Bag of Tricks (Tools of the Trade)

Instagram: A Writer’s Marketing Platform

Instagram is the perfect tool to help you market your writing

Social media is the enemy. I get it (you’re preaching to the choir here). But it’s a necessary evil if you’re a writer. Why? Because your audience exists on those soul-sucking platforms. (And there’s no use arguing that you freelance for a different industry. EVERYONE has SOME kind of social media presence these days) You can either fight a losing battle against it or learn to embrace it and make the machine work for you. One way gets you aggravation and accomplishes nothing. The other? Well, it can check some of your marketing goals off. And since I loathe marketing, I vote for the latter. Which is why I’m a huge fan of Instagram.

Marketing for Writers

Starving artists are out. It “worked” great way back when, but now the average person enjoys the comforts of shelter and food. So we tend to enjoy receiving a paycheck for the words we put down on a page. And that means finding outlets that generate larger audiences.

Or targeting clients with budgets to spare on words.

Either way, you can’t sit on your laurels and hope an editor or client will stumble onto your genies by chance. (Well, you CAN, but the odds aren’t exactly in your favor) You have to get your work and name out there where other people can see it, read it, and recognize you as someone they want to work with.

There are plenty of ways of doing this:

You get the idea. Everything you write is a SAMPLE of what you’re capable of. And as long as you aren’t keeping it stashed in a vault somewhere, there’s a chance someone will look it over and decide you’re a perfect fit for their project.

It’s all MARKETING. And less annoying than those mail circulars you throw away in your junk mail every day. (Incidentally, you CAN create those, too. I don’t recommend them, personally, but to each their own)

Instagram and Other Social Media Options

Then you have the other sources of writing you may not think about: social media.

You got it: the time sinks people turn to when they don’t want to work. It still involves WRITING. (Some more than others) And you need to get creative to adapt to each medium. Which exercises your imagination and ingenuity – something clients LOOK for when they’re looking to spend their content budgets.

Yes, Instagram is a home for images and videos (they’re trying to copy TikTok now), but each has a CAPTION attached. And deciphering what (and how) to say is where a writer can excel. And you DON’T need a dramatic ability with graphics to excel on the platform. Plenty of writers have managed to gain followers with nothing more than their camera phones.

The biggest trick is hashtag research (not dissimilar to SEO keywords) and sparking a conversation. Do that, and you can hijack the algorithm in your favor. Then you stay ahead of the pack and garner attention on the platform. It’s a formula that will keep a potential client happy.

Because they’ll see the number of Likes and Comments on your post and want the same for their business. (Does that sound like marketing to you?) They don’t need to know the HOW behind your work, simply that you understand the mechanics and can apply it to THEM.

And it requires little time on your part to accomplish every day. Hell, there are apps out there (of course, there are) that post ACROSS platforms for you. All you need to do is set aside the time each week to schedule things.

Marketing at its best.

Employing Instagram for Marketing

It took me WEEKS to build my website. And when I revamped it, that was another month of work. I put my Instagram together in a matter of moments. And we’re talking EVERYTHING: Bio, Highlights, and linking. (My Facebook is nothing more than a mirror) Even the link tree attached to the profile required little work. THAT’S how easy it is to get started on this marketing cog of the machine.

Yet it gives me somewhere to write and publish a bit of work every day. At the same time, recruiting readers to my Goodreads page, Invisible Inks, and even this blog. (What? Self-promotion? That’s not marketing, is it?)

And every time a new article is published? I have somewhere to display screen captures and links. (Not to mention using the platform in my bios to recruit new followers) It’s a perpetual motion machine that keeps cycling, with all the pieces working in tandem.

The Highlights feature of the profile is the perfect way for me to display all of my writing details. (To say nothing of the various pictures of the Minions that find their way into the feed) And everything employs the same branding. (Uh-oh, I used another marketing term!)

I know hundreds of writers who do the same thing. Whether they promote new books that have dropped or call out submission openings for the journals they edit. And Instagram has an appeal to a wide range of ages (even if the Millenials claim to have invented it).

It’s a perfect tool for ANY writer to dive into and highlight themselves.

Staying Active on Instagram

I initially thought coming up with something to post on Instagram every day was sheer torture. Because social media is a fickle beast that demands CONSTANT attention. If you neglect it, the algorithm wanders away.

Then I started playing around with different hashtags and found writing groups that appealed to me. Ta-dah! They offered calendars with prompts.

And, of course, I developed my routine, highlighting my read books and Invisible Inks postings. And there are ALWAYS new adorable photos to share. You find yourself wanting to create and share things as you get the knack for the platform.

Something I’m sure that happens on any of the social media sites. It’s all marketing. All you need is consistency.

Find a pattern and stick to it. You’ll get your following.

And hit me up. So long as you’re not some crap bot, a fake doctor, or an idiot “looking for true love,” I’ll return the follow.

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