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Growing your account on Instagram

We know all the stories about becoming a successful artist and selling a lot through Instagram. It happens more and more often all the time, but the art buyers are not just the only audience that you can reach through Instagram. With your Instagram account, you may want to connect to people who like what you do, want to share your art and/or story or write about you and your art.

Instagram helps you to build your network, relationships and friendships that may become real-life relations. But how can we reach more people? Translating this to a formula, it will look like this: grabbing attention + hold it = building relations, getting support, getting sales.

It is good to start somewhere with implementing any of the points that will be mentioned, rather than to wait. It only limits you to think that you can be successful unless you create “perfect” art. However, when you change up your style or drastically change the subject of your posts, followers can become inactive or people may start to unfollow you.

When you start to focus on getting more followers, you want to have a single subject or ideally multiple subjects throughout all of your entire Instagram Account, so that people can connect with you. This can for example be about your style, your storytelling, your subject matter or the journey that you are taking to be independent, to name a few. It can be anything that you would like to make it easy for people to connect with you.

In the paragraphs that follow, I will share some action points that should be in place on your account.

Storytelling

Storytelling is by far (at least it is my opinion) the most excellent form of entertainment for us as human beings. They contain emotion, and that is how we relate to each other. It allows you to grab attention and hold it.

You can build your story in four elements:
– A wish;
– A problem (what is the main character struggling with?);
– A solution (how did the protagonist handle the problem?);
– The result (for you or other stakeholders)

To illustrate how useful a story can be and how its build up, consider the following example: As a child, Stefanie already wrote in her notebook about the world trip she wanted to make, later when she grew up (wish). But as a student, she had nothing to do (the problem). Once employed, Stefanie did not spend all her money on steps and clothes, but saved as much money as possible every month (the solution). After a few years, her bank account burst at the seams. Stefanie buckled her backpack on her back and went out into the wide world (the result).”

A cohesive Instagram feed.

Try to create a cohesive Instagram feed throughout every post. Try to find a balance by posting different kinds of pictures every time. Make a mix between your artwork, a detail shot, work in progress, a photo of your art in a gallery or a picture of yourself when you are working. Photo inspiration you can find in our stories. All the artist showcase their work and not only their artwork but also their studio, materials they use and action photos.

Be authentic

It is always easier to continue with being yourself. Your followers, the gallerist, the curator, will appreciate it because they know they are getting the real you. This makes sure they are building a real relationship with you. Focus on having a consistent story and that your tone of voice is consist. Ways to show your authentic self is by tyring to post who you are; doing creatively; give a glimpse into your world. This allows them to get to know you better.

Selfies?

By sharing your story, people can relate to your story, and you can start building that relationship. A lot of artists I speak to are not into selfies or showing them self online and use this as an excuse for not get more Instagram presence. Even if you never post a selfie, there are lots of other ways to show yourself on Instagram. Show yourself when you are working or just your hand with a brush. Share your experience and your hopes, what your plans are for the days, what your plans are, what kind of museums you like to visit, show your studio, your workplace. Share what you like to by sharing things you like this might be food, restaurants, fashion or nature, sports other nice brands. Behind the camera does not mean you are not in the picture. Sharing people what you like or even dislike helps to get a full picture of who you are as an artist, so don’t be afraid to get creative with what you like to share in your feed.

Hashtags

Hashtags help you to connect with new audiences. Hashtags like #art #painting or #artstudio might help you pick up random followers. If you like to get more targeted people, you should use hashtags depending on your goals. If you try to reach curators and dealers to show and sell your work, #contemporarypainting is not likely to help because this is the mass and other medium-specific hashtags (#abstractart #3dprinting) might connect you with people in your field.

How to find Instagram hashtags

You can do hashtag research on Instagram yourself. You can use the search function on Instagram and type in a hashtag there. Then you will also see related hashtags and how often they are used.

Write these hashtags in an excel sheet or your phone notes so that you have a file of hashtags you can use. Then it is only a matter of copy-paste. Do vary it a bit. It doesn’t work to use the same hashtags for every post. In fact, it’s against Instagram’s guidelines to use the same content, comments, or hashtags every time.

You can also use all kinds of tools for this. These tools all work similarly. You enter a hashtag, and you will see all kinds of related suggestions. Tools like Tagsfinder, Keywordtool, TagBlender, All-hashtags, Hastagify and MetaHastags will get you started.

Frequency

When you, as an artist, start using Instagram, it can be quite overwhelming, and you may not see the forest for the trees. Because how often is enough? A lot of artists aims to post daily, but quickly stop doing that. When you post daily, you are clearly more visible, very active – that is what Instagram likes – and you stay on top of mind with your audience. But chances are you are also posting to post. The content that you post must have added value, a certain amount of quality and contributes to your art brand. To get a clear view of how much you can post start writing down what you could post about and start with 3 times a week. This way, you remain visible, you build a bond with your followers, but you do not stress out because you have to post.

Always try to keep the momentum going as much as possible. It is not always easy to come up with new topics. But you are always able to “recycle” some of your content, like a blogpost or artwork. For instance, try to shoot a zoom-in shot of your work.

To make your life easier, we suggest you schedule your posts ahead. Services that work great are Hootsuite, Later or Buffer. Once you have scheduled your posts, those applications will post it automatically for you, or you get a notification of your saved draft posts.

Be online: reply quick and engage with your audience

To build a community around your artworks, it is essential to growing a loyal base of curators, art dealers, collectors, fans. It is of high importance that you invest in the comments and engagement you invest in your audience. Try to have conversations with your followers. Ask questions, be interested in what they are enjoying in life.

Never forget to check your IG message requests. You might have received some message requests of people who want to reach out to you. But you never replied because Instagram filters so you won’t be spammed by the bots. It is the same as the SPAM box of your email. This one does you also check sometimes.

Regram pics of art collectors that showcase your art in their life

A picture of your artwork in a collectors living rooms, hand or at his office is the best proof that you are doing a great job and that you add value. There is no true testimonial or review than a genuinely grateful collector that shows your work with their own network on social media.

We suggest that you always tag and refers to the creator, so your collector who bought a piece of art from you, of the picture. This can be done with a comment like RG @fleurbravenboer.

Using as many platforms as possible

Instagram allows you to post to other platforms too directly. Your post can directly be shared on your Facebook page, Tumblr, Twitter and more. It is too easy not to use your Instagram content for other social media channels. So we highly recommend doing this.

Switching to a business account, yes or no?

Let’s give you some background information. At some point, Facebook realized that business was using their Facebook pages as a lucrative marketing channel and sending all visitors to their website. The content that you posted was chronologically posted, so that worked amazing for businesses. So, Facebook began to find ways to get rite of this free exposure. Therefore they added a new feature so that you had to pay to reach your right audience. Since Facebook owns Instagram, they use the same way of working.

With a business account of Instagram provides you with great analytics. When you run advertisements on Instagram will easily reach your right audience. You can directly see an increase in sales and followers. So if you want to find out what types of content people engage with the most. It would be beneficial to switch to the business account. The content fit with your followers is for every artist different.

If you are posting content that your followers do like, you might lose fans. We are not saying that you only need to follow the numbers, and not post that is close to you. But it is a good thing to be aware of what works so you can do more of that. So with Instagram Insights, you get sorts of great insides like the impressions, reach, a time when your fans are active and then also show you the demographics of your followers. This is amazing as you start to find out what kind of gallerists, fans, art dealers or curators are following you.

Keep in mind

As you start to develop your Instagram profile, be true to yourself and be your best self, for sure. Try to present yourself in the best way you can. But overall, be authentic. That is the only way to make it work and to make it fun!

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