How to get your artwork recognised through Instagram

By in How To


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Instagram for artists
Photo by iStock.com/Sloop Communications

Instagram is an entirely visual platform which has its users looking at pictures all day. With an average of 80 million posts on a daily basis, Instagram has gone from being an app for sharing cat pictures to one of the most powerful business tools. With everyone from casual users, influencers and huge brands using the platform to share their imagery, Instagram is an ideal place for artists to share their work with the world. For artists, Instagram plays a big role in debuting new work and even prompting business opportunities. The idea of using social media as a tool may seem daunting, but this article will cover the basic ways in which you can use Instagram to strengthen your brand.

Example: @illustratella uses video posts and Instagram stories to present her art.

Use the tools given to you on Instagram

Instagram stories are a great way to let your audience know what you are up to without posting something permanent on your feed. The 24-hour story feature is useful if you want to post about your art process, talk about any upcoming projects or even to update followers on how you are. It is informal yet highly informative and offers an insight into your life as an artist.

Another great tool is the IGTV and Instagram live feature, which both allow you to post longer length videos of yourself to your feed. By doing so, you are encouraging more engagement with your audience, and can show off your talent in a more interactive dimension.

Example: @franxisaugusto uses story highlights to show recent work.

Use your Instagram as an online portfolio.

Instagram’s story highlights feature is an ideal way to display a portfolio of your work online. A story highlight is made by including select number Instagram story posts, which can play together under one heading. You can use this feature as a showreel to present different aspects of your artwork. Each highlight should have a fitting title and appropriate icon so that users can easily navigate to what they want to see.

Additionally, your biography should include a written description of what you do with any relevant links of your work.

Example: Artist @julia_ballenger follows a pleasant and cohesive colour scheme throughout her profile.

Make sure your grid correlates.

The first thing that catches the eye on an Instagram profile is the picture grid. For your profile to look appealing and professional at a quick glance, you’ll need to make sure that your grid features imagery that follows a pattern. Sadly, this means no pictures of your brunch or your cute dog. On the other hand, you need your profile to focus on your skill, so if that means uploading a picture of you in a studio or at work creating something brilliant then this is the correct tone for an artist profile.

Before posting, ask yourself: Is this what my (desired) audience wants to see?

Remember to use hashtags when posting. You are expected to gain 13% more engagement with hashtags, so imagine what 5 relevant hashtags can do for growth.

Example: @punkhdesignstudio has a clear biography and professional profile appearance.

Market yourself as an artist

Your biography should clearly state that you are an artist. Instagram has the option to turn your profile into a public business account which allows you to choose from one of many job categories, e.g. illustrator, artist. Use the biography space to detail what you specialise in, and link to any relevant websites or work.

If you are using the platform to gain a following or even sell work, the sponsored post tool is vital for getting your work noticed by a larger audience. By paying a small fee, you should quickly notice a spike in interest which leads to your work being recognised by a larger audience. If you have a particular picture that you think works well, then use it at the forefront of a marketing campaign to gain interest.

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