Instagram made some BIG announcements in May of 2022 that have creators buzzing. You may have noticed that there have been some branding changes – more emphasis on their colors and an actual FONT called Instagram. Most notably, Instagram has made the feeds more visually appealing. Finally, Instagram has also significantly improved their accessibility features.
What does all of this mean?
Instead of the squares that made Instagram so popular, you’ll notice your feed now has a full screen appearance. No word yet on if their preferred sizing will change, but keep in mind that your profile will still have squares to showcase your posts, so keep any text pulled tight in the center square of your image so that nothing is cut off when someone is scrolling your profile at a glance.
Important Accessibility Update
With so many people relying on accessibility features, Instagram has always been one of the most consciously accessible apps. Recently, they are actively encouraging creators to make sure their content is accessible, announcing what is available instead of only being found when needed. You’ll see auto-generated captions on Instagram Video, find a captions sticker for Stories & Reels, offer translations in Feed, Profile & Stories and, of course, have alternative text (or “alt-text”) for posts. Instagram will auto-generate the alt-text, but creators can customize this, and we do recommend that you take advantage of that feature.
Remember, your content needs to keep people on your profile, engaged, & feeling like they’re a part of your community.
As of May 2022, the following are the most effective ways to use the app and see great, consistent results:
Create original content
This shouldn’t be TOO hard as an author because your books and characters and stories are original content! This is one big change that works in our favor. Previously, viral dances & funny sounds were getting preference for views and reach, but that is no longer the case! Instagram has actually released information saying that they will score original content higher in the algorithm than content shared by others. Some easy ways of creating original content if you have not yet publish your book is to create branded graphics with quotes and mood board-style introductions to characters or facts. (Want more ideas? Check out our new Reels Freebie.)
Make your posts VIDEO
We touched on this last month when Instagram first announced that they would push more videos. This time, we wanted to share a couple of our favorite tools for this – MotionLeap and Hype Type. MotionLeap allows you to add elements that move, creating a video from the photo. Check out this post with an overlay that achieves the look. Hype Type takes your photo and puts moving text on top. We’ve used this for Reels; here’s an example. Both apps do cost money. If you’re looking for a cost-effective way to turn pictures into a video, you can use Canva with gifs or use Canva’s video templates.
Hashtagging for Categorization
While hashtags are no longer used for reach, categorizing your posts via hashtags is very important. You need to make sure that you are picking some hashtags that are broad, then gradually more specific or niche hashtags. You want to make sure your post fits into the other hashtags in the category. For example, in the blogger/lifestyle world, #thatsdarling is a very popular hashtag, coined by Darling Magazine a few years ago. If you’re using this hashtag and want to be categorized under it, you’re going to want to make sure your post matches the very specific aesthetic they created. Alternatively, it would be better to use #authorssupportingauthors on a post that you want author support on than a general post about your life as an author.
Reels & Trends to Try
Bookstagram Audios – If you follow bookstagram accounts, you’ll be able to find some great audios to pair with your book. Here’s an example of one that would be great. The audio may not be trending across all of IG, but it will grab bookstagrammers coming across your content, so you’ll want to make sure you use the right hashtags to categorize it.
Stop Action Style – This is your video creator challenge! Have you ever created a stop action video? It’s HARD. Some of us may not have the patience for it, but they are fun to watch. Great examples of this usually include book stacks. However, it would be great to create a stop-action video that showcases your “getting into the writing mood” must-haves.
Here’s a few examples of trending audio our team has enjoyed this month:
Want to uplevel your IG reels game? Grab an IG Reels planner, designed by our IG manager, Raewyn!