Paint-by-Numbers: Instagram

Part of a series

Hubspot’s research on social media usage patterns reveals that people generally use Instagram for bonding.

What does that mean in an author’s marketing environment?

Bonding

Instagram users post images and videos that reflect how they see themselves, and who they want to be. It’s emotional content, warm and fuzzy, often humorous, designed to make them closer to their friends, family, and other followers.

They follow others not only to bond but to discover new trends.

What to Do

  • Create visual content that reflects your personality as an author
  • Ensure that your posts are emotion-based
  • Use appropriate humor
  • Respond to your followers’ posts with likes and the occasional comment

What NOT to Do

  • Don’t get deeply informational
  • Don’t be unnecessarily negative; keep it warm and fuzzy
  • Don’t pitch, push, or sell; this is not the place

Social Media Paint-by-Numbers

A recent research article by HubSpot helped me see why I like certain social media platforms and dislike others. It also contains lessons on how to make better use of both those we like and those we don’t.

As we’ve written before, there’s no magic bullet, no perfect time to post or special place to find all your business in one fell swoop. There is, however, meaningful data on how to use each platform to get the most out of it.

In the coming weeks I’ll be writing about how people (mostly unconsciously) perceive the major social media platforms, and what that translates to for your own use (and, of course, how it affects the services we provide for our clientele.)

Watch for it each Wednesday for the rest of the winter.

The Series

Twitter
Facebook
Instagram
YouTube
LinkedIn

How the Instagram Feed Algorithm Works in 2019

The Instagram algorithm is like a Rubik’s cube. There are a near infinite number of possible combinations, and if you don’t have specific instructions you’re going to waste a lot of time trying to solve it.

Now, no one completely understands how it works other than Instagram, but from what Instagram and other experts in the field have told us, we put together a quick instruction manual you can use to get the best possible results out of the Instagram algorithm in 2019.

Here’s a no-nonsense breakdown of how the Instagram feed algorithm works in 2019:

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… more … “How the Instagram Feed Algorithm Works in 2019”

I Don’t Hang Out On Twitter

I actually do hang out on Twitter. But not everyone does. A while back I wrote about determining which platform is the best one for you. I suggested setting up a profile on each one and then focusing on just one. So what do you do with the platforms you know you won’t be as active on or you won’t use at all? Why even have a profile if you’re not going to be active there?

People are going to look for you on all social media platforms. If someone is a big Twitter enthusiast, that’s where they are going to look for you. If you’re not there, they may not look for you elsewhere. So you want them to find you there and then from there go to where you are active online.

… more … “I Don’t Hang Out On Twitter”

Which Platform Works Best for You?

With all the social media platforms available, authors often ask which one is the best platform for them. My answer: it depends on where your audience is and which one you feel you’d be most comfortable spending time using. Here are four popular ones and my thoughts on each one. Then you decide which one is best for you. (I recommend you set up a profile at each one and then focus on one. More on that in a future post.)

Twitter is a Music Festival

It’s easy to set up a Twitter account and start following people you hope will follow you back. The trap to avoid is following everyone. Follow people who are relevant in some way. Perhaps they’ve tweeted about your topic or have a hashtag in their bio that indicates interest in your topic. Create lists so you can categorize those you follow – other authors, book marketers, publicists, and others.

Because you can tweet often, you drive more traffic to your website from Twitter than other social media platforms. That means your tweets need to have valuable information with a link that readers want to click to learn more.

Yes, it’s easy for your tweets to ‘get lost’ in the huge Twitterverse. However you can make good connections and start conversations that may result in taking the conversation into email. Over the years I’ve made really good connections with people in my industry in this manner, and have even gotten clients through Twitter.

Twitter is like a music festival with many different bands all playing at once on different stages of a huge venue. Thousands of people are attending. It will get noisy, even confusing at times. You might feel lost, that your message isn’t being heard. But those who want to hear what you have to say will find you and listen, just like at a huge music festival. Maybe you went to listen to one or two bands. You’ll seek them out and listen to them. Your audience will seek you out on Twitter and listen to you too – as long as you’ve set up your account and tweet in such a way that they can find you.

Facebook is a Tribe

On Facebook you want to be sure to set up an Author page. Read my previous post on 13 Ways to Utilize Your Facebook Author Page. Be sure to link to the page from your website and invite friends and readers to connect with you on this page. This is where your ‘tribe’ can come backstage with you. You won’t have as many followers on Facebook as you have connections elsewhere. That’s okay. This is where people who are already your readers will come to learn more about you and even connect with other readers.

Think of Facebook as a place where your tribe comes to hang out. They may have first connected with you on Twitter and now want more. Use Facebook to share more about who you are, what you write, links to other information your audience will find value. And of course have fun! Facebook followers tend to be people who like to have fun. :)

LinkedIn is a Professional Networking Connector

LinkedIn is a more professional setting, perfect for nonfiction authors. In addition to connecting with other professionals, you can join and participate in groups, and publish articles related to your topic. I use LinkedIn to deepen connections. I invite strategic connections to a free 15-minute phone call so we can learn more about each other.

Groups are a wonderful tool you can use to start or join in conversations and share your expertise. Writing articles also strengthens your position as an expert in your field.

Instagram is a Snapshot of Life

This social media platform is primarily about visuals – posting photos or images along with text and hashtags. You may want a separate business account for your book. Instagrammers want to know more about your life as an author. They want to see photos of your writing space, perhaps a book store you visited, your cat. Of course you can post about your book too. Just remember that the audience here is more interested in your life – not your book.

If you need some ideas for visuals to post on Instagram, check out this post.

So, which platform works best for you right now?

This may change at a later date so you want to revisit this annually.

  • Are you interested in a music festival and reaching a lot of people? Twitter’s your thing.
  • Do you want your tribe to connect more personally with you and other readers? Use Facebook
  • Is your goal to connect with other professionals and deepen those relationships? LinkedIn is the place.
  • Would you like to connect with readers interested in a more personal look into your life as an author? Dive into Instagram

I’d love to connect with you on any of those social media platforms and hear your comments on this topic. Share a comment below and links to your platforms so I can follow you.