Book clubs are a fun way to connect with other readers and talk about the latest material. Even people who aren’t voracious readers join them to hold their reading habits accountable. You don’t have to start a book club in-person, though — you can do it over social media! Facebook groups and Instagram profiles are popular methods, and Bookstr is a platform that lists existing clubs.
Select a niche
It’s unlikely that people will join a book club that reads anything and everything. It’s possible the selection for the month will be something that they aren’t interested in. Sure, they can always opt out, but part of the fun of book clubs is the consistency.
Instead of deciding on a historical fiction novel one month and then a nonfiction meditation guide the next, select a niche so that people will know what to expect, and folks with common interests will be more inclined to participate.
Determine how big you want to be
How big do you want your book club to be? If you want serious discussion, then you should keep your club small and limit the number of members to 15 or less. This way, you can all engage in digital conversation via direct messages (15 is the maximum number of people Instagram allows in a private message). You can schedule meetings or let people message the chat as they make progress.
You can also host a much larger book club. In Oprah and Reese Witherspoon’s cases, they pick a book each month, and their members talk about it in the comments. Comment sections obviously have their limits when it comes to discussion, but this route reaches a broader audience and allows members to meet new people. If you want to leverage social proof to attract followers but do not have much of an audience yet, you can check out ViralRace to buy real Instagram followers.
Create a unique hashtag
If your book club is on the larger side, then a unique, branded hashtag can help people stay in touch. Tag your posts with your hashtag so that members can find you without having to visit your profile, especially if your account is not dedicated specifically to your book club. Participants can also proudly post pictures of the books you are reading together for their own audiences and bring attention to your book club’s name.
Host live reading sessions
Something fun to do besides read and talk about whatever book you are reading is host a live reading session. If your members are scattered around the world and cannot meet in person, a live reading session is a way to bring people together. Do you have a dramatic reading voice and a favorite passage? Do you know someone else who does? Use Instagram Live, Stories, or post a video of someone reading your monthly book out loud and talk about what a difference hearing it spoken makes.
Authors love when people talk about their books, so if you can get a hold of them or their representatives, ask for an interview! You can also do this via Instagram Live, Stories, or videos in your feed. Ask them questions about the book, their writing process, their backgrounds, their research, and anything else you and your members may be interested in. Author interviews are a great way to provide your club with a little something extra besides conversation.
Tag yourself locally
If you still want to host a book club in person, then Instagram can be a method of communication, especially if your members won’t be regular. Post about what book you are reading and let your followers know where and when you’ll meet. Take pictures of all of your members in a book store and publish it on your profile. Hashtags like #NYCBookClubs is an effective way to reach people who are looking for exactly that.
Come up with discussion questions
Discussion questions can help drive conversation and keep it from straying other places. They’re useful if people don’t know what to say or you want to stimulate more intellectual discussion. Ask your readers to respond to certain excerpts, to give their opinions about particular characters’ actions, and to come up with predictions and hypotheses.
Instagram can be a useful platform for talking about something countless people love: books. What will your online book club discuss, and how will you make it happen?