~ Bookstagram Tips ~
What do I want out of my Bookstagram account?
What do I want out of the Bookstagram account? And more importantly, how much time am I willing to spend on it? I don’t know if many people actually ask themselves this question before starting their account, or whether it’s something you just start to wonder along the way (my obsession with research meant I started thinking about this right away, and trying to find out everything I could about it, but I am pretty sure that’s just me! :D) Personally, I think it’s a good idea to at least have some sort of idea about what you’re trying to achieve, even if it changes down the line. Most of us probably started with “I love books, I love pictures of books. Hey, here’s a community of people who think the same – I’m going to get in on that” From there you might want/have wanted it to evolve into something more, or not.
Do you just want to share pictures of books with your friends every now and then? If so, there’s not much to it, you can just do exactly that (although I’m assuming if you’re here reading this, you probably intend for your account to go a bit further than that).
Is your aim to gain lots of followers and meet people? Rep for companies you love? (where you receive products from bookish companies in exchange for taking beautiful photos showcasing them, sharing their news and sales and displaying a personal discount code for your followers to use when purchasing from the companies). Are you looking to attract the attention of authors and publishers, because you’d love to photograph, read and review their books? Do you want to be considered for “Book Tours” (this involves joining a group of select people, who will be tasked with sharing a photo and pre arranged caption about an upcoming book on a particular agreed day. The book tours usually last a week or so, with each chosen bookstagrammer receiving a copy of the book from the author / publisher to enable them to take their photo). If any of these are the type of the hopes you have for your bookstagram account, there are a few things you’ll probably need to do to succeed.
Firstly (and this is something that I really took onboard from a fantastic youtube video, made by @darkfaerietales, I watched when I first started my account):
Make a commitment
I run my bookstagram like a second job (Ok, actually A job, since I’m a stay at home mum now). I devote a lot of time to it, I commit to taking and editing photos even if I’d rather be reading like a sloth on the couch. Work out how much time you are willing and able to put in and manage your expectations accordingly. If you only have time to post one photo a week, it will take a lot longer for your account to grow. If you aren’t consistent with your posts (ie: posting on a schedule, whether that’s once a day, twice a day etc and sticking to it), again, it will take longer to grow your account. Simply because Instagram won’t favour your posts when it comes to their horrible algorithm (more about managing the algorithm in my next post!) I spend over 20 hours a week taking and editing photos, and probably at least another 25 hours writing captions, as well as replying to comments and liking and commenting on other bookstagrammers posts. That sort of time commitment is probably unrealistic, if not impossible, if you work or go to school. So when I’m posting 3x a day, you may only be able to post once. That is absolutely ok, but again, just remember if you feel like it’s taking longer to gain followers or get your account to where you want it to be, don’t compare yourself to others who might have a lot more time to devote!
Interact with the rest of the community
It is a social community after all!
Talk to people, comment on their posts. Tag authors and publishers in your photo of their book. Tag and mention bookish companies when you include their products as props. Follow accounts you love. Reply to people’s Instagram stories when you like what you see (remember to check your ‘others’ folder regularly in your direct message section – if people you don’t follow send you a message, you wont get a notification, they’ll just go into this section). Remember to be respectful and friendly to everyone. We’re all just talking about books here! 😉
I am such a statistics person and it’s hard not to focus on numbers and constantly assess where your account is at and where it’s going, but above all, I think it’s important to have fun with it, so make a commitment you can actually stick to. Putting unrealistic expectations on yourself will have you resenting the work you’re putting into it, and that’s no fun at all!
My next post will focus on managing Instagram’s algorithm and making sure your posts are getting seen by as many people as possible!
I’ve listed my intended future topics below and will link to each one as I post them. Let me know if there are any others you’d like to see me discuss!
How to get involved as a rep for bookish companies
Gaining more followers and managing expectations