How to get your poetry noticed on Instagram
We have been struggling with the concept of 'pretty art' for a while. It can sometimes be frustrating when you wrote a really profound piece to find people don't pay as much attention to it as one-liners written by she-poets or Rupi Kaur’s menstrual blood. We don't mean to crap on she-poets or two sentence love poems, but just let you know that if you write about politics, or equal rights, or anything else that matters, there is a place for you in this world.
Many readers on Instagram aren't native English speakers, so the small poems may be easier to understand. Web design comes into play too. Websites have become graphically simpler to accommodate small screen sizes. So... art meets life? A.C Peterka
Keeping the previous statement in mind, that many of Instagram’s users aren’t native English Speakers (like me) we kind of feel like if we want to tap into that readership, we are in a ‘when you can’t beat them, join them’ pickle. Of course, you don’t have to, but you also want your stuff to be read. In order to be read you have to enter the popular contest, because Instagram will push your poetry out to more accounts. Likes equal exposure.
If you are worried your longer pieces are being overlooked on Instagram, we have some tips on how to get them more exposure.
I love writing longer poems and I know there are readers here who enjoy them and will take the time to read. But I also know how easy it is to succumb to scrolling (I'm sure we all do it) and that sometimes we just want to read something bite sized. Posting excerpts is my go-to for when I want to share something deeper but digestible. Kait Quinn
Post a short(er) Excerpt
Some great poets out there post a picture with just an excerpt. This way you can have pretty art that catches the eye and could lead to opening up an entirely new readership. You can just post the excerpt and ‘lure’ the readers in to read the full poem in your book or on your blog, or you can post a sentence that you know will catch the eye of a large readership (keep it short and sweet) and post the rest of the poem in the slides that come after it / link to the poem in your book.
Tag your Poems
I was raised with the notion that it was an ugly thing to ask for attention, guess what mum, I am tagging all the big poetry accounts now. When I first started doing this I felt like a spammy little bitch, but now it has become second nature. Huge accounts like @poets and @buttonpoetry can really send a lot of readers your way. Besides tagging big accounts, also make sure you use the right hashtags. You might want to post up to thirty of those in your first comment so that you keep a nice and clean caption. Tips on hashtags can be found on display purposes.
Stop fighting the way things Work
Yes we know, the system sucks, and it was built to suck for most of us. The amount of times I deleted my poetry account just to make a statement... But what did it get me? I can tell you what it didn’t get me: book sales and community spirit. We are using social media for a reason and if you remove your voice or refuse to use tools to make your account grow because you think marketing is disgusting, the medium will be flushed with one-liners and the ‘Atticusses’ of this world. Please don’t let that happen. Thank you.
Use your platform to stay critical, even if you have to:
Use pictures as backdrops for your Poetry
I think art can be pretty and provocative at the same time, like poetry can be short and incisive, long and beautifully presented. Thinking that pretty or short equals fluff is oversimplifying the equation. Mei
Okay we lied, art can be profound and pretty. We are visual creatures, that’s why there are so many half-dressed women posing for perfume brands. Yes, we still puke inside our mouth every time we see a poem blow up with a picture in the background that didn’t get credited to the rightful owner (so make sure you credit the photographer, even if you use free photo tools like Unsplash). You can also use a picture you love as a cover for your poem and have people swipe to read the poem or excerpt. Pictures attract our attention quicker than words do. Keep in mind that if you use a photo of a photographer without asking, they can get pissed at you and sue you. But that probably hardly ever happens.
People lose their shit when you change the frequency with which you post or when you start using coloured floral backgrounds instead of the black and white ones you have always used. People are hardwired to love structure. We use Planoly to schedule our posts every day. Which brings us to the following:
Interact, read, comment
It’s called social media for a reason. You will have to spend some time on it in order to build your community. No one likes talking to a wall. If someone comments on your post, they took the time to read your poem and write their thoughts about it. This is a huge privilege. They spent some of their precious time on you. The least you can do is say thank you. If you don’t want to spend half your life on Instagram, you can use Planoly to quickly reply to comments in one go.
I really do feel like the more profound pieces are sometimes overlooked, especially if they're lengthier than the one or two liners that everyone seems drawn to. It can make you feel like your work isn't being appreciated the way it deserves to be. These Framed Thoughts
Post at the best times
There are times more people are scrolling at the same time. Planoly will tell you exactly what those times are for your time zone. You can schedule your posts in advance.
And last but not least:
Don’t give up
Unless you are born into a literary community or with a golden spoon in your mouth, it might take a while to get noticed. Keep going, keep developing your voice, edit and republish. Change your mind about your chosen format and reinvent your account, but don’t you erase it, we need your voice and your passion. Now get off this blog and start pimping your Instagram. Ours can be found here.
We want to thank our Instagram community for participating in this discussion.