Instagram is the perfect social media site for artists: it’s a platform devoted entirely to images. Creating a buzz about your art on IG is about networking – hooking up with the right audience and “tagging” your work with the right keywords so those interested can find it. Beyond that, Instagram is just like any other social media network, because you have to know the right people and how to work within the system in order to get your work seen by those you want to see it.
Create Your Network
Even if you’re brand new to Instagram, you’ll probably have some people follow you, especially if you’re active on other social networks like Facebook or Twitter. These people are already your friends and know you create awesome works of art. Don’t discount these people as a valuable part of your network, but look to build on those who already know how awesome you are.
Join groups that share Instagram photos of art similar to yours. Follow and “like” pictures in your feed that appeal to your aesthetics. Build up a network of followers this way and grow your own network by engaging with others. Behind every phone and computer screen is a real, live person who really does value your input and feedback.
Use Hashtags Judiciously
Hashtags, a pound symbol (#) followed by a word or string of words, is how people on Instagram find your photos. So if you’ve just completed a pencil sketch for practice, feel free to show it off. You could tag it #sketch, #sketchingpractice, #Pencildrawing, #drawing, #art and #makingart and any keywords related to the subject matter of your sketch, like #landscape, #portrait or even #birdonatree – anyone who clicks on any of those hashtags will instantly be transported to a list of similar photos. So if someone clicks on the “#art” hashtag from someone else’s photo, they’ll find yours.
Using hashtags as a way to get found is a crapshoot – it might or might not work – but you’re sure to be found when surrounded by a strong network of art lovers.
Vary Your Content
You don’t always need to show off your finished works – sometimes snapping a pic of a work in progress is enough to engage your audience and get them looking at what you’ve already done. You are a talented person creating great works of art. But you are a person – so show people that you’re approachable by posting bloopers and mistakes, slices of your life (what do you like to drink while painting, for example? Are you a coffee drinker or a tea drinker?), show off your works in progress and let people know you’re approachable and accessible.
Engage with Others
When someone leaves a comment on your Instagram photo, respond promptly! When you see something that tickles your fancy, leave a comment instead of just “liking” it. Engage with other users to draw attention to yourself and your work.
Some Instagram users are just there to kill time and look at pretty, funny or gorgeous pictures. Others want to know the story behind the photos: use your words to back up your image and draw in an audience to expand your network. By engaging, you’ll make a big splash on IG.
Take Clear Photos
This one is probably a no-brainer, but it needs to be said: Instagram is photo-driven, so take clear, well-lit and centered photos of your work and anything you want to show off. If you use a filter (a pre-edited “lens” provided by Instagram that you can use to change the look of your photo), say so. If not, use the #nofilter hashtag – users want to know what they’re looking at and how it got that way.
If your phone’s camera isn’t that great, consider taking photos using a digital camera and transferring them to your phone for upload to Instagram later. You want to use Instagram to put your best foot forward and if you can’t do that using your phone’s camera, use some of your innate creativity.
Instagram Success Doesn’t Happen Overnight
Becoming proficient at Instagram can take a while. Becoming an Instagram superstar can take even longer. Keep using the app daily and make it part of your routine to gain friends, viewers, followers and popularity. By talking, posting and sharing content, you’ll organically build a network of friends, fans and those that appreciate your art.