This month’s guest article is written by my fabulous critique partner who is absolutely incredible, the lovely S.E. Schneider. She brings us her unique insights on storming the Instagram platform and taking no prisoners! With close to 13k of her own followers, she knows a thing or two about being a writer on Instagram.
Instagram for Writers
By S.E. Schneider
Hello there writers!
Writing and Instagram often goes hand in hand these days. Whether you’re trying to market your book or find beta readers online, navigating the murky waters of the internet can be tough. In this article, I’ll be giving you some of the most important things I’ve learned over my past two years on Instagram, growing from zero to almost 13 thousand followers.
Making the Character
How would you describe the character Harry Potter? The first things that come to mind are probably magical, oblivious, and brave. How about Rhysand? Cunning, hot, confident. As much as we as writers try to make characters 4D, readers tend to still only see them as three or four main traits. The same is true of your Instagram persona.
As much as you want your following to know the full and complicated “you”, to them you will really just be three or four traits and the content you create. Instagram “you” is as 2D and untouchable as the characters we write. Accepting this, and working within the confines will help make your page more consistent in tone and feeling.
Go ahead and get a piece of paper and pencil. Write down all the traits you love about yourself.
Good, now look at those traits and think, which will value your page the most and draw in the audience you want? For some people, they might choose knowledgeable, calm, and consistent. Others might choose funny, undignified, and happy.
Write your Instagram persona like you would write a beloved character. Find those parts of yourself that are the most marketable and utilize them at every turn. Take your chance to choose which traits people will remember you by, and shape how you are perceived before your books become best sellers and the media does it for you!
Readers vs Writers
One of the most important things for you to decide about your page is who you’re marketing to. Do you want to draw in fellow writers? People you can go to for critiques, advice, and support. Or do you want your page to market to readers? People who will buy your book and grow your fan base.
Both of these followings are good in their own way. I started my page marketing toward writers, and through The Writing Community found author friends who have supported me throughout my writing journey!
However, if the goal of your page is to market and sell your books I suggest you switch your target audience to readers. There are millions of people who read in the world, not so many who write. This will open you up to so many more people who will enjoy your content and click follow! When I switched my focus from writers to readers my following went from the hundreds to the thousands.
When thinking about your audience it’s also important to remember they are people, and people get bored. Terrible, I know, but true. Because of this, it’s important that you don’t fall prey to the trap of only posting about your book. Readers read more than just your book, and chances are if they’re following you, they’ve already seen yours. That’s not to say you shouldn’t post about your books. Absolutely you should promote yourself, but sprinkle other content in there too, for example, the book you just read, or the fan art you saw. Just enough to spice it up and keep it interesting!
This can get tricky. If you’re on the fence about which audience you want to cater to there is one trick I have found. Separate feeds.
When you post a reel you have two options, post it on your feed, or share it only on reels. This can be used to your advantage if you want to reach two different audiences. With your posts, you could post for your writing audience and tips & tricks of the trade. On your reels you could post for your reading audience, obsessing over the best tropes and the best High Fae Males!
This is not a perfect solution. It’s important to remember if your reels aren’t going on your feed the only way your audience will know you’ve posted it is if you share it to your story. The reels also won’t reach their full potential if they’re only in the reels tab, but they can still reach thousands, so it still helps!
This tip is a classic. You’ve probably heard it a hundred times. But just like the hero’s journey plotline, it’s a classic for a reason.
Imagine you’re scrolling through reels and you come across a person who’s standing awkwardly in front of the camera with their arms crossed and their neck stiff. You’d probably scroll past them without even seeing what they had to say right?
Finding confidence can be hard, but once you learn how to utilize it, it’s an invaluable tool not just on Instagram but in real life too.
If you market yourself and your books with confidence and authority, people will stop and listen.
- Find your persona
- Choose your audience
- And have confidence!
Good luck out there! My DM’s are always open if you have any more specific questions! You can find me @essie_schneider
More about S.E.
S.E. Schneider is an aspiring YA novelist. With two published short stories in the 2019 and 202o Front Street Writers Literary Journals, she hopes to make her novel debut with her current work in progress, Malek.
With a passion for fantasy and all things fangirl, Essie spends most of her time in the company of the fictional and the comfort of the fantastical.