Today, it is more important than ever for artists to have an online presence in an increasingly digital world. Instagram is a platform that is tailored to artists because it is built all around visuals. Though a social media following doesn’t account for everything, it can be a useful tool when presenting your work for new exhibitions, applying to residencies, or collaborating on projects. If you have an already established following, your work and practice are given that much more credibility. Discover Singulart’s top tips on how to use Instagram strategically and reach new audiences with your art!
[Cover Image: Singulart artist Ania Hobson’s Instagram feed]
First of all, if you are looking to gain visibility and grow your audience, make sure that your privacy settings on your Instagram account are set to public. You need to make it as easy as possible for people to stumble upon your work, and this is not possible if your account is private.
Secondly, your description should be straightforward and get to the point- “Abstract artist from Paris, France,” for example. You should also include a direct link to either your personal website or online store (or Singulart page!) so that clients can find out where to acquire your work.
Develop a signature aesthetic
If you already have a signature aesthetic in your art practice, it will be easy to translate this to your Instagram feed. Accounts with a consistent visual style and pleasing content will certainly attract more attention. Always post high quality photos of your work and be consistent in the types of images you post. If you mix too many different types of images in a row, studio photos, artwork close ups, and exhibition promotion, it may look a bit messy. Try to think of your Instagram feed in series of threes, so that it maintains a professional appearance.
If you really want to go above and beyond, some Instagrammers post mosaic-style images where they fracture bigger photographs or paintings across multiple squares. Check out the example above of Singulart artist Jacqueline Suowari.
Harnessing the power of hashtags
Hashtags are necessary for any artist who wants to boost their visibility. They are keywords that are associated with posts, making it easier for new users to find your content. Think of it like a filing cabinet; if you’re an art lover and you want to see abstract expressionist paintings, you might search #abstractexpressionism on Instagram. All the posts that have been tagged with this label will show up, sorted by the most popular and the most recent. Instagram users can also follow hashtags directly so that when topics they enjoy pop up from new users, they can discover new accounts.
As an artist, it is important to use hashtags that are popular enough that people search them, but not too general to get lost. For example, choose hashtags that dive into the details of your work instead of using #art. Instagram allows you to use up to 30 hashtags on one post, but using this many hashtags tends to look like spam. We recommend that you use between 5 and 10 hashtags to increase your engagement, placing them at the end of your post after the caption.
Go beyond the canvas with Instagram TV
When it comes to any kind of art form, audiences love getting a sneak peek behind the scenes of how the work was created. Take the opportunity to make videos of your practice to give followers an exclusive look into the creative process. Instagram videos are limited to only 1 minute long clips, so using Instagram TV can be a great way to share longer videos and still have them appear on your feed as a normal post.
When is the best time to post?
Deciding when to share your post on Instagram is just as important as the content itself. Through your own Instagram statistics in your account, you can find out through the audience tab when your followers are most engaged with your posts. Using this to your advantage can boost your engagement as well as informing you about who your audience is and where they are from. In addition to analyzing your own statistics, you can also follow global posting trends using this graph.
Schedule your posts
To manage your time and schedule your posts, you can use applications like HootSuite. Unlike platforms like Facebook or Twitter, Instagram does not allow you to schedule posts ahead of time to upload automatically. With HootSuite, you can upload your image, caption, and hashtags in advance and get a notification when it’s time to push the content live on Instagram.
Engage with your followers
Engaging with your followers on Instagram is important to maintaining your online presence. This includes everything from responding to personal messages, comments, and actively engaging with other artists you admire. These types of actions could potentially lead to future collaborations and partnerships! If you did an artwork in collaboration with a brand, make sure to tag them in the post so they have the opportunity of reposting and sharing your work to their audience.
If you want to go above and beyond, you can even launch special projects like “giveaways” through Instagram where you can essentially raffle off an artwork to your followers. Giveaways usually work on the premise that your following will automatically grow based on the rules of participation. Usually to enter to win, participants must like or share the post, follow the account, and tag two friends in the comments.
Link products and online shop
Lastly, Instagram has smart tools that allow you to directly link products in your posts. This tool appears as a traditional tag, but can lead to an external link like an online shop where your followers can directly buy your work. Discover the example shown below of an artwork by Singulart artist Lesley Taylor.