How Authors Use Instagram for Book Marketing

What is the best social media for authors? If you’re scouring the internet looking for ideas in book marketing on social media, or you just want to better understand book marketing for authors, then this post is for you!

One of the best social media sites for authors to invest their time in is Instagram. This post is designed to help you better understand how authors use Instagram in their book marketing plans to build their author platform and, ultimately, sell more books.

Build Brand Recognizability

Increase sales and reader recognition on bookstore shelves (in-person or online) by forging a strong author platform that bridges genuine connection between author and reader with clear branding. When studying social media strategy for book promotion, be sure to focus your efforts on good branding. Branding clearly communicates the individuality of your work, separating it from your competition with clarity, and creates expectations in the minds of consumers. Branding communicates which qualities your work provides, how they might benefit the consumer, and most importantly increases the recognizability your work over a competitor’s name on the same shelf. Instagram is designed for branded visual storytelling and the perfect platform in which to define your author social media strategy.

Attract New Readers

Instagram has a powerful niche community with millions of readers seeking out their next great read. Unlike platforms like Twitter and Facebook, with Instagram you can harness that community with relevant content and gain new readers organically.

Gain Exposure

By not using Instagram you are missing out on thousands of potential views worth of free exposure, exposure to readers who may never have heard of you or your books before seeing them on Instagram. If you are not taking advantage of the free exposure you could receive on Instagram for promoting your books then there is a huge hole in your book marketing strategy.

Turn Readers into Fans

Have you ever thought about the promotional power of your fans? They are readers who not only buy your books, but who also share them with their friends, take photos of them, review them on integral platforms, etc. Your fans are an incredibly powerful resource that is often undernourished in book marketing campaigns. Creating fans is a strategy that your money can’t buy, but your time can. How can you turn readers into fans that support the sale of your work? It’s actually easier than you might think. Use Instagram to break the barrier between between creator and consumer. Learn more by watching my interview on the Self-Publishing Formula Podcast here.

Manage Public Perception

Like it or not, so much of our modern lives are lived online. As a brand and as an author, you need to think carefully about the impressions you’re making on your audience with everything from your book cover to author photo, from your website to your social media platforms. By learning to strategically manage your Instagram account you can manage public perception of your work for the better, increasing sale conversions.

Address Your Target Audience

Instagram is a vast platform with an estimated 1,000,000 million daily users. These users all belong to different micro-communities aligned with their interests, like reading and books. By creating content on Instagram that is relevant to your ideal viewers and categorizing that content with the proper hashtags, you can actually use Instagram to address your target audience organically without the complexity or expense of paid advertisements.

Sign Up for my Free Instagram Course Here

Promote Your Books for Less: Collaborate with Influencers

What is an Instagram Influencer? An Influencer is an individual with a significant, engaged following on their Instagram platform, often with audiences that number in the thousands. These individuals are most often successful by creating specific types of content. In your case, the Instagram Influencers you’re seeking to collaborate with are book bloggers on the Instagram platform, affectionately termed “bookstagrammers.” Bookstagrammers are a powerful force in book promotion strategies, one that is harnessed by many major publishers and authors. By increasing your activity and connections on Instagram you can seek out collaborations with bookstagrammers, like myself, which can result in the exposure of your book to thousands of new readers with a single post (like this one, which reached over 46,000 viewers).

Tell Your Story Visually

It’s a visual world we live in. More and more the importance of visual storytelling is becoming an integral part of online marketing—whether for books or otherwise. If you have not yet made an effort to understand the importance of visual branding and imagery in increasing sales, be sure to delegate a bit of your author social media research into visual principles.

Boost Leads and Sales

Writing a book and getting it published is only half the battle. You also have to make it sell. By learning how to properly promote your brand and your books on social media you are organically boosting your leads and increasing book sales for a comparatively low cost.

Communicate Authority

Consider this: One man walks into a job interview in a suit. He’s well-groomed, gracious and professional. Another man walks in wearing a t-shirt, khaki shorts, flip flops, and disheveled hair. Which man do you think is more likely to get the job? First impressions matter. Your author platform is how you’re making a first impression on your audience. Your Instagram feed, your book cover, your author photo, etc., these are all aspects that have the power to convert potential readers into sales OR expel potential readers from your books and send them in the opposite direction. Now, that man in the t-shirt very may well have been the best man for the job. But when he failed to present himself with the proper authority he created a disconnect between his worth and his appearance. Appearance matters. Make sure your author platform is designed to communicate authority and matches the quality of your content. If you have a fantastically written book, but that fact is not communicated with your author platform, then you have created a dangerous disconnect between the quality of your work and it’s appearance.

Show Authenticity

One of the greatest benefits of social media is its ability to connect creators and customers on a more personal level. This level of connection simply wasn’t possible before the advent of social media. But now, with platforms like Instagram, we have the opportunity to build genuine relationships with our audiences. These genuine relationships are rooted in the authentic voice, style, and expression that can be found on social media platforms. When readers feel connected to an author they are more likely to support the sale of their books, share them with their community, and increase awareness of your brand.

Sign Up for my Free Course: 3 Days to a Better Instagram here

Encourage Engagement

If you’re talking about your book online, you’re encouraging others to do the same. It’s important to harness your online author platform and social media strategy not just to promote your own book, but encourage your readers to do the same. You want your readers to be talking about your books and to be sharing them with their friends and family, who may in turn become readers and hopefully fans.

Stay Top of Mind

What keeps your books the priority in the minds of your readers? How can you ensure they’ll choose your newest book among shelves and shelves of your competition? By using Instagram the right way, you can build powerful connections with your audience which serve to remind your viewers of your latest work and encourage sales of your own book compared to those of others.

Grow Affordably

Instagram is a unique social media platform in that it is inherently designed for your growth. When you understand how to properly execute a wining Instagram strategy (learn mine here), then your visibility and following will increase organically—without ads. Instagram is one of the most affordable methods you can use to grow your audience. Not using Instagram as an author is the equivalent to a brick and mortar business not logging their location on google maps. Without Instagram, you are missing out on an incredible potential to grow your author platform and increase your book sales.

Where do you start?

What steps are you taking today to build your author platform? Instagram needs to be on your list! Sign up for my FREE COURSE: 3 Days to a Better Instagram. It will teach you everything you need to get started in simple, easy-to-implement lessons delivered straight to your inbox for the next three days. Sign up by clicking the graphic below:

UP NEXT: Common Mistakes Authors Make on Instagram

UP NEXT: Hashtags for Authors to Use on Instagram

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.

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