Instagram is a popular social network with over 1 billion active users on the platform each month. Of those, millions use the Instagram Stories feature every day. Similar to Snapchat, Instagram stories let users capture and share photos, videos, text, and other features that can be viewed in a slideshow format. These stories appear at the top of users’ Instagram feeds and disappear after 24 hours unless the creator saves them to their profile as a “Highlight.”
Authors can take advantage of this engaging feature to reach readers who enjoy scrolling through stories (as opposed to just their feed). With over 32 million posts tagged #bookstagram, it’s clear that Instagram is a social network that authors can use to connect with readers! We recommend experimenting with the many different ways you can use stories to learn how best to engage with your audience. To give you some ideas on the types of stories you can create, we’ve compiled a list of how authors are using Instagram stories in creative ways.
1. Promote a post from your main feed
Using Instagram stories to promote posts is a common strategy. Since posts don’t always show up right away in users’ feeds due to Instagram’s algorithm, a story can help redirect that traffic back to your post.
2. Run book giveaways
Giveaways are a great way to engage with your audience on Instagram. Not only will it incite engagement from your following, but it can attract readers from all over the platform! Typically, accounts running giveaways will have someone enter by either reposting the story or tagging a friend — both of which share your story with a wider audience.
3. Share behind-the-scenes looks your writing process
One of the perks of social media is being able to share more of what happens behind the scenes during the writing process with readers. Instagram stories is a great place to do this, as it is an accessible way to document the process without making a dedicated, highly polished post about it.
4. Share your followers’ posts
Featuring your followers’ stories and posts in your Instagram stories helps create a connection between you and your readers. Many authors use this strategy in order to show reader appreciation, fostering goodwill.
5. Promote an ebook discount
Instagram stories are useful for amplifying your price promotions. Boosting ebook discounts on your Instagram stories can garner more clicks and attention while reaching a wide array of users.
6. Share previews of an upcoming book
Sharing sneak peeks of an upcoming book can generate buzz and excitement among readers. Using Instagram stories to share these sneak peeks is effective as it drives users to your profile and keeps them coming back for more.
7. Recommend another author’s book
Recommending another author’s books can grow your audience and create meaningful engagements between you and your readers. Not only will this build trust between you and your following for book recommendations, but you could potentially earn a shout-out from that author, exposing you and your books to a new audience.
8. Link to your newsletter
An easy way to make sure your Instagram followers stay up-to-date outside of the platform is by linking to your newsletter. This simple act can grow your mailing list and keep fans reminded of when you have new books coming out.
9. Share highlights from an event
Not only can you promote upcoming events on Instagram stories, but you can share highlights from the event as well. Sharing photos and videos of the event can spread awareness of it (which is useful if you’re on a tour, for example) or just make readers want to attend the next one.
10. Start a hashtag for your readers
Starting a hashtag for your readers can help them connect with each other as well as with yourself. It creates a community within Instagram for fans of your work to interact, and it also makes it easy for you to find posts to share to your stories to show your appreciation — all you’ll have to do is see who’s using that hashtag!
11. Ask for your readers’ opinions
Social media is all about interacting and sharing opinions, and Instagram stories have features that make it easy to ask for readers’ opinions. You can use the question and answer function, or even just run a poll! It is an easy and engaging way to get feedback from readers.
12. Share your achievements
Platforms such as Instagram are made for sharing your life with your followers. Using Instagram stories, you can show gratitude and recognition for your achievements, big or small.
13. Host a read-along
To engage on a more intimate level on Instagram, try hosting a read-along! This will allow you to develop closer relationships with your followers by bonding over this shared reading experience.
14. Create a highlight
One of the most useful features on Instagram is the ability to save stories to your profile. While most stories disappear after 24 hours, you can choose to have them stay on your profile in a highlight.