The thought of branding and marketing yourself as a person—let alone a writer—can feel like a challenge. With social media’s continued growth, however, it’s easier than ever to create and cultivate your online persona. Instagram, for instance, isn’t even a decade into its existence yet and has 1 billion active monthly users. So, if you don’t have an Instagram account to promote yourself as a writer or published author yet, now is the time to sign-up, create your profile, and start engaging.

Not sure where to start? Here are our top tips for creating a great Instagram profile and sharing your writing journey:

Craft a creative bio.

You have a small amount of space to include a personal bio in your profile. Be sure to include that you are a writer and the genre you write or that you are a published author and add the title of your published work. Be creative and set yourself apart as an individual with the rest of the space you have. Include the city you live in, your other hobbies, or something that makes you stand out. You can also use emojis and hashtags to round out your profile.

Choose your aesthetic.

Choose three to five main themes you want to represent through images you post on your feed. Rotate through those themes as you decide which photos to share. For instance, if you love being outside, have a great writing spot, and a cute dog, use those three themes as your dominant ideas. Here are a few other ideas to help you decide what to post:

  • Quotes
  • Where you write
  • Books you’re reading
  • Real places that inspire your writing
  • Writing progress
  • Selfies or other photos of yourself
  • Pre-book launch photos
  • Book launch party
  • Photos of you signing books

Focus on photography.

While you may think crafting a great caption for your photo is important (and it is), Instagram is all about photography. Make sure your photos are well-lit, have contrasting colors, and are in focus. Use the same photo filter to create consistency on your profile and steer away from heavily filtered photos that might diminish the quality of your photo.

If you aren’t fully confident in your own photography or selfie skills, ask a family member or friend to take pictures for you. You can also use resources like Canva, which offer some free stock photography and tons of creative offerings to round out your Instagram profile.

Be strategic with hashtags.

Millions of people use hashtags every day to find what they are searching for on Instagram. From their next favorite book to their dream vacation spot, people around the world use hashtags, or keywords, to find things. So, use hashtags that connect to your photo or your caption. Here are a few popular writing hashtags you can explore and use:

  • #Amwriting
  • #Writer
  • #Writers
  • #WritersofInstagram
  • #Writergram
  • #Writingcommunity
  • #WriterWednesday
  • #Writinggoals
  • #Writinglife
  • #Writing
  • #Writerlife
  • #Writerslife
  • #Writingzone
  • #Writingspace
  • #WhereIwrite
  • #Writingabook
  • #Writingfiction
  • #Writingnonfiction
  • #Books
  • #Bookstagram
  • #Author
  • #AuthorsofInstagram
  • #Authorcommunity
  • #Publishedauthor
  • #Indieauthor

Find your community.

There is a large community of writers, published authors, beta readers, designers, and more on Instagram. Take time to tap into these communities and make friends. From starting an online critique group to finding beta readers for your fiction or nonfiction manuscript, get to know people through Instagram and you’ll have them in your corner long before you may need their help, or they need yours.

Be engaged.

You will get out of Instagram what you put into it. Instagram engagement is less about how people engage with you and more about how you engage with others. If you like and comment on other people’s photos, engagement on your own photos will increase. So, put the Instagram algorithm out of your mind and be present with your online community.

To increase engagement on your own posts, craft captions that tell others to like, respond to or share your post.

Use Instagram Stories to give followers a peek at what you’re currently working on, where you work, your city, etc. This interaction helps followers see you as a real person they can build a connection with.

Want to learn more about online marketing for authors? Read Writers and Websites: The Importance of Owning Your Brand on the Internet.