goodreads

With some patience and socializing, and using hashtags, your Instagram account will grow organically, which is the only real way to grow a social media account.
 
Photo: Pixabay

tbd advanced publishing starter kit

7 Comments

  1. William Mason

    No. I’m a senior too and I’ve never been a part of a social networking site. I find that it makes my life better. I can go home and be separate from all the baggage other people load on themselves through social networking. No one can pick on you over the internet, you can use your time for things of greater importance (sports, other extracurriculars, homework). Plus, you are better prepared for any post-secondary opportunity you may want to go into. You aren’t going to have time to constantly update or chat with people online.. If you really care about them, you can just call and visit them! Trust me, my life is perfectly fine without them!

    Reply
  2. Ar

    Instagram is a great place for writers to grow and connect. You wouldn’t automatically think of it as being a typical writing network because it’s so visual, but actually some of my favourite writing content has come from authors on Instagram!

    Reply
  3. Michael N. Marcus

    I do a lot of Facebooking, and a tiny bit of Tweeting. You have convinced me to try Instagramming. Thanks, maybe.

    Reply
    • Frances Caballo

      Sign up, grab your username, and experiment. Post images as you snap them and use Canva.com to create quote images. Just have fun with it at first. Then over time, learn how to use it to engage with your readers.

      Reply
  4. Quippish Quill

    Thanks for this comprehensive list! I think a lot of writers (myself included) struggle with Instagram since it’s mainly a visual medium and we’re all about hashing out those words. Do you think its wise to post pictures from our blog post and link followers to our blog? I’ve seen other bloggers do it but it does make for a hectic feed.

    Reply
    • Frances Caballo

      Sure, including an image from a blog post makes sense. But the only way you can include a link to your blog post is if you add it to your bio and refer to it in your image comment or if you buy advertising and include a link to the blog pst.

      Reply
  5. BookWritingInc.

    Being a writer it is very important to market work on social media to get the most out of it but unfortunately many writers are not proficient enough. Now with the help of your blog post one should know how to market him self through social media on instagram.

    Reply

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  1. Top Picks Thursday! For Writers & Readers 03-28-2018 | The Author Chronicles - […] takes place online. Frances Caballo instructs us in 7 strategies to clean up our social media and how to…
  2. Die Woche im Rückblick 16.03. bis 22.03.2018 – Wieken-Verlag Autorenservice - […] Frances Caballo: Writers: Grow Your Instagram Account Organically […]

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