Tackling social media is difficult, especially when you’re in a niche area trying to drive traffic to your Instagram. As independent bookstores, you’re always trying to figure out how to get your name out there on people’s social media feeds and by extension, getting publicity for your bookstore. When used effectively, social media apps like Instagram are helpful tools in ensuring your bookstore is getting the exposure you want and need but it’s definitely a hurdle to tackle.
As independent bookstores, figuring out how to get the exposure you want on social media is overwhelming. However, when you break it down it gets simple and Bookstr has done that for you. Here are five easy ways to ensure your bookstore gets the attention that it deserves on Instagram.
1. Take good photos of your bookstore
I know, we love the books we read because of what goes on in the inside but on social media, aesthetics do matter. Instagram relies heavily on good visual images for a solid base and following. Being consistent with eye-catching photos that shine a light on your bookstore in a productive way is key to a strong Instagram. For example, do you have that rustic brick wall that book lovers crowd to take Instagram-worthy pictures of? Or, do you have that comfy reader’s nook that is just waiting for people to laze around on? Take advantage of it and smartly plan your posts around it—those pictures that focus on unique features of your bookstore will definitely catch people’s attention.
As the above photo shows, Bel Canto Books has a gorgeous store with brick walls and an earth-toned color scheme. The post showcases the visual theme of the bookstore and is a well-taken photo that focuses on the central space of the store. This catches the eyes of their target audience and pulls their interest long enough for them to wonder where and what this bookstore is all about.
Think about what is aesthetically pleasing about your bookstore and post it. A well-taken photo goes a long way, so mind your angles and arrange your decor accordingly. Beautiful photos will always make sure that your Instagram page is getting the clicks and likes which will in turn garner attention for your bookstore. Additionally, this will get people to start asking the right questions about your bookstore and it will boost your followers base and essentially, your book sales too.
2. Create a consistent theme and make a posting schedule for Instagram
Focus on being organized and cohesive. Creating a consistent Instagram theme and schedule will ensure you get people to scroll through your Instagram and attract their interests in order for them to stay. Picking a theme or something that ties your Instagram page together makes your page look clean, inviting, and well executed. Additionally, pick a consistent day to post images, stories, reels, etc., and schedule to do this weekly. Posting your content weekly demonstrates that you’re willing to be engaged and active with your audience and are interested in producing content for not only your bookstore, but the audience that is invested in giving your bookstore attention.
Above, Arvida Book Co. has an impressive Instagram feed with a consistent theme and schedule and it’s obvious. This not only makes them look professional, but also shows that they are engaged with their audience and posting content for them. It looks clean and cohesive and is updated consistently.
By picking a consistent theme or color/filter, this demonstrates to your targeted audience that you’ve put thought into how your bookstore is perceived within the context of Instagram and social media. It shows at the very least that you care about your bookstore’s image and will establish a relationship with your audience.
3. Take advantage of holidays and special events
Do take advantage of the holiday season and any special events that have value to your bookstore and/or your bookstore’s location.
Bookstores are always hotspots during the last few months of the year. From October to December, people flock to picturesque bookstores with holiday decorations. If it matters to you, make sure you decorate your bookstores according to the holiday season because your audience will absolutely love it. Additionally, look beyond the western or general holiday seasons. Do your research and think about fun and special holidays or events that are unique to you, your bookstore’s values, or location. This makes things interesting, fresh, and sets you apart from other bookstores on Instagram.
As the above pictures demonstrate, holiday Instagram posts do well. Arvida Book Co. posted a carousel of Christmas-themed photos. With a cozy filter and attractive, dimmed lighting, the photos are eye-catching and capture the spirit of a bookish holiday season.
4. Identify your bookstore brand and values
Identifying your bookstore’s brand and values and communicating it to your audience through Instagram will set your Instagram apart from other bookstores on the app. Establishing your brand and values will ensure that your target audience is reached. Communicating your values will also make it easier for you to be authentic with your followers and audiences. Your followers and audience will also be interested in why your bookstore is special and unique and showing tour bookstore’s brand and values in your Instagram posts will reach your target audience and create a special social space for them. This in turn establishes authentic relatability with your audience.
Above, Yu and Me Books demonstrate proudly that they are the first Asian American women-owned bookstore in New York City. By crafting their Instagram to communicate their brand and image, they reach their target audience and in turn create a space that is unique and special to their target audience.
5. Know and create content around your target audience
This final tip echoes the fourth point.
You’ve essentially reached your target audience, but to ensure that they will stay interested in your bookstore and Instagram in the future, create content that your audience will like and value. It’s important to know your bookstore’s values and to strategize content around it. Your target audience knows when people, brands, and businesses are being unauthentic or performative, so stay true to your bookstore’s values and mission and show it on Instagram. Your audience will enjoy your authenticity and will appreciate it.
We hope these five easy tips will help you with your Instagram and you’ll end up maneuvering through Instagram with ease like a pro in no time.
For more articles on Instagram tips, take a look at the publisher’s edition of this article.