Jeanne: Using Instagram to Sell Books, Part 1

IG logoOn Saturday I was asked to speak at a local workshop on the business side of being an author on the topic of Instagram. Although I’m no one’s idea of an Instagram Influencer, and I have no graphic arts skills, I was okay with talking about it because:

a)  I LOVE Instagram. It’s all pictures and no politics. From the first day I joined, back in April of 2016, it felt like a perfect fit.

b) Over the last year I’ve taken a couple of classes on IG, so I know some best practices.

Today I’m going to share some of those best practices with you.

BP#1: Pick a lane or, actually, 3 lanes. Instagram works best if you limit your range of topics. Mine are: my books, my flower photographs and things-I-see-when-I’m-out-walking.

BP#2: Pick a color palette. Having a limited color palette creates cohesion among your posts and gives your account a professional look.

This color palette becomes most apparent when people visit your profile page, as people who are considering following you do. Here’s my profile page:

Instagram Profile 2020-03-01

BP#3: Decide on a pattern for your posts. Here’s a great article that will help you learn about some possibilities for layouts.

Because my Instagram revolves around flower photographs, which have a lot of color, I decided to go with a modified rainbow layout. A true rainbow layout would go: 3 predominantly red photographs, 3 orange photographs, 3 yellow, 3 green, 3 blue, 3 indigo and then 3 violet.

(Sidebar: Why does indigo get called out as a color? All the other colors in the rainbow are either primary colors or the color that falls between two primary colors. Indigo is no more important than teal or chartreuse. What gives?)

Anyway, there are two problems, for me, with adhering to the (flawed) rainbow of colors. First, there aren’t many green or blue flowers. Second, there are tons of white and pink flowers and Roy G. Biv knows nothing about white or pink.

(Hypothesis: I bet indigo was added by a third grade teacher who wanted a workable mnemonic.)

Instead, I stick with always posting three of the same dominant color in a row, but I’m not a stickler for the order of the colors. Here’s what a typical 3×4 of mine looks like:

Instagram 3x3

That’s probably enough info for this post. Next week (probably) we’ll talk about where the book-selling part comes in.

Do you have an Instagram account? If so, what kinds of pictures do you post?

To see more of my Instagram, go here.

7 thoughts on “Jeanne: Using Instagram to Sell Books, Part 1

  1. So pretty! I love flowers!

    I find it amazing when I see a well-coordinated set of thumbnails. I have the feeling the Ladies all like some of the same colors, because our media library looks very pretty, IMO. I follow a couple of people on Instagram, and I just assumed it was about colors they liked and used often in their work. There’s probably more at work than that, though, LOL!

    I think another scheme that could be used is three seasonal colors, where “season” is defined very loosely — whites, ice blues and dark greens for January, sliding into dark greens, reds and pinks for Valentine’s Day, then a bunch of greens for March, etc.

    I don’t have Instagram myself, although since I’m posting more stuff (cats, Tokachi scenery and food) to Twitter, it might be a good idea for me to check that out.

    I look forward to hearing more about Instagram from you! (And seeing!)

  2. I had to laugh at your “indigo” comment and the sad lack of pink and white. Your best practices make a lot of sense; I especially like the idea of a cohesive color pallet.

    You’ve given me much to think about and, if I ever decide to take the IG plunge, a good reference source to come back to.

  3. Pingback: Elizabeth: While you Shelter in Place – Eight Ladies Writing

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