Instagram is a fantastic social media platform for all kinds of visual artists, photographers, and filmmakers.
Since the platform is inherently visual, professionals who are able to create appealing posts have an inherent advantage when compared to the average user who probably won’t put quite as much thought into how they present their content.
If you’re a visual artist who wants to use social media to promote your work, read on to learn more about how to get your art noticed on Instagram.
One of the only tips we can’t give you is how to create quality work that you’ll be proud of. That side of the equation is up to you, and depending on the response each piece gets on social media, you might decide to only post finished work every once in a while if the alternative becomes too hectic.
But outside of the work itself, gaining attention through social media sites is very much about knowing how to play the game, knowing how to work within the system that’s been set up.
Thankfully, we’ve all learned a lot about the behind-the-scenes components of social media since it first appeared on the scene, so pulling this off isn’t nearly as mysterious and complicated as it might have been 15 years ago.
Brand the profile as an art account
One of the very first questions you’ll need to ask yourself is whether you want to repurpose a personal Instagram account to showcase your art or create a brand new account that will focus specifically on your art.
In just about every case, we would encourage you to start a new account to promote your art. This will let you get started with a clean slate and will also be better for branding, since the account won’t be clogged up with old personal posts that have nothing to do with your work.
One of the only cases where it would be advisable to repurpose an old account would be if that personal account already has several thousand followers.
Even if all of those followers didn’t hop on because of your art, they can still translate to valuable views and likes.
But if you don’t find yourself in this situation, then go ahead and start a new account for your work and give it a professional name that lets people know exactly what this profile is and what it’s going to be posting.
While you can’t include links in the descriptions of Instagram posts, you can include links in the bio of your profile, which can bring attention to other social media profiles or even an online store. We’ll be talking more about cross-platform promotion later on.
You can also pin short videos (versions of Instagram stories) to the top of your profile. If you want, these could be used to explain who you are and what your work tends to be. You could also use this space to showcase some of your best work.
No matter which social media platform is being discussed, a general rule of thumb you can’t afford to disregard is: post content consistently.
On the human side, followers and non-followers alike will be more likely to pay attention to your account if you have content coming out often.
Followers especially will enjoy feeling like they’re part of something. They enjoy the consistency of seeing new posts from your profile several times a week. It may even encourage a sense of loyalty to your account and interest in your work.
On the automated side, social media platform algorithms tend to give preference to profiles and users that post consistently, especially when that content results in engagement.
Engagement is a big topic within social media and online publishing in general, but as it applies to Instagram, engagement is measured based on the likes and comments of each post.
If your posts start to consistently receive hundreds or likes or even more, then Instagram itself will be more likely to promote your content.
Stay active in the community
This is a short and easy tip. Basically, it’s about being part of the art community on Instagram, outside of posting your own work and responding to commenters.
Go ahead and seek out some other artists on the platform whose work you enjoy. Comment on their posts as well.
These simple and easy acts could even lead to a collaboration down the line and will also just give you the chance to get a sense of what other contemporary artists are working on right now.
Utilize cross-platform promotion
A PR technique that has become popular since the rise of social media is cross-platform promotion.
In the most basic sense, cross-platform promotion is about using multiple social media and online outlets to help gain more exposure for your content.
For an artist who posts their work on Instagram, cross-platform promotion could be used to bring attention to an upcoming event that’s also listed on the social media profile of the event space.
It could also be used to direct followers to an online merch store where they can purchase originals, prints, or other products they’ve listed for sale.
The inner workings of this technique are simple enough to understand. Let’s say you have 1,000 Instagram followers and about 500 subscribers on your YouTube channel.
There’s bound to be at least a little bit of overlap between those two groups of people, but there will also be plenty of people who haven’t ventured into your other social media profiles.
With the cross-platform approach, the goal is to introduce a lot of those non-overlapping people to your other social media profiles.
Not only does this improve your metrics on each platform, but it also helps to solidify your community of fans and make sure that they all get vital news from you when you have some to share.
Even the simple act of mentioning your other social media profiles can bring in some extra followers and boost the attention you’re getting on Instagram until your brand advances in a big way.