Welcome to part 2 of my Bookstagram tips & tricks blog series! In part one, I talk about how to start your own book Instagram . Now, I will talk about the basics of Bookstagram. This includes bookstagram terminology, posting on Instagram, being active on Bookstagram (making friends, gaining followers, commenting on posts, following others etc.), and also fun stuff such as book tags, monthly challenges, book clubs etc.
The “Basics” part of the series was only supposed to be one post, but I ended up writing too much, so there will be another part very soon! In this part, I specifically talking about the basics of posting on Instagram and #bookstagram terminology.
Anyways, without further ado…
Your bookstagram journey has begun… So, you’ve made an account; you set up your profile pic, your bio, followed a couple of people, and even posted your first picture… what now?
Well, now you have to make a couple of decisions. What kind of photos do you want to take? How often do you want to take photos? How much time are you dedicating to your book photography? How much time are you dedicating to bookstagram overall?
Here is what I suggest, have a posting schedule.
Planning Your Posting Schedule
I’ve been asked over and over again this same question: how do I gain more exposure for my Instagram? How do I gain more followers/comments/likes?
My best tip for you is: be active on Instagram.
By being active, I mean you need to dedicate time (a lot or a little) to taking pictures & posting (and planning this process). Also, this includes spending time talking to other bookstagrammers, commenting on other people’s posts, making friends etc. Keep in mind that bookstagram isn’t just about gaining followers and likes and comments. It’s about interaction with other fellow book lovers as well.
If you really want to work on your book photography and gain exposure for yourself (on bookstagram or for your book blog etc.), posting regularly and being active will definitely be to your advantage. If you don’t really care about that and just want to post occasionally when you have time to snap a photo, interact with others, see pretty pictures of books, that’s totally fine too! We welcome all types of bookstagrammers.
Personally, I usually take all of my pictures during the weekends because that’s when I have plenty of time for a book photoshoot. Before continuing, I would like to mention this. Most of my photos are “set ups“. Rarely do I ever take a photo for Instagram during my actual reading time. My photos on Instagram are usually planned and taken with consideration and control of lighting, background, props etc. I’ll talk more about taking the actual pictures in a later post in this series.
This is what my room typically looks like when I am doing a “book photoshoot”.
Although some would question why I take time out to do “book photoshoots” instead of just taking natural pictures while I’m actually reading, think of it like this… To me, Instagram is both a hobby and a chance for me to practice my photography skills. Therefore, the quality of the photos matter to me. By setting up specific times to take photos, I have better control over the different aspects of the picture (lighting, backgrounds, props etc.), instead of randomly taking photos.
Now, the question is… how many times should I post in a day?
Well, this depends on how much time you have. If you have time for more book photoshoots, then you will have more photos and can post more often.
Through trial and error, I found that my magic number is 3 times a day. Some will definitely say this is overkill and that it’s too much. However, this is what I found that works best for me!
My suggestion for you would be to try to post at least once a day, and to build up (or down) from there (if needed). I know plenty of Bookstagrammers who post once every 2 to 3 days, and some who post 3-5 times per day. You just honestly have to try it out and see how your audience reacts to it.
However, remember this, quality > quantity. Although it is important to be active, it’s better to take a great picture every 2 days, than to post 10 times a day and have it be not so great pictures.
It is important to be consistent. Your followers will more likely remember you and look forward to your posts if you are more consistent. Instead of posting 10 times in a day and then taking a 10 day break, it would be better to spread your posts out and post 1 every day!
Now, when is it the best time to post?
This is a little difficult of a question to answer. Whether you know it or not, bookstagram is quite a diverse community. We have people from all over the world, hence, different time zones. Therefore, it would be very difficult for me to tell you what time is best for your audience.
However, you can use websites with optimization tools like iconosquare (under analytics) that will track your stats and let you know when your audience is most active/responsive. I used to use to website but it costs money now, so I don’t use it anymore. However, there is like a week trial for new accounts so you can definitely check it out if you’re interested. Here’s a screenshot of my old stats. Please note that this tool analyzes based on your posts, so if you don’t have many posts, it won’t be able to tell you the amount of interactions at a certain time.
For me, I usually post once in the morning, once at noon/afternoon and once at night. However, my friends have commented that I have quite an odd posting schedule/post at weird times, so I’m unsure if you would want to follow my bookstagram posting schedule. I know one of my friends always post once a day at night.
However, in the end, Instagram is a hobby. If you are stressing over finals, work, or personal problems, don’t make it your priority to update your Instagram. Your followers will understand if you have to take short breaks. You shouldn’t let the pressure of posting consistently make you feel forced to have to post. This may bring you unnecessary stress. Do what makes you comfortable in your situation! Bookstagram is supposed to be a fun hobby, not a job.
Lastly, what do I say in posts? (Caption, tagging etc.)
When posting on Instagram, it is very important to have a thought out caption. If your caption has more content (instead of just emojis or a few words), it will give others more content to respond to.
You can talk about what book you’re reading (but be careful about spoilers!) or ask a random question. Whatever you talk about, it is important to say something. This will bring more interest to your post and more likely your audience will respond to your post. Also, hashtagging is an important contributor of giving more exposure to your Instagram as well.
Some popular hashtags are:
Don’t forget feature accounts too! (Accounts that feature Bookstagrammers)
So to summarize…
- Have a posting schedule (know roughly how many times you want to post/when you want to post)
- Interact with the bookstagram community
- Be consistent
- Quality > quantity
- Do what you have time for/are comfortable with
- Don’t stress about HAVING to update Instagram when you are busy with your life
Now, on to the Bookstagram language…
Common Bookstagram Terminology
- Bookstagram (“Book” + “Instagram”)
A community and/or Instagram dedicated to book photography, book reviews, book talks and more! Bookstagram can also be used to describe a person (bookstagrammer) or verb (bookstagraming).
To be related to books
- Book Tags
On Instagram, we have #hashtags. Hashtags are searchable and are usually used to highlight key terms/subjects of a photo.
Book tags are created by users to take a certain “type” of photo. One example would be #bookishrainbow. Basically, #bookishrainbow is a picture of a rainbow made of books!
- Monthly Challenges
Similar to book tags, except there is a challenge for every day of the month that you can do.
- Book Clubs
On Instagram, we have a variety of book clubs. Basically, a group of instagrammers who get together to read books every month (or other time period) and talk about it through social media (Twitter, Goodreads, Instagram). One example would be Bibliophile Academy 😉
- TBR (“to be read”)
Books you plan to read and haven’t. Bibliophiles are known to own many piles of books they say are on their “tbrs”. For example, monthly TBRs are books you plan to read in a certain month.
- CR (“Currently reading”)
Book(s) you are currently reading
Sometimes, bookstagrammers use this in their caption to indicate “Question of the Day”. A corresponding acronym would be “AOTD” which indicates “Answer of the Day”
Shoutout for shoutout. Goal is to promote each others accounts
Follow for follow (you follow them, they follow you)
Direct message, an option to private message someone on Instagram
Picture of your (book)shelf
On your profile, the space that allows you to talk about yourself or anything you would like.
# <- these fun things, used to make searching up key terms and subjects easier.
If there are any terms that aren’t on my list that you would like to know more about, comment them below and I will add them to the list!
That’s it for this post. I’m so sorry this post was SO long. I honestly did not expect to say so much. I will work on being more brief. However, I hope this is informative for you and helpful. I will be back soon with another post for this series! 🙂