On our journey through the Instapoet community we have seen some of the best Instagram poetry accounts on offer. With our suitcase of stanzas packed to the brim here are our top 10 tips for creating a great Instagram poetry account:
1. Find your authentic voice
It has been our experience that the accounts that do well, and this is both in terms of follower numbers and engagement, are those that are written with an authentic voice. It is clear from the work that the poet knows who they are and what they represent. They have a point of view and this makes them stand out from the crowd. Begin your journey by finding your authentic voice.
2. Create a Style and Theme
The accounts that stay with us are normally those that have a consistent theme and a signature style. It might be a style of font, a series of images, or even the length of the poem. Identify the theme that speaks to your personal style of writing and presentation and embrace it.
3. Check your spelling and grammar
There is nothing worse than losing the meaning of a poem because it is grammatically incorrect or has unintentional errors. We use the word unintentional, because many poets do play on words, to great effect. We are not talking about those situations. To connect to the story the poem is trying to tell you have to be able to understand it. Use spell check if you are unsure or get a buddy to read it.
4. Consider length and readability
Long works often struggle to translate well onto a single image, particularly if there is an image in the background as well. Considering that most people access Instagram on their phones, having tiny text can work against you. Consider using the caption for lengthier works (you have 2200 characters in the caption) or modifying works so that they are readable. In our experience shorter works have much higher engagement rates than longer works, and many of the most successful accounts are known for works of less than 50 words (and much shorter). It really is the nature of the medium and what is trending.
5. Post consistently
You don’t have to post every day, but you do have to post regularly. If you aren’t posting daily, consider liking and commenting on a regular basis to continue to make connections within the community.
6. Hashtag Heroes
Need hashtags? These are the most common: poem, poetry, poet, poetsofinstagram,poemsofinstagram, poetryofinstagram,instapoet,poetrycommunity, spilledink, writersofinstagram, poemporn, wordporn, quote, quoteoftheday.
Don’t forget to put the hashtag symbol (#) in front of the word to make it work.
7. Create networks through connection
Creating networks with other poets on Instagram is not only helpful for growing your profile, it’s also fun. Other accounts will give you feedback, show you love and tag you into the many prompts and games that the wider community plays. To start building networks it’s as simple as following some poetry accounts that interest you and then double-tapping and providing thoughtful feedback. Don’t just give them three sparkly hearts, tell the account owner what you liked about the poem. Remember to do this consistently and others will return the favour. In time, your network will grow and you will find that others are just as likely to support and promote your account as you are. And don’t, I repeat don’t, be the account that follows to unfollow. It’s just rude.
Remember, plagiarism is NEVER acceptable. If you love a poem and want to share it then check that the owner is happy for others to repost and ALWAYS tag and credit.
8. Participate in writing prompts, challenges and tags
Many accounts offer regular writing prompts. At Her Heart, you can grab a different prompt every Monday and Friday and jump into Poetry Tag Tuesday on, you guessed it, Tuesday. We also promote challenges that other accounts host. You will find many more writing challenges as you adventure through the wider community. Most challenge hosts also provide support and feedback, which is a great way to have others review your work.
We highly recommend that you participate in these writing activities and post your work. It’s a great way to work on your poetry within a community setting and get involved. Not only are these sorts of writing games fun, they will also inspire your work, challenge you to become a better poet and increase your profile.
9. Send your work to pages that feature accounts
There are literally hundreds of poetry accounts that ONLY post the work of others. Many of these accounts repost or regram poems that they personally like, without having any sort of submissions process.
However, there are also many accounts and initiatives, like The Writers Corner on Her Heart, that are open to submissions. Submission methods vary but the most common methods are: Direct Message (DM); adding the account’s signature hashtag to your caption (for example’ Her Heart’s signature hashtag is #herheartpoetry); or by submitting via a website. Her Heart has a rolling list of feature accounts available for you to use. You can read the list here.
If you want to increase your profile then don’t be scared to share your work. This is a great way to expand your network. It is also a very good way of getting into the habit of submitting your work if further publication is a long term goal.
FYI: The Writers Corner opens on the first of every month. You can find out more here.
10. Our final, and TOP TIP: Don’t focus on the NUMBERS, focus on being the BEST POET that you can be
If there is one thing that we would encourage you to do, then it is this: Don’t focus on the number of likes or followers, focus on being the very BEST POET that you can be. If you base your success on how many people double-tap a poem, or follow you back, then at some point writing poetry is no longer going to be enjoyable.
As the saying goes, ‘If you build it they will come”. If you focus on writing great work that expresses your unique point of view and connects with others, and you get involved, than the followers will come.
Rayna Halloway ǀ @herheartshapedbox
Based in New Zealand, Rayna is an ever-optimist obsessed with all things poetry. She has aspirations of taking the spoken word world by storm, if only she could get over her stage fright!