Bookstagrams 101 Part 1: Why and how to begin on Instagram

Hello dear friends,

 

Today will maybe be rehash for some of you if you follow Evelina at Avalinahsbook as this post was already published with some variation some weeks ago. It was part of “NewBloggers101” series.

BUT

If you don’t follow her I thought useful to share it here too.

This post will be the first  part of a two parts (duh!) post about making bookstagrams on Instagrams.

Today will be all about: How to start, what is important, how to get follows and what to post, what to keep in mind.

Next Friday will be a smaller post about props and composition.

First of all  what are bookstagrams and why make them?

Bookstagrams  are pictures of your books or array of bookish features (like cups with book quotes, book prop or bookmarks) posted on Instagram with some text and hashtag.

Why make them?

Because Instagram is another really engaging social media to connect with other book lovers. I know some bookstagrammers who don’t have a blog and yet have more than 4.000 followers talking books with them on Instagram.

Bookstagrams can be really simple just some plain pictures of your favorite book or current read or you can make them as artistic as you’d like if you feel like it.

Personnally Instagram has been a wonderful discovery. I used to paint and draw but did not have time anymore. Taking pictures of my books, setting the prop, coordinating the colors etc. was a fantastic outlet for my creativity!

How to start?

First if you don’t already have an Instagram account create one of course.

Similar to a blog give a short bio about you, who you are, what you like to read, link to your blog, anything really to help people get to know you. If you want people to follow you have to be close to them. Be short and give enough but not too much as people don’t read long introductions anymore. Instagram allows you a maximum of 150 characters for your bio.

 

Taking and posting your first picture can seem daunting for some. How to begin with?

I would say fake it till you make it.

It can seem challenging if you are not a photographer or an artist to take a picture of a book that looks good. It’s trickier than it seems and another post will guide you through prop and where to get it but if you already want to start I would say just find some bookstagrams that you like and seem pretty easy to imitate and begin with it.

What is important?

Instagram is based on pictures and hashtags. It’s really important to remember this.

First come the pictures.

It can be of your book cover in a pretty setting with props, it can be of a pile of your favorite books, it can be…anything that you’d like to chat about.

Instagram has different filters that can help you set the mood of your picture.

Keep in mind that once you publish your picture on Instagram you can’t change its order in your feed. You can only delete it (archive) or edit the text but not move it. It’s important to remember this if you want to create a “story” with your feed. Some alternate a book quote with a picture. Other build a picture with several posts. Other…

The good news is that you can plan your feed with some useful tools but I guess it will come in another post as it’s already “advanced” lessons.

 

Hashtags

Hashtags are key on Instagram. Don’t hesitate to use them. A minimum of 10 hashtag is appropriate when you publish a picture. Instagram won’t allow more than 30 hashtags per post anyway.

You have to see the hashtag as keywords people use in their search on IG. With millions of pictures published every day if a book lover wants to find something book related and wants to explore IG he will rely on hashtags.

Here are some of the ones I use (the first batch nearly every time and the other if it fits my picture and topic):

#book #bookstagram #bookstagrammer #bookstagramit #bookpics #bookphotography #photography #photo #photooftheday #art #instabook #reviewer #blogger #bookstagramfeature #bookishfeatures #bookart #bookblogger #booknerd #booknerdigans #bookworm #bookaholic #bookaddict #booklover #bookporn #ilovereading #bookaddiction #ireadeverywhere #indie #indieauthor #YAfantasy #YAlit  #ya

 

Now that you have your picture and your hashtags you have to type your text.

What is your goal? What do you want as reaction from your followers?

If you want to write a review then write a mini review as the word count is limited. Not as much as twitter but you have maximum 2200 characters per post.

Even if you write a review try to engage your reader. Ask them questions like: have you read this book? Do you plan to read it? Etc. Exactly like you would do on your blog.

If you want to chat just post few sentences with questions like: do you have a long TBR (illustrate with a pile of books)? Or do you review all your ARCs? Or what are your plans for the weekend (and you tell them yours) etc.

In discussion post your question either early on either at the end of your post.

You can also have tags and memes on Instagram or BINGO (one topic pre day for usually a month like first Monday read a book with a blue cover, Tuesday a book by a new author etc.).

Everything is possible really.

I would advice to alternate between reviews (if you want) and personal/discussion posts.

How to get followers?

The key is the same as in blogging: follow others and comment!

This is the best way to gain followers: be active on Instagram.

Post regularly at least 2 to 3 times per week. If you don’t post people will forget you. That’s basic social media marketing: make noise, tell others that you exist.

  • Post quite often, ask questions to have people react to your posts and comment, comment, comment on other posts.

One could think that Instagram being build on pictures the aesthetic of the picture would be more important than the social activity but really this is no different from other social media. I’ve seen accounts with thousands of followers with “plain” pictures but the bookstagrammer was very active.

 

You can also tag people in your bookstagram to have them look at your bookstagram but I would recommend to tag wisely.

Some useful tricks

As I said above you can’t move a picture once it’s published on your feed. But you can plan your feed ahead or simply schedule your posts.

Instagram won’t allow other tools or app to publish in your stead and there will always be a manual intervention but you can use some tools to write your text, upload your photo and schedule your post at a convenient time for you.

If you don’t have time during the week to type long text but would like to post something these tools are useful.

I use Later.com. It allows me to schedule my posts on Instagram and at the set date and time I get a warning on my phone. All that I have to do is allow to post it on Instagram and voila.

 

Remember that posting bookstagrams is a learning curve like everything else while blogging.

Visit other account, observe, learn and reproduce but always with your own “style”.

Like anything else in blogging stay true to yourself, be personal and enjoy what you’ll do!

 

If you liked my pictures please follow me on Instagram or recommend me to you friends you can find me: https://www.instagram.com/bewareofthereader/

Did you find this post useful? Is there a specific topic you’d like me to speak about in my next post?

Happy Friday and thanks for reading!

Sophie

 

 

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12 Replies to “Bookstagrams 101 Part 1: Why and how to begin on Instagram”

  1. I love this post! This is so helpful! Thank you!

    1. BewareOfTheReader says: Reply

      I am so happy if I could help you!!!! Happy Saturday 😉

  2. Lots of great tips Sophie, thanks!! P.S. I adore your pictures!

    1. BewareOfTheReader says: Reply

      Thank you SO MUCH Trisy!!! If I can help I am happy. And your compliments really warm my heart <3

  3. Awesome post. Super helpful!

    1. BewareOfTheReader says: Reply

      Thank you Angela! If I can help then I am really happy 😉 <3

  4. Great Post, Sophie! This is really a helpful post for IG newbies! 🙂

    1. BewareOfTheReader says: Reply

      Thank you Raven! I hope I can help others as I’ve been helped on so many things by other bloggers since beginning to blog. This is such a fantastic community.

  5. Awesome tips! I love bookstagram, but lately I haven’t had the time to post and edit my pictures, which is why I’ve been blogging more often since I find it more convenient. (Plus the pictures you took in this are gorgeous!)

    1. BewareOfTheReader says: Reply

      Thank you so much! I’m really happy if my tips can help you as I was helped by other bloggers giving me fantastic advices.

  6. Great post! I will definitely follow you 😀 I have been dabbling in bookstagraming and am not very good. I liked that you mentioned a lot about planning out your feed and making it look nice. A lot of “beginner” info doesn’t mention that. My feed is a mess, but I am ok with that, but I noticed that I am more likely to follow people with pretty feeds (is that hypocritical of me?) Anyway! I am having a lot of fun taking the pictures and that is what really matters!

    1. BewareOfTheReader says: Reply

      That I can’t agree more Brittany! I gave you recipe for success (tried too) but that does not mean I follow them all LOL I am like you in a way. Fundamentally I am a drawer and a painter. Meaning: I draw and paint what catches my inspiration and don’t do twice the same drawing. I switch genre, colors etc. I don’t have time for it anymore that’s why bookstagrams are such a fantastic media! I can get creative and I noticed that I compose my pictures like I would with a painting. So the result is that I have always different pictures even if some “themesé can come back if I love them and my feed is not “themed” or sleek. It’s rather the produce of my imagination, my mood and the colors and meaning within the book.

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