The One Thing Authors Can Do to Dramatically Boost Their Visibility on Instagram
An author recently asked me how I always show up first in her feed when I post something. It’s not a big trick or something that you pay to do - it’s actually much simpler than that.
The one thing that dramatically boosts your visibility on Instagram is engagement.
Engagement is when someone comments, likes, or shares your posts. Strong engagement shows Instagram that your audience finds your posts interesting or helpful and that your content is relevant to them.
This is precisely what kicks Instagram’s algorithms into gear to show your post to more people. Something that you need to remember is that your post won’t always be seen in all of your followers’ newsfeeds. Instagram initially shows your post to a few people that have interacted with your account recently, and if they respond to it by liking, commenting or sharing it, they will make it visible to more people.
Even though the pesky algorithm might seem like a pain in the neck, it’s actually a good thing when your content is good and you are posting consistently.
Think about it: if you come at it from a reader’s point of view, you don’t want a bunch of junk that isn’t relevant to you or that you’re not interested in clogging your feed.
And ultimately it helps us to up our game and really think about posts that will connect with our ideal readers. Because we don’t want our posts to get in front of just anyone - we want them to get in front of the right people.
So the question is: how exactly do you boost engagement which in turn boosts your visibility?
Here are 20 easy ways you can increase engagement to boost your visibility on Instagram:
Post at the right time.
You can’t just post when you feel like it. You need to post when your readers are actually on the app. One of the main reasons switching to a business account is helpful is because your follower’s usage information is in your analytics.
Use strategic hashtags.
When you incorporate hashtags that your ideal reader will use to find content that they are looking for and that is relevant to what you’re sharing, your content will be more visible to people who don’t follow you. And when you like and comment on other posts that are using those hashtags, you will connect with even more of your ideal readers.
Increase your activity.
You can’t just “post and ghost,” or only rely on your scheduling tool and not actually be active on Instagram. This might seem obvious, but I see so many people who don’t bother responding to comments. When you increase your activity and interactivity - liking posts, commenting, sharing, doing Instagram Stories, etc. - the algorithm notices and boosts your account’s visibility.
Know your ideal reader.
When you know exactly who you want to connect with you will know what kind of content they respond to. Your ideal reader is the foundation of your book marketing, social media, and engagement. ➛
Video is becoming more and more important on all social media outlets. Using Instagram Stories, Instagram Live, or even sharing a 60-second video in your Instagram feed is a great way to stand out and boost engagement. Video has been proven to get about twice as many comments compared to a static image.
Emojis are actually searchable! So including those in your posts is very important. Also, emojis are eye-catching and add some color and activity to your captions so they stand out in the feed.
Post on Instagram Stories.
Instagram Stories are fun and they also boost your visibility and engagement, since your followers are shown your face at the top of their feed every time you post a new story. Have fun with stickers and drawing on your videos and photos to show more of your personality and connect with your readers in a different way.
I know broadcasting live is intimidating. But like I said before, Instagram and all social media outlets are putting a big priority on video - especially when it’s live. If going live intimidates you, practice by sitting in front of your phone and tape yourself. It will show you areas that you need to work on and give you the practice you need to make great live videos.
Share great content.
If you share what everyone else is sharing, you’ll just blend in. Share your best stuff! Content is king. Amazing posts, blogs, images, videos, and captions will make you stand out from the pack and get people liking and commenting on your posts.
Reuse popular posts.
You don’t have to reinvent the wheel every week. Look at your most popular content and reuse it! I have a full post on how you can do that and create more by doing less. ➛
Share your readers’ posts.
Reposting or sharing your readers posts in Instagram Stories is a great way to not only give some love to your readers, but it will also increase your visibility through Instagram’s algorithm.
Keywords are words that people use to find content that they are looking for. Incorporating keywords into your captions, hashtags, bio, and comments will make your content discoverable and will get you in front of the right people.
Catch your reader’s eye.
Great images help us stand out as our ideal reader scrolls through their feed, and the best images make them want to stop scrolling and read our caption (and hopefully like our post).
Create “fill-in-the-blank” posts.
Creating fun posts that encourage your readers to participate by commenting is always a great way to boost engagement. Posting questions like, “This year I want a _________ for my birthday,” where the answer is quick, fun, and doesn’t take much thinking is a great way to get readers to interact.
When you show up, your readers will too! When you post every once in a while, it shows your readers you’re not very serious about connecting with them. To stand out online you have to up your game - show up consistently every day.
Add calls to action.
Giving readers a compelling reason to post a comment or click a link is key - and that’s what a call to action does. When you ask them to take action, it shows that they are interested and attentive to what you have to say and it boosts your engagement. Simply asking them to share an emoji, to tag someone, leave a comment, click the link in your bio, etc., are ways to encourage people to take action.
Ask for quick answers to simple questions.
If you leave a question open-ended or ask readers to give answers to deep or complex questions, you might not see as much engagement. Instead ask questions that require a quick simple answer. When it doesn’t take much time to respond, people are more likely to stop and take time to interact with you.
Cross promote with fellow authors.
Team up with your fellow authors and share their most relatable content in a way that allows you to authentically cross promote each of your Instagram accounts and books. Helping out fellow authors that have similar interests regardless of book genre is a great way to show your sense of generosity and community.
Use hashtags that your ideal reader actually will use.
When you only use hashtags that refer to your book/brand/blog/business in your posts you limit your visibility. They are not aware of you or your book, so how would the know to use the hashtags you are using. Include hashtags that your ideal reader would use to find information and content that they are interested in. I have a list of 130+ hashtags that you can download here. ➛
Comment on your followers’ posts.
Don’t just respond to comments left on your own posts. Reciprocate those interactions by exploring and commenting on other people’s posts.
You don’t need to do all of these suggestions at once - start with just one or two that appeal the most to you and put them into practice to see how they work for you. Learning how to authentically use just a few of these approaches that fit your personality should give your Instagram posts a huge boost, not only in the algorithm’s system, but more importantly in the minds of your readers.
I’d love to hear what you find works best for you, so please let me know what ideas you’re putting into practice in the comments below!