Instagram is an artist’s best friend when it comes to marketing and selling yourself and your work. It functions as a mini-portfolio (though of course shouldn’t replace a professionally photographed portfolio!) due to the incredibly visual nature of the medium. It’s also a great way for someone to familiarize themselves with your work.
We’ve noticed that artists get lost when it comes to Instagram and aren’t sure how to harness the incredible power of this visual network. Here are three things to keep in mind to use Instagram as a marketing powerhouse for artists, plus suggestions you can use right now to amp up your Insta game.
Make it Flow
Your Instagram profile is most commonly viewed as a grid with 3 images across and 3 images down. It’s easy to build brand recognition when your profile is consistently on-brand and has a flow to it. Take the Porter Loves Creative profile for example: it’s colorful, has occasional breaks for white space, and there are plenty of shots of Porter and Jeanie.
As an artist, you have the added ability of making your profile visually beautiful by filling it with images of your pieces. This is something you definitely need to be taking advantage of, especially with that eye for design that you have! Not only will it help you tell your story and act as a visual representation of who you are and what you do, an artfully curated profile will hold interest much longer than one filled with ill-lit and heavily filtered images of your lunch.
When your profile flows, it’s easy on the eyes of someone who visits it and encourages them to scroll through it.
Add Value to Make Connections
Instagram isn’t just about great images. The captions count and they’re where you can add the most value! This is the place for you to express your view as an artist. Adding stories about your pieces and your process will help you connect to your audience. All of a sudden, you’ve gone from a “profile” to a person. And as we’ve all heard before: people buy from people, not companies.
Use this space to talk about what inspires you, how you got started, your process, and even a bit of “off topic” personal images of your pets, your favorite place in your hometown, or even a “fail,” AKA: a piece that didn’t quite work out. It’s all in the name of humanizing yourself and giving your audience something (and someone!) to relate to.
For example: perhaps you want to ask your audience for a recommendation. Share an unfinished piece that you’re stuck on, write a caption explaining what you want this piece to evoke, and ask what they recommend you do next. Just like that, you’ve created art together. Huge value!
Alternatively, you can learn about your audience by asking what is their favorite piece they’ve purchased, what medium they use when creating, or who’s inspired them to create something.
Don’t Neglect Hashtags
Hashtags are great to use on Instagram to connect to a broader audience. Anyone can search for a hashtag and find your post that contains said hashtag. This allows you to increase your exposure and even gain new followers.
Hashtags can be placed anywhere in your post, from the caption to the comment. Some people prefer the caption to be clean or only contain their branded hashtags and/or the most important tags to them. As such, they opt to put the bulk of the hashtags in the first comment.
Either way, it’s very handy to keep a note on your phone with your list of hashtags so you can copy and paste them into your post (instead of typing them in one by one!)
There’s also debate on how many tags to use. Instagram allows you to include 30 hashtags. No matter how many you use, be specific with them. #art is very general. #watercolorartwork is more specific and not as widely used. That means there’s a better chance of the latter (and therefore you) being found in a hashtag search for someone who’s interested in watercolors.
Hashtagify.me is a great tool to find relevant hashtags. You can search for hashtags, find others that are relevant to that one, and see the popularity of the tags you’re using. Tthe more popular, the less likely you’ll be found by searching for that alone. On the flip side, the more obscure, the less people searching for it.
Here are a few things you can do if you aren’t sure where to start.
Think of your brand and mimic that in your feed for a nice flow. If your work features saturated, deep hues, use that color scheme in your images. A feed that’s devoid of colors won’t mesh with your brand.
Try to share a story in your captions as much as possible.
End your posts with a call to action (CTA) to encourage interaction. In other words, tell your audience what you want them to do next - comment, like, visit the profile of your artist friend. Just don’t overload them! Make sure you ask your audience to do only one thing per post.
Be consistent! If you can’t commit to posting every day (we’re human, we get that it can be a stretch with everything else you do!) pick a schedule and stick to it.
We’d love to support you on Instagram. Leave a link to your profile in the comments so we can follow you!
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