Starting a #Bookstagram was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. I’m constantly finding new books to read and fall in love with, I’ve met so many awesome book-loving friends, and I’ve even started to receive advanced reader’s copies (ARCs) from publishers.
On my Bookstagram, I focus on the community part and book love first, but I also use targeted strategies to increase my followers and engagement rates.
Come hang out with me on Bookstagram here!
Here are 12 tips I’ve learned from my time on Bookstagram that will help you grow and maintain a killer Bookstagram!
1. Use a consistent theme
If you’ve ever read any Instagram how-tos before, you’ve probably seen this tip. Basically, what this means is your page should have a consistent look.
You can achieve this by using the same filter or preset on every image, sticking to a certain color palette, or creating a pattern on your grid.
2. Post and engage regularly
Instagram does not have to become your life in order for your Bookstagram to be successful. In case you’ve heard differently, I’m here to tell you that it is possible to have a powerful Bookstagram without devoting that much time to it. All in all, I spend about an hour a day (five days a week) posting and engaging on the app and then a few additional hours a week taking pictures and writing captions. Even though my time commitment is pretty low, I’ve still been able to achieve great results.
However, the trick to maintaining low time commitment is by being consistent. A little bit of time about five days a week really adds up. Try to aim for 3-6 posts a week and about five days of focused interaction with other Bookstagram accounts (commenting, liking, and direct messaging).
3. Alternate between close up and far away images
To create a visually compelling feed, alternate your posts between close up shots and panned out shots. If you do all close up shots or all panned out shots, it could start to look boring. Adding multiple depths keeps your page dynamic.
Also try to add pops of color, different textures, and different layouts in your images.
4. Show yourself!
For an extra killer Bookstagram page, consider showing your shining face throughout your feed! The majority of Bookstagram accounts post mainly still lifes (specifically books and props) and don’t feature a lot of people in the images. This is all fine and good—these images and accounts are great! But when you add your smiling face (or contemplative scowl) to the mix, your page will really stand out! Yes—it’s super awkward to try to casually pose with a book in hand, but it’s fun and makes for an interesting feed!
5. Join an engagement group
I learned so much from Jenna Kutcher in regards to Instagram, but one of the schools of thought that I don’t agree with her on is joining an engagement group, at least when it comes to Bookstagram. Engagement groups are PERFECT for Bookstagram.
An engagement group is a private group (in your direct messages) of several other Bookstagrammers. Each time one of the members puts up a new post, they share it with the group. The other members then comment/like the post. This helps with the algorithm and tells Instagram that your content is valuable and entertaining to other users.
The right engagement group can offer support as well as genuine community. To start your own engagement group, reach out to one of the Bookstagrammers you’ve already connected with. This means someone who comments on your posts regularly and you comment on theirs. Chances are, they’d love to join.
A manageable number of engagement group members is around 10-12 people. If a group gets too big, you’ll spend all your time just catching up on their latest posts. It’s important to still interact with Bookstagrammers outside of your engagement group to continue building new connections.
6. Use bookish hashtags
Hashtags are a really important part of every post because they allow other Bookstagrammers to find your photos and your account. You can use up to 30 hashtags per post but it’s important to cycle through your hashtags so you don’t get shadowbanned (this means Instagram thinks you’re spamming a certain hashtag, so it stops showing your post under that hashtag page).
A full how-to use hashtags for Bookstagram post is coming out next week!
To find great bookish hashtags, look at other Bookstagrammers’ posts that you like and see what hashtags they’re using. Try to avoid overly saturated hashtags like #Bookstagram or #Bookaddict. Using hashtags with a ton of tags means your photo will get buried almost as soon as it’s posted.
Some of my favorite hashtags are #bookslutproblems (shameless plug) and #coolgirlsread. Try them out!
7. Participate in challenges
Challenges are a great way to come up with fresh content ideas as well as find other Bookstagrammers to engage with. Bookstagram challenges range from #stagedatTarget (where you have to make a Bookstagram-worthy set at Target using their books and home decor) to #pupsheightinbooks where you stack books next to your doggo until they’re both the same height.
Challenges kill two birds with one stone—they’re great for building relationships AND creating interesting and fun content.
An ongoing Bookstagram challenge calendar will be available for you to view on here soon!
8. Engage, engage, engage!
You can’t expect to get love without giving it. Bookstagrammers are all about spreading the likes, comments, and good vibes, but you have to do your fair share of love-spreading too!
If a great Bookstagram account follows you, follow back! Focus a large amount of your time on the app giving likes and thoughtful comments to others’ posts. Share your favorite accounts to your stories on #followfriday and repost others’ content on your stories that you love (and tag them of course!). Find other Bookstagrammers that you jive with and strike up conversations with them, in both their comments section and their DMs.
There’s no secret hack for gaining more followers and higher engagement. The only tried and true way to build your Bookstagram is to engage with other users regularly and sincerely.
9. End every post with a question
One of the best ways to increase your posts’ engagement is to end each one with a QOTD (question of the day). I like to keep mine book-related, but you’re welcome to ask whatever comes to mind. Make sure it’s an open-ended question that will lead to real conversations. Also, make sure to answer you own question so others can get a chance to learn more about you!
Some fail-proof Bookstagram QOTDs are:
- What are you currently reading?
- What’s been the best book you’ve read so far this month?
- How do you make time to read?
10. Always answer comments
If people take the time to comment on your posts, make sure to take the time to reply back! Try to avoid generic and canned answers like “thanks girl!” or just posting an emoji. Read their comments and write an authentic reply back. This will make a huge difference in your engagement rates.
11. Don’t just focus on follower count
It’s easy to get caught up with your follower count. How many followers have I gained? How many have I lost? How many followers does she have? Why does she have more than me?
Here’s the truth: follower count isn’t what’s important (not just on Bookstagram but on Instagram overall)—it’s the engagement rate. If you look, you’ll see that a ton of Instagram accounts with high follower counts actually have really low likes and comments.This is a big sign that they’re not building an authentic platform.
Creating a truly popular page means focusing on increased engagement, not increased followers.
12. Make books your reason why
Out of all the social media platforms, I think Instagram can be the most soul-sucking. There’s so much competition and noise that it’s easy to forget why you joined in the first place.
Keep your Bookstagram authentic and genuine by focusing on sharing your love of books and reading. If you build an authentic page and keep books as your why every single time you get on the platform, the followers will come.
Do you have any great tips for other Bookstagrammers? Share them in the comments below!