Instagram is an invaluable tool for authors with a visual model perfect for book covers, and hashtags that focus on the book writer and reader communities, such as #bookstagram #indieauthors #authorsofinstagram and #bookstagrammer. Our guest blogger, Marc Anthony Brown, a writer and comic book editor shares his thoughts on building a community and gaining followers on Instagram.
Building a community on Instagram
By guest contributor Marc Anthony Brown
With each passing year, the online landscape shifts into an entirely different beast that users of all types have to tackle. Algorithm changes can either make or break a creator’s online presence, and a lot of newcomers don’t know where to begin with it all. Hopefully, through my experience, I can help you adapt to this unruly world.
Over the last couple of years, I have operated an Instagram account tailored to Batman/comic book facts. At my peak, I had 142K followers. Nowadays, I currently have around 135k. You may question why the drop? Did I abandon the account or became demotivated? This all goes back to what I mentioned earlier, algorithmic changes. At my peak, I was gaining thousands of followers every week. But suddenly, Instagram decided to update its algorithm, promoting newer accounts on people’s feeds. This negatively impacted my account because while I was posting every day, I was not appearing on my followers’ “Home” feed. This forced many people to unfollow because in their eyes I had not posted in weeks. For any creator, these changes can be discouraging but sometimes the algorithm dictates final law. So what does one do in these scenarios? DON’T STOP! Consistency is key and with the tips, I provided below, you’ll see why.
It is highly unlikely that your account will be like mine and require you to post everyday. Just like your manuscript, some days aren’t going to be filled with exciting updates. That is why I suggest posting sporadically throughout the week. Don’t go several months without posting any content because at that point many of your followers have lost interest in your account. Always find ways to make your post stand out, graphics are a great first step and there are tons of third-party apps that help you add text or stickers to your pictures.
A lot of people assume that spamming down 50+ hashtags makes them garner a lot of engagement with posts. In reality that is the opposite, as it is much more beneficial to find words/tags that are more specific to your story. The hashtag “#author” has over 9.1 Million posts under it, resulting in your chances of appearing in the top/recent tab of that category very minimal. Instead, use a hashtag like #fantasyauthor or #crimenovels. The two tags have 63.6k and 8.3k posts respectively, increasing your chances of popping up on these people’s feeds.
Interacting with Fans/Other Small Accounts:
A large part of my success as a creator over the years is thanks to my interaction with fans. An individual wants to follow you because they enjoy your content but sometimes it can feel impersonal to them. With Instagram, the tools at your disposal for interactions is ever-growing. I encourage you to set aside some extra time in your usual social media posting to talk with your audience or reach out to smaller accounts and ask them to share your page with their audience. You’ll slowly build a community where you can collaborate with one another and share each other’s works. Reply to comments or set up polls with Instagram Stories. The app allows a wide variety of tools that your followers will love to interact with because who doesn’t like pushing a button?
Even with all the tips, I provided for you, this will not be easy. As more people grow accustomed to social media, all this can seem daunting. But consistency is key, just like your writing! As long as you focus on making a welcoming social media environment it will all fall into place.
Bio: Marc Anthony is a student at Ohio University studying English [Creative Writing]. While at school he takes part in different student organizations like Ohio University Odyssey Online as well as the newly formed Puerto Rican club on campus "EL 787". In his spare time, he writes and edits indie comic books hoping to better his craft and runs several comic book social media accounts. Marc Anthony contributes to the publication with writing blogs as well as other behind the scene work! You can follow him @MarcAnthonyCLE on Twitter.