Tips for getting your Art seen on Instagram
Either we like it or not, social media are an integral part of our life, private and professional. Although some people tend to ignore or underestimate their power, in reality they can be fantastic channels for showing our art, or even establishing a successful online art business. Especially on Instagram, getting the whole thing up and running is usually very easy. However, getting very good at it though, can be a big challenge. Following a few steps and tips, can be extremely helpful in developing a successful Instagram account for your art and this is exactly what we will be looking at in this article.
This is the first of a two-part article. Next week we will be talking about “technical” ways of developing a successful Instagram Art account, including hashtags, useful apps, and Instagram tools.
1. The power of Comments
Before we move on to the more technical stuff, we will look at the basic principles of the platform. Instagram is all about human interaction. Your account will grow thanks to a live community built around your content. This won’t be possible unless you actually spend time interacting with other users. The best and most personal way to do that is through comments. Do reply to people who commented on your photographs. When you see an account or a picture you actually like, spend a few seconds and say a good word. That might make someone’s day and also it will start creating a bond with other users and gradually develop a live community around your art. Remember that posting an emoticon doesn’t really say much; make an effort and write an actual and sincere comment.
2. The benefits of Following others
Don’t be afraid to follow other accounts. There are two main reasons for that. The first is that you should use Instagram as a tool; as a source of inspiration for your art. Having a rich feed is very useful. You will be bombarded daily by different styles, ideas, and approaches of artwork. By following more artists and relevant accounts you will expand the input and inspiration you get.
The second reason is that by following someone they will most probably check back your account too. That will give them the opportunity to admire your artwork and possibly follow you back. It really ties in with building an active community around your art and letting people know you are out there producing awesome content.
3. It’s all about knowing your audience
Before you feel desperate about your account getting stuck, sit back for a second and think who you are trying to show your art to. Think about the audience your are targeting (gender, age group, nationality etc) and adjust your content, the frequency you post and the time of the day you post, depending on the people you would like to attract. For example:
If you wish to attract young people it is likely they will be more active on Instagram when commuting (ie. 7:30am to 8:30am). Also, younger audiences want/need fast pace and quick changes (ie. posting once a month won’t maintain their interest and your account will be forgotten). Each audience has different characteristics and the only way to find out is trial and error and interaction with them.
4. Commit and spend time
As said above, finding out what the right audience is and what they want, won’t happen overnight. You need to keep posting often, creating new and interesting content and gauging their likes and dislikes. Also, a more direct approach is to ask people who love your art. Do send private messages, write comments and speak to real life friends. Obviously, all this takes time and commitment. Stick to it and you ll see that gradually your Instagram account will become more active and it will grow.
Fun fact: I used to spend about 1,5 hour daily on managing my Instagram account and mainly interacting with other users. If you think about it, this is an extra working day every week on Instagram time!
5. Connect with FB, Blog and Social Media
Building a community and consequently growing your audience sometimes requires much more than posting on Instagram. Don’t forget that social media are just tools and their growth for the sake of getting more followers shouldn’t be your ultimate goal. Your goal must be increasing the publicity of your work and presenting to a diverse and expanded audience. That said remember that maintaining a FB page, an email address and possibly an art blog can help substantially (here are a few good reasons to start an art blog). Of course, this requires extra effort and time and it is up to you how far you want to go with it.
6. Few last general but important tips
Remember to keep your content consistent. When you start an art account avoid posting irrelevant pictures (ie. food, car etc). If that is in some way associated with your art then fine, in any other case someone that follows you for your art won’t appreciate massively seeing pictures of your dog.
Also, give your followers something to wait for and something they need. Share the techniques you use, make suggestions on the materials you prefer or recommend tips and tricks for painting a specific subject. People will appreciate and thank you for offering your help. Again be original, honest and consistent with it.
Developing a successful Instagram account is not an easy job. However, understanding the principles of using the platform can help you gradually build a following and connect with people who genuinely like your art. Remember that having many followers should not be the ultimate goal. Next week we will be discussing technical aspects of building your Instagram account including popular art hashtags and Instagram tools.
Get in touch and ask any questions you like on Instagram: ChromaPaintings