Written by A Guest Author June 12th, 2017

How to Connect with Readers Through Instagram

 By Aria Gmitter

If you’re like most writers, the idea of self-promotion is a loathsome task. You are a creative person and marketing feels like a sales gig.

Perhaps writers stick to platforms like Facebook and Twitter because it’s so much easier to post about your life and throw in a bit about business. But if you only promote on these two platforms and your blog, you’re missing out. While these traditionally used social media tools need to be a part of your marketing mix, there’s another great way to stream compelling content visually– Instagram.

Instagram is a fresh way to generate buzz and target an audience that’s fast, easy, and free. Maybe you’ve tried Instagram before, but never could build a following. Or, you’ve used Instagram for personal interests only to create a small following and don’t get how it can help you get better results or increase readers.

Most writers view Instagram as little more than a visual hashtag and filtered photos tool with no real way to communicate what they have to offer with real connection. But you can do a lot more than that and Instagram allows you to link your posts to your blog, Facebook Page, and Twitter. This allows you to generate major impressions with layers of content, and also reach out to influencers to reach their audience, too.

Imagine, if JK Rowling took a snapshot of the latte she sipped when she got her inspiration for Harry Potter? That latte moment would be symbolic to her fans “who knew her when” as would a living video of the deceased cat who inspired Stephen King’s book and film, Pet Cemetery.

Although these well-known authors didn’t do these things, you can by unveiling the mystery behind the developmental phases of your process from black page to book launch with Instagram Photos, Instagram Stories, and Instagram Videos.

Instagram photos satisfy the readers’ need for visual content.  

Just like the cover a book draws attention to the title of an unknown author, an intriguing image will stimulate the curiosity of others. If you get your best writing ideas in the shower, snap a picture of your favorite shampoo and post away. If your walks are what get your juices flowing, sharing the reason why these moments are protected treasures.

Tagging your photos correctly can get you a much wider audience. Following other authors at various stages of their careers can give you a better feel for what does and doesn’t work. Often hashtags are how you find new readers.

Instagram Stories encourages readers to check you on demand.

When people know there is a small time frame to take action, the fear of missing out kicks in.  Teach your future dedicated readers to see what you’re up to with Instagram Stories, a photo album that’s only available for 24 hours, then it’s gone.

Here’s how to do it. Once you have committed to developing the main character let him/her make grand appearances that reveal their personality, fears, and even their backstory. Post representative images to your Instagram Stories photo album and announce to all your followers on social media that there are only 24 hours to meet and greet your character. You can make it fun by adding a drawing for a signed copy of your book when it’s released, too for anyone who comments or shares your post.

Give your readers a chance to connect with empathy to your story. If it’s important to you your character grew up in poverty, and you want the reader to know this, create an album about the early years and what their home might have looked like. Believe me, this will work.

Instagram Videos helps you share your personal author journey and creative struggle with transparency to potential readers.

Stuck on a black page? Create an Instagram video to share your thoughts on writer’s block. Have a procrastination moment and compelled to run errands instead? Do a short video about how you’re slacking but make a commitment to keep your writer’s promise when you get back home. Informal videos are powerful because they reveal whom you are in the moment without any pretentious attempt to impress. There might even be a reader who is eager to write, but afraid to take the leap.

Your Instagram videos can inspire action with a glimpse into the life of an author. Not only can you connect to readers about your struggles, you can find out what they want. Use Instagram videos and ask questions you want to be answered with an invitation to comment below. You can invite questions and create a series of video Q&A to engage with your viewers.

With all these added tools at the ready on Instagram, you’ve got a great opportunity to open up your imagination and grow an audience with Instagram.

Marketing with Instagram as a creative tool removes that pushy sales person feeling that deters writers who know that building a platform is part of today’s indie publishing responsibility. Now, you can view marketing your work as a fun. And, once your book is ready to launch, promoting its release will be a cinch since your audience will have been waiting to buy it all along.

Aria Gmitter is a writer, ghostwriter, editor, and editorial intern at YourTango. Her works have been syndicated in xoJane, PopSugar, Prevention, and PsychCentral. Her short stories have been published in small Canadian presses, with her most recent short story published in a James Stuart Bell project with Bethany House Publishers. You can find her online at AriaGmitter.com and Instagram.com/AriaGmitter


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