The days when Instagram was a simple photo-sharing app are long gone. Did you know that you can use Instagram Stories to sell books?
With over 1 billion monthly active users, Instagram is one of the fastest-growing social media networks with the most engaged user base.
It’s no surprise that you may want to promote your book on Instagram and turn your loyal followers into readers and sell books online.
But if you want to stand out from the crowd of other authors who crave the attention of your potential readers, consider using Instagram Stories.
The concept of Instagram Stories
In 2016, Instagram posts copied Snapchat’s feature with a limited lifespan of 24 hours and introduced its version of temporary content, Instagram Stories.
In just three years, the number of Instagram Stories users has grown 5 times.
Today, around ½ of the Instagram community (500 million users) watch or create Stories daily.
So, it’s no wonder that the number of in-built features is continually growing to help creators show off their creativity and make communication with watchers more interactive and interesting.
If you’re looking for new creative ways to sell your books online, invest time and effort into creating high-quality Instagram Stories.
There are three main reasons for self-published authors to use Instagram Stories.
1. Beat the Instagram algorithm: It’s no secret that Instagram prioritizes content from friends and family.
But using Instagram Stories allows you to cut through the clutter and reach your target audience as this transient content appears on a separate feed.
2. Hook the attention of your audience: With a short lifespan, Instagram Stories create the fear of missing out (FOMO) effect that encourages users to watch stories in order not to lose something important.
Instagram Stories grab the attention of your audience and help to spark their interest in your books.
3. Sell books in-app: Since Instagram Stories create a sense of urgency, it helps sell books online.
Features, like product stickers and clickable links, can improve customer experience and convert followers into buyers.
Simply put, Instagram Stories give you an opportunity to bring your book promotion to the next level.
However, photos and videos you share to your story disappear from Feed, your profile, and Direct after 24 hours. But you can extend your exposure if you add it as a highlight.
Today, we’re going to walk you through the eight best ways to sell books with Instagram Stories.
1. Announce a book launch
No matter how well-written and interesting your book is, it’s nearly impossible to sell your book online unless you have an army of readers waiting for the new book launch.
The more potential readers know about your book, the more books you can sell.
When people discover your books on your Instagram feed, they want to find out more about your creativity online.
In other words, you need to announce a book launch. Instagram Stories allows you to use a variety of features to build hype around your book.
For example, it can be a good idea to organize a web conference where you can tell more about your new book and invite readers to ask questions.
Plus, you can repurpose your live stream into a series of Instagram Stories to cause a buzz around your book launch.
Or you can simply share a new book cover in Stories, just like in the example below:
When working on book announcements, remember that Instagram is a visual platform. People come here to SEE, not READ.
Whether you sell photography books or your books, you need eye-catching illustrations. It’s a good idea to publish images or videos and add a short description of your book to spark interest in your publication.
Here’s a good example of this strategy in action.
The author also adds the countdown sticker. This allows interested viewers to sign up for reminders and buy the book once it’s available on the market.
2. Publish book quotes
It can be challenging for aspiring authors to attract new readers and encourage people to buy your book.
However, one of the oldest marketing strategies works well for all niches: Tease your audience.
As an author, you can pick several quotes or story highlights and publish them via Instagram Stories.
Not only does it help to spark interest in your writing, but it also allows you to turn your followers into advocates as they are more likely to share your Stories with their friends (the sense of urgency works well).
Check out how one author did it.
3. Feature book reviews
As an author, you must know the power of book reviews. It’s human nature to seek out social proof, so it’s no wonder that readers often ask their friends and family for book recommendations.
To improve customer experience on your Instagram and convert your followers into readers.
You need to show that your book is popular among other readers, and they believe that it’s worth reading.
For example, you can check out Goodreads if your book has community reviews and repurpose them into Instagram Stories.
But if you want to bring your personal brand to the next level, you can reach out to your readers and invite them to make short videos for your account. Why?
As specified in vertical video marketing research, 94% of users hold their phones vertically, and 1 in 5 video Instagram Stories get a direct message from hooked customers.
Customer experience matters. When you make Instagram shopping easier for your followers, they are more likely to make a purchase.
It’s a good book marketing idea to take your interested viewers to your website landing page to learn more about your book (its description and prices).
In short, if you’re a verified Instagram account or you have more than 10k followers, you can include clickable Story links. Here’s an example from Macy Gilson.
Obviously, not all authors have a solid following on Instagram.
But it’s important to improve your Instagram presence.
To unlock the power of clickable links, consider using Instagram marketing tools that can help you improve your online presence, reach your goal of 10k followers, and save time.
That’s really a win-win situation.
5. Show the price
According to recent research, 70% of Instagrammers use the social network for product discovery.
It means users are ready to find and buy new products on Instagram.
For authors, it gives a great opportunity to sell books in-app.
However, you should be prepared to provide followers with all the relevant information, including the prices.
With the introduction of product stickers, people with business profiles can feature products and tag them so that viewers can see the prices after tapping on these stickers.
But if you don’t have access to the in-app shopping, you can simply write about the price.
It’s in our nature to hunt for deals. Research says that 54% of people follow brands on social media to learn more about promotions and discounts.
Readers are also typical customers who also seek out lucrative deals and offers.
If you want to turn your followers into readers, it’s a good idea to offer them an exclusive discount or incentives like postcards or bookmarks.
For example, you can put your books on sale. Check out how you can tell your followers about the deals via Stories.
But if you can’t afford to give a 50% discount, don’t worry. Here are some other ways for book authors to spark interest in their followers:
- Lead magnets for readers (writing masterclasses, premium content access)
- Custom book cover posters
- Ebooks on reduced prices
7. Ask niche influencers for promotion
Niche influencers do wonders.
With an established community of loyal followers, it’s easy for opinion leaders to spark interest in your book and turn some of their followers into your fans.
Instagram is one of the most popular channels for influencer marketing. So it’s easy to find book bloggers who are happy to team up with book authors and publishers.
Here’s an example of working with book influencers. Not only did the influencer read the book, but she also shared her review with followers and encouraged them to share their thoughts, too:
What is more, influencers can help you access the clickable link feature if you choose mega influencers with 10k followers.
They can write something about your book and include a link to your landing page or Amazon so that their followers can buy your book with ease.
But if you don’t have the budget to team up with influencers, you can set up a referral program that helps turn your loyal readers into brand ambassadors.
They can spread the word about your books in exchange for small incentives like discounts, gift cards, or premium content access.
8. Run paid ad campaigns
Instagram is an effective marketing tool. This platform attracts both businesses and creators. But it means you need to cut through the noise, and it can take time and effort to reach out to your target audience.
But wouldn’t it be great if you could target the right audience fast? It is when Instagram Stories ads can help you.
With a variety of objectives, it’s easy to set up ads that convert.
Any example needed?
Let’s take a look at how Marina de Giovanni uses Instagram Stories ads to build awareness and boost ebook sales.
She created a video Story ad to announce her new ebook. She added a link to the landing page where interested viewers could purchase it.
The campaign resulted in a 67% higher reach and a 31% lower cost per conversion lift.
What is more, the author was able to achieve 82% more incremental sales.
The popularity of Instagram is continually growing. The platform gives us more and more options on how to monetize our accounts.
The interactive nature of Instagram Stories helps to sell books without being salesy. So ephemeral content has become a powerful promo tool for book authors, too.
But don’t forget to use highlights to extend your exposure.
Do you want to sell books with Instagram Stories?
Hugh Beaulac is a content manager behind the Assign U website who is interested in digital marketing. He writes on different topics to contribute to top-notch websites to build awareness.