5 Common Mistakes Authors Make on Instagram

More and more authors are realizing that in order to have a successful author platform and social media strategy, they need to include Instagram in their book marketing efforts. There are plenty of great ways authors are using Instagram to promote their books. Unfortunately, many more authors are making the mistake of using this powerful platform incorrectly. Take a look below at the most common mistakes I see authors making time and time again in their social media strategy on Instagram.

As you read through this list, evaluate your own author Instagram account and ask yourself honestly, “Can I do better?” I think you’ll find after reading this post that the answer is yes, you can. And I have a great free Instagram training course that can help you get there.

Sign up for your free course now, all you need to is enter your name and email, and you’ll get concise, easy-to-implement lessons in your inbox for the next three days. Over 1,200 authors have already taken advantage of this free training. Will you? Sign up for your FREE INSTAGRAM COURSE 

…on to the content!


#1 – Treating Instagram Like It’s Facebook

…or Pinterest, or Tumblr, or Twitter.

Key to any great social media strategy is understanding the core values and tools available on each individual social platform. Different platforms have different pros and cons, uses, and effects on your book promotion. It’s important that you take the time to learn which strategies and content perform best on the platforms that you choose to use. Content created without strategy or purpose is not worthy of being posted on your author platform channels.

Too often I see authors on Instagram posting content that belongs on a different platform. Instagram may be owned by Facebook, but as platforms they are extremely different.

Ask Yourself: Do I know the ins and outs of Instagram strategy? Do I feel confident about how best to use this app for book marketing?

#2 – Not Understanding What to Post and Why

Instagram is a platform designed for visual storytelling. You may know how craft a story on paper, but in order to best promote that physical work you need to understand how to craft a story on social media.

Social media platforms like Instagram are incredible tools you can use to connect with and convert potential readers, tools that are under utilized when an author doesn’t understand the shift to digital content creation.

Ask yourself: Am I posting content with intention? Is my content contributing to my overall goal?

Sign up for my FREE COURSE: 3 Days to a Better Instagram

#3 – Using Hashtags Incorrectly

Do you often feel confused about how hashtags work and which ones to use? If you’re using hashtags that are irrelevant to your subject, without checking their activity, or creating hashtags of your own invention, then you are doing something wrong. Instead, you need to use hashtags that are relevant, timely, and searchable. Hashtags are used to create categories on the platform and increase the likelihood of your posts being seen and therefore engaged with. Take a look at the last set of hashtags you used on your Instagram posts. Are they serving your content well? If not, reconsider your hashtag choices.

Ask Yourself: Do I know how to use hashtags to my best advantage?

#4 – Lack of Audience Targeting & Community Building

Instagram is a platform used by millions of individuals with thousands of different interests and desires which create dedicated niche communities, like readers and book bloggers. The question becomes, how do you reach the niche community that will serve your book marketing best? How do your reach your target audience on Instagram?

If your content on Instagram isn’t attracting the right users with the right interests then all of your social media efforts are wasted. You need to create content with a strategy in mind, content that is relevant to your target audience, their interests and desires.

Ask yourself: Who is my target audience? Am I creating content that interests and attracts them?

#5 – Failed Community Building

One of the biggest benefits of Instagram is the incredible potential for community building. You can use social media as part of your author platform to build a dedicated following that is not only interested in you and your work, but excited to be a part of it. Too many authors misuse or misunderstand community building techniques and strategies, failing to build a following that will support the sale of their books time and time again.

Consider this: would you rather have 1,000 followers who never engage on your posts and never show any interest in what you do? OR would you rather have 1,000 followers who are excited to see what you’re working on next, who can’t wait to buy your next book and share it with their friends? The answer is clear.

If you have a following, but not a community, then something is wrong with your author social media strategy. You have some work to do.

Ask yourself: Are readers engaged on my posts? Are they excited to see what I’m working on? Do they look forward to my thoughts, experiences, and storytelling?

What Next?

Recognize yourself in any of these common blunders? You’re not alone! Join over 1,200 authors who learned how to improve their author platform by signing up for my FREE COURSE: 3 Days to a Better Instagram.

When you sign up, you’ll immediately be sent your first lesson. It’s less than fifteen minutes and PACKED with info. You’ll receive an easy-to-implement lesson every day for the next three days, lessons that will radically change how you think about Instagram. Sign up for your free course here (it only takes a few seconds to get all-access to 3 DAYS of lessons). 

READ NEXT: The Powerful Tool Your Book Marketing is Missing

READ NEXT: What to Include in a Review Request Email (with template)

Til next time,


Bex Skoog (formerly Bex Gorsuch) is a professional book blogger and Instagram coach who, when she’s not connecting readers with their next great read, helps authors learn the ins and outs of their social media platforms, online book marketing strategies, and branding. She has been seen on publications like the Self Publishing Formula Podcast, BookSparks, the Literary Edit, and Inverse. Author Influence is her flagship course which teaches authors everything they need to know about successful book marketing on Instagram. For a limited time, she has made a free introductory course available. You can sign up for the free 3-day email course here.

Save this post on Pinterest, read it again later!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.