Should Instagram be part of your strategy?
Read my thoughts on if Authors need Instagram
Well, yes and no; it depends. I know, not a great answer, right?
Whether you need Instagram as part of your strategy depends on your strategy!.
But it depends on much more too.
- The type of person you are,
- The time you have available,
- Your ability to create visually and tell stories visually,
- How good you are at relationship-building and a host of other things.
Instagram is an incredible platform with a vibrant brilliant book audience and it is a platform where you can’t really drop and run.
Instagram is one of the best places to build an audience eager and keen to read your book and it is the one you will have to put the most amount of work into. An engaged Instagram audience will support you, propel you and hang on your every word, but getting there is not an easy ride.
Facebook and twitter are for the most part pretty straight forward. Yes you have the Facebook algorithm to contend with, but you can build audiences on here quickly, turn up a few times a day, say something profound, run and all is forgiven. Obviously this is not the ideal strategy but it is passable. When it comes to instagram, passable is just not good enough; it leads to a pretty unengaged account and is not going to build you a vibrant audience. That takes a certain type of author, which means this platform may not be the right place for everyone, and that is fine.
A lot of marketeers out there treat social media as one big strategy, lumping them all together, showing you tactics to grow and gain followers. And to me they are doing you a disservice. You don’t have to be on them all, you just have to own the one you love. If you adore Twitter, build your empire there. If Facebook is your bag then stay there; there is nothing wrong with that and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Long gone are the days of conquering all. You want to sell more books and that is all about building a community in a way that works for you. And that is what keeps me coming back to Instagram; it has without a shadow of a doubt, for those that put the time in, a huge benefit.
I also feel that Instagram is not for every author; it is a platform of mainly women who are articulate, real and discerning. If you are writing male orientated business books it might not be the right place for you, for example. So really think before you invest the time on Instagram because it will take time. Instagram is for the author who really wants to know their readers, who wants to take them along for the journey, engage with them, talk to them and create with them. It’s not for the author who just wants to make a fast buck. Done well, the author can create a community around them that love what they do and help and support them.
So do you need Instagram as an author?
It depends on
- What the end game is,
- How much time, patience and commitment you have to your future audience,
- How willing you are to learn to tell visual stories,
- How nice you are.
If you think you want to build a committed audience and you are willing to put the time and patience in, then Instagram may just be the place for you. And the upside is you will also learn how to sell your book visually and that knowledge is priceless.
I often get asked how much time and the honest answer is, I don’t know. I think we fit the time into what we have. I would suspect it is about two hours a day, but this may be taken in five minutes chunks. I also get asked whether you have to be a photographer. Well, all I can say is that none of us have any photography experience, have been trained or know any of the so called photography rules. All the photos on bookishbronte account for example are taken with an i-phone. You do need to know a few basics, but they are basics and as you take more photos you will get better and better.