In an effort to expand my #bookstagram reach, I decided to join one of the free webinars that aim to help grow your social media accounts. I currently have over 2,500 followers on The Lexington Bookie’s Instagram– it blows my mind that there are that many people out there who enjoy my bookish photos enough to click that FOLLOW button! Yet, I know that the more people see my content, the more they’re apt to click on the link that leads here, which is my main goal for all the Bookie social media outlets. My growth rate is steady, but I know I struggle to get the traffic that would really help get this blog out there.

I joined Hilary Rushford’s “Double Your Instagram Following” webinar, and managed to listen to the webinar while running errands one Saturday. She has over 100K followers on her Instagram, all organically grown, and she started a seven-figure business explaining how she grew her brand on the social media platform.

Hilary gave a lot of great overview information involving how to bump your followers, and though it’s not specific to Bookstagram, there was plenty of applicable advice that Bookstagrammers could apply to their accounts. I thought I would share what information and advice I picked up from her, and explain how I interpreted the information for Bookstagram.

1. Why Choose Instagram?

Hilary’s Advice: Instagram is the fastest growing social media outlet. Instagram engagement stats are 10 times higher than Facebook,  54 times higher than Pinterest, and 84 times higher than Twitter. Also, Instagram has 4 times as many users than Snapchat, and IG stories receive 30% more engagement.

I think these stats are fascinating, and really make it seem obvious on why Book Bloggers should promote their websites through Bookstagram. In addition, I’ve listened to the podcast called “The Blogging Millionaire” with Brandon Gaille (who I will definitely be writing more about in the future), and he advises that if you are promoting your blog through social media, then you should choose one outlet and focus on it, rather than try to focus on four different outlets. Knowing these stats, Instagram, or Bookstagram, seems like the no-brainer option.

2. Know Your Brand Story

Hilary’s Advice: You need to answer these four questions to maintain focus on your brand story:

  1. What are you selling?
  2. What is your brand?
  3. What are your stories?
  4. What are your boundaries?

This also leads to how you shape your content, which draws in your audience. There are also three things you must be brilliant at for success: your branding, marketing, and product.

At first, I wasn’t sure how this could apply to bookstagram because we’re already a niche corner of Instagram, so I had to think a little harder on this. What I came up with is, in a generalized way bookstagram is selling books and promoting reading, the brand is what the bookstagrammer brings individually to the platform, our stories are our reviews and experiences in the bookish world, and our boundaries are keeping to book-related content. Obviously, this can be fleshed out individually in more detail, but I think that’s something I’ll do behind the scenes.

3. Know Your Purpose

Hilary’s Advice: The purpose of your Instagram is to connect with and then convert your ideal clients and customers. Along the way, you need to give them what they can get more of from your product or services. If you are unclear about your story, then your efforts will fall flat.

I think Bookstagram is fortunate in that we all know what we are connecting over- BOOKS. So Hilary’s advice was easy to apply in this case, because we all perpetuate the cycle of connecting with other readers, who are also ideal clients, and turning them into customers. This could be two fold in that, if we promote a certain book by reviewing it, we’re getting traffic to our reviews, which is most Bookstagrammers’ goals- and if the reader happens to buy that book, then we’ve not only helped our brand by providing a reliable review source, but we’ve helped the author, publisher, and anyone else in connection with that book in their promotion efforts.

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4. Create Quality Content- Utilize the Three C’s

Hilary’s Advice: Create content that connects, compels, and converts your customers.

Most likely, if you’re a bookstagrammer, you’re posting photos about books, or content relative to books and your brand. What I believe Hilary is saying is, if you aim to use your bookstagram in a business-like fashion, that you should make sure that each photo somehow connects to other readers, and keeps in line with your brand story. This will help attract more of your readers into customers- or specifically for book bloggers, those who will trust and value your reviews.

5. Utilize Your Profile

Hilary’s Advice: My philosophy on Instagram is it is a balance of science and art. A strategy without both in equal measure falls flat. Instagram’s layout and content is the art, and the science is the marketing portion. So, consider your profile a “first client date”. Allow it to draw clients in with a promise to serve more “goodness” by following you.img_6157

This is something I thought I was doing okay with, but I think I’ll have to tweak in the future. In the Bookstagram universe, many of us promote what fandoms we are in, or what we do on our blog, or what our personalities are. This is good for personal accounts, but I think Hilary’s advice means that if we are utilizing our account for business, we must make sure to maintain a focus on our profile that leaves a good first impression.

6. Remember the Science

Hilary’s Advice: An individual on Instagram wants art, and you’ll succeed on the platform if you give them that. What they don’t know they want, is your services and products. If you remember to market your product, you’ll grow your following and increase your revenue.

As bookstagrammers, I think this means obviously to create the aesthetic bookish content that we all do, but to also remember that we are selling and promoting more than just the books we’re photographing.

7. Rinse & Repeat Recipe for Rocking Instagram

Hilary’s Advice: Tell a compelling story. Show us what it looks like. Invites us to your party. Send us on with a gift.

The last piece of advice is something I think every bookstagrammer can do with ease. I interpret this statement as, tell us about the book and make it intriguing; show everyone what they’ll gain from the read, and why it’s important to read it/ own it; start a book-club style discussion and let everyone chime in; and then show us where we can find more discussions and great reading recommendations!