This is a tough one. Everyone wants to grow their following. The trick is to be strategic about how you gain those followers. Engaged followers are infinitely better than ghost followers.
Do Find Your Niche
Everyone struggles with this but don’t fret. It take a while to figure out where you fit into the bookstagram world. Do you have beautiful shelves? Maybe they’re organized by color? Do you create amazing shapes out books? Maybe you’re a fan of simple set ups with white sheets and your current read. Perhaps a book and a beverage is more your style. Amazing flat lays?
You can absolutely do whatever you’d like with your feed but if you’re really looking towards growing a following, finding your photo style is the way to go. You can always change in the future but having some consistency in your feed that is eye capturing is a quick way to make someone click ‘follow‘.
You can treat your feed like a reading diary focusing on everything you read. Followers are going to be attracted to the types of books you read. Doesn’t matter what you read but focusing on ‘your’ types of books will help you find ‘your’ people. Horror, mystery, fantasy, Young Adult, etc. You get the idea.
Don’t Buy Followers
I feel like this doesn’t need to be said but for those in the back DO NOT BUY FOLLOWERS.
They’re not engaged. They’re not interacting. That number is worthless. Have 500 followers who always like and comment on your posts is worth so much more than 5k+ followers and only 100 people who like and comment.
Do Participate In Challenges
Bookstagram challenges are always helpful. If you’re lacking inspiration for photos I urge you to look through prompts to spark your imagination.
You’re likely to gain few followers from participating if you’re taking quality photos.
To really hone in on engaged followers, find a few challenges that really interest you and participate in them. When I participate, I mean really participate. Plan your photo around the prompt and put some serious thought into your captions. Make sure to comment on other photos participating in the challenge.
Always make sure you’re checking out other’s photos. Bookstagram is a two-way street. You can’t just throw out your photos into the wild and hope for the best. [Well, you can but that’s no way to participate and get the most out of bookstagram.] Make sure to leave meaningful comments when account hopping. Whose comment makes you want to check out their account, “I love this book!” or “Elizabeth is my favorite character as well. I thought her struggle was really interesting because…”?
Advance tip: You really want to step up your game? Host a challenge! It will take a lot of work but I think the pay off might be worth it. Look to some of your closest bookstagram friends for help. Split the work and reap the rewards!
Don’t Participate in Follow Trains
I tried it in the beginning and it worked okay. I gained some followers but they didn’t really stick around. The follower account went up but the likes really didn’t go up.
Follow accounts that you are actually interested in. Don’t clog your feed with books/accounts that don’t interest you. You’re more likely to engage/participate when presented with accounts/books/friends that interest you.
Do Put Some Effort Into Your Captions
I really struggle with this. Captions are SO hard. Plus I’ve been an active bookstagrammer for 2 years so I feel like I’m starting to run out of interesting things to say.
Maybe you aren’t the best photographer but you have a decent writing voice. USE IT. There are many accounts that have so-so photos but are great storytellers or know how to have really interesting discussions.
Do Engage With Your Followers
If someone has taken the time to comment on your post, reply to the comment! Continue the conversation if possible.
Commenter: Hmmm I think my favorite trope is enemies to lovers.
Me: I haven’t read many of those books. Do you have any favorites to recommend?
Commenter: My favorite is…
If possible, you really should get in the habit of returning comments on their posts. It’s not always possible because of time restraints but it’s worth it to nurture these relationships.
Proceed With Caution: Giveaways
Giveaways are awesome! If you have a great group of followers, you WANT to give back to them. If your sole purpose of hosting a giveaway is to gain followers, you might reconsider. Much like buying followers, the followers that come with giveaways are in it for the ‘stuff’. Sure, some of them might actually be interested in your account but many of them are just here for freebies. They likely disappear after the giveaway is over or never interact with you again.