People have been asking me for this blog post for a really long time. Because I recently hit 25,000 followers (GAH!), I wanted to share a little bit more about bookstagram with you! Here’s my process for creating, maintaining, and living that bookstagram life.
I could rattle off the same advice everyone gives. Start by posting pics of your books. Talk about them. Engage with people. You can google for articles like that. What I want to share with you is why I started my bookstagram account, how it got to where it is, and what I believe to be the best advice to give you on your journey.
I started my bookstagram account in the summer of 2016. I’d already been posting on Tumblr and seeing all the great photos of people posting pics of their books. I wanted to be a part of a community of book readers. I wanted to get some really good recommendations and change my reading life. I wanted to talk about books with people. I didn’t know that one of the biggest outcomes of my endeavors was finding a group of friends that really like talking to me, find me funny, and have fun reading and sharing books.
I hope that this advice helps you with finding what works for you and zooms your bookstagram to 25,000 followers. Let’s get to the advice.
It’s not about the numbers
This is the hardest piece of advice I can give you because it’s something I don’t follow myself some days. Sometimes the numbers don’t matter. I have over 25,000 followers and I don’t talk to all of them everyday. I probably only see a fraction of those folks, so that number doesn’t really grant anything. It’s better to try and not get caught up in this number because it really doesn’t express how your content is or what you’re giving to the community. Let your actions and the interactions you have with other users be your ultimate guide.
Give yourself a break
I’ve been burned out by social media so many times, but I don’t do anything about it. I just keep pushing myself and trudging along and then I feel the most wicked of burnouts ever. If you’re ever curious as to why breaks are important, check out my post about being introverted and being on the internet. The internet and engaging with folks on the internet is just as exhausting as going out and meeting a group of friends for dinner. You want to keep going, but your body is telling you enough. Be kind to yourself and give yourself good and proper breaks. Your followers won’t stop following you because you didn’t respond for a day.
Engagement is so important in more ways than one
A lot of people have trouble with this, but you will see that engagement is important. Commenting and liking other people’s posts is great and definitely a strategy for beating that algorithm, but what engagement also brings you is friendships and reading groups that you might not find IRL. If you’re here to find a bookish community, be a part of it by leaving a comment here and there. You don’t need to go overboard if you’re too tired or don’t want to engage in a conversation, but the community loves people and the friendships we develop from it.
Look at your insights and then use whatever day job skills you have to analyze it
I think the one thing that I really benefitted from is using the insights not only to tell me how I’m doing but also to analyze where I can make improvements. I looked over my posts that got the most engagement and checked out what the content of those posts were. Was it a beautiful photo? What did the books look like? I basically used that as a template for many posts and that actually helped. Checking out and seeing what your followers like will help you to decide how to take photos in the future.
Time is your best friend
People don’t say this often, but time is your best friend. Taking photos is one thing, but it could take some time to develop that look you want. Let your Instagram page be a platform for you to experiment a little. Being newer, it’s easier to experiment and find your aesthetic early. It takes time to build up a huge following and a lot of engagement, so give yourself that time.
This is probably the most valuable piece of advice I can give you. Be authentic. My followers can smell an ad or paid partnership from three posts away. And I’m pretty picky and choosy about the brands I partner with. Don’t start a bookstagram account if you’re only there to get more followers. Don’t post “follow my instagram” comments on big accounts. If you want to be seen, have meaningful conversations with folks. Find people who have the same interests in books as you do. Don’t hunt down the big accounts just because you want to ask for a SFS. Nothing turns off another human than seeing that everyday.