Why Aren’t You Marketing Your Art On Instagram? Why Artists Should be Using Instagram to Share Their Artwork
|“Up and Coming” oil on 20” x 16” panel. Sold.|
Why aren't you on Instagram? I know what you're going to say, you’re on Facebook and don’t have time to manage another social media platform, plus, you’re not really sure how it works. Instagram however, is the ideal social media platform for artists to use to market their artwork and it's completely free.
Before you write off Instagram let me ask you this, how often have you logged onto Facebook and been frustrated by all the junky, time-devouring, click-bait content you see there? How often have you thought, “Where’s the art?”
Unfortunately, Facebook has become the social media equivalent of a garage sale. With everyone sharing everything from what their having for dinner, to who they’re voting for, cats, cats, cats and occasionally a funny video that sucks more time out of your day. I’m not saying none of this happens on Instagram, but, by the very nature of the platform what is shared is limited.
Instagram is visual, highly visual. The platform is set up to share photos and short videos from the person who created the content. It’s not as easy to share videos or images that were created by someone else, which means fewer bits of junk surface in your newsfeed.
Most users understand that it is a visual platform and they focus on creating beautiful photos to share. Which makes Instagram is an ideal place to share your artwork and what you do with your followers. In fact, the better you get at using it the more Instagram will share your content with others and the more followers you’ll gain.
For example right now I’ve got 12,700 followers on Instagram. On Facebook I have 3,200 on my personal account and 4,100 on my business page and I’ve been on Facebook for many years more than Instagram.
Like I mentioned earlier, Instagram is a highly visual platform and as such it rewards strong content by boosting it higher in everyone‘s newsfeed. The more you curate your page and treat it like a beautiful art portfolio the better off you’ll be. Additionally, the platform loves video content and the more you share in InstaStories, Live TV or short video clips the more Instagram will push your content to your followers and beyond.
Here’s another example - recently I shared a time lapse video of the start of a new painting of mine. On Facebook it’s been viewed 806 times, on Instagram it’s been viewed 2,800 times and counting. You know what? That’s not even my highest viewed video! One of my videos has been viewed over 8,000 times. That's not even considered a high view count for Instagram! I follow other artists who have shared videos and gotten view counts in the tens of thousands.
The difference I believe is this, Facebook is overloaded with content so, searching for what you’re interested in is difficult and the way the app. is designed means that your content has a very short lifespan, whereas on Instagram, anyone following you or visiting your page has easy access to all your content and therefore your content has a much longer lifespan.
Why join, what will it get you? While I can’t answer that because it's different for everyone I can tell you that I’ve had a number of opportunities come my way because of Instagram - gallery representation, magazine features, new business contacts, free marketing from other Instagrammers with larger accounts which increase the number of followers I have, sales, new students and more.
It really is the ideal social media platform to share your work with the world. Keep in mind though that building a following will take time. You need to post regularly, ALWAYS use hashtags, ALWAYS use hashtags (have I mentioned using HASHTAGS?) and be social. It's called social media for a reason. That means commenting on other's posts, following them and thanking them when they leave a comment on yours. Yes, I know it’s time-consuming, but it’s also polite, it shows your followers you’re reading the comments they take time to leave you, it builds relationships with your audience (people love to buy art from someone they know) and Instgram’s algorithm will reward you by showing your post to more people. Instagram rewards engagement and the more you engage with your audience the better.
Will you sell tons of art on it? Probably not (though I have seen some artists sell really well there) or at least it won't happen right away. It's not the magic bullet answer for sales, nothing out there is. It will help you promote your name though and bring other opportunities your way plus, it's free, completely and utterly FREE marketing.
So go, create your account. Use your real name. Don't set your account to be a private account. Fill out your profile information, use a photo of your face (not a logo because people want to engage with YOU not your font), post photos of your art (not random bits from your life) and include a link to your website if you have one.
You'll be amazed at the new worlds you'll find on there! I've found things I didn't even know were a thing - and if you want to know what I'm talking about then the next time you're on Instagram do a search by the hashtag - #soapcutting. Watch out though, it’s highly addictive.
If you want to to follow me on Instagram look me up @kim_vanderhoek