Picture this. You enter a café for your morning cup of coffee. There’s a queue, and you are patient enough, but your stomach grumbles in disagreement. You finally reach the counter and begin to recite your order,
“Hi, I would like to have a cappuccino and a…”
“…a croissant du beurre with extra butter melting on the top?”
You go speechless for a moment, but your heart swells at the realization. Does someone at the café know what I want?
You nod to the staff beaming at you and take out your card to pay.
“It’s on the house. Please take a seat, and you’ll get your order there.”
Still scouting for the right question, you glance around and find an empty table. You walk over and slip into the seat. A minute later, a hand pushes a tray of coffee and a croissant with butter melting on the top in front of you.
“There you go,” the waitress says, “I also sprinkled some cinnamon on your coffee. Just the way you like it.”
She turns away, but you call out, “Ummm… excuse me? How do you know what I want?” She turns around and grins, “Oh, me and that guy on the counter,” she points to him, “we have read your book four times. Big fans! We saw a Reel where you were making breakfast. You know, we have had your coffee with cinnamon and a croissant with melting butter thrice since then.”
You beam back at her and realize it is time to thank the friend who shot your video and uploaded it on Instagram.
Every author wishes to be read and loved. When you put your heart out there, it deserves to be seen.
While reaching an audience is easy, securing their undivided attention is a brain-scratcher.
That’s why authors need social media. It helps you connect to your audience and gives them a glimpse into the wizard behind the words.
Videos grab the audience’s attention on social media like none other. Short-form video is the most viewed content on the internet, and Reels rule the roost with over 2.35 billion active users per month.
They are short videos of at most ninety seconds that help you quickly reach the maximum number of people on Instagram. You can shoot one by swiping left on the Instagram app or upload one directly.
Reels depict micro-fiction. Here’s an example. Lost in thoughts, you just got a firm grip on the climax when your dog barges in, drenched in what you hope is only mud, takes a leap of faith at you, and crash lands on your laptop.
Your kid captures that precious jump on his phone. It’s hilarious and worth going on your profile. But you wonder what it conveys to your audience?
It reveals three crucial truths about you.
First, you are a dog person, probably like one-third of your readers.
Second, you are as human as those who dive into your stories.
And third, you have to deal with the same filth as them, yet you create a world they love being transported to.
The result is a palpable connection between the person behind the book and the readers viewing the video.
Interestingly enough, Instagram accounts with a lower number of followers enjoy as good a connection with their audience. Moreover, if your audience includes millennials and Generation Z, you cannot ignore Reels because they spend up to three hours a day swiping up on Instagram. And if your audience has left their 30s and 40s behind, it is time you let them know who they have been reading all this while.
Wondering what goes on Instagram Reels? Here are the top 12 ways you can use this brilliant tool to connect with your readers.
All the examples here are still images, but if you click on the source links under the images, you can see the full original reels. Here are my ideas for social media engagement…
1. Introduce a book you have been working on.
Let your readers know what you have been up to between releases. It stirs the water and gets the audience queuing up before the book launch.
2. Reveal your version of the character.
Let your readers fall in love with the protagonist of your story. Share a character image created using graphics or fan art to keep readers engaged after they finish reading your book.
3. Leak quirky anecdotes from your life.
Keep the audience hooked by sharing personal stories. So, if you secretly take line dancing lessons, how about letting your readers in? It helps your audience get to know you personally.
4. Announce book giveaways, discounts, book readings, and other events.
Reels are a great way to announce a giveaway, upcoming discounts, or any book-reading events you are planning.
5. Tell the readers where they can buy the book.
Chances are most of your audience will be active on Instagram. Let them know where to look for your book: your website/Amazon/bookshops.
6. Post your achievements.
For instance, you could announce winning an award and give your readers another reason to pick up your next book.
7. Announce your live sessions.
Announce a book reading or a Live session on Instagram. To hook your audience, you can shoot a creative invite using Reels or upload once using Canva.
8. Share writing tips.
Share your ideas and your story of becoming a writer through a short video on Reels. You could also offer some hacks to overcome writer’s block and inspire budding novelists among your followers.
9. Unveil your ebook or audiobook.
Do you have your ebook or audiobook ready? Share a preview through Reels and nudge your readers to tune in for the complete story. You can share some anecdotes about the voices behind the characters. It helps your listeners connect at a deeper level.
10. Unbox the first copy of your book.
The look, the feel, and the aroma. Share your true expressions with the ones who matter as much as your characters: your readers. Shoot a video as you unbox the first copies of your publication and let the readers in on the excitement.
11. Share your book reviews.
Tell your readers what they have been missing. Sharing your successful book reviews reveals your true mettle as an author.
12. Or just to keep the audience engaged.
Use Reels to stay connected to your audience, especially the millennials and Generation Z, at a deeper level. Authors can be ‘easy to recollect’ when they often appear on Instagram. Plan activities around your book and post them as Reels to gauge your audience’s reaction.
Besides flooding Instagram, Reels get shared a lot on WhatsApp, too. They come in handy whether your aim is marketing, sharing something special with the readers, or announcing a sequel.
You need Reels to bridge the gap between you and the ones who make you an author.