How to use Instagram to Build Your Author Platform
By Ben Cameron, Mar 1 2017 03:26PM
By Laxmi Hariharan
As an author trying to hit a crazy goal of 6+ releases a year, I spend day and night with words. It’s come to a stage where I’ve begun to ration my ‘output’ quota. So I post very little on social media like Facebook. My preference is to save my words for when I actually write my books.
It’s not a surprise that I gravitate to image based social media. Over the past few years, I’ve begun to use, Instagram in particular to reach authors and readers who I wouldn’t normally reach through my newsletter or other platforms. Here are a few ideas on how you too can build your outreach via Instagram.
I love it because it’s silo’d. You can’t link out from Instagram to the web and that comes as a great relief. It means you don’t get side-tracked into spending a lot of wasted time surfing the web.
The power of images
To help my writing process the key for me is to get to the bottom of the motivation of my characters. Often that means identifying a certain emotion or feeling that is the theme for the character. And in this images are hugely helpful.
Sharing a different part of yourself
On Instagram I have developed my own language. It started out as daily writing prompts that helped focus the writer in me. I share these as almost daily diary pages. A powerful way of shining the spotlight on my writing without the intrusive ‘buy my book’ messaging. See one of my most popular posts here: https://www.instagram.com/p/BQ4-5z0FqEG/?taken-by=laxmiwrites
Developing your own ‘image’ via Instagram
This started by accident but quickly became very popular. As a writer I spend a lot of time looking out of my window. I decided to record the view: almost daily pictures of the chestnut tree outside my window, via Instagram. So the same view – yet different every day. A powerful metaphor for staying strong and focussed on my writing even as everything around me changed. I also gave these pictures a distinctive hashtag.
This is so popular that people around the world often message me to ask about the #treeoflaxmi. Find it here: https://www.instagram.com/explore/tags/treeoflaxmi/
Using hashtags and linking to other social media
Using the right hashtags helped me reach a new segment of readers and fellow authors. #amwriting #authorsofinstagram #readersofinstagram #instagrammer #books #poetsofinstagram - Using these targeted hashtags helps reach new relevant audience on this platform.
My Instagram account is also linked to twitter, FB and tumblr and I share my pictures across these platforms.
All of this is of course just a trigger to help me stay focussed on delivering the word count. There is no substitute to writing and releasing the next book. However once you do that, the right marketing and PR platforms and people can help you increase the discoverability of your books.
Hope this helped. I’d love to hear from you. Do reach me on Instagram : https://www.instagram.com/laxmiwrites
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