Wednesday, 3 May 2017

A Beginners Guide to Instagram for YA authors.

My Instagram reflects my love of travel,
music, books, and photography. It's
 about the challenge of finding the
magical in the ordinary; about
seeing the world through a different
set of expectations and eyes. 
Firstly, a massive shout out to the fabulous website resource, HASHTAGIFY which I have discovered through some research into how to get the most engagement with the Instagram community.

I'm writing this blogpost mostly as a way of capturing some very interesting findings to help my own engagement but hopefully it will give you some little pointers, too. Although I strongly recommend taking a full look Hachtagify so you can match it precisely to your own book world.

I write Fantasy YA fiction (mostly) and I seriously LOVE Instagram. I have made the decision to make my Instagram board a reflection of my Creative Life not just my authoring; so it's predominantly travel, inspiration, creative living, music, books and reading. I have a passion for art and image, and instagram is a great platform for me to play with my passion for photography.

The recurring advice I have collected for beginners on instagram is:
  • create a coherent visual theme with a strong message of your values. So mine is very aesthetically focused with strong, rich colours. I have a love of structure and form, and there is a sense of magic and whimsy, with strong alternative overtones. 

  •  #HASHTAGS are really important. So as a YA author are you using #YALit #YABooks #YAReader #YAseries #Booknerd #Booknerdigan #kidlit #ASMSG #Author #AmWriting #Books #Kindle #Bookworm #Booklover #bookstagram #booklove (the most successful posts have around 12-20 hashtags!) 

  • #yabooks is the most used 55%  #YAbooks is the next with 29% so yes, caps lock matters. (Stats thanks to Hashtagify) 

  • Did you know that the peak time for the hashtag engagements linked to the ones above is Sunday afternoon starting at 1pm and peaking at 5pm (GMT) Although strangely, Wednesday is also a strong day. (Thanks Hashtagify)

  • SOCIAL ENGAGEMENT - the best way to strengthen your engagement is to, well, engage, and not just broadcast. It's really important to find influencers in your community and like their posts and take the time to comment; this is the best way to get noticed and for people to check out your page. 

  • Run engagement posts - ask people to tag and share. Run contests in which they have to tag you, share and tag in order to cross-promote to your followers. 

  • TIME investment - as with all human interactions, it takes time to build meaningful, powerful relationships; followers need to get to know you through your board. Organic, genuine growth is always the best way to go, but that doesn't mean you sit back and wait for the garden to grow - get out there and make friends, be bold, be you. 

  • My own tip is to make special expeditions and adventures to build up your B roll of film on your phone so that you have a week's worth or a couple of week's worth of images that you can post across the days. This will take some of the pressure off and get you into the habit of posting daily. 

  • USE EMOCATIONS - they are the language of Instagram. Think about how you can use them in your bio to really convey who you are, what you stand for and what your belief systems are. In this way, you can tell folks a thousand words worth of things in the 100+ bio allowance. 

After posting this onto AYAA on Facebook, I gathered some more excellent advice, so I'm expanding this post to include the things that are coming of it. 

JESIKAH UNDIN - author and Bookstagrammer. 

"The best advice I have? Don't self-promote too much. That's a turn-off to this community. It's meant to be social, to discuss your favorite books as fellow readers. So... join the community of readers. Become one of them and ask a QOTD (question of the day) to kickstart conversations. "

And for hashtags, check out a variety of #Bookstagram accounts and see what hashtags they use and borrow them. Use oversaturated ones like #Bookstagram coupled with lesser used ones like #BookDragon and #Booktography. Or themed ones like #BooksandCandles or #BooksandOutdoors.


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