In this blog, I am doing a study of my own bookstagram account. Now, I can in no way say that I am a very successful bookstagramer in terms of followers or consistency. In fact, the last time I posted was in July. So my first foray into the bookstagram world turned out to be short lived. However, I do want to share the things I learned about running a bookstagram; maybe in the process, I will even inspire myself to get back in the game and continue posting on my account, now that I can link it to my actual blog!
What is a Bookstagram?
As I’ve shared in some blogs before, bookstagram is just an instagram account for book lovers and sometimes authors or reviewers. Oxford Comma Blog was actually born as a bookstagram account during quarantine. During that period, I took a deep dive into bookstagram while I had an overabundance of time and a lack of socializing opportunities. 🙂
Check out this blog to see how I studied a successful book blog which also has an instagram account.
When I began my bookstagram, I would spend about 15 or 20 minutes in the morning learning from different accounts, liking and commenting to build a community, and following new accounts. While I was doing this research, I also tried to post in the afternoon and engage with the community I was building. Both the research and the work I was producing helped me to determine what I wanted my voice and persona to be (more detail in the following section).
Oxford Comma Voice
As I write captions for OCB on Instagram, I am putting on a persona, much in the same way I do when I write this blog. I know that I am writing for a specific audience, so I try to stay true to the voice which matches them. I try to be engaging and post questions in the caption, but I also allow myself to just enjoy being creative and crafting together sentences cobbled out of beautiful words. Since writing is the main way I like to express my creativity, this is a place where I give my imagination full reign and let it run away with me a bit. The voice and persona portrayed in my writing for OCB on Instagram hopefully appeals to other bookworms who have a love for words.
During the time when I was posting on a regular basis, I tried to follow strategies to achieve the best interactions. I did research into my audience, and saw that the best time to post was early in the afternoon (around 3 p.m.), so I tried to post regularly around that time. I also used hashtags every time I posted. I would try new hashtags every couple of posts to see if they made any difference. When I wasn’t posting, I would check out other accounts that I followed and make note of what they were doing. Many of them asked questions in their posts or had competitions for people to win prizes. While I didn’t have plans to do any competitions myself, I tried to have questions in my posts, and I interacted with other accounts which were doing competitions. I also tried to comment on other accounts where I could, and to respond when others commented on my posts.
By looking closely at a two week period (in which I was actually posting quite often) I will be able to determine which posts worked well and which ones didn’t. With this knowledge, I can continue improving the way I interact with my audience. I looked at the Post Insights for each of the posts from April 4 to April 25. This shows the number of likes, comments, shared content, and saves. Only two pictures were saved and none were shared, so I did not include those in the columns.
With this table, I notice that the posts where I asked a question in the caption had a much higher number of comments. The post on April 6, which had the highest number of comments actually accrued so many because I tagged a local indie bookshop, and they responded to other people asking questions. I’ve learned that this is another good practice: to tag authors, publishers, bookstores, and other accounts in your post. This helps increase the engagement in your post, and also helps them out!
Speaking of tagging other accounts… Here are a few accounts I have interacted with the most on OCB!
I hope you have enjoyed this blog about bookstagram best practices. Obviously, I still have a lot to learn, and I am not an expert on Instagram or bookstagram. However, I hope that the strategies that I am learning will be able to help other people starting out on bookstagram! Keep reading!