When it comes to choosing social media platforms, writers are often drawn to Twitter. It’s one of the biggest social media platforms and is perfect for networking and growing a following.
A less obvious, but equally powerful choice, is the photo-sharing platform, Instagram.
But what could writers possibly share? A daily computer screen and bucket of coffee photo isn’t very interesting, is it?
But the recent introduction of Instagram Stories has brought a new dimension to the platform. It’s just waiting to be leveraged by writers.
Typical Instagram users share only their best photos. They want to portray a polished version of their life. It’s all peonies, vintage bobbins and shoe selfies. It’s beautiful, but can feel a little fake.
Instagram Stories brings a far more authentic feel to the platform.
This new feature enables users to share video and photo snapshots of their day, but crucially, these snapshots don’t appear in their permanent feed. Instagram Stories disappear after 24 hours, much like photos or videos in your Snapchat story.
While it’s possible to apply a little polish to photos and video using basic filters, text, and doodles, the ephemeral nature of Instagram Stories makes them real, and ultimately much more interesting.
If Instagram Stories disappear after 24 hours, what’s the point?
Authenticity, engagement, and exposure.
Unpolished snapshots of someone’s day are far more interesting than a carefully crafted flat lay featuring scattered rose petals and a strategically placed — albeit irrelevant — pair of vintage scissors.
Because Stories are temporary, users can’t help but be more authentic, sharing snapshots they wouldn’t ordinarily bother with.
Stories are also great for engaging directly with your followers. While there aren’t options to publicly comment or “like” a story, you can easily respond by sending a direct video or text message.
If you already have a following on Instagram, it’s a ready-made audience for your Stories.
Unlike Snapchat, Instagram Stories are public by default. The first thing you see when you open the Instagram app are the profile photos of people you follow who have Stories to watch. That’s great visibility and exposure.
What to share?
But what could writers possibly share on Instagram Stories?
Who are your followers? They are likely to be a combination of friends, readers, and other writers. Post Stories to interest and engage them. Here are some suggestions:
- Share your process, your workspace and your favorite writing tools.
- Read snippets of what you are writing — perhaps ask for feedback.
- Share your successes and failures — be real!
- Ask a question and encourage followers to respond to you.
- Share what you are reading or make book recommendations.
These suggestions work as photos, but are more engaging as video.
If talking to the camera sounds like your worst nightmare (hands up, introverted writers!) remember: it’s gone in 24 hours. Video is a great way to engage with your followers. Step out of your comfort zone and give it a try.
What about regular Instagram?
If you need inspiration for what to post in your regular, permanent Instagram feed, these hashtags feature some great ideas:
Hashtags are a great way to group photos and increase your exposure through a common bond.
Are you a writer using Instagram? Have you tried Instagram Stories yet? Let us know in the comments.