Instagram Reels are one of the best ways to grow on the platform. However, they can be very overwhelming for those who are not familiar with creating video content. Today, I will share with you three Reels ideas you can use to promote your book/profile on Instagram.
Trends on #BookTok
Did you know that you can follow hashtags? If not, I suggest you do that now. And I would start with #BookTok. Bookstagrammers and authors use #BookTok to showcase content around books and writing.
Often there are fun and easy Reels trends on this hashtag that do not require you to show your face (if you don’t want to) and require minimal editing.
In 15-30 seconds, explain something interesting about you or your book.
Some examples include:
Why you wrote your book
Your writer’s journey
Any short explanation about a unique aspect of your book
General Reels Trends
Another great way to use reels to promote your book is to jump on general trends. Applying trends to your brand takes a little creativity, but it should be something fun and different.
Here are a couple of fun examples:
Take this trend for answering questions and apply them to your book or writers journey
“You can’t look good in every picture you take” trend but book covers
Other Tips for Using Reels to Promote Your Book
Think of Instagram Reels like a business card. The point is to spread the content far and wide, not overloading your viewer with too much information.
Do not introduce yourself. In the Reels format, you just do not have the time. This also might not hook your viewer. Instead, lead with educational or entertainment value and have an optimized profile to explain who you are to convert viewers to followers.
Include a call to action. A call to action is an essential part of any content you make that has a purpose (and if you don’t have a goal for the content, why are you making it?).
For Reels, an excellent call to action in the video itself is to follow you or to download some sort of freebie.
Often we find ourselves judging people based on the number of followers an account has or the size of their email list. However, these things don’t really matter. They are called “vanity metrics” because they do not help you make better business and marketing decisions.
What are Vanity Metrics?
Vanity metrics are metrics that look amazing on paper. They can tell a really positive story. But — and this is a big one — they don’t do anything to advance your business goals.
The number of followers you have on a given social media platform does not matter. Follower counts can be easily manipulated. Have you ever been approached by one of those Instagram accounts that offers x number of followers for a fee?
Those followers will never engage with your page or convert to a paying customer or client. Therefore, they are useless.
Instead, look at the number of people who have reached out to you because of your platforms. Or how many of your ideal clients you have managed to reach. These metrics are far more likely to give you direction with your content than solely looking at follower counts.
Likes are another vanity metric that cannot really tell you how your content is performing. Measuring likes with other forms of engagement like saves or comments may be helpful, but honestly, lots of likes just make us feel popular. They don’t do much to meet our business goals.
Subscribers are like followers. They don’t matter unless they will convert and/or are your ideal client. Although it feels nice to have a lot of attention, it is far better to have a small number of incredibly loyal and active fans than a large number on a spreadsheet.
So what metrics should you track?
These depend on your business and social media goals. If you are trying to engage your current community, comments are awesome. If you are trying to spread awareness, retweets and shares are your best friends.
Trying to create a one-size-fits-all plan for marketing or metrics won’t work because each company and each ideal client/customer is different.
If you are interested in developing your brand and social media strategy, send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more social media tips, check out these articles:
Love it or hate it if you are promoting something you are waist-deep or at least dipping a toe into the social media marketing landscape. For public relations professionals, we are always focused on effective social media marketing tactics that will build our clients’ audiences. I’ve written about social media on this blog, often breaking down different platforms and their uses, listing the latest stats, and how to build a content strategy. However, I am adding this to the conversation because I think many of us are in denial. Our expectations and feelings about how things should work are getting int the way of our own success. Below are some statements related to social media conversations I’ve had. If you relate to one or more of these, then you might want to read on.
My follower count on Instagram only increases by 5 to 10 followers per week so my campaign isn’t working.
Nobody wants to hear from me on Twitter because I don’t get likes or retweets.
I post contests and polls on Facebook and I don’t get any audience participation.
I post every day and I’m not growing.
Time for a reality check
It’s time to face reality. There are 3.3 billion people on social media; there are bots and marketing agencies spewing generic content; advertising is cluttering news feeds; and if you aren’t a celebrity, you won’t gain followers by the hundreds. So why does anyone even bother you ask? Because there are 3.3 billion people using social media. If your audience was just a fraction of that number you could be happy.
We are so fortunate to be able to reach out to all of these people directly. But you have to be thoughtful, dare I say strategic about how you talk them. If you do your homework and start talking to your “people” who want to hear what you have to say, then you will grow and you may even become an influencer someday. If your social media platforms are not behaving the way you want them to, it is likely that you are not properly focused on who you are trying to reach and what you need to communicate.
Build Authentic Online Relationships
Relationship building online is about earning the trust and loyalty of your customers and audiences so you can maintain, and grow your numbers. But how do you do that? Is it by working with a company that will push out “snackable” content? (I was pitched that idea by a social marketer. Let me ask you this: If you were at a cocktail party would you want to talk to a robot who can say a dozen sentences or a real person who can tell you about a trip to Belize)? Is it by talking about how great you are or how wonderful your product is? Would having a roomful of cats posted on Instagram fit the bill?
Even though we can now hide behind our screens, it doesn’t mean that the skills and needs of human interaction are out the window. If anything, you need to be even more thoughtful about your dialogue with others to practice effective social media marketing. Your content needs to be authentic and you need to do your due diligence and research in advance to identify an audience that will be interested in receiving your messages. After you determine your audience, you need to figure out how to reach it, what platforms to use, the content you will use, and when you are going to post and share.
It takes time and tenacity
To build an army takes an army and that’s what you are doing. You are setting up a foundation of friends and followers who want to know about your ideas or buy your product. If satisfied, they will help spread the word via retweets, shares, and referrals. And as I’ve said, it doesn’t happen overnight.
When I was at a conference recently a woman asked me about an aggregation application that helped drive followers on Twitter, but she was losing followers as quickly as she was gaining them. I told her that Twitter has been public about their attempt to rid the server of unattended accounts and spambots. Aggregators are not a shortcut when it comes to quality, actionable followers. The ones you end up with are often spam and other ineffective types. You need to put a real engagement plan into action, stick to it, monitor the results, and take appropriate action when necessary.
We all need to accept that this process is going to take a lot of work. I’ve got a business built around media with a heavy social focus, and I know about the time that goes into an effective social media marketing campaign. But if you aren’t able to hire somebody to do it for you, then you can set up a schedule that works for you. Block out time every day to work on internet engagement and research. Find a tracking program or use the tools that the individual platforms provide so you can see how your content is doing. Someone told me once regarding careers that you start with one brick and soon you will have built a wall. So go ahead and start your construction and you will see how things progress.
The last thing I’ll add is for people who dislike social media or do not feel comfortable with it. My advice is: Don’t establish any platforms you are not going to use. If you feel super hesitant about social campaigning, then do not do it. In a future post, I’ll present some ideas for alternatives that will still build your SEO presence online.
Additional Informational Resources
Here are a couple of articles from around the internet that talk about current content and social strategies:
If you’re anything like me, you know how important staying organized is- not only for your records, but for your business as well. That’s why curating the perfect editorial calendar is an absolute must when planning your social media content.
What is an editorial calendar?
Essentially, it’s a tool used by businesses and influencers alike to outline specific content over a fixed time period across different platforms (i.e. social media accounts, newsletters, newspapers, magazines, just to list a few). These calendars add the structural element your social media needs to consistently yield results. In addition to that benefit, having an organizational system in place for your posting helps to streamline the process and ultimately save time for other important tasks.
Why is it useful?
Apart from its organizational benefits, an editorial calendar lends itself to consistent posting –which ultimately boosts traffic to your website. And because of social media’s fast-paced nature, it’s crucial to get your content out there as frequently as possible in order to stay relevant and memorable. Editorial calendars are the perfect organizational vehicles to do just that.
Where can you find an editorial calendar template?
While there are a ton of free downloadable templates online or in Microsoft Word, I find it most convenient to use Google Calendar (you can find some useful tips and tricks for using the application here). I’m on my computer all day every day, and it’s easiest to go through my bookmarked websites in Google Chrome and make calendar adjustments or additions when needed. It also includes color-coding, which is another useful tool.
If you are struggling with creating content to populate your social media calendar, don’t panic. You can learn about the newer functions of applications like Instagram from our recent blog post. Happy planning!
With over 800 million monthly active users (users returning to the application each month), Instagram is one of the most popular social media platforms in the world (Dustn.tv). This application is beat narrowly in web traffic by Facebook and Youtube, which you can read about in our recent post. Instagram didn’t earn its massive audience overnight -this social media staple has been around over nine years- so what’s new with Instagram updates since its launch?
Following the example of Snapchat, Instagram rolled out its story feature in August of 2016. Almost half the app’s following use this Instagram update daily (Hootsuite).
How to use it – You can either tap the camera icon at the upper left-hand corner of your app, or, if you haven’t already added content to your story, the plus (+) sign at the bottom edge of your photo in the story bar. This bar borders the top of your feed. Via either option, a camera view will fill your screen. You can select from several options in a scrollbar at the bottom of this screen, which we break down below:
Type is the brass-tacks option among the story features. This is a text-only post that allows you to choose from “Modern,” “Neon,” “Typewriter,” and “Strong” as themes at the top of your Story window. Type excludes the extras available in other Story features including filters, stickers, etc.
Music allows users to search from Instagram’s library via query, or by “Popular,” “Moods,” and “Genres.” Once you’ve chosen your song, you cut a clip of your choosing (up to 15 seconds in length for copywrite purposes) and post away. You can also use this feature second-hand in other Story features to give your content the perfect ambience.
Live allows you to interact with your audience in real-time. Once you hit “Go Live,” a feed of your viewers’ comments will begin. You can also invite any viewer to join your live -eager fans or fellow authors can really liven up your stream and build great relations between you and your following.
Normal is the option your Story camera defaults to. You can tap the circle, center-screen, for a photo and hold for a video. Like the other features, you can add a filter to your photo or video by tapping the sparkling smiley icon at the bottom right hand corner of your screen. After a photo or video is taken, you can add a filter; sticker (this includes location, @mentions tagging other users, hashtags, and even music just to name a few); drawing, and/or caption.
Boomerang uses an app that you download externally to access via Instagram. Boomerang is the trendy app that allows you to take a short video and turn it into stop-motion, repeating piece of content. Whether it’s opening your newest book or sipping a cup of coffee, Boomerang can add a modern edge to your Instagram story.
Superzoom is a feature that gradually focusses on a face throughout a video, as it is video only. While Superzoom focusses on the targeted face, background objects and people are blurred. You can select from five different filters to add the right mood to your post. Superzoom also excludes the extras available in other Story features.
Focus is similar to superzoom in the way that you target a face with your camera as the centerpiece of your content. The major difference between these two features is that you can make Focus a photo or video. Focus also excludes the filters available in superzoom, as well as the extras that other features include.
Rewind is another video-only feature that simply plays the content you record in reverse.
Hands-Free allows you to record a video without holding down the center button. Otherwise, for the features including video mentioned previously, you must hold down the center button to record. Releasing the button ends the video you’ve started -excluding the Live feature.
The Instagram Story is a great way to generate quick and consumable content for your audience without much planning; one in five Instagram stories get a direct-message response. This feature can tap into the potential audience you’ve been missing all along!
IGTV was launched June of 2018, a function inspired by Snapchat and adopted by Facebook as well. Essentially, this Instagram update provides a host of channels that cable networks can’t with this innovation. Each show stars a celebrity or person of interest and lasts only minutes. IGTV not only introduces a new set of outlets for you to plug yourself and your book, but you can also create your own channel.
How to use it – By tapping the television icon in the upper-right-hand corner of your app, next to the direct message icon, the IGTV feed will open. There you will find a cog; upon tapping the cog a prompt to create your own channel will appear. You can either upload videos from your mobile library or record one from the application. There is no landscape layout to this feature -vertical videos only, making it optimal for mobile use. IGTV is great for users who want to publish videos longer than a minute to their Instagram audience.
If you find yourself struggling with these new Instagram updates, don’t panic. We have an infographic that breaks down the basic functions of Instagram for beginners.
Stay posted for more great information on social media for authors!