Three Things Authors Should Not Do on Instagram
I have a love/hate relationship with social media. That might sound questionable coming from someone who teaches authors how to use social media, but it’s true. When it’s used the right way, social media can be incredible. But when it’s used the wrong way, it can be incredibly annoying.
Instagram is by far my favorite social media outlet to find and connect with my ideal reader. And because I know how powerful it can be, I want to make sure we are putting out the most helpful and applicable information so you can see the same growth and impact.
I wanted to share three trends that might seem like timesavers or clever ways to grow your audience on Instagram, but are actually hurting your chances of seeing good results.
So let’s jump in…
Using Scheduled Comments
A few weeks ago I shared a silly post about my superpower of only eating one brownie and not the entire pan. Granted, that self-control didn’t last very long - but anyway, it was a fun post that I knew my audience would get a kick out of. I was reading through the comments and saw one that said, “Beautiful - so well written!”
Hmmmm. I know brownies are their own type of beautiful, but what I had written? Not so much.
Fake or auto comments stick out like a sore thumb, and they do more harm than good. If you aren’t familiar, there are many “services” out there that have you load up a bunch of general or basic comments into their system, and they automatically comment on posts. Their theory is that people will think that you’re genuinely engaging with them and they will want to follow you.
Commenting on posts is one of the best ways to create solid connections and engagement on Instagram. But it’s not something you should automate. And most of the time those automated comments are obvious and will actually drive people away. Even worse, you also run the risk of having your comments marked as spam.
Instead of paying for a comments scheduling service, try this:
Set aside 10-15 minutes each day to go through your feed and comment on posts that interest you. We think we need to leave hundreds of comments every day to make an impact, but a little interaction really does go a long way.
The Follow/Unfollow Game
I know there are people out there that teach this approach, but I’m going to tell you right now, it’s just a scammy way to grow numbers. This “approach" shows that you care more about your Instagram numbers than the people you want to connect with.
Their theory is that you follow a bunch of accounts to make people think that you are interested in connecting with them. And when they follow you back, you unfollow them. Or they don’t follow you back in a day or so, you unfollow.
I don’t know about you, but that looks exhausting to me! And even worse, this approach won’t do you any good because it’s focusing on the number of followers you have, when your focus should actually be to engage and connect with people in a meaningful way.
Instead of the follow/unfollow game, try this:
Focus on your Ideal Reader and consider hashtags that he/she uses. Create a list of those hashtags and engage with people who are also using those same hashtags. It’s a fantastic way to relate to your ideal reader, show people that you care, and it keeps you active on the app.
You can also engage with people who already follow you. Pick the last 10-15 people who followed you and leave genuine comments or likes on their posts.
Remember that engagement is the name of the game. If you can boost your engagement - in a genuine way without trying to “game the system” - your posts will get more visibility. And people who are actually interested in what you have to say will see your posts and want to see more from you by following you.
Post and Ghost
This is a big missed opportunity. When you create a post but don’t respond to comments, it really defeats the purpose because that’s where the power of Instagram really comes in.
The “post and ghost” approach is basically scheduling all of your social media posts and never going back to respond to comments. By simply responding to comments in a timely manner will show that you care about your audience and you’re active on your page. And best of all, it boosts your visibility.
I’ve found that if I simply respond to comments as soon as possible, I see a lot more engagement and “likes” on my post. It’s a simple thing to do that does a lot of good.
Instead of posting and ghosting, try this:
There’s nothing wrong with automating your posts - I do and it’s a huge timesaver. But I would suggest that you set an alarm for when your post goes live and check in a few times within that hour to see if someone has left a comment.
Or you can turn your comment alerts on and it will notify you when you get a new comment on Instagram. I personally don’t like the comment notifications, so I just make it a habit to go into Instagram every day around the same time to comment and engage with my audience.
Remember, Instagram is a place where you can connect with people who want to hear from you - and with people who you should want to hear from as well. When we simply look at it as a way to amass “popularity” with big numbers or sidestepping ways to truly engage with people, we miss the mark.
To make solid connections with people and see real results from your book marketing efforts, it takes more than just providing great content your ideal reader will respond to. The strongest connections come from spending a little time engaging with people through comments and reactions - both on your own posts and on theirs.
If you want to learn more about finding your ideal reader, creating a powerful marketing plan, and learn how to create an effective process to manage your social media, click here to learn more about The Mixtus Method.