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Using Instagram as a tool

As writers, Instagram usually feels a little unnecessary, especially as the algorithm favors more and more video content. But again, one of the benefits of Instagram is that it’s a great place to build a community and support other writers and creatives. I often use my Instagram to connect with creatives I meet when I’m out and about. That way I can continue to expand my creative community. Again, I’m not on social media to sell things to my followers. I’m there to stay tapped into the culture.

Here are a few tools you might need to be successful on Instagram:

  • A content planning tool like Trello, Airtable or even Google Sheets.

  • Switch your Instagram account to a “Creator” account for extra tools and analytics.

  • Creative templates (I recommend Canva or Adobe Creative Cloud if you have design chops).

What makes Instagram worth your time

Instagram is versatile. As a visuals forward platform, Instagram creates a lot of ways to have a presence. Video, audio, photos, text — choose your own adventure. 

Instagram makes cross-posting simple. Repurpose a tweet as a photo or video post on IG. This also works for anyone on TikTok. 

Instagram content is highly shareable. So, why does IG work so well for writers? Because when people see something that speaks to them, or commentary on a topic that perplexes them or captivating storytelling, they pause, linger and quite often share it with their own audience. 

Develop an Instagram strategy

So let’s think about some goals again. 

Most of my Instagram content is screenshots of my Twitter account, which is possibly the simplest approach to content creation. It’s simple, topical for my audience and stirs a larger conversation that I can tap into more deeply — by way of an article, audio clip, podcast episode, video rant, blog post…the possibilities are many. 

Unlike Twitter, Instagram is a bit more hands on, so you’ll need at least a graphic design platform like Canva or Adobe Creative Cloud. Instagram also has a schedule feature listed under the advanced settings of the post screen. So bank and schedule when your audience is most engaged. 

Plan out some content for the next 30 days. Seriously consider what kind of content that feels reasonable to commit to. If managing your social media becomes overwhelming it defeats the purpose. Keep it simple:

  • A video explaining your writing process.

  • A slide post with images that inspire you.

  • Have a live chat with another creative.

  • Post a tweet and a 150-word caption.

  • Share a throwback, this never gets old (pun intended).

Let’s review:

  • You know why Instagram matters to writers but you’re not going to let it run your life.

  • You have the next 30 days of your IG content planned out.

  • You’ve set up a creative tools account like Canva of Adobe Creative Cloud.

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