Tips for Promoting Your Art on Instagram

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!


How to Promote Your Art Instagram. Read about it at


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.


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  1. Jeannie Hunt says

    Why is it better to put instagram hashtags in a comment rather than with your caption?

    • Hi Jeannie, Great question! The “caption area” of your post under the image can be read a lot more easily, a give a cleaner appearance than one clogged with hashtags. What you are achieving is the same result, because your comment under the post is like an extension of the post – but it segments those hashtags into a separate place.

  2. Thanks for this post, It will help me a lot

  3. Thanks Carolyn- as always your information is appreciated and useful.

    Hashtags are the one things I wonder about the most. I usually use #steel #sculpture and #artforsale – I do notice how many zillions of items there are with those hashtags. Any suggestions would be welcome:) Now to get posts consistent.

    I recently read an article on an artist that sells $35,000 paintings on Instagram. I have a link somewhere if you would like to read it.

  4. Here you go Carolyn- very interesting:)

    “Why The Worlds Most Talked-About New Art Dealer Is Instagram”

  5. Thanks for sharing. This is full of great information. I will continue to try to implement these ideas in my Instagram sharing.

    Have a beautiful day!

  6. Thank you for sharing! I’m new to Instagram and your insights are invaluable.
    Question – is there a way to post to Instagram from my laptop? Specifically I would love to use images from my high end camera rather than my phone… Any way to do this?

  7. Thank you for this post, Carolyn! For me the problem with Instagram is and was inability to share photos from my Mac, as well as share blog posts from my website. I tried Gramblr and it didn’t work for me, plus it needs too many permissions. Now I’m checking out Uplet and so far so good.

    By the way, how do you share your blog posts on Instagram?

    • Kelly Stafford says

      I usually email myself the photo and then access the email from my phone. At that point, it’s easy to save the image to my iPhone picture gallery and share on Instagram. I assume that you can do this on any smart phone but only have experience with the iPhone. Hope this helps!

  8. BambyGirl says

    Great article! I have a question about Instagram promotion services like Zen Promo? Do they work? Have you used some of them? Please share with your experience.

    • I haven’t used any promotional services on Instagram, but have seen quite a bit of spam from users to claim to give you followers, likes and more. Zen Promo seems to be from out of country, because their English skills aren’t the best. Anybody have experience with them?

  9. How do you get images on Instagram, do you need a smart phone?

  10. Where would we be without all your info Carolyn? Thanks for informing and educating the right siders!
    Just bought an ipad and signed up for the Instagram so I’m very excited about the possibilities.
    best, Len


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