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Instagram for Writers

Hello everyone! Happy Wednesday! And guess what?? I'm going to go see Endgame tonight!! I am beyond excited!

In other news, I've been thinking a lot about social media lately. The good of it and the bad of it. How to utilize it without it making you crazy. I tend to jump all in. To throw myself into the deep end. When I have an idea, a goal or a plan I just dive right in there without a second thought. While that can be good for some things, it definitely is not good for others. Social media, branding and marketing is one of those things you should not just dive into. The idea of branding and marketing is too vast and big to jump into without a plan. You'll drown in all the information and things you should be doing and want to be doing.

And yet, that is exactly what I did. After taking the Author Brand Challenge, I jumped right in with both feet. At first it was OK. I was managing my time well and wasn't letting social media and my image take me over. But over the past few weeks, I've learned I've completely let it overrun my life. I realized I need to chill out. That I don't have to paint a perfect picture of myself on social media. That's not what people want. People want to know the real you. I'm getting ahead of myself though. Because of all of my sudden problems with social media and letting it overrun my life and thoughts, I thought I'd share some tips for all you. I've done a ton of research on all things social media, marketing and branding over the past few weeks and I hope by sharing them with you, it'll help you manage your time better than I have been. Keep you more organized and still enjoying social media unlike me.

So without further ado here are some of the most important things I'v learned about using social media (specifically Instagram) to brand and market yourself as a writer:


  • Be yourself. Your the only you in the whole world and people don't come to your page to get to know a fake you or the you you think they want but the real you! 
  • Be others oriented. This one was an ah-ha moment. I realized I haven't been very others oriented in my social media. It's been all about me. My WIP, my process, my books, my everything. But you can also use all of those to help others too. You just have to have a shift in perspective and wording. Talk about your WIP but in a way that invites people to share about their own. Share your process but also share tips and tricks you've learned. Share the bits and pieces that makes your process. Share your process in a way that helps others discover their own. Use bookstagram when talking about books. Recommend them. Review them. Share things that will interest and benefit others. 
  • Document your writing process. This one I got from Austen Kleon's book Show Your Work. Document your writing process somehow. Either through pictures, notes, drawings, corkboards. Not only will it benefit you, but it will benefit others too. You're giving them a behind the scenes look at the making of a book they may end up reading. By sharing your process your also encouraging and inspiring other writers out there. For me, I decided to create a Pinterest board where I pin pics showing my writing process for different projects. I date them too so I can easily keep track of when I was at that point in my project. I also plan to get back to documenting more of my process on my Instagram. 
  • Be consistent: People love consistency. Consistency keeps the world spinning and keeps people coming back to your page. This can even work for your blog. People like to know when and what to expect from the people they follow. 
  • Have a theme: Theme is important but it can also be restrictive. If you love posting pictures of books then make your Instagram a bookstagram. Only post pictures of books. But if your like me and love sharing all kinds of pictures from my daily life, then try using a filter. Either a filter on your phone, Instagram or I've come to really like VSCO (a photo editing app for your phone). It takes a little fiddling and figuring out but once you find a good theme stick to it. 
  • Focus on only one or two platforms at a time. Don't try to juggle every single social media platform. You'll go crazy. Pick one or two and pour your energy into those. 
  • Find that happy middle of planning just enough but not so much that it sucks the fun out of social media. This is from recent experience. Plan your posts but not so much that you feel restricted. As a pantser I hate feeling restricted in anything and everything I do. I like having complete free will and control to add or change or talk about whatever I want whenever I want. So I realized that as long as I feel I'm not restricted into a theme of only books or only certain kinds of pictures I'm all good. 
  • Be open and honest. People want to meet the real you. They want to get t know you. The good, the bad and the ugly. Don't be afraid to share. If you're like me and am not a fan of vulnerability this one might just be the hardest on this list. But I promise it's worth it. Take baby steps. 
  • Chat with people. Comment on their posts and stories. Branding and marketing isn't all about you. We already established that. It's about creating a community. Find your writing tribe (I'm still looking for mine but I'm confidant one day I'll find them). Build a community slowly but surely. Ask intentional questions at the end of your posts. People love to talk about themselves and answer questions! 
  • Share your other interests besides writing and books. Share bits and pieces of your life. Share your thoughts. What's inspiring you that day. Your favorite song you've had on repeat for days. Some of your struggles. If you're having an off or bad day share about it! People want to see the rule you, the good, the bad and the ugly 
  • Stay organized. Very important. Organization is another thing that keeps the world spinning (well my world anyways haha). Try to keep all your post ideas in one spot so you can go back to them on a rainy day when you're feeling dried out of ideas. 
  • Participate in a challenge (especially when just starting). I love the fantasywip challenges on Instagram. I think they're so fun! At the moment I'm taking a break from them to hone in on my own content without sharing about my WIP everyday. It's been a learning experience. However, if you're new on Instagram or already building community do a challenge. They're a blast.  
  • Find some of your favorite Instagrammers and see what their doing. Steal bits and pieces of what you think is working for them. 
  • Share aesthetics and bits and pieces of your writing. We're writers! What do we do? We write! Which means we have lots of writings to share. Make aesthetics for your characters and books (be warned, it is addictive) and share edited pieces of your writing. Not only is it good to get feedback from others and put your stuff on there, but hopefully along the way you'll gather some fans excited for your book. 
  • Dabble in bookstagram. This is a huge community and if you love books and are an avid reader looking for community try this one out. 
  • Set a timer. I'm just now utilizing this tool. Set a timer for 30 minutes and use that time to work on your branding, social media and marketing strategy. When those 30 minutes are up what you got done you got done. Get back to your life and your writing and forget about branding and marketing for the rest of the day. 
  • But at the end of the day make sure your having fun. You know there's something wrong when getting on social media becomes a chore. Don't let that happen to you. Be flexible. Share whatever is on your mind that day whether its writing related or life related. People want to hear that! If you find getting on Instagram is becoming a chore, evaluate what is making you feel that way and change things. Don't be afraid to shake things up a little. 

So there you have it! I know this is kind of a long list but all of these are so important. I've figured them out/learned them over the past few months and at the moment and implementing half of them. I'll get back to you on how successful I am at working at these ;) But I really hope this list helps anyone who is feeling stagnant in their branding/marketing, is feeling overwhelmed at the thought of social media and how to build a community and reach readers or are just starting and have no idea what to do first.

We're all on this journey together. You aren't alone in not knowing, in feeling overwhelmed, in feeling stuck or confused or lost and disheartened. Being a writer and building a community and brand is playing the long game. It can take years and lots and lots and lots of patience, but in the end it is so worth it! Work hard at it a little bit every day. Put your heart in it and just be your authentic self and you will find your community and your tribe. Just be patient and if you ever need a cheerleader or someone to tell you your not alone, that it will happen one day, pop into my comments because I am more than happy to encourage and cheer you on.

Have a great rest of the week everyone!

Do you have any social media/branding/marketing tips? And (no spoilers please) has anyone seen Endgame yet??

Comments

  1. Honestly, all these tips work well for blogging too, and not just for Instagram. Great post! I’ll have to start using these soon.

    (Also - ENDGAME!!!! I hope you like it!)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah they really do. They apply to a lot of things, but I thought I'd narrow it down to just Instagram. :) Oh my goodness! I won't give any spoilers but man it was good!!

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  2. Great tips ... I believe strongly in your points of being others focused + consistency. Both are very important in anything you may do in life ;)

    keturahskorner.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks! Yeah, I hadn't really thought of being more others focused until recently but now it makes total sense haha

      Delete
  3. These are great tips! What is the Author Brand Challenge? I'm interested in participating in that.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The author brand challenge is hosted by Katie Phillips once or twice a year I think? She does it before she opens her five month branding course. It's a week long and it's like a mini-branding course. It was beyond helpful to me! You can find out more here: https://www.katiephillipscreative.com/ :)

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