What I Have Learned So Far on Bookstagram; Pt. 2: Engagement Groups

Posted June 19, 2020 by Amber in Bookish Things / 8 Comments


Hello my loves and thank you so much for joining me for Week Two of this little miniseries!  As I mentioned last week, I’m not the most seasoned of all bookstagrammers, but I do feel like I’ve learned a few things and I want to pass on the tips and tricks I’ve picked up in the last couple years.

Today, I want to talk a little about engagement groups!

Okay, so, first of all, when I dove into bookstagram, I basically just went in like: “Pretty pictures is all I need, right?”

Oh, I was so smol and naive.

I didn’t delve into engagement groups until this year, and even then, I only joined because I was specifically invited.  I never really sought them out, and I was only vaguely aware of them.  Everyone gets 500+ likes organically, right?  Not in the least.  Some people certainly do, particularly those with a lot of participation, particularly intricate photos, and many followers they’ve either built or brought from other platforms.  However, I challenge you guys – next time you see a photo with 200+ likes, tap and check the tags.  How many engagement groups are tagged?

Photo by kecandbooks.

This photo is absolutely beautiful.  Her layout is very satisfying, the color scheme is soft and subtle and cozy.  This picture absolutely deserve every single one of its likes organically.  That said, as you can see in the tagging, there are four different groups tagged in this picture.

Did some of the likes come from the picture popping up in feeds?  I’m sure!  But I would bet anything that at least half of them come from the engagement groups.

So, if you’re looking to up your likes and look more attractive to rep searches and increase your influence sphere, how do you join an engagement group?

Whelp, the easiest way is to get invited.  Which is what happened to me!

No idea where she found me, but I’m grateful for the invite, because ever since I joined this group, my likes have doubled.

But let’s say you want to be pro-active and don’t want to wait for an invite?  Many engagement groups have waiting lists you can join as well.

You can join a waiting list on any groups that allow them, although there are certainly those that are only for certain circles or that are invite only.  Or, if you want, you can always start your own!  Of course, there’s a certain amount of responsibility to running an engagement group, including checking in and making sure people follow the rules.

A would say… if you’re looking to up your engagement numbers, these groups are an awesome way for doing it.  But you do need to read the rules and make sure you are following them and are being respectful of the moderators.  Not everyone will follow the rules, and it’s up to the moderators to police the group and remove those who are benefiting and not participating.

But, as I mentioned earlier, I have definitely benefitted from this engagement group, and I feel like it’s helped me raise my own engagement and awareness, as well as discover other creators.  For example, the above photo is one that I … don’t love?  The picture served the purpose I needed it to, and it’s fine, but I don’t think it’s one of my best photos.  However, it still received 143 likes and decent engagement, and I do credit the group for that push.

On the other hand, here’s a photo I loved, but because of the group rules (must be book-related) I didn’t tag the engagement group, and it staggers behind in likes, receiving almost half that the above picture of Nimona received.

While I fully confess that I may just not have a good feel for what makes the most appealing photographs, I genuinely believe that the being in an engagement group has contributed to the increase in likes and followers I receive on average.  And while engagement groups may not be the overall best way of building a meaningful interactive experience on Instagram, they are a really great way of raising your stats.

So, depending on what your endgame goals are for bookstagram, I recommend joining an engagement group.  If you’re planning on using the platform to pad your stats for ARC approvals, or if you’re interested in being a bookish product rep, comments and likes make a difference.

Next week, I’m going to talk a little more about tags, beyond engagement groups!

Take care, everyone!


Are you familiar with engagement groups?  Are you part of one?  Do you feel like it’s cheating for likes?  Tell me your thoughts and other tips and tricks you’ve learned about bookstagram in the comments!

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8 responses to “What I Have Learned So Far on Bookstagram; Pt. 2: Engagement Groups

  1. Ah I’m part of one engagement group, they’re really lovely and I enjoy interacting with them (although I have totally vanished due to my hiatus but thankfully they’re super understanding). I will say though that engagement groups should be talked about more because they really do help boost stats and it’s just nice to know you have some posts you can engage with straight away. I’m still playing with the idea of creating an engagement group myself but I don’t know if I’d even have the energy to fully run it and manage it properly haha

    Clo @ Cuppa Clo recently posted: Plan With Me: Personal BuJo June 2020
    • Amber

      I’m so glad you found a lovely group, that’s so wonderful. And yeah, they aren’t really mentioned a lot. I guess it depends on the group size and rules, maybe some of them aren’t so good? But I’m glad we both have had good experiences! Good luck to you if you decide to start your own! <3

  2. Hi! I’m new to bookstagram (@rachelrecommendsreading) and I’m also starting an online bookstore. I was trying to get involved in engagement groups, but I would like to start my own with less rules and more understanding of people’s lives. I’m a brand new page so I have literally ten followers but my vision is one that I know a lot of people would get behind if I could get more coverage. Along with my bookstagram, blog and book shop, I want to do collaborations with writers and bookstagrammers to be more interactive and maybe some day live chats during readings. I’m not sure if I’m aiming too high for this audience since it seems that it’s hard to get people who are willing to share their followers. Do you have any advice or suggestions? And would you like to collaborate sometime?

    • Amber

      Hi Rachel!

      Wow, it sounds like you have a lot of ideas and big dreams!

      The book community is, honestly, very tricky. While there are a lot of nice people, my experience has been that it’s very cliquey and you have to put in a lot of work to grow. If I gave you one piece of advice, it would be that I think you may be spreading yourself too thin at this stage. If you build followship on one of your platforms, they will follow you to other ones.

      Since I’m just a blogger/bookstagrammer (and a small one at that), I only have experience in my niche. However, I’d suggest scrolling through social media outlets and observing what others in your shoes have done, particularly at the bookstore angle! Off the top of my head, I’m thinking about the Golden Bee Bookshop. The owner, Casey Rose, was a boostagrammer first and was able to leverage her online following (as well as a lot of other hard work and planning) to open her own indie brick-and-mortar bookstore. I’d start with things like that, to learn from the people who have done something similar and build your brand from there. 🙂

      Good luck!

  3. Thank you so much for the response! And thanks for the suggestions. It sounds smart to focus on the bookstagram first. I’m already gaining more and more followers every day so this will be the easier of the two projects, although neither is truly easy.

  4. Mmm, I think it’s a bit tricky. It’s nicw to get likes, but it’s nicer to get genuine comments. I always get so jealous when I see accounts with comments. I made a bookstagram because my friends don’t read, so this is a way to talk about one of my interests. So I prefer comments over likes, but it’s hard to get people to comment.

    • Amber

      I agree – so tricky. It depends on what you’re trying to do with your platform, too, whether it’s just for you or if you’re trying to impress possible sponsors or rep a box… what metrics are they looking at? I love that you made your bookstagram to connect with like minded people! <3 I agree that comments are harder o get - I don't have any advice on that, as I'm a lurker myself, but I wis you all the best of luck!