In a recent episode of our book marketing podcast we covered how to reach Bookstagrammers, and how leveraging the fabulous Instagram platform can really help boost your exposure to serious book lovers and genre fans.
Below are some stand out excerpts from the show, but it doesn’t cover all the tips we shared, so we encourage you to listen to the whole episode (and others!) by visiting our book marketing podcast home page!
New Services Popping Up for Instagram
Apparently new services are popping up everywhere, claiming they can help authors get some coverage on Instagram but do these really work?
As a general rule we love Instagram for authors but social media is just one piece of the pie and it can be really hard to know whether it’s moving the needle – so I can see why this would be enticing but also a waste of money depending on what’s really offered.
It definitely started as a social media status symbol, like if you were a Bookstagrammer you followed a very specific approach to how you run your account and the kind of content you post. But then it started getting picked up by book lovers in general, and even authors, and the content got really muddied.
Because it’s the accounts, NOT the hashtag that’ll get you attention. And I think this is where the misunderstanding is. And one thing I find, as I research bloggers to pitch our authors to is that a lot of book bloggers have robust Instagram accounts as well – so are they always one in the same?
If you’re going to be a Bookstagrammer it’s about your content and how you manage your Instagram account.
So really the short of it is that a Bookstagrammer is fiercely dedicated to showcasing books, that’s how they make recommendations, think of it as the book blogger version of social media. In theory you shouldn’t be seeing a book in one post, and then their dinner in the next. That’s a book lover, not a Bookstagrammer.
Keep this in mind when you’re searching for accounts to follow and individuals to eventually connect with.
Understanding the Bookstagrammer Hashtag
Someone searching the hashtag is looking for someone they can trust to make solid book recommendations in the genre or genres they’re interested in, that’s the assumption, and by simply slapping that hashtag on all your posts because you’re an author, they’re not going to stick around and you might even be hurting your chances of getting a follow because it could be seen as a bait and switch sort of thing.
You don’t want to turn potential readers off by misrepresenting your brand and misusing the Bookstagrammer hashtag.
How to Reach Bookstagrammers
I would say the first thing is you have to spend some time on Instagram, you can’t just hop on there one day and say “I’m going to use this hashtag and get Bookstagrammers to share my stuff” because that’s not how this works.
Your first focus should be on your own account.
Figure out your vibe, your look, a lot of Bookstagrammers are so smart with their branding, they use the same color pallet or filter on all their images, it’s impressive.
So make sure you have a brand concept for your account, have a clever bio, start creating content that speaks to your market and who you’re trying to reach, be cool, be someone they want to check in with.
And then start search hashtags to find other authors and book lovers you can start following. Comment on and like their posts. If you love something they’ve created share it and tag them to give them credit.
This is the best way to organically grow your following.
Social media is like the high school lunch room, you’ll naturally start connecting with people who vibe with you, so when you reach out to Bookstagrammers and start connecting with them, ensure you have an account and content they can get behind.
Some Accounts Will Charge a Fee
There’s good money to be made by being an influencer and it takes a lot of time and hard work and shouldn’t be scoffed at.
I would just say be smart about which opportunities you go with, if someone is charging but sharing dozens of recommendations a week, you’re competing with a lot of author names for attention. But if someone is charging and they’re really thoughtful about how many recommendations they make, that could be worth your time and money.
Just don’t throw money at strategies because it seems easier than doing the work – because at the end of the day a lot of times you really are just throwing money at something that won’t benefit you long term like doing the work will.