Expanding Your Organic Reach on Instagram: Video Content

Instagram, like all other social media platforms, changes constantly. However, it has never been easier to build an audience organically on Instagram because of short form video content

Using Short Form Video Content: Reels

Yes, I am talking about reels. If you aren’t using reels, and you are missing an enormous opportunity for growth. For example, when we had less than 90 followers, we created a reel that got over 3,000 views! Personally, I have an account that had around 1,100 followers and created a reel that has 1.3 million views – and is still growing. Needless to say, no other type of content would have received that sort of attention. Not every reel will go viral — most won’t — but in my experience they consistently have a larger organic reach than any other type of content.

Why is Video so Important for Increasing your Organic Reach?

People like video because it is perceived as authentic. Video allows you to connect with your audience in a way that is just not possible through still images. This is largely why Instagram has increased the ways in which you can share video content on their platform. 

Additionally, content like reels is being pushed from several different areas within the app which increases the likelihood of your content being seen then liked, shared, or commented on!

How to Share Video Content on Instagram

There are several ways to share video content on Instagram: 

  1. Stories: You can share short form video content on Instagram that will stay for 24 hours. These allow you to engage authentically with your audience and post several times a day without overwhelming your audience’s feed. 
  2. IGTV: Long form videos are great for IGTV. Generally these should share evergreen content like a podcast or educational videos. You can organize them into series based on topics. 
  3. Short video posts: You can post short videos to your feed as long as they are under a minute. These can add interest to your feed. 
  4. Highlights: Save your stories and reels shared to your stories to the top of your feed so people can rewatch them after the 24 hour period has passed. 
  5. Reels: One of the newest features on Instagram and a phenomenal way to grow organically. These can be synced with trending music, dances, or lip synced audio. But it doesn’t have to be that fancy, you can also do a simple, short talking head video where you share valuable and entertaining information. 

Pro Tips for Video Content on Instagram

  • Include closed captions
  • Look at hashtags like SEO for your videos (yes, use all 30)
  • Create branded covers for your video content that looks good in your feed as well as a standalone graphic

Don’t Post Aimlessly!

You shouldn’t post video content to Instagram just to post video content. Each piece should have a purpose and be a part of a larger strategy. If you are looking for help with developing your strategy for social media growth, we would love to hear from you.

Additional Resources: 

3 Tips for Using Instagram

3 Simple Ways to Improve Your Social Media Efforts

Tik Tok and Book Promotion


Book Publicity on Social Media: Bookstagrammers

Using Instagram to publicize your book is one of the most cost-effective ways to share your book with avid readers. This is largely because of bookstagrammers. 

What is bookstagram?

A bookstagram is an instagram account dedicated to — you guessed it — books. The bookstagram community itself is massive. It encompasses authors and readers who love sharing their passion for books. 

Using Bookstagram to Generate Awareness Around Your Book

Bookstagram can be a great place to share your book, especially if you have a budget, but we will get to that in a second. One of the great things about bookstagram is that, unlike in newspapers or on the radio, people who follow bookstagrammers and engage with their content are a lot more likely to love books. If you connect with bookstagrammers that have a specific niche that is relevant to your book, then you are placing your book directly in front of an audience that is likely your ideal audience for sales. 

3 Tips for Working with Bookstagrammers

  1. Do not expect large bookstagrammers to share your book for free. Many of these bookstagrammers have huge, active audiences. Would you want to give something of value away for free? Probably not. Smaller bookstagrammers may be willing to trade for a free book — but make sure they have a public profile. 
  2. Research bookstagrammers before reaching out. If you write thrillers, it would be a waste of time to reach out to a bookstagrammer who only enjoys romance. 
  3. Engage with the bookstagrammers you would like to work with prior to reaching out to them. Although this is not absolutely required, it is good etiquette, especially if you are hoping to get something for free. 

If you are looking for other ways to publicize your book, check out the following posts: 

Our Six Step Guide to Earning Local Media Coverage

Book Awards for Indie Authors

Publicity 101: 5 Steps to Curating the Perfect Media List


5 Female Authors You Probably Know By a Different Name

Pen names have many benefits like anonymity or crafting a public person or alter ego. But women have used pen names in other ways as well, such as being able to publish without the bias around their gender or marketing to a male audience. Today, we are going to talk about a few of the many female authors who wrote under male pen names. 

George Sand – Amantine Lucile Aurore Dupin 

Amantine Lucila Aurore Dupin was born in 1804 and became one of the most celebrated novelists in 19th century France under the pen name George Sand. She was a “pioneering feminist” who regularly participated in activities that were considered more appropriate for men at the time. 

The first book she published was a romantic classic, Indiana, in which a noblewoman traveled from colonial Africa to France to find love. You can get the book here

George Eliot – Mary Ann Evans

Mary Ann Evans is another European female author from the 19th century who published under a male pen name. She was known for her characters’ psychological depth and her descriptions of the life of those who lived in rural England. 

In 1858, she published her first book, Adam Bede, under the pseudonym George Eliot, which then proceeded to go through eight printings in the first year. 

Some quotes from the book include:

“Our deeds determine us, as much as we determine our deeds.”

 – George Eliot, Adam Bede

“I’m not denyin’ the women are foolish: God Almighty made ’em to match the men.”

 – George Eliot, Adam Bede

Currer, Ellis, and Acton Bell – the Brontë Sisters

These sisters were the authors of several novels. Anne (Acton Bell) published Anges Grey and The Tenant of Wildfell Hall. Emily (Ellis Bell) wrote Wuthering Heights. And Charlotte (Currer Bell) published Jane Eyre.

The sisters began writing at an early age, and their novels became classics. Would they have if they had published under their real names? We just don’t know. 

More Recent Female Authors who Wrote Under Male Pen Names

Not all women who published under male pseudonyms were from the 19th century. More recently, authors such as J. K. Rowling and J.D. Robb, also used male pen names. 

J.K. Rowling – Robert Galbraith – Joanne Rowling

Most everyone knows who J.K. Rowling is, unless you lived the last decade or so under a rock, but her gender neutral pen name does help her market her books to male audiences. 

But did you know that she writes under another name? 

Robert Galbraith is Joanne Rowling’s pen name for her crime fiction series, the Cormoran Strike Novels. This allowed her to break away from her fame as J. K. Rowling and write her new novels without expectation. 

J.D. Robb – Nora Roberts

Nora Roberts has published well over 200 romance novels and was inducted into the Romance Writers of America Hall of Fame. However, when she decided she wanted to write her futuristic crime thriller series, she published under the name J. D. Robb.  Her pseudonym, J.D. Robb gave Nora Roberts the opportunity to reach a new, more male, audience. 

Although there are many reasons for writing under a pseudonym, these female authors who wrote under male pen names typically did it to write and publish without expectation — however you want to interpret that. As a strategic communicator, I find it incredibly interesting how the name you use to publish, and not just the title of your book, can have such an impact on your sales. 

For more information about book marketing techniques, read our blog post:  Book Marketing 101: Create Visibility for Your Book with these 5 Tips


Personal Branding on Social Media: 5 Twitter Features Explained

As of May 2020, Twitter had 340 million users. As a microblogging platform, Twitter is particularly beneficial for showcasing your personal brand through your interests, personality, and content. There are several Twitter features you can leverage to help build your personal brand. 

#1 Tweets

Tweets are short microblogs that can contain images, videos, text, and/or GIFs. They appear both in the sender’s timeline and homepage as well as the sender’s followers’ home pages. 

#2 Fleets — A new Twitter feature

Fleets are a place to share momentary thoughts that do not necessarily need to be added to your permanent Twitter presence. Think Instagram stories. Fleets appear at the top of your followers’ page. People can also view your Fleets by clicking on your profile picture. 

#3 Moments

Moments are longer form pieces of content that can be curated from your tweets and the tweets of others. Use Moments to tell a story about something that is happening in real time or curating tips.

#4 Lists

On Twitter, you can create lists to follow accounts that are similar or experts in a field you are interested in. These lists can be private or public. Private lists don’t notify people that you add to a list — which makes them great for social listening and competitor research. If you create a public Twitter list, other users can find and follow it. 

#5 Revue — a new Twitter feature

Twitter recently acquired Revue and have launched an initiative to allow Twitter users to create their own newsletters for free. One unique aspect of this new feature is that you can create paid newsletters — although there is a fee for those. 

If you determine your purpose and define your target audience, these features can help you develop a strong personal brand on Twitter. 

If you found this blog post helpful and would like to learn more about leveraging social media for personal branding, check out Personal Branding on Social Media: 3 Tips for Instagram. 


Personal Branding on Social Media: 3 Tips for Instagram

Personal branding is important. Whether you are looking to sell a product online, get a job, or become recognized in an industry, your personal brand can help (or hinder) your ability to accomplish your goals. 

In this blog series, Personal Branding on Social Media, I am going to share a series of tips for developing your personal brand. Today I am starting with Instagram tips for beginners because of Instagram’s increasing importance for B2C marketing — that’s you selling a product or service directly to customers. 

Although Instagram can be overwhelming, there are three things that are essential for creating a personal brand that can help you achieve your goals: engagement, value, and planning ahead. 

Engage with your Community

Instagram is a social media platform. Social being the focus. To be successful on Instagram, you must develop a community that engages with you, and you have to engage back. This includes engaging with hashtags that are relevant to your niche and engaging with your followers. 

Create Content with Value

You need to create Instagram content that gives value to your followers. Content that is valuable is content that entertains, informs, or inspires. This blog post, for example, is a form of informative content intended to provide value for our target audience. 

Plan Ahead. 

Trying to create a personal brand on the fly will not work. You need to plan out your content in advance so you can insure you stay on brand. Additionally, planning ahead by using a content calendar reduces daily stress around sharing content and allows you to develop a visual identity. 

Digital PR and personal branding have become an essential part of successful public relations. Without a claimed and planned online presence, you can lose the ability to share your story the way you want as well as credibility and authority in your area of expertise. 

If you are interested in utilizing social media for your personal brand, stay tuned for the rest of this series.