If you’ve never used Instagram for promoting text content, it’s high time to start.
Yeah, I can almost hear you thinking:
“My weapon is words, not pictures. Instagram is a powerful marketing platform to sell products, not services. Does it make sense to use it for networking and exposure, not to speak of business profits?”
- One billion monthly active users are on Instagram now
- Millions of businesses have Instagram profiles to promote their services there
- 80% of Instagram users follow at least one business page in the app, and about 60% hear about a service or a product through this platform
A small business owner who sells writing, you get benefits like networking, positioning a personal brand, connecting to a broader audience—75% of Instagram users are outside of the US, — and therefore monetizing your writing services.
Here’s how to do it:
#1. Follow the rules
Do you know that people don’t even see 70% of posts on their Instagram feeds? To make them see yours, be patient — it takes some time to attract and keep followers — and consider the rules of this social media network.
First of all, make your profile stand out from the competitors’ and resonating with your target audience. Speak to readers, add a link to your writing blog or portfolio for them to learn more about you, and regularly post so they could see what’s new in your professional life.
To help the profile appear in search queries, pay attention to what you write in your Instagram bio. In particular, be careful when filling in your name and username on Instagram: these are the only lines Instagram considers in queries. So make sure to write the name your customers are searching.
Include the details about your professional skills to make it clear for Instagram users what you are doing here. Your hobbies and interests can help to stand out from competitors, so don’t be shy to share them with followers as well.
Focus on keywords to include in the bio: yes, they don’t improve your searchability on Instagram but help your target audience understand you are in sync with their values. Emojis and your branded hashtag (if you have any, to be sure) will help to show off your personality, highlight your business features, and drive engagement to your account.
DMs and comments are not that difficult to miss on Instagram, especially if you get much engagement from followers, so share your email in bio to give customers more options of reaching you.
According to the latest research, the best time to post on Instagram for maximum engagement is Tuesday through Friday from 9am to 6pm.
Remember that Instagrammers love with eyes; so, create original content. And don’t keep silence! Instagram is about interaction, and that’s where you can best use your writing skills: be creative and comment on others’ pics to engage with more people and build own account.
When posting your content, use hashtags and relevant captions for better optimization and readers’ engagement. A high-quality image plus a thoughtful caption up to 300 words long is your perfect formula to use. 3-5 hashtags will be enough to add for like-minded users to find you. The best ones to use are:
How to craft captions on Instagram?
Your brand voice will help to choose the right words and tone for your messages. Place the most important information at the beginning of your caption: it’s cut off in a feed after a few lines (125 characters, to be specific), so convey key points and call to action right away. Mentions and hashtags go to the end.
Your Instagram caption should hook readers and invite them to tap “More.”
#2. Post your appearance
Let people know you are real and don’t hide behind quotes and general pics most writers post on Instagram. Numbers have it that photos with faces get 38% more likes, but it doesn’t mean you should fill the profile with own portraits and selfies.
Consider the following options:
- Post your pictures from seminars or conferences for writers, tagging people and mentioning geolocation to cover a broader audience.
- Book signings or upcoming releases of your writing projects to tease readers.
- Everything that motivates you to write: a workspace, a book you read, a morning ritual that makes you productive, a view from the window, you name it!
- Your published works.
#3. Network, collaborate, promote
It’s all you need to know about Instagram when coming there to sell your texts:
Engaging with fellow writers and influencers in the niche, you’ll gain insights from gurus and increase your chances of getting offers and publications.
Collaborating with followers, you’ll attract new readers and potential clients: take part in writing challenges, support nonprofit writing projects, share the information that might be interesting to your target audience, like and comment on their content for more recognition and exposure.
Promote your newly published articles, share pictures with your finished projects, tell about your writing strengths — in other words, let the world know you are a professional. Instagram is the best place to put the “show, not tell” principle into practice.
- Post quotes from your works.
- Post the process of working.
- Promote upcoming releases and events with yourself involved.
Don’t be afraid of revealing your writing life to readers: share your favorite books and authors, post inspiring quotes relating to your work, tag followers in photos they will love, mention influencers who motivate you and whose writing practice helps you improve own skills, show readers your happy writing places where you create your freelancing masterpieces…
And yet, make sure your Instagram posts look visually pleasing to the audience. Rumors have it, a visitor needs less than two-tenths of a second to form an impression of your Instagram account. So, you might want to design it exceptionally.
Secrets to Engaging Followers on Instagram
Notwithstanding that suitable words can trigger emotions no worse than beautiful images, Instagram is about visual content a priori. It doesn’t mean you need to be a professional designer to come up with effective marketing campaigns here, but high-quality images and eye-catching design are essential components of your business success.
Tools and resources like Unsplash, Canva, Stencil, or Bannersnack will help you focus on the quality of your Instagram posts. But first, choose a style for your account to add an element of your writing individuality to it and make it easier for users to distinguish. For that:
- Think of a color palette for your Instagram account. Use no more than three colors and their shades when designing your profile. Remember: each color communicates a definite message to users and may influence their perception.
- Use the same settings and filters for all pictures in your profile. It will help it look stylish as well as communicate its mood to followers.
- Choose a tiny gimmick that would illustrate your individuality: design your posts as comics, make a profile black-and-white, build it as a puzzle of a collage of pictures, etc.
A palmary example is the Instagram account of Henneke Duistermaat:
A copywriter and writing tutor, she creates visually rich content that is yet relevant to her services. The core color of her Instagram profile is purple, which communicates luxury, expertness, and charm. (Also, it’s a brand color of Henneke’s website, which makes it easier for readers to recognize her Instagram among others.) All posts there are of the same style and introduce Henrietta, the writer’s alter ego, illustrating Henneke’s individuality.
One more tip:
While your Instagram account is for promoting writing services, you shouldn’t focus on sells only. The 30-35-35 rule will help you keep a balance of content types: publish brand (30% of your posts), educational (35% of your Instagram posts), and entertaining (35% of your posts) content.
#4. Build Your Audience
No matter how hard you try to design an Instagram profile, it will never work if you don’t understand your audience. Do you know what they like most about your writing service? What are their pains making them choose you? What do they expect from you?
Instagram fans are young and trendy. To win them, implement the latest features of this platform to your marketing strategy. Track Instagram trends, analyze which of them might influence your engagement rates, and get your audience to participate: hold contests, ask questions, give feedback to their answers, don’t ignore comments even if negative – people need to see you are a real person, ready to help and work with them.
Also, don’t sit and wait for them to find you.
- Use Instagram’s Explore feature to find your audience.
- Use hashtags and geo locations often to help more people find you.
- Use Instagram analytics tools to see what works and what needs imrovement.
Given that engagement with brands on Instagram is 10 times higher than Facebook and 84 times higher than Twitter, you can’t miss an opportunity to grow your writing account there, can you? Take the above tips into consideration, interact with followers and niche influencers there, and new offers won’t be long in coming.
About the author:
Lesley is a freelance web writer and content strategist behindacademic writing website. Contributing to publications on business, marketing, and self-development, Lesley helps peers develop confidence and skills for better content writing and promotion. Feel free to say hi and see more works of hers on Twitter @LesleyVos.