The art industry is finding its place in the online world and Instagram has become the showroom for the art community. But how do you promote your art on Instagram and reach a wider audience?
Promoting your art on Instagram requires you to post your best art, at the best time, and with the right hashtags. You need an appropriate username and an attention-grabbing bio. Target the right people in your audience and carry out giveaways.
Using the Instagram platform for your art business is not a walk in the park. You’ll need a good strategy and be prepared to post your best images consistently to maximize your social media presence. It’s hands-on but a great place to showcase your art.
Let’s take a further look.
Disclaimer: When you buy something via my affiliate links, I sometimes earn a commission at no extra cost to you. I only recommend trusted sites.
Set Up an Instagram Business Account
Your first step is to set up a business account, not a personal account. Keep your business account separate and make sure all of your Instagram posts are strictly relevant to your business. Your account must be public to gain followers and be found on search engines.
Your business insights tell you:
- When most of your followers are online
- Your fan’s demographics
- How often your post was viewed
- How most people found it.
Your next step is to think up a name for your profile.
Instagram Username Tips for Artists
Using your own name makes your work appear original and authentic. It’s a great way of putting a real person behind the artwork. It gets your name out there and boosts your brand image. Make sure the name is not long or hard to spell.
Using your name makes your work appear original and authentic by putting a person behind the piece and works to get your name out there, boosting your brand image. Make sure the name is not long.
Add a keyword such as ‘art’ or ‘artist’ as a prefix or a suffix, to make it easier for potential buyers to find and remember you. This is an easy way to find new customers without even trying!
For a more informed Instagram strategy, I urge you to follow Dot Lung on Domestika. Her course is not expensive and she has over 113,000 students!
How to Write a Good Instagram Bio
Be intentional with what you write in your bio section. Your Instagram profile should mention what you do, who you are, and the value new followers will get from following you. Make it short, precise, and attention-grabbing.
Link your Bio to your own website and drive potential customers to your online store. The whole point of using Instagram is to get people back to your site. Think about your skills and the knowledge you can pass on. Give your potential followers a reason to follow and engage with you.
Read this for tips: Write an Artist About Me Page: A Great Bio in 4 Easy Steps
Do you need help writing about yourself? Sun Yi will show you a classic way to write an engaging bio. Follow the formula! He’s on Domestika.
Your name and username are searchable, your bio, however, is not, but it’s important nonetheless. Do not neglect your bio, it creates your first impression.
As a side note, according to Forbes, you have 7 seconds in real life to make a good impression. Imagine how short it must be online!
Add your contact information and use emojis to save characters. You have a very limited space to deliver the maximum amount of info.
You have only one clickable link in your bio so make the most of it. You can use it to direct your potential clients to your homepage, alternatively, you can link it to an Instagram link tool such as linktr.ee.
If you have your own website you can dedicate a landing page with multiple links and do the same thing for free.
The Importance of Good Quality Art Images
Low-quality blurry photos are out of the question. Invest in a good camera and/or use hi-res scans. Ensure that you use good lighting, crop your images nicely, and get the angles right in your pictures. Take advantage of filters, but use them sparingly.
Your photos need to capture the potential buyer’s imagination, excite them, and showcase your abilities as an artist. The aim is to arouse their curiosity enough to encourage them to seek out your website.
Learn how to take fantastic Instagram images with a cell phone. Join professional photographer, Mina Barrio on Domestika and learn how to make an effective Instagram feed.
Make a brand presence. Your feed must stand out from the crowd. You do that by coordinating colors and images into a coherent theme. You must find your own style and look.
There are templates you can purchase and you can use platforms like Canva to easily create your own. One simple idea is just to add a white border and separate the images pleasantly.
Canva has so many ready-made templates that using it is a no-brainer. It’s free to use unless you need a few extras. I subscribed to the Pro plan to get access to their stock photos, folders (for organizing my mess), and the background remover tool.
Learn how to use Instagram stories to increase your reach. Find Mina on Domestika and join over 118,000 students
I use Canva for the graphics and templates, but if you need a Photo Editor Pixlr is very cheap to use online (it is no longer free). If you hate the ads and want to download the software you can upgrade to a yearly license.
A free alternative is Photopea.
Artists Must Use Relevant Hashtags
Instagram uses different hashtags to categorize its content. It’s an excellent way to reach a new online audience.
As an artist, I would recommend researching the hashtags used by popular artists in your niche, and incorporating them into your own posts.
Don’t aim too high. The most popular hashtags will not work. If there are 5,000,000+ people posting with ‘#art’ how will you be found? The big boys will dominate. Narrow it down and target hashtags with less competition.
Look for tags with 100,000+ searches and you will have a better chance of being found.
You can use up to 30 hashtags and I advise you to use them all in a new account. No one knows who you are, so you need all the exposure you can find.
The more hashtags you include in your post the better chances you have of reaching new audiences
No one wants to see a long hashtag list in your caption description, so hide them further down by using line breaks with periods or dashes to separate them from your text. Many Instagrammers post them in the comments instead. Do this as soon as you post your image.
Compile a list of favorite hashtags and file them to use when needed.
Why Artists Must Post Consistently on Instagram
As weird as it may sound, posting on Instagram can be challenging. Your work of art may be beautiful, but no one wants to see it all the time. On the other hand, you need to be consistent to stay to keep your loyal followers happy.
Vary your content, show behind the scenes, art materials, projects, tutorials, promos, giveaways, mock-ups, announcements, and video content. You don’t have to post your art all of the time.
Before posting, ask yourself, would I engage with this content? If you don’t think so, then don’t post it.
Ensure that whatever you post, you’re comfortable with. Don’t overburden yourself trying to post every day. Try posting every other day. The goal is to be consistent, not bombarding your audience with content.
Before posting, ask yourself, would I engage with this content? If you don’t think so, then don’t post it. Ensure that whatever you post, you’re comfortable with. Don’t overburden yourself trying to post every day.
Try posting every other day. The goal is to be consistent, not to bombard your audience with content.
You could try posting art on Monday, a behind-the-scenes on Tues, and a short video on Wednesday. You can also use Instagram insights to schedule posts in advance or use a third-party tool such as Tailwind. This makes it less overwhelming for you.
How Artists Gain More Instagram Followers
Having many followers is good, but if they don’t interact with your posts or click a link, it’s not worth much. Go after your target audience by identifying competitor accounts that have a similar fan base.
Follow your competitors’ followers and engage with them, like their posts, and leave comments. The more you engage with other people, the more they will engage with you in return and follow you. It’s simple.
This strategy is effective because you will be assured of an interactive audience, and gain followers who have the same interests as you.
And don’t be afraid to ask for followers. Drop some teasers in your Instagram captions and announce what’s coming soon.
It’s Dot on Domestika again. Get to know all about personal branding to increase your likes and followers.
Read this related post: Is Domestika Worth It? The Pros and Cons for Artists and Designers
Promote Your Art With Giveaways
Giveaways increase traffic to your Instagram account, resulting in more engagement and more followers.
A giveaway post should be eye-catching and desirable to your target audience. You can pitch the offer as a time-limited contest.
Indicate the giveaway’s duration, what will be won, and the procedure to select the winner. Most giveaway instructions ask you to follow, like, and tag a friend. All these actions are geared towards increasing the visibility of your work and boosting your post in the Instagram algorithm.
After announcing the winners, remember to appreciate those who participated.
Another giveaway strategy is to offer a free digital download. It can be printable wall art, or preferably a mini PDF guide that would help your audience. Ask them to like, follow, and tag people, and direct them to the link in your bio which takes them to a landing page.
Have a download button with an option to sign up for your email list. Either way, provide your freebie containing affiliate links to other related products that might be of interest.
Communicate With Your Instagram Followers
Communicating with your followers is paramount. Create time to respond to their comments, questions, and messages. It is only fair to reciprocate and reply, even if it’s only an emoji.
Try to look for the positive side of any negative comment and respond from that perspective. Don’t automatically ignore them. You’ll come across as genuine.
This also helps build a relationship between you and your audience. Be kind and generous, and ensure you offer top-notch customer service.
By asking questions or posting a poll, you’ll get engagement. Your followers may not respond at first, but be patient, and don’t stop asking questions. Find a voice that speaks to your followers and stick to it.
Check this out: Social Media For Artists: The Best 13 Platforms for Creatives
Promote Your Services on Instagram
I use Instagram, but I must confess that I don’t post anymore. Why? Because like all platforms that seem to be the answer to your prayers, it takes too much time. I have other things to do, write blogs for example.
I am a user, however, and I’ve seen how some artists use Instagram to promote their businesses successfully.
I follow Stephen Bauman. He uses Instagram to showcase his talent and run short tutorials. He leads them back to his Patreon channel. I know that because I signed up!
As you can see he is a portrait artist. I signed up to find out what tools he uses and to see if I can use his drawing techniques with my wildlife art.
For more advanced tuition consider Stephen Bauman. He is classically trained and has a very academic approach to his art. This guy knows his stuff and is a very good tutor
I’m also amazed by Jennifer Gennari and her fantastic pet portraits. I love her wonderful expressive painting technique.
Jennifer promotes her workshops, courses, and commissions. Her gallery seems to be sold out!
I also follow John Fennerov who directs his followers to his Patreon channel. You can see how he uses the new buttons feature to promote his art. What a great idea. Instagram just got a whole lot better.
I love John’s wonderful ability to draw in the most painterly way. I’m envious of his abilities with charcoal and intrigued by some of his digital sketches.
As you can see there is plenty of scope to promote your art on Instagram, as these guys prove.
How to Promote Your Art on Instagram: Final Thoughts
Instagram is the social network of choice for many visual artists.
It’s one of the best social media platforms for getting your artwork in front of more people, and to do this, you’ll need a business account, know how to use hashtags, and post HIGH-QUALITY content.
Since Facebook bought Instagram, it has become effortless to share your work on both platforms and much harder to build organic growth.
Running an effective Instagram marketing campaign takes time and effort! It’s hard work and not as easy as it might seem at first glance, but not impossible. Don’t give up too early.
Post high-quality photos, communicate regularly about your art or business, cross-promote other social media sites, do giveaways, follow galleries and competitors, and leverage their audience.
If this sounds daunting don’t worry, take it one step at a time. Be patient but methodical. You can do it all yourself, or you can use third-party tools, many of which are free or affordable.
Stick to one or two social media platforms and you won’t get overwhelmed.
If you like the way I draw and want to try things for yourself, this is my basic kit: (Amazon affiliate links)
- Pentel Mechanical Pencils 0.3mm
- Derwent Graphic Drawing Pencils
- Daler-Rowney Heavyweight Cartridge Paper
- Jakar Battery Eraser
- Tombo Mono Eraser Pen
- Faber Castell Putty Eraser
- Blu Tack
- French Box Easel
If social media makes you groan then you’re not alone. I’ll show you how to make a living from a simple market stall. This guide shows you how.
If You Want to Sell Your Art
Check this out!
Psst…it’s only $12.99!
Now take a look at these articles:
- Pricing Art For Beginners: Originals, Art Prints, and Formulas
- 25 Platforms for Artists to Sell Their Art Online and Make Money
- What Are Limited Edition Prints? 12 Things You’ve Got to Know
- What Kind of Art Sells Best? The Secrets Revealed
- Is Selling on Etsy Worth it? Pros and Cons for Art and Crafters
- Is Selling Art Online Worth It? Can You Make Money?
- How to Make Prints of Your Art – Printing Art Explained in Detail
Plus find an ONLINE COURSE that suits you.
You can save money overall and buy this huge bundle of Digital Marketing courses by Robin and Jasper on Udemy.
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Hi, I’m Kevin Hayler
I’ve been selling my wildlife art and traveling the world for over 20 years, and if that sounds too good to be true, I’ve done it all without social media, art school, or galleries!
I can show you how to do it. You’ll find a wealth of info on my site, about selling art, drawing tips, lifestyle, reviews, travel, my portfolio, and more. Enjoy