This is a mini-chapter I cut from Romance Your Plan because it started to get too specific into how to be an author on a social media platform, and there’s no single answer to that—and this advice may already be outdated. I’m not an Instagram expert by any stretch!
I’m going to say three things about this list. First, as I said, it’s probably already outdated. Second, it doesn’t matter what the list is, it’s what action the list sparks in you. And third, the real breakthrough on any social media platform will happen when you stop looking for “how do I do well on that platform” and you sink into just being on it…and then discover how you do well on it organically. Then do more of that.
But we all need to start somewhere, so let’s use the example of Instagram and how the heck do hashtags help here.
The most common advice I’ve heard is that you want at least four hashtags on every post (no, I don’t do this myself consistently, stop sweating). And those should be evenly split between high volume hashtags and low volume hashtags. In theory, this gives you a chance to be seen widely—if you happen to gain traction on a high-use hashtag—but also stick at the top of a hashtag for a while—the lower-use ones.
And yet that feels like playing games, and marketing isn’t a game. So let’s dig deeper. Here’s a list of hashtags for books.
Pick four to use on your next post on Instagram. Pay attention to the number of posts on each as you add them to your copy. Think about why you picked those four tags, how they relate to the content of your post and your marketing goal for it. Then think about which of these tags wouldn’t work for that post.
It’s a fascinating question, because it starts to reveal categories for these chunks.
Now, re-stack the list with sub-headings of your choosing.
Now we’re getting somewhere. Maybe you have a stack to use on a picture of your paperbacks, another stack to use on new releases, a stack to use for showing yourself as an author. And as you use them, you’ll intuitively figure out which to use on a brand photo vs a product photo, which to use on reader engagement questions, and so on.