A little notice before we begin:
This guide is aimed at bookstagrammers, but can definitely be tweaked to help instagrammers of all kinds and themes, fx. moodboard accounts or edit accounts. The guide is pretty complex, but the first part is one-time stuff / if you’re doing a makeover, and the second part is things you should do regularly.
It makes the most sense to do it the order it’s written but change it to make it fit you. Don’t think that you will immediately gain loads, it may take some time. Finally, this is just an observation from an average bookstagrammer, I don’t have a lot of followers myself, so don’t expect too much:-))
· Write current read in bio, and preferably share your pronouns (fx. she/he/they), unless you’re not comfortable with it. Then your followers know how to refer to you. You could also share how old you are, your name etc.
· Start following loads of accounts (using explore or the recommended accounts when you start following someone), some of them will often follow you back. Also great for new feed + meeting people.
· Set up a link tree.
· Research what successful bookstagrams look like; bio, profile picture, photo description, stories, hashtags. If you find a popular account that matches your aesthetic, then get inspiration from them for filtering, posts and bio. Remember to not copy anyone’s work, though! Don’t post any pictures without permission from the original owner/without consent from the people appearing in the photo.
· Figure out your god damn post aesthetic!
- First, save favourite bookstagrams, and discover the traits they have in common. It’s no fun without content you like:-))
- Then save successful bookstagrams and stalk them intensively to see what theme made them gain. Remember that it’s more fun to do a theme that you love than the theme all the big accounts use, though.
- Find out the best editing apps; one for lighting, one for special effects, and one for collages (moodboard + templates)
- Think practical. You don’t want a theme that takes too long to set up, or one where you have to buy fresh flowers every time.
- Use your advantages. Not every bookstagrammer is creative, so diy the shit outta them with props like backgrounds + templates.
- Make a moodboard, maybe with 3 different themes you have chosen.
- Take three pictures of the same book using the three different themes, and choose your favourite
- Try editing the chosen picture in 2-3 different ways and choose your favourite.
- Take + edit a few more photos with different books, and now you have your theme!
Okay great work, I appreciate that, now go take a break. Don’t read a book, that’ll make you think of Bookstagram. Watch some Netflix.
Now back to the game.
· Design highlight icons that match the theme.
· Post the story icons; Zoom until they fit and make them invisible for people who see your story – just before posting the icon on your story, choose “close friends”. That way you can highlight the story to be the cover of a highlight, but the icon picture is only visible to you and “close friends” (my “close friend” is just my other account, so no one but me can see it)
Now that you have researched;
- Change profile picture.
- Update bio.
- Write some photo descriptions until it matches your account’s aesthetic.
- Make a template and make it fit the aesthetic too.
Post as often as you can, preferably once every 2-3 days, once a week at the very least. I know from experience that I often check my favourite instas for new posts, so treat your followers.
Have a template (could be quotes, qotd, follower count, hashtags) for your picture descriptions, but don’t always write the same thing. Change between tags/diary/debate.
If you give shoutouts / do like for like, then maybe do a weekly session.
Talk to people. Do a promo group, or just actually read the descriptions in your feed and comment. Get people to notice you.
Do tags/challenges. People will follow the tagged accounts, and it’s also an easy way to get more likes.
Update your bio; age, current read, yearly reading challenge, and so on.
Interact with your followers. Ask them for recommendations in your story, make polls, post qotd’s.
Post templates/challenges every once in a while. Remember a small trademark so people can find you. Trademarks are also great if you share your posts on Pinterest, so pinners can find you again on Instagram.
A few things to keep in mind
This is your safe space, so customize it to fit you. You don’t need to make a face reveal. Turn the comments off, if you like. If you still want comments, then ban some words like “f4f” and “ugly” so you only get genuine, positive comments. Put a trademark on your pics if you’re worrying about theft.
Remember it should be fun. If you think it’s taking too much work, or feels more like a chore than a hobby, try a simpler theme/description, or post less frequently. You should be doing this for you. Find something unique to do, that can be your trademark. Good at drawing/editing? Draw stuff on your pictures. Love writing? Write a little poem to go with your posts, so people can swipe left on the post to see it or post it in the description/comments. If you care a lot about a specific topic, fx. the climate crisis, the black lives matter movement or lgbtq+ rights, then use that passion, and incorporate it into your posts and bio! That way, you are also more likely to make friends with someone in the comments that are on the same page as you:-)
If you’re traveling to somewhere without Wi-Fi, take loads of pictures and pre-write descriptions, and ask a friend to post for you. If this is not possible, at least inform your followers on an announcement highlight.
If you really want to grow and get serious, invest money in ads every month.
Use popular hashtags that have something to do with books. If you use random trending tags, then you won’t reach the right audience anyways.
A final reminder: Always remember that your platform is your way to communicate important world news and helpful resources like petitions and so on.
That was all I can think of for now. If you have any suggestions for articles or comments on this one, you’re welcome to comment, and my dm’s are always open:-) I’m @crearantine on Instagram (admittedly no longer a bookstagram, but only because I didn’t have time for it:-))
Best of luck,