Ah, finally I get to my favorite social media platform: Instagram. As a former fan of the APP, I was worried whether the takeover of Facebook will not break everything. But amazingly – everything has remained very nice. Nevertheless again a view of the emergence of Instagram.
The application was developed by Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger, who launched their HTML5-based check-in software in San Francisco burbn had created. You expanded burbn subsequently on photos and published Instagram finally on 6. October 2010 in the App Store. (Wikipedia)
Instagram started out edgy and cool and blurry and kind of weirdly questionable. Did you like it at all? The look of Polaroid photos in an app? However, the creative community on the web quickly discovered Instagram and took a very artistic approach to it. Here was a potential, even if no one knew exactly where? Or, okay, Zuckerberg knew it, who, shortly after the APP was also available for Android, struck and bought the company for 1 billion dollars. Oops! Now Instagram has 1 billion users, the investment was worth it. And for you, it’s not only worth getting involved with Instagram, I would even strongly advise authors to use this platform quite intensively. Why? Well, it is, so to speak, a concentrated Facebook.
Microblogging on Instagram
The good thing about Facebook is the combination of text and image/video. But unfortunately Facebook has become very confusing and not very stylish. Before the cover of a book is found, first comes 5 music videos and 3 horror news and 10 cat videos and our brain makes plop! Procrastination is still the best thing that can happen to us there. Instagram calms the eye mostly already because there are only photos and everything is divided into squares and you can be guided by the interest in the photo to the text. So not everything gets presented at the same time. From the picture to the text should come your fans, because text is the strength of us authors! Unlike Twitter and Pinterest, you have a lot of space for text. People like to read a short or long text about the picture, especially the book community, which is so important for us authors.
Use Instagram for short texts about your books, your writing, your book characters, and for thoughts and information about yourself as an author and a person.
The image is the introduction to your thoughts, because images are more important than text on Instagram! And here already opens the first task for autroins: Show very good pictures!
Pictures on Instagram
I am a person to whom aesthetics is extremely important. I suffer when I see bad fonts, bland color schemes, blurry, bad photos, ugly subjects, intrusive photos, cheap materials, in short: a bad design. The questions I ask myself about my photos, you should ask yourselves too:
- Are they in a good resolution (so sharp)?
- Have style?
- Is the perspective interesting
- Do the colors in the picture increase?
- Is the motive interesting?
- Is there a good reason to show this motif?
Okay, you might say, but most users on Instagram aren’t thatooo strict after all. Uh – yes. But if you are professional writers on Instagram, you should be better and poppier than the average user of the platform. It’s like at a party: you are the hosts! Not something the guests who can also throw a crumpled napkin on the floor once in a while. Therefore your pictures should:
- be inspiring
By the way, these don’t always have to be photos, of course drawings or picture boxes with quotes will work too. The mix makes it. Important again: photos are more important than text on Instagram. But a good image will direct users to your text very quickly. Does this sound familiar? It is the same with the cover of a book and the content.
First of all: you should have a public profile as active authors. I do not understand – absolutely – why an author has a private profile on Instagram. There is nothing to hide and if there is, please don’t do it on Instagram! Private accounts are something for private persons. If you as an author also want to have (additionally) a private account – okay. But your author account should be public.
As I said in the post about Twitter, it’s very important that you have a meaningful profile and profile picture on Instagram. Of course for a publisher it is the logo and for an author? Exactly. You can’t get around an author photo here, even if you use a pseudonym (no, it doesn’t!). The reader wants to know what you look like. Again the book comparison: because there is an author photo in the cover also nice.
In the description somewhere the word: Author/Writer/Writer etc. should appear. Maybe your most successful or current books and a few words about you or a quote, which describes you well. If you have a business profile, you can even choose a category like writer or artist.
As already explained on Pinterest, the business account gives you the opportunity to advertise and access statistics, and also allows you to add a contact email or link.
All very nice, because as authors you have a business, you are your own promoters (and no, a publisher can’t do all that for you nowadays). So makes a lot of sense (even though it’s still on my to-do list). I have selected a nice how-to video on YouTube, where it is explained how to create a business account. With the business profile you can also advertise, i.e. promote posts.
(Book) advertising on Instagram
Advertising – him – is such a topic. Actually, what always kicks in at some point in the previously ad-free platforms, because the creators have to get out of the red at some point. Because before Facebook is and was for example only a big investment bubble. Means: A lot of people put money into Facebook to earn something on and with Facebook sometime. Okay, I don’t like it either when an ad banner pops up every 3 seconds, but – think about it: Facebook has been GIVING away for years for free. Namely give you all the opportunity to network and post content and so on. For free. It is the same with Instagram. At some point, the 1 billion dollars that Zuckerberg has spent on the company must come back in again. But in the end we can all profit from it (too). Namely advertise yourself. Promote your own book, writing class for bookmarks and e-reader sleeves or whatever you are doing right now.
*By the way, what you can’t do: push a post by promoting it. I find this very ingenious, because this way fake accounts and fake likes are not supported as well.
Insta-stories are especially interesting for short promotions or interesting news. They stay up to date only 24 hours, but you can save them under a button and so they stay visible for everyone. Also, it’s the right place for live videos or videos you shoot on location (at the book fair, at a Books event, at a reading), but which wouldn’t look very nice in your gallery.
The look on Instagram
I’ve shared a few screenshots from the Red Bug Books Instagram over the post, a business profile maintained by Isabel that makes us all very happy here. In the meantime – because it also took us a while to find our way around Instagram. Sometimes it takes time to design a profile well, but it’s best to just start and get better.
Decide on a consistent look. For certain colors and one (or two) filters you like to use the most. Ask really specific questions about why you’re potting a picture. And dress it up with some nice text. Instagram has many more users who don’t understand German, but the German community is now large enough that you can post only in German as well.
So much for Instagram, yay! If I have forgotten something, just ask in the comments. Next week – hmm – I think it’s time for the post on authenticity. Why style and authenticity aren’t the same thing, why you should always stay authentic, what that even means?