Being a book publisher on social media is difficult—how do you make social media for publishers easy? It’s difficult to figure out what drives traffic to your social media pages and by extension, your website. What is most important to think about is that as a book publisher you are trying to engage with your audience to establish familiarity.
You want your audience and consumers to hear your name and say, “Oh, yes! The book publisher with the _____!” The more your name is widely known, the more people will reach for your books because we love buying things from people and companies we already know. We are more likely to engage with and consistently buy books from book publishers that we personally recognize and know.
Having your audience consistently refer back to your name as THE book publisher they know is the goal of a book publisher’s social media page.
Here are five easy tips to strategize to make sure your Instagram pages stand out!
1. Be creative with how you take book pictures
As publishers, books are your life, but not your audiences’. They need more than just an off-centered post of a book title. Posting book covers is great and makes sense when there’s a new book or author to promote and feature. People expect you to do that. But how are you going to make Instagram posts about book covers interesting and fun? Focus on more than just a well-shot picture of a cover and start thinking around it, literally. You’re posting more than just your book covers; the background and what goes around your book covers are just as important to consider.
Pro tip: Match the background to your book covers.
For example, Harper Wave consistently sets up the background to reflect and complement their book covers whether it be the theme of the book or the color scheme. This shakes things up and makes pictures about books fun. The point is to flatter and complement the book as best as possible because it shows your followers that you know what you are doing on social media and that you care how things look.
Additionally, if you are consistently posting book pictures, make sure you write strong and interesting captions to contextualize your book pictures. Below, Other Press not only framed the book with the actual cover art, but also selected a compelling quote from a reliable and accredited source to format beautifully above the book. The caption itself is also interesting and contextualizes what is going on — a fascinating, illuminating biography about the life of one of the most famous artists in modern history.
And remember, be creative with your captions and write them well because they feed into the Instagram algorithm!
2. Figure out what is the best format for your content
On the topic of posting, figure out what format on Instagram works best for the content you put up. Different formats accomplish different things and influence how your audience receives the content. For example, what works as an Instagram story might not work as a post. Use your own discretion and decide what works and looks best as a post, reel, or story. For instance, if you’re having an author takeover that does a “day in the life,” consistent Instagram stories throughout the day is better than posting a photo of everywhere they go as a post. It catches interest and will have your audience check out your Instagram page throughout the day.
Below, Harlequin Books does a great job of dividing their Instagram content neatly between regular posts, reels, and videos. This not only organizes and classifies their content but also maximizes their content exposure towards their followers. It also gives them the opportunity to establish a recurring segment for their reels.
Pro-tip: Plan your content ahead of time.
The key to posting often and consistently is planning what exactly you are going to post and where it will go. Additionally, schedule to post or go live at consistent times and days. This will ensure your posts will be seen and establish a weekly schedule for your followers to look forward to.
Planning well in advance and scheduling content also neatly maximizes the publisher’s interaction on social media and will show followers that engagement is their focus.
3. Take advantage of the link in bio
A consistently updated link in the bio is what ensures your followers will go from your Instagram page to your other websites. It allows for a more in-depth look at say, your publisher’s website and is easy for your followers to find and click on more information about an announcement, buying a book, or looking at other things that are specific to your publisher. Below, Graywolf Press utilizes Linkin.bio to optimize their Instagram page by having their posts link back to wherever they want their followers to go.
Not only does Graywolf Press engage their followers, but they also link their followers to their other content off Instagram which maximizes the traffic to the specific content they are trying to get out and their personal website.
4. Create a consistent theme for your Instagram feed
Establish personality with your followers by creating a consistent theme for your Instagram feed. A publisher isn’t a book machine, there are thousands of people working in the industry so reflect the human side of the industry. Try to create a fun and personal theme that catches the eyes of followers and future followers. A personality is what makes you different and sets you apart from other publishers. So it is important to establish that personal side and make it fun. This shows that you are engaged with your content and ultimately your Instagram audience. Being authentic and having personal engagement is what establishes a genuine and consistent following.
As an example, Quirk Books does an amazing job of showing their fun personality through their posts and is creative with clear and crisp photos. The page is clean, organized, fun, and beautiful while also showing their personality as literally Quirk Books.
It sets them apart and is equally as memorable. Their posts show thoughtful intent and demonstrate that their goal is to not only represent their own personality as a book publisher but to also connect to their followers.
Pro-tip: Make use of ready-made templates or presets.
By using already existing templates or presets from websites like Canva or even a filter, you can easily produce a consistent theme. The templates and presets are accessible and from the range of aesthetic choices, you can perfect your own theme by altering the templates and presets to your liking, or even creating a completely original one.
5. Know your audience and appeal to their values
Above all, make sure there is value to what you post and create for social media.
What ensures your content is valuable is making sure it is relatable. Post things that your followers can relate to and interact with. Think about how your content is contextualized within social media and how it will impact your followers and your targeted audience. Find out what people are curious about — whether they want to learn something new or be inspired by the content they come across. Understanding audience behavior, it makes it easier to create content that appeals to them. Because think about it, why do you follow the Instagram accounts you follow?
In an Instagram post by Copper Canyon Press (as shown below), they have a well-shot picture promoting a new book. The book is contrasted beautifully with vibrant, eye-catching colors, and the caption not only contextualizes the picture but also relatable content.
They introduce an excerpt from the collection, followed by relating to our experiences and expectations through and after the pandemic. The post is created to appeal to our current collective experiences and their followers can relate to it. The followers will take from this post a new reading recommendation and the understanding that the book publisher is sympathetic to their different experiences.
Pro-tip: Use a few, specific hashtags to end your caption.
Using hashtags enters your content into the Instagram algorithm so when you use hashtags, bear in mind your targeted audience. Few but strategic hashtags will capture the specific audience you are appealing to and adds to the value of your content.
Your followers and audience can tell when you put thought and care behind your social media pages, so plan what you’re going to put out, post often, and have fun with it.
We hope these five easy tips will help you with your Instagram feed and you’ll end up maneuvering through Instagram with ease.
For more articles on Instagram tips, take a look at this article to find out how authors can have an engaging Instagram page.