Monday, February 10, 2014

Social Media Monday—Instagram—The Social Media Network that Encourages Writers to Show Don’t Tell!

by Edie Melson

As writers, one of the things we hear over and over again is Show Don’t Tell. Wouldn’t it be great if there was a social media platform that helped us practice that concept? Well there is—it's Instagram. And Show Don't Tell is  the best way to describe Instagram.

Today I’m going to share some of the best ways for writers to utilize this image driven network.

But first, let me help you get setup with your Instagram account.

You can set up your account by downloading the app on your smart phone (iPhone or Android). Or you can go to
  • Choose your user name. I recommend you use the name you’re known by, if it’s available. If not, get as close as possible.
  • Compose your bio. You only have 150 characters, so make it count. Make it personal, but not generic. Give people a clue about what they’ll see by following you. I also recommend you include your location.
  • Add your website URL.

Now that you have an account, how do you use it?

The best way to use it is on your phone. The app is much easier to use and has more bells and whistles. Below are some tips to get you started.

1. Take pictures of things that having meaning for you. Images are the main star of this platform, so I’d like to challenge you to use your words in a different way. Use them illustrate the photos you share.

2. The key to connecting on Instagram is like any other social media platform. It’s engagement. The way to engage through this platform is by tugging at the heartstrings. Not sappy photos, but think nostalgia, encouragement, and what your audience cares most about.

3. Use Hashtags. Yes, it's that again. Hashtags are great ways to find and be found on Instagram. This platform uses Hashtags the same way as Twitter. Here's post on Hashtags, in case you need a refresher.

4. Be consistent, but don’t be a pest. It takes time to build a meaningful community, no matter what platform you’re one. Set a reasonable goal for yourself and try to stick with it.

5. Search out others who share images that resonate with you. Then follow their examples. There’s no reason to reinvent the wheel here. There are lots of cool authors who are using Instagram. Spend some time researching what they’re doing right.

6. Play and have fun. Your audience can tell whether or not you’re having fun.

Now it’s your turn. Do you have an Instagram account? Here's a link to mine: You can find me on your phone by searching for EDIEGMELSON (my user name). Be sure to share yours below. What have you found that works for you? Who are some great folks to follow?

Don’t forget to join the conversation!


Instagram—The Social Media Network thatEncourages Writers to Show Don’t Tell! Via @EdieMelson(Click to Tweet)


  1. A good friend introduced Instagram to me as a photography lovers' site. So I follow several people who post really cool pictures, (cxcart, & joshjohnson) as well as my friends and authors like Sarah Dessan. It's a lot of fun! Thanks for the tips. (My handle is JuliaTomiak).

    1. Julia, It's a good network to reach the younger audience and a lot of fun, but it's not one of the networks I think everyone should be a part of. Blessings, E

  2. When you set up your account, it gives you the opportunity to log in with your Facebook profile. Would you recommend doing that?

    1. Yes, it's an easy way to keep your profile picture consistent across social media networks. Just don't let it automatically post on your FB timeline. Blessings, E

    2. Thanks so much. I'll remember that. :)

  3. I'm doing pretty well with taking a photo with my phone and even putting a micro blog/comment. And I know I can't upload downloaded files from my computer onto instagram. But I see everyone posting memes that obviously they didn't take a photo of with their phone. How do I get my already and future memes onto my instagram account?