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instagramOf the social media platforms discussed in these blog posts thus far, I expect Instagram is the social media platform furthest outside the comfort zone of many SDW/EG members. But with 400 million followers — more than Twitter — it is important for anyone marketing anything — including books — to get familiar with. And a feature within Instagram can simultaneously post to Facebook and Twitter, potentially tripling your reach.

Well, other platforms can simultaneously post to multiple platforms, too, but first you need to set up an account on each platform. And if your books are about travel, sightseeing, history, or are memoirs, children’s books, or biographies, Instagram was built for you. And if you are a photographer, you must sign up with and begin using Instagram.

So just what is Instagram and how does it differ from Pinterest, the other social media platform that is image-centric? The infographic below touches on some of them.

The biggest difference between Instagram and other social media platforms, including Pinterest, is that images must be uploaded to Instagram from a smart phone, not from a PC or a laptop or even from a tablet. You can view Instagram on other devices, but you can’t post from them. Other social media platforms allow adding content from all devices, although the process might be different on a smart phone than on a laptop or PC. This may be one reason the primary audience includes “under 30,” also the primary, though not exclusive, users of smart phones.

Another difference between Instagram and Pinterest, the other image-centric social media platform discussed in this series, is that Pinterest saves the url of the location for the image, serving as a bookmark every time. Additional information can be saved in the Description and Location fields. Hashtags are not necessary, though the text following may be useful for others to locate your content. In contrast, Instagram only saves the image unless you add urls, a description of what the image means, and hashtags. And the hashtags are key to others finding your Instagram posts.

So get started now. Here’s the summary of steps (based largely on the first link from Constant Contact in the list of resources below):

  1. Download the app to your smart phone. Instagram can be viewed on a PC, laptop, or tablet as well as a smart phone, but updates are only possible from a phone.
  2. Choose a recognizable username, ideally the same as for your other social media accounts.
  3. Update your profile. Most details can be updated from either a smart phone or other devices.
  4. Add a recognizable photo to the profile. This can only be done from a smart phone.
  5. Get set up for social sharing by selecting other social media platforms for your images to be posted simultaneously.
  6. Post your first photo. The photo must be uploaded from a smart phone, but the images can be saved to the phone from online sources. Add hashtags about the subject to help others find your post. Addition information such as the title of your book, a short excerpt to explain the image.
  7. Set up your location.
  8. Tell people you are on Instagram.
  9. Follow others.
  10. Get social.

Below are additional resources with more details, for reference.