Are you on Instagram?
Hopefully the answer is “yes”.
To be successful in today’s world as an artist, you not only have to be talented, but also become good at promoting your art.
Don’t be scared of commitment
When we’re surrounded by reality shows, entertainment news and all sorts of information about famous people with big followings, it is easy to fall into the mindset of “oh they were just lucky and became overnight stars”.
Reality is that it takes commitment to build audiences and stand out from the crowd.
Understanding what people like and dislike is important to your content’s roadmap. and
Being able to remain objective is probably one of the harder ones, but you should never take social media response personally when you’re promoting your work.
A big portion of the commitment we make to our clients when we take over their Instagram accounts is to post regularly and use our best judgement on posting what we think is great content.
That’s just the start, however. After posting any type of content, we listen, observe and pay close attention to the insights we have access to. People freely and openly show/tell us what they like.
Have we had moments when we thought a photo or video would b super successful, but it turn that it wasn’t? Of course! But that only pushes us to try again, do it better and not give up.
One thing to be mindful of is, if you are not committed to Instagram (or for that matter anything you do), over time you will likely see a decline.
Instagram rewards high levels of activity. The more you post, the more followers you tend to attract.
That’s not negative by any stretch of the imagination. But it can quickly become challenging, especially if your art takes an extended period of time to complete.
More on ideas for regular posts further below…
A goal without a plan is simply a dream
If you operate by the seat of your pants, you might find yourself thinking about what to post on a daily basis. That becomes becomes tiring and overwhelming, quickly… Believe us!
You end up running into a creative freeze, and the worst outcome – you stop posting.
Unless you’re able to commit to the time it takes to build your Instagram account and constantly generate new content, it will be difficult to gain a big following.
A tip to help you avoid that abyss of no return is to map a topic for each day of the week.
Remember that people love seeing yoru completed art, but they also are curious about “behind the scenes” content. So don’t feel like every post you share has to be about a finished art piece (we know, art is never finished).
Here are a few ideas to get you started:
- Monday: What inspires you
- Tuesday: What gave you the idea for the piece you’re working on
- Wednesday: What does the progress of that piece look like
- Thursday: Do you use unusual and different techniques
- Friday: What do you do when you are not working on your art to replenish your creativity and rest your mind
- Saturday: What books do you read
- Sunday: And the list of topics can go on and on…
Great! Now that we have the commitment and planning out of the way, we come to the next part of the conversation…
#Hashtag like the pros
Instagram is a visual medium.
But, your content gets much more exposure when you use hashtags. Those are categories of content that people follow. Hashtags also allow you to make your visuals on Instagram searchable.
Good research and experimentation with new hashtags can allow new people to find your art!
When you start a post on Instagram and start adding hashtags, the platform will give you hints on how many times those have been used. The higher the number, the more people use and follow those hashtags.
Choosing your hashtags carefully will also help you succeed. While very popular hashtags can certainly increase yoru exposure, they can be too broad. For example, #art is used in over 35MM posts, but that can also be many, many things.
If you are trying to get your art in front of the right people, what words would they or you use? #oilpainting, #affordableart or #experimentalart might be opportunities to reach a niche demographic, which is looking for something very specific.
Instagram allows you to use up to thirty hashtags at a time. But is there a magic number? Unfortunately, the optimal number of hashtags is different for each account. Our recommendation is to use at least five and experiment to see what works best for you.
Just be mindful to not become a spammer… Too many hashtags or irrelevant hashtags to the topic you are discussing will actually work against you. The engineers behind Instagram make sure to hunt down people trying to game the system.
Great, we’ve started a post, selected our hashtags, the next thing to think of are tags.
Connect with the right people
When the content is appropriate, giving a shoutout or including someone else in your conversation makes you more… social. Let’s not forget that we are talking about social media here, after all.
Tags send direct notifications to the parties you want to include in your content. They are great ways to show affiliation, support or start a conversation around a topic.
Don’t just tag people for the sake of tagging, just like hashtags, tags should be used appropriately.
Also, don’t get upset if you don’t get a response. Even though the other party gets a direct notification that you’ve mentioned them, they might be busy, not sure how to respond or… simply miss their notification. Don’t give up!
Last but not least, let’s circle back to a word we used in the beginning.
We know that not everyone gets glitter in the eye like we do when numbers enter the conversation… But that is the best place to get objective information on how your content is performing so you can focus on creating more of that to further grow your Instagram community.
First things first, Instagram has two types of accounts – Personal and Business.
If you want to tap into knowing the reach and engagement of your content, you will need to switch to a Business account. That is free, easy and you can always revert back to a personal account if needed.
Once you’ve enabled your business Instagram account, you can see what content gets the most exposure (think of the visual, the hashtags and the tags you might have used), as well as when are people most active, and get some demographic information.
Who has a headache?
The world of Instagram goes even further than what we’ve discussed today, and the opportunities are huge!
We hope the information has been helpful to you. If you decide to tag us on Instagram with a question, our tag is @twelvelegsmarketing
Hashtags for Artists to get you started:
- #art (500M)
- #artist (150M)
- #artwork (80M)
- #instaart (55M)
- #arte (49M)
- #artistsoninstagram (30M)
- #artofvisuals (32M)
- #artoftheday (27M)
- #artsy (25M)
- #fineart (18M)
- #artistic (17M)
- #artists (11.5M)
- #arts (16M)
- #artgallery (15M)
- #artistsofinstagram (8M)