Some of you reading this may have never used IG, and the thought of learning a whole new app to have one more thing pulling at your attention and giving you notifications is overwhelming. I get it, but trust me when I tell you it’s worth it! The comic book community on IG is so positive and welcoming, and if you’re not a part of it, you’re missing out. The overall vibe is super positive and supportive, unlike Facebook and other social media platforms. I avoid Facebook because I found it to be overwhelmingly negative, even within the comic book community. Weirdly, IG is such a different experience because Facebook owns IG! I have a hunch that FB encourages negativity because it keeps you engaged and on the site longer, so you see more ads, and they make more money. I don’t know why it’s so different on IG, but it is.
A Couple Of Essential Points Regarding Selling Comics on IG
Instagram is not primarily a selling platform. It’s a social media platform. You will be a lot more successful selling comics on IG if you’re social about it. If you want to remain anonymous and only sell comics with little interaction with people, eBay is the leading platform for that. I have to say from experience, it is much more rewarding and fun selling comics to friends on IG rather than remaining anonymous like on eBay. The whole vibe is different. As long as you’re an honest person and sell comics with integrity, the social aspect of selling on IG will only enhance your sales. If you’re trying to be shady or oversell books, you won’t do well, and frankly, you’re a piece of garbage.
So the first thing you’re going to want to do is to post some content because, in the following steps, we’re going to get some followers, and you’ll look like a weirdo if you don’t have any content posted on your page. Take some photos of your favorite books and write something engaging in the caption section. You’ll also want to add some hashtags which take us to our next topic:
Use Proper Hashtags
Hashtags are what lets IG know who it should show your posts to. IG currently allows up to 30 hashtags, and you should use as close to 30 as you can while keeping them relevant to your post. It’s imperative to keep them relevant to your post, and you want to avoid using the same hashtags for every post. I recommend creating several different hashtags available in a note on your phone, and each group is about 15-20 hashtags. Start by entering new, unique hashtags to your post and then copy and paste some of the generic groups.
For example, if I were posting a picture of me with a new Amazing Spiderman 300, I would start by adding hashtags like amazing Spiderman, Spiderman, asm, asm300, amazingspiderman300, toddmcfarlane, toddmcfarlane art (also as you start to type hashtags, recommendations come up and you want to use those) marvel, and then when I run out of ideas, go to my groups of hashtags and copy and paste. So I have separate groups of bronze age comics and for venom-related things. The bronze age group has hashtags like: comicfam, IGcomiccommunity, bronze age comics, bronzeagecomicsforsale, etc. Some people say it’s better to not put any hashtags in the actual caption of your post but to post it and then immediately comment with all of your hashtags, but I’m not sure it makes a difference, just an aesthetic thing.
If you’re stumped on hashtags, find some successful IG posts similar to yours and copy theirs or at least use them for inspiration. The way IG works, granted they are constantly updating the algorithm, is if at least 10% of your followers engage with your post, then they start recommending it to people that don’t follow you using your hashtags. So hashtags are essential for growth.
Grow Your Following
IG is a fantastic thing because it’s easy to get new followers even when you’re starting from 0, and you don’t have to get the ball rolling with current friends and family; you can have a completely separate comic IG from scratch. Start by following trusted sellers and your favorite YouTubers, follow some of their followers, comment on their posts, and most of them will follow you back. Remember to be sincere and engage with people; that’s the key. Here’s an example of how to get followers:
- Go to my IG page.
- Click on my followers list.
- Click on anyone and see if they post things you like and if they are someone you want to have as a follower, if they are, heart and comment on all the posts you like and have something to say about.
You’re mingling at a party, trying to make new friends. Sometimes it works, and sometimes they don’t want anything to do with you, it’s all good! What happens is they get notifications that you like and comment on several of their posts, and usually, they end up following you back. Now you made a new friend! If you’re lucky like me, many people will turn into actual friends/colleagues/partners/ etc. It’s why IG is so awesome and such a powerful tool. If you’re serious about growing your following spend like an hour a day doing this, and by the end of the month, you’ll have at least 1000 followers. That’s when it starts to get easier to sell things on IG. IG isn’t primarily a selling platform, so you can’t have 0 followers and post a comic for sale even with the correct hashtags. It just won’t get in front of the right people.
Another note about gaining followers, if your intent is to sell comics, find other IG accounts selling comics, click on their posts or claim sales where they are selling comics, and follow all the people who actually bought comics. You don’t just want a bunch of followers; you want a bunch of followers that are engaged in the hobby.
Selling Comics/Claim Sales
I’ve found that posting individual comics for sale on IG is ineffective. The formula I’ve found to be the most effective is using posts and stories to engage with people and grow the following and then having claim sales or live sales to sell comics. Before you ever hold a claimed sale, make sure you attend a couple and see how it all goes down. IG will notify you at the top of the app when people you follow are live, and if they are comic book people, it is usually a claimed sale.
Some people use timers and have auction-style sales, but I don’t prefer this method because it takes so much longer. I prefer to put up as many books as possible, which is visible with the BIN price. For example, I can have this book in the “A” spot and put the price on a sticky note. Then someone can claim it by typing “ A 350” in the chat, which is now their book. Set it aside for them, and then after the sale, contact them with the total for all their books, plus shipping, send them your payment info, usually either Paypal, Venmo, or Zelle, they send you the money you send the books!
Here are a couple of helpful tips: have all your supplies ready to go, sticky notes, pens, shipping materials. Also, have at least two people there, one to man the phone and the comments, and one person to switch out the books and make stacks. You can do it with one person, especially if it’s a small scale, but it’s clunky. I added a feature where everyone who buys something is entered into a wheel and periodically spins it for prizes; it is fun and engaging. Have good lighting, clearly mark everything, good internet connections, etc.
Buying Comics on IG
I’ve never had a problem buying comics on IG. If you use PayPal goods and services, you have some protection, but I’ve never had a problem. One method I’ve used many times is finding a comic I want on eBay and then looking them up on IG. Usually, they are willing to lower the price to avoid eBay fees. I think a fair way to do this is to split the savings.
For example, if it’s a $100 book, they will save at least $10 by not using eBay so ask them to lower the price to $95. That way, you both have an incentive to go outside eBay. You can also ask them for references if you don’t know them at all. But chances are, if they have a lot of followers on IG and are engaged with their followers, then you’ll probably be fine. If it’s an account with very few followers and activity, be very careful.
So that’s the nuts and bolts of how to buy and sell on IG. Make sure to hit me up over there so we can connect! Check out bryscomics.com, sign up for the newsletter, and you’re entered to win. Bye!
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