Looking for Instagram book promotion ideas? That’s no surprise — according to Rival IQ, brands have a 13.5x higher median engagement rate on Instagram than on Facebook, and 27x higher than on Twitter. And in this survey, 87% of people said that they took action after encountering product information on Instagram, whether that was following a brand, visiting a website, or making a purchase online.
If you want to promote your books on Instagram but aren’t sure what to post, take a look at what publishers are doing. We’ve compiled some great ideas for Instagram content thanks to their stunning posts!
The publisher Instagrams we feature here each have their own content strategies, executed with unique goals in mind. While we don’t have metrics on how these campaigns affected book sales, we hope these examples can provide inspiration, whether you work at a big publishing house or you’re an independent author.
Also note that we’ve chosen to show book promotion–style posts, where one or several books are the focus of the image. But all of these publishers post a variety of photos on Instagram that provide insight into their brands. We encourage you to scroll through their feeds to see what other kinds of photos they post.
1. Post timely content around holidays.
Even when a book wasn’t directly related to an upcoming holiday, Simon & Schuster staged them in a festive setting to tie into the event and included relevant event hashtags in the caption to position these titles as holiday gifts and surface the photo in Instagram members’ searches.
2. Run contests. Get creative with the prizes!
Knopf regularly runs giveaways offering author-inspired swag as prize items, including things like necklaces, shirts, and tote bags! These items feature prominently in the Instagram photos.
3. Promote new or upcoming releases.
Penguin Teen has used Instagram to build excitement around new and upcoming books, as whole stacks of them or a single title.
4. Showcase books in relevant, interesting settings.
A common trend is to post photos of books on a table with an assortment of props. Instead, Kensington Books placed the book in a scene relevant to the book being promoted!
5. Display teaser quotes in stunning visuals.
Orion Books displayed text for teasers in unique ways. They got creative with a timely Valentine’s Day quote from one author and beautiful graphics featuring another’s words.
6. Provide a peek behind the scenes.
Penguin Random House offered insights into their brand and work processes by giving a behind-the-scenes look at their workspaces and bookshelves!
7. Pose with the book and relevant props.
Instead of taking a straight-on shot of a book, Disney Publishing features models posing with the books and holding or wearing relevant props to make the book stand out in users’ feeds. This could be a great strategy for camera-shy authors!
8. Show a reader enjoying the book.
Abrams Books posted photos showing people reading their books, without revealing each person’s face. Another great strategy for those who are camera shy!
9. Source photos from fans. Give credit where it’s due!
Chronicle Books created hashtags for fans to submit photos for specific books, offering to share their favorite fan posts that used the hashtag. Not only did all of those users’ followers see their photos, but Chronicle got some great content for their feed.
10. Feature a book’s swag in an artsy way.
Wednesday Books used their books’ swag to create imaginative and immersive backdrops for new and upcoming titles.
11. Host book giveaways.
When Lume Books ran giveaways for their books, they made it obvious that the book in the image was up for grabs by including the word “giveaway” in a bold banner.
12. Promote deals and temporary discounts.
Allison & Busby created images clearly advertising their discounts to make sure their Instagram followers would know about limited-time price promotions.
13. Brand a book by matching its tone in the image.
Bloomsbury used creative props and lighting their Instagram posts to set the appropriate vintage or moody tone for the featured books.
14. Show animals reading and/or lying on books.
Viking Books used cute and cuddly animals to create share-worthy content appealing to book and animal lovers alike!
15. Repost fantastic photos and promotions.
Grand Central Publishing reposted beautiful photos from fans, making sure to give the original photographers credit in the captions.
16. Ask questions.
Crown Publishing regularly asks their Instagram audience questions — sometimes in the image and other times in the caption — to encourage followers to engage with their posts.
17. Call out related media.
As new TV shows began airing, Harlequin called out books with similar themes, taking advantage of trending media to capture new audiences. For example, they used the Bridgerton buzz to promote their Liberated Ladies miniseries and the Virgin River adaptation to promote Robyn Carr’s latest book.
What other Instagram book promotion ideas do you have? Share your thoughts in the comments below!
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Click to tweet: There are some great ideas here for how to promote books on Instagram, based on what publishers have been doing! 👀 http://bit.ly/1UL6LDU
Click to tweet: How publishers promote books on Instagram:
✅ Run contests
✅ Showcase books in relevant settings
✅ Display teaser quotes
✅ Behind-the-scenes looks
✅ Show a reader enjoying a book
✅ Source photos from fans
More great ideas: http://bit.ly/1UL6LDU
This post was originally published on March 31, 2016, and has been updated with all new examples.