Instagram is, hands down, my favorite social media application. I love how visual it is. I love how it doesn’t lend itself to angry discussions. I have less love for the selfies you find there, but in every pot of honey there are bound to be a few bee parts.
Anyway, for the past couple of years I’ve been using my Instagram account to post pictures of wildflowers that I take while hiking. I am not really a visual person, but I hike with an artist who has been wonderful about helping me understand lighting and composition, at least in this very narrow context. As a result, my IG page is loaded with reasonably attractive pictures of flowers.
I’ve heard a lot of discussions about how great IG is for selling books, but I’m not clear on how to do that. (Unless you run ads. If you’re willing/able to spend beaucoup bucks, I’m sure it works very well.) Unless your post is an ad, Instagram doesn’t allow you to include a working link there, only in your profile. Given people’s dislike of extra clicks, that suggests IG is not a good platform for sales.
So what’s the deal?
Last Sunday I took an Instagram class, taught by Kat Coroy. She explained that Instagram is more of a relationship-building tool. If people come to associate your posts with things they enjoy seeing and a consistent theme, it will predispose them to buying a book from you when the time is right.
That works for me. I dislike being on the receiving end of the hard sell so I’d never want to be on the giving end.
Without poaching material Kat has created and uses to make her living, I invite you to go look at her page and compare it with mine.
While mine won’t make you want to poke your eyes out with a tuning fork, it’s definitely several steps down from Kat’s. And, realistically, it’s never going to look anywhere that gorgeous. But it’s also clear that with a little bit of work and planning, I can spruce it up and have a very nice page that just might make people think, “I’d like to read a book of hers.”
My plans for next year include:
- Identifying colors and fonts to brand my page.
- Selecting short quotations from my published books and works-in-process.
- Alternating flower pictures with quotes to make my page look more like Kat’s.
- Interspersing pictures of my book covers (and maybe even an ad or two!).
I’m also taking a class on Instagram for Authors that is being offered by my RWA chapter in January, so I’m hoping to learn even more. I’ll post an update when I’ve made some progress.
What about you? Are there any social media apps you’ve found useful in selling or promoting books?