Learning to Play With Instagram

I’ve had an Instagram account as long as I’ve had my smartphone, and just really never known what to do with it. In fact, I kind of forgot I even had it for a while. But I dragged it back out a few months ago to follow a couple of now-closed accounts that sounded cool, and discovered Instagram is more than just photos of life and landscape. After stealing some great ideas from other Instagram users, bloggers, and social media marketers, I thought I’d pay it forward with a post on how I’m using Instagram these days in case someone else finds any of it interesting enough to steal.

When I first started using Instagram, it was to capture moments of living here in San Antonio. And I still do that to some extent, although my interests have become more focused on my gorgeous rustic backyard and nature-related discoveries traveling around town and the surrounding area. I’m just going to put this out there: The Texas Hill Country is one of the most beautiful places on the planet. No bias. *wink*

But a couple of months ago, I was getting bored with my own images and with the general lack of knowing what to do with Instagram, so I started combing favorite geek and design blogs looking for inspiration. I ended up jumping down the Bullet Journaling rabbit hole and joined the #rockyourhandwriting monthly challenge. It’s been fun, and I’ve connected with some interesting people. I may join other challenges as time permits, but for now I like this one.

While perusing those geek and design blogs, I started noticing how different accounts (especially book publishers) were using Instagram to showcase work. So, I’ve recently started experimenting with creating promotional shots of my audiobooks and audio dramas, and they’re doing all right. Instagram doesn’t allow active links in their captions, which presents its own challenges, but I think it’s going to be far more challenging to figure out how to stage some of these shots. I’m looking forward to it!

I’m also playing with taking favorite or inspiring quotes and brief notes and turning them into cards that post to the studio’s account. (I post the promotional shots to my deviantArt account, and am considering posting both the promotional shots and the quotes to Pinterest, but I haven’t decided yet.)

But these are just the tip of the iceberg. Moving forward, I may create promotional cards that feature a favorite non-spoilery line from the audiobook or audio drama I’m promoting. I’m also considering posting the occasional behind-the-scenes picture, but my workspace will need a lot of work before that can happen. And who knows what other crazy uses I’ll come up with between here and there!

Working with Instagram has been a really good lesson in not getting locked down into expectations. If I had, I wouldn’t be playing with all of these ideas, developing my visual communication skills, and having fun. If you’ve avoided Instagram because you’re just not sure what you can do with it, look around, play around, and just find ways to be visual.

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