Whether you write about science fiction or business books in your blog, Instagram is a very powerful tool that all book bloggers need to start to utilize if you haven’t already. But just posting photos is not going to do it. You need a strategy to apply and that’s why I’m going to give you 11 powerful Instagram tips from the strategy I use.
Using Instagram as my favorite tool is not just my personal preference. It’s a marketing trend right now that will stay popular as long as Instagram is popular. Take a look at these statistics. The engagement on Instagram is much higher than any of the other social media platforms. 29% more than Facebook according to Business.com.
I’ve personally been using my Instagram account since January of last year and I’m still experimenting with different ways to increase my engagement with other people that enjoy reading. Regardless of how many different ways there are to engage on Instagram, I have found all of it to be a tool I can use to actively interact with and learn from other people in the same niche more so than any of the other platforms.
But since I’m a book blogger I’ll be discussing using my powerful Instagram tips to promote your book or book blog. There’s no doubt you could adapt these tips to any other niche.
You may not realize it now if you’re new to blogging, but surprisingly, Instagram is a perfect platform for engaging with your fellow book lover followers, to see creative pictures of books laid out in certain ways, learn about books you’ve never heard of or have been on your to-be-read list forever, and have fantastic discussions.
If your content is curated correctly you’ll be sure to skyrocket your traffic to your blog or sales of your book or services, but there’s so much more to it than just getting more traffic or sales. It’s about the connections you make with your followers and people you’re following. You can truly build trust with the people you engage with. After all, it is ‘social’ media.
11 Powerful Instagram Tips to Skyrocket Your Instagram Engagement
Powerful Instagram Tips #1: Use 30 Hashtags
The first is about hashtags. I personally use hashtags in my marketing as well as a way to find other accounts of people who are interested in the same thing as me. Some people say oh it’s annoying to have so many hashtags.
Well, you might be right, but if you’re really serious about promoting your brand then you should take advantage of all 30 hashtags that Instagram allows you to write. It’s like someone offering you $30 for free. You don’t have to do anything else, just take the $30. Why would you only take $20? I say, why not use all 30 hashtags?
Why should you use hashtags in the first place? Hashtags are a way for like-minded people to find you and vice versa. I frequently use hashtags to find other people in the business and book blogging field. I’m pleased to see there are several other people out there doing the same thing as me in a slightly different way. I’m fairly certain other people have found my profile the same way. Through my hashtags.
I personally use 30 hashtags on every post and have seen a drastic increase in the engagement on my posts. You might ask what kinds of hashtags you should include in your posts. It has a fairly simple answer.
- Make sure all the tags you use are niche relevant. I post about books so I usually use hashtags like #businessbooks #bookstagramindonesia #bookworm #success #booksoutofdoors and so on. The main point here is you need to keep everything relevant and consistent. An example of a tag I would never use is #fashion. You get the point.
- See how many others have used that tag before you. I usually pick tags with more than 1K posts and less than 500k. This is just my personal preference. There’s no exact science to it. The more people use that tag when it reaches over 500k posts, the less likely you will be noticed there. Imagine using a tag that has millions of other posts, the likelihood of your post being noticed there is very slim unless you already consistently get thousands of likes that put you up on the ‘Top Posts’.
- It helps to do a bit of research before going on to post your post. Search for the particular hashtags that you think might work well and make notes of them in a ‘note’ on your phone to save for later. See how often people use those hashtags and if it fits within your own marketing criteria.
- Create your own hashtag. This somewhat goes against one of the other rules I wrote up top there but this rule is part of your brand strategy. Create a tag that very few or even no one else has ever used before and start using it on every single one of your posts that are relevant to it. Don’t just use it yourself but actually start encouraging others to use your tag for their related posts.
You may have a bit of a different strategy with your hashtags and that’s okay. I’m not saying my way is the right way to go. I believe that using a variety of different strategies and always morphing with changes in social media algorithms (it seems to happen often) is what makes social media amazing. In fact, if you do have a different way of using hashtags then please comment below and share with all of us ‘how you do it’.
Powerful Instagram Tips #2: Search For Niche Relevant Hashtags Then Like, Comment, and Follow
This is a strategy I’ve recently been using and have found it to be very helpful in building relationships with other book bloggers like me. People enjoy having their photos liked and commented on. Of course, people love being followed as well. But I’ll give you advice now on this:
- Only like photos you really enjoy.
- Read the description of the photo below and comment when there’s a call to action.
- Only follow those accounts you’re truly interested in engaging with again in the future.
Here’s the step-by-step process I take while doing the ‘search, like, comment, and follow’ strategy.
- Open up the app and click on the search button.
- Search for a niche relevant hashtag.
- Scroll through the photos that are presented and like any of the photos you find wonderful.
- Briefly, read the descriptions of the photo and comment where necessary.
- Go to any of the profiles you find has superb photos and descriptions. Make sure to like some of their best photos, leave a comment, then follow.
- Don’t spam their profile with likes or comments though. I usually keep my liking of their photos to about four or five maximum with one comment telling the profile owner how much you like their work and answering the call to action. Be open and friendly and make sure your comment has meaning. Not just “Cool shot!”
- I do this for about 10-20 minutes per day at different times each day.
You may not see an instant result from this, and in fact, not every person’s profile you liked, commented, or followed will come visit your profile and do the same. And that’s okay. This is just an estimate, but you might get about 5%-10% of your efforts back. Maybe more.
Even if the people I ended up following don’t follow back, I still gain a lot from that person’s pictures and descriptions. We all can learn a little bit from observing our competitors’ ways of marketing and running their profiles, then implement what we’ve learned in our own unique way.
Powerful Tip #3: Search For Feature Opportunities on Bigger Named Profiles
If your content is top of the line and you’re just starting out you’re bound to get an offer to be featured and tagged on someone else’s profile. And even if you don’t get an offer right away, you can do some searching yourself.
Here’s what I mean. Some profiles regularly feature their own and other people’s content all the time. If you’ve been following and interacting with that account for some time then now is your chance to DM that person or company with the opportunity to be featured on their profile.
The profile might even have guidelines already in place. For example, at the end of a description of a post, the profile owner might mention how to get a chance to be featured by saying, ‘Tag us in your photo if you want the chance to be featured.’
The benefits are obvious. Hundreds, if not thousands of people will see your photo and some of them will come to your profile to check you out. You’ll get some follows, but most importantly, you’ll get exposure.
Powerful Tip #4: Like, Comment, and Follow People That Like Your Photos
This is like the opposite side of my previous strategy. People that you don’t know will be liking your photos as well and they might have in fact found your profile through a hashtag search.
Here’s what I do when that happens:
- I’ll go over to the person’s profile and check if the person fits within my niche. If not then I probably won’t like, comment, or follow unless the person has really engaged with me on my own profile.
- If the profile is within your niche then like some of the photos and comment on one or two of the best.
- If you really like the photos then follow the other account.
Again, if the person is not already following you and after your efforts with engaging with them, the person doesn’t follow back, it’s no biggy. Just continually engage with the accounts you get the most from and you’ll attract the right people.
Powerful Tip #5: Stay in Touch With The People That Interact With You The Most
This sounds obvious but it’s an important one. Once you’ve made a good contact don’t just wait for them to come like and comment on your photos. Go engage with them too and even send them an occasional DM. Build relationships and partnerships with accounts that come interact with you regularly. If you do the exact opposite it’s most likely that person will eventually get bored of following you or think that you don’t care about them.
Of course, you care though, right?
You could even set up notification alerts for when your favorite accounts post their photos. I personally don’t take advantage of this feature but I know it has worked for others.
The most important thing about social media is to get social with people. So make sure you remember those accounts that have become close to you and build that friendship or partnership with them.
Powerful Instagram Tips #6: Post On a Regular Schedule
As the owner of your Instagram profile, you are in charge of when you post. Think about what your reason is for posting photos. Is it to engage with your followers? Is it to drive more traffic to your website?
Regardless of your reason, there’s a very important ingredient to increase your Instagram engagement. You must post regularly and consistently. The more consistent you are, the more credibility you’ll have as long as you follow all the rules in this post and whatever other strategies you have up your sleeves.
For me, I post once every two to three days but no longer than that. Some profiles even post every day. Take your pick but there’s no doubt that most of the profiles that post every day have a huge following.
Also, think about the importance of posting regularly like this. You’re watching TV and found an interesting show that you wouldn’t mind watching again. You check the schedule for the following week but the show never shows up. Finally after three weeks of not airing the show pops back up on the channel but by that time you’ve already moved on and have forgotten about the show.
Your Instagram posts are similar to this example. You post a post, someone likes it and follows you expecting to see more, but never does until two months later. That is not going to work for your strategy. People won’t remember you easily. You must have a regular schedule even if that means just twice a week. At least your followers will know when you’re going to post.
Powerful Instagram Tips #7: Take Amazing and Unique Photos
This is probably the biggest factor in creating engaging posts that people will come back for. One of Instagram’s main features is photos. When you take your time and put a lot of effort that will go into shooting the perfect shot, it WILL pay off.
Look at some of the best profiles out there with tens of thousands of followers. Take a look at their photos. Perfect, aren’t they?
Books.And.Beers. Don’t you just love a good beer and a book?
Books.And.Beers (Sean) is one of my favorite accounts since I love beer and I love books. Why not put them together? Click on the picture to go to his Instagram profile.
So why not produce the best stuff? I personally started out by just taking photos with my iPhone, which is okay, but then I realized that by putting more effort into my photos and shooting with a high-quality camera, that more people would be likely to come back.
Stylized photos by poor_bjorns_notes_to_self
Bjorn has always got something constructive to say about the books he reads. Looking at his quirky and creative photos is a plus. Click on the picture to see more of Bjorn’s photos.
But just because you have a nice camera doesn’t mean everyone will start coming to you. You’ve also got to consider the lighting, background (theme) or props, and the angle of your shot. I’m not a professional photographer so I don’t know everything there is to know about photography, but my motto with my Instagram photos is to make it unique. Make it stand out.
Quality matters, but uniqueness matters even more.
Powerful Instagram Tips #8: Organize Your Photos as a Pattern or Theme
The cool thing about the Instagram profile is that it’s like a collage. You’re like an artist painting a picture when you think about the order you post your photos in. Some but not all people like to use patterns, some people just use amazing high-quality shots. Either way, you still have to have some sort of common theme. Personally, I like the looks of using patterns.
Just take a look at my profile for example of high-quality photos with a pattern. BookMattic Instagram Profile
If you don’t like having the pattern look then you must at least have a theme such as:
All your shots are outdoors. All your shots are with a building in the background. All your shots have YOU in it. Oh, and so much more! Just think of something unique that you know will engage your followers.
Powerful Instagram Tips #9: Write an Interesting Description and Call to Action
There’s been no proven fact that writing a good description effects how well you rank on Instagram’s algorithm, however, expert social media marketers believe, as well as myself, that writing an interesting fact or story about yourself or about the photo you posted will help engage people who visit your profile.
So I shouldn’t be expecting to see one liners out there from any of you readers unless the call to action is the only thing you want to post other than the hashtags mentioned in the first hint.
I firmly believe that each of your posts should have some sort of question (call to action) at the beginning or end of your description. This will encourage people to comment or share your posts with other people. Your call to action could even be to ask people to mention their friends in the comments. This will bring even more visitors and hopefully new loyal followers to your account.
The overall tip here is to make your description interesting. Include symbols used as bullet points, for example, I use the ‘book symbol’ from my iPhone as a bullet point to mark powerful points I learned from the books I read. It makes it easy to see for people that just skim through photos.
The more you tell your own personal story through the posts you curate, the more people with trust and get to know you. After all, you want loyal followers on social media and people that will spread the word about how amazing you and your posts are either by word of mouth or online.
People need to have a positive emotional connection with you in order for you to make impactful changes. So make that connection with them in any way you can. Be genuine, be yourself, but stand out.
Powerful Instagram Tips #10: Take Advantage of All the Instagram Features
Instagram has a load of simple and useful features to help you grow your engagement. These features are there to help you and your followers to have a closer relationship with each other. It’s true that the more someone sees YOU online, the more that person will grow closer to knowing the real you. I’m not going to mention all of the features, however, I will mention some of the ones I’ve found useful.
Get notifications when your favorite people post.
I personally have only used this feature with the accounts I engage with the most. I’m talking about maybe three or four accounts at the most because what this feature does is send a notification to your phone’s main screen telling you that ‘so and so just posted a photo.
You could imagine how messy that could get if you end up subscribing to ten or more people. It’s useful only for the fact that it makes it easier for you to interact quickly with the profiles you truly want to interact with.
See the posts your friends have recently liked or commented on.
This one is good to use to find even more accounts you might be interested in engaging with. It also gives you an insight into what kinds of things your followers like. You could even use this to compete against your competitors.
This is a wonderful feature that was added in 2017 where you get to go ‘live’ for all your followers to see. Maybe you have an upcoming event you want to talk about, or you want to do a Q’n’A. The options of how you want to use this are endless to a degree.
Another plus is the ‘live video’ stays up in stories section at the top of the screen for the next 24 hours after you end it. So if your follower missed your live video they can still sign in within the next 24 hours to see it.
A very recent add-on to the ‘live video’ is being able to go live with your friend. This could be great for interviews where your interviewee is too far to actually meet in person. You could potentially have tons of viewers for this depending on who you’re interviewing and how much time you spent on marketing it.
Stories are a nice feature for posts that sit outside of your profile pattern or theme. In fact, while I was writing this post I decided to take a photo of my screen for my story. That is a type of photo I would not want to have on my profile but is perfect for a story.
So get creative and show people part of your daily life. If your profile is a bit serious, it’s okay to make your stories more fun and lively especially since you only have a few seconds to catch the follower’s attention. If you’re a company, maybe you can show the behind the scenes so your followers can see how you do your business. Stories are meant to engage!
Story features include:
- You can also write on the photo or take a video.
- You only get one hashtag so take advantage of it.
- You can always make the hashtag or writing as small as you want so that it doesn’t intrude on your image.
- The poll is an awesome feature to get feedback from your followers. It’s easily customizable. You can ask any question you’d like with two customizable answers.
I highly encourage you to try making some stories, especially videos because those engage the most with your followers. If you don’t like being in front of the video camera I highly encourage you to break out of your comfort zone and try.
You can retake the video as many times as you want. Just TRY! The people watching will appreciate your efforts. Plus it’s just one more thing you can add to your list of ways to engage with your followers.
Photo Posting Features
These are probably the most well-known features out of all Instagram features because they are the ones we use the most. I’ll list the features below for the benefit of reminder.
- Account Tags
You may tag up to 20 other accounts in your photos. Of course, this could be a positive thing for you, and an annoying thing for the person that doesn’t want to be tagged. So use your tags wisely. You could even message the person beforehand if you feel weird about tagging them.
- Multiple photos
Fairly recently Instagram allows you to post up to 10 photos in one post where you have to swipe to see the next photo. This is an amazing feature that allows you to tell stories.
I absolutely love WiseLibrary (Click on the picture to see more of their photos) and have worked with them before on a feature post. Be sure to read my full review of ‘BOLD‘, the book featured in this post from WiseLibrary.
There were 10 slides in this post, all from the book and my thoughts on ‘BOLD’. Thanks WiseLibrary!
You may post up to 1 minute of a video from your library on your phone. For iOS users, you may upload multiple videos just like multiple photos.
Of course, what would Instagram be without all its filters? There’s a pretty wide selection of quality choices. My motto is to make the piture look as natural yet vibrant as possible.
This is a highly recommended Instagram marketing tip. From now on use a geotag in every post you post. Why? It’s one more way people can be exposed to your photos through geosearches. You want to get as many impressions as you can possibly get. It’s free, so you might as well use it.
- Description and hashtags
As I covered earlier in the post, your descriptions should always use a call to action and/or tell a story. You also may use up to 30 hashtags. My suggestion, use them all.
Powerful Instagram Tips #11: Always Adapt and Change Your Strategy if the Previous One Isn’t Working Out
This is something that I’m always experimenting and adapting to because the Instagram landscape is always changing and if one way doesn’t work then you need to change it. If your engagement or followers stay static then don’t be afraid to try something new.
I’d say the major thing you need to change if your engagement or followers are staying static or even dropping is the quality of your photos and how often you post. Those are things I still need to improve on personally. If one way doesn’t work try another way and just keep on adapting and staying up to date on the new features and algorithms from Instagram.
If you happen to know a different strategy to increase engagement I haven’t mentioned here then share your thoughts with the rest of us in the comments below.
After all these powerful tips I hope you’ve gained some insight on how I interact with my followers on Instagram. Some of these tips you may already use, and some you may not. You might have a completely different strategy and that’s okay. There’s no one way to engage with your followers and that’s the amazing thing about Instagram.
Instagram is my favorite social media platform since it’s so easy to use and extremely easy to engage with people of the same interest. I think it’s the most powerful tool you can use to promote your blog. Use all these tips, change them up, adapt them to your needs. I want you to succeed.
Some takeaways for reminder
Now it’s your chance to get out there!
-Engage with your followers by providing them with quality photos.
-Make your profile easily searchable with hashtags.
-Be social, be the artist of your own brand, and tell YOUR powerful story!
If you’ve found these 11 powerful tips to help skyrocket your Instagram engagement helpful at all then share this post with your friends and family on social media.
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And…Always remember to share what you’ve learned with the people you care most about.