Instagram…and writing.

It’s odd. It’s like they don’t belong in the same sentence, do they? Instagram is visual, and has a friggin’ camera for a logo. Writing is…well, writing. Writing involves a pencil and other textual stuff. In 2020, you cannot go by as a writer if you rely on the textual, even if it’s your livelihood. You have to appeal to the visual somehow.

I’ve already covered the necessity of Twitter, and how its ease of networking and public-access to discussions are essential for self-published writers. Its required pithiness for tweets can help with your writing/editing skills, too. The textual is going the way of the dinosaur. The visual rules over all. Our brains process images a lot faster than words. It is what it is.

So, how can writers utilize Instagram? Well, readers need to see what your book looks like for one thing. However, it’s not enough to simply post the cover of your book. You’re creating a dead post that will foster no engagement. Marketing is not about showing, it’s about drawing your prospects in. It’s creating projection.

Why do clothing stores utilize storefront mannequins for their product lines? The mannequins create projection for those that see them. The prospects see them and imagine themselves wearing whatever the mannequin has on. It’s meant to entice them and create a purchase.

Now, for Insta you need to create what I call a “digital mannequin”. Basically, create a situation where your product is being used. Case in point, sitting at a table and drinking coffee. This is a very common template that I’ve seen across writers on Instagram, and it works. Set your book down on a table, put a coffee mug next to it (and a pair of glasses for a bonus). I don’t want to overexplain or belabor this, but the point of this marketing tactic is clear: You’re creating a scenario where the buyer is using your product. Simple as that. You’re creating a sense of relevance.

Instagram also has a feature that allows you to “boost” your posts where you can (for a very cheap price) show your post/ad to x amount of people (x is usually a function of how many ad dollars you’re spending, but I would start small. Start with a dollar a day and increase your expenditure when you’re seeing a return on your investment).

At the time of this writing, I’m still awaiting my new copy of Heather’s Mannequin with the updated cover. I have a few other ad ideas for Insta that don’t involve coffee mugs or reading glasses. How about a dog sleeping on your lap? Or sitting on your porch reading your book?

What are some ideas you have for advertising (in general) on Instagram? Videos? Live streaming? Let me know in the comments!

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