by Carolyn Edlund
Have you joined Instagram? It’s the fastest growing social media platform, and offers plenty of opportunities for artists. Use these tips to get started and build your audience!
Plan your strategy. Want to sell your art? Gain followers? Drive traffic to your website? Sign up subscribers? Decide on a strategy and let it guide your regular activities. If you are serious about using Instagram for business, keep it business-related. Create another account for personal reasons if you like.
Share your best images. What stands out on an Instagram feed? Wonderful photos that catch the eye. Do yourself a favor and use images that show your art beautifully – no glare, overexposed or blurry photos (ouch!)
Post shots of yourself working in the studio or en plein air, paintings on the easel, or your most recent show. Check out this article that details how artist Leslie Kell used a shot of an empty gallery on Instagram, with a follow up post showing her work on display, to get tons of comments, shares and likes.
Embellish images with words and your logo – Want your image to carry your name, logo or URL with it? Download the WordSwag app on your smartphone to add words, quotes, a logo and more to dress up your images and brand them. Adding words directly on to an image adds another dimension to your posts, and draws attention.
Use the image caption to tell a story about your art. Here’s where you give insight into your life as an artist. Write about what inspires you, a fascinating technique that you use, or a piece of art as it develops. Share your successes, mistakes and your dreams. Use this space to be authentic, and to gain emotional resonance with your audience.
Use hashtags. Place hashtags in a comment to your original post for best results. You can post up to 30 hashtags for any image. Depending on your medium and the theme of the image, individual hashtags may vary, but there are ways to reach out with popular hashtags that get tons of exposure on Instagram. Artists may want to use #picoftheday, #bestoftheday, #instadaily, #popular, #instagood, #photooftheday, and #igdaily, among others.
Post consistently. It’s best to add at least 1-2 posts every day to get traction on Instagram. The more posts you publish, the faster your following will grow, but do what fits your schedule and your level of commitment to building your social media presence.
Interact with others. Social media is a two-way street, which means that liking and commenting on other’s posts is a good strategy. Tag people in your Instagram post who are connected with the image you’re using. They will be notified, and can help spread the word. When you make comments on posts, you can mention another user’s name by using @ and the username. This also sends a notification.
Use your profile link to drive traffic or gain subscribers. Instagram allows you to use only one live link, and that is on your profile. You can use that link to take people to the Home page of your website, your Facebook page – or a landing page with a subscriber opt-in to build your email marketing list.
Place your Instagram feed on your Facebook page. Integrate your Instagram posts right into your Facebook page, to get even more exposure. Learn how to do that here.
Make sales. Want to sell your art on Instagram? Spreesy is a free tool that makes it easy to sell directly to fans on this platform. Other services such as Soldsie and Easy2Buy are also available. But some artists simply gain a good following, post their images each day, and sell to customers who email them. Here’s an example of a painter who sells his work every day this way.
What strategies have you used to gain publicity or make art sales on this popular social media site? Please share. And, don’t forget to follow ArtsyShark on Instagram.