Do You Flume?

Ciao, SEers. Happy Monday!

Over the course of our time together, you’ve probably come to realize I consider social media a somewhat necessary evil. I know writers are supposed to use it, but so few of us use it consistently and creatively enough. I often feel it’s a waste of time, but if I don’t do it, I feel guilty. And when Google announced G+ was going away, I was relieved. It was one less platform for me to neglect.

Instagram

Kids today are much savvier when it comes to social media. My son couldn’t care less, but my daughter loves it. She’s even an ambassador for some company on her Instagram account because they love the look of her posts and the way she uses the app. In short, she’s awesome at it. And I’m not. Hence the following conversation between the two of us:

Her: Mom. Seriously. Your Instagram page is an embarrassment.

Me: Oh. I kind of forgot I had one.

Her: Obviously. You haven’t posted in forever.

Me: I should probably just delete it.

Her: No. You should probably use it. Properly. There are a ton of readers over there. They’d love your books if they knew about them. Instead, you’re posting pictures of our dogs.

Me: People like dogs. And our dogs are the cutest.

Her: (rolling eyes) Our dogs are adorable, but do they help you sell books?

Me: Well, no. But I’m sure there are readers out there who like dogs.

Her: (an indescribably disgusted look on her face) Mom. Give me your password. I’ll fix your account, then you can take over. And if I make a difference, I want to use you as a reference on LinkedIn. I’m going to call the position Social Media Coordinator.

Me: You can call it Instagram Overlord, for all I care. Do what you want.

After that happy little exchange, I forgot about it. For a day. Less than, actually. Then she came to me wearing a proud (and slightly smug) expression and shoved her phone in my face. The dog pics were gone.ย  ๐Ÿ˜ฆย  But I had more likes on one photo than I ever had before on all my posts combined, and my followers were growing right in front of my eyes. I think I got three new ones as she stood there. Granted, I still don’t have that many. But I have a lot more than the eight or so I started with before she updated my profile.

It goes without saying, she’s using this on LinkedIn. Potential employers can think what they want about her working for her mother. Maybe one of them will look for my books.

But I digress.

Kids today love Instagram because they can do it from their phones. My eyesight is terrible and I have fat thumbs, so I hate working on my phone. More to the point, my book covers and marketing materials aren’t on my phone. They’re on my laptop. And Instagram is a phone app that doesn’t work well with laptops.

That’s when I remembered why I neglected Instagram. Well, one of the reasons.

I used to have a program that was supposed to let me post from my laptop to Instagram. It was never user-friendly, and then they updated the software and it no longer worked with a business account (which I have). So I went online to find a better alternative.

Yep. It took me roughly 500 words to get to the point. (Sorry about that.) I downloaded Flume.

Flume

Flume is an app for Mac. (If you have a PC, check out this link. While I can’t recommend any of these because I don’t use them, you may see something that interests you.) Flume has a free version, but I went straight for the Pro Plan, which allows me more customization. Unlike the greedy people at Microsoft, Adobe, and Nuance, this isn’t a subscription; it’s a one-time fee. And I’m all about the one-time fee rather than the subscription-based options.

Flume is super-simple to use.

      • Upload the file you want.Flume Upload
      • Write your caption in the space provided. This is where you should also put any web links and hashtags.Flume Caption
      • Use the tools in the bottom right of your uploaded photo to make any customizations. (And there are plenty.)Flume Paintbrush
      • The first one (the white square in front of the other square) allows you to toggle between a single post or a carousel. (I’m not fancy; I stick with the single post.)
      • The second one (the paintbrush) is your editing tool. It allows you to apply filters, set brightness, straighten crooked pics, create vignettes, sharpen, scale… you get the idea. It’s quite robust, actually.
      • The third tool looks like a person. It allows you to tag users.
      • The fourth, the crop tool, does exactly what it says. (It’s also where I set my background color because my pics aren’t square.)
      • The fifth tool (the square with the “up” arrow) shows you linked accounts that you can share to. For example, I could select Twitter, and it would post there, too.
      • The sixth and final tool, the gear, is advanced settings. I must not be very advanced, because I only have one option: to turn commenting on and off. I leave it on.

And that’s it. Then you’re ready to post.

It’s probably worth noting that Instagram isn’t like Twitter or any of the other platforms. People don’t want to be bombarded with posts. One a day is plenty. I do three a week (when I remember). I actually missed all of last week. (Sssh… don’t tell my daughter.)

It’s also important to note that you can (and should) use a ton of hashtags. I need to be better about that. I use somewhere between three and five, but you can use a lot more without breaching protocol. And more hashtags means more potential readers will see the posts.

I can’t guarantee this will increase your sales. Heck, I can’t even guarantee I’ll keep trying to use Instagram. But if I stay with it, I’ll be using Flume.

What about you guys? Do you use Instagram? Do you have any tips and tricks to share? Let’s talk about it.

Staci Troilo Bio

65 thoughts on “Do You Flume?

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  3. Maybe what I need to do is hire my daughter! Or at least get her to look at my Instagram and tell me what more I can do there.

    Instagram is new to me. I’ve been frustrated because I can’t post from my desktop computer. That tiny cel-phone keyboard is a pain, indeed! My work-around has been to upload images to Dropbox and from there export to Instagram. This still requires a cel or tablet, but the tablet keyboard isn’t quite as tiny. Then I can go on Instagram and add comments and stuff from my desktop.

    Liked by 2 people

    • The workarounds are frustrating and cumbersome. That’s why I was happy to have found an app that did everything I wanted. I hope you can find a method you’re comfortable with. And in the meantime, definitely ask your daughter. We’re always doing stuff for our kids; nothing wrong with them returning the favor once in a while!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. This is a great post, Staci! I too have been very lax in using Instagram for all the reasons you listed. I don’t like working from my phone. I prefer the computer. But, I am told over and over again that it is the newest hottest marketing platform out there. So, when I remember, I do go in and try to make a post. I will head over and follow you, if I’m not already. ๐Ÿ™‚ Thank goodness for this younger generation when it comes to technology!!

    Liked by 2 people

    • No. It’s not you. It’s doable from a Mac and a PC, but I feel like I had to jump through too many hoops. And the graphic had to be done first. This way, I can take any graphic and manipulate it in the app. It’s much simpler.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I do like Instagram, but only use it for mostly pictures of nature and other shots, sometimes books. That’s my impression of what to do there, but I’ll watch and see how you do with another approach:) I found doing a author loop increased my followers by 700 in just a few days and helped me find the other indie authors too. I didn’t like you could only upload from the phone and other programs didn’t work, so nice to hear there is finally a program that works from the computer. Thanks Staci.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I feel like that with all social media. What should I post? But my daughter gave me a plan. It’s just a matter of following it. Because IG displays 3 posts across, she told me to post MWF in themes, so the row will always be tidy once it’s complete. Right now, I do a week of book stuff, a week of food stuff, and a week of quotes. If that changes, I’m still going to stick to batches of three.

      Like

  6. I have an Instagram account and have found it pretty easy to use. I upload from my PC (because that is where I create my graphics) and while it is fiddly; it is not difficult. I upload once a day, check replies, comments etc and I am done. If I am feeling gabby, I might check back later in the day. That’s it, done and done. I like it much better than Twitter, where my account is languishing. Maybe I need to talk to your daughter. ๐Ÿ˜Š

    I am more than happy to follow you on Instagram. I am @JoHawkTheWriter. See you there.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Followed you. I love the checkerboard look of your page. And I’d be willing to bet my daughter would approve. ๐Ÿ™‚

      “Fiddly” was my problem. You can go straight from laptop (Mac or PC) to IG, but it was cumbersome. And the graphics had to be designed already. With Flume, I can do my manipulations in the app and not have to create a separate graphic from my existing teasers. In the end, though, whatever works for someone.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Followed. I would be interested to hear what she thinks. I love feedback.

        Yes, definitely use what works best for your circumstances. I publish the graphics on multiple platforms so this works for now while I search for an aggregator I like. ๐Ÿ˜Š

        Liked by 1 person

      • I’m so proud. I must have learned something from my daughter because when I directed her to your feed, she said the same thing I did: the checkerboard is a really interesting visual. ๐Ÿ˜€

        Like

  7. Staci, I’m so excited about this! I do have an Instagram account but I tend to neglect it for the reasons you mentioned. I have uploaded pics there from my PC but there are far too many hoops to jump through. And over the Christmas holiday, I became a Mac girl, adding a desktop iMac to my Macbook. I can’t wait to check out Flume. What an awesome resource!!!

    P.S…loved the conversation with your daughter, LOL!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I’m not good at using Instagram. I’ve been thinking about social media and pairing down the areas where I want to be active. I don’t have a Mac, so I’m not sure if I’ll invest time for Instagram. I’m like you, I was glad to see Google+ go.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Well, if you ever decide to try, I do recommend it. I mean, if you’re good from your phone, maybe you won’t need it. But I’m not, and I need the files from my laptop anyway. Long story short, don’t start it if you don’t want to, but if you are interested, I recommend Flume.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Before my daughter got her hands on it, my account was more personal stuff, too. But that’s not where I communicate with my familty and friends. (I do that on FB.) So she helped me get it more businesslike. But I have a long way to go!

      I hope you find something you like. Another reader in the comments says you can post straight from PC to IG through Chrome. He provided a link to his site, where he intends to post detailed instructions soon.

      Liked by 2 people

  9. I haven’t yet used instagram for a lot of the reasons you listed. I hate using my phone for anything but calls and texts (I know, I’m a dinosaur!). For one thing, its screen is way too tiny, and I can’t see it, lol. As Thea said, I could have used my iPad, but all of my images are on my computer. I’ll look into Flume and Instagram via my Mac now. Thanks, Staci ๐Ÿ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Interesting! Thanks for the tip! ๐Ÿ‘ I so much have wanted to use my MacPro to post on Instagram instead of the iPad or iPhone, but never even thought it was possible. Well, one can do both ways, isnโ€™t that bad on the iPad. Unless the picture is on the Mac…

    Liked by 3 people

      • Oh! It most certainly isn’t always helpful! On the contrary!

        I don’t know yet! The free one I don’t need. I get those possibilities already by just open Instagram on Safari and log in!
        And since I haven’t found how much the Pro would cost me, I’ll wait. Don’t have any money now anyway. Which also gives me time to think it through a bit more thoroughly. Do I actually need this?

        It was really good to read what your daughter told you about how to work with Instagram, and I certainly agree with – NOT post too often!!!

        Liked by 1 person

      • I want to say it was $10 for the full version. And it’s a one-time fee, not an annual cost, which I love. But if you don’t need it, save the money. I was tired of going between my phone and my laptop and with manipulating my laptop graphics to manage to upload. For the price, I thought this was an excellent tool.

        Like

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