The question I have been getting from artists is why do I need Instagram? It’s easy for the young emerging creative to understand the benefits of Instagram, so this blog post is not directed at you millennials! This post outlines the benefits of using visual-based social media to enhance your art outreach online.
1. Instagram is designed with artists in mind
Instagram is a visual-based social network that utilizes images to be the driving content, basically, it’s an app to share photos and videos. This means the images you post are what is generating your social following. Artists have a wide base of visual imagery to share which is why this social network is perfect for artists and creators. While it can seem easy to post photos of your artwork, think about sharing your work in progress, close-ups, your creative space or studio, and more. Think about showing your creative lifestyle and process as opposed to just final works of art.
2. Galleries, curators, and artists already use Instagram
If you not on Instagram, you’re late in the game. What does that mean? Well, some people have obviously been on Instagram since it started back in 2010. Some accounts are in the millions as far as followers! Many galleries, curators, art magazines, museums, and non-profits are already on Instagram and use it to scope out other artists and opportunities. Go ahead, look up some of your favorites, I bet you will find them utilizing this form of social media. What’s also great about seeing out-of-state galleries online is being able to get a sense of the type of work they exhibit without needing to travel to their space. Besides galleries and museums, it’s a great way to connect to other artists and organizations you want to partner or collaborate with.
Instagram is just as essential as Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. Get this app in your repertoire of social networks. Instagram also makes it really easy to share the photos you post on to the other networks to help boost your various marketings and followings. You can use it to leverage or fuel certain projects or help build your audience with the following from a different network.
4. Easy to use
Instagram is mainly a photo-based app that has minimal focus on written content (captions). The hashtags are pretty easy to get on board with. Not great at taking images? The filters make any novice photographer look like a professional. You also don’t have to be a photographer to make Instagram successful for you. If you can point and click and understand basic guidelines of composition you will be successful with this app as a marketing tool for your art.
What also makes it easy is the point, shoot and upload feature of the app. This means taking a quick snapshot on your cell phone and publishing it on your Instagram can help build your art career.
5. Many novice, emerging, or unknown artists are building a large following through Instagram
If a dog can become famous on Instagram and have hundreds of thousands of followers (and most likely generate some additional income) then why not take a chance on posting a few photos. Many unknown artists and influencers have become well-known, and make a living off of their Instagram accounts. There is everyone from novice beginners to professionals on Instagram, so why not try it out!
6. Connect with your audience / build a following
Sometimes its hard to figure out who your audience is. Instagram tells you how many people follow you and you can view their account. Because of that feature, you can get a view into who your customer is, who likes your art, what they are into, and other demographics that can help inform business decisions.
7. Generate sales
Believe it or not, you can generate sales through Instagram. While the app is actually designing a way to make a real sale through the app, you can post art for sale on Instagram and partner with an e-commerce site like PayPal to complete payment. Once Instagram formally releases their “shop” function it will be a great update. You can use your Instagram to direct traffic to your Square Space or Etsy shop also.
If you transition your Instagram account into a business account, you can view Insights. This provides more detailed information about the success and reach of each photo that you post.
If you are still debating on whether or not Instagram is for you, I would suggest downloading it to secure your username for safekeeping. I would start to follow artists and galleries to see what others are posing (this will give you a feel for what you should post.) If you need help, reach out to a consultant, social media company, or even a younger artist who can either walk you through it or post on your behalf until you get the hang of it. You can always get a book or Instagram guideline to help too.
General Guidelines: Here are some basic guidelines to help you get your first posts started:
1. Keep composition, pace, and quality in mind, no blurry or grainy photos (even if you really like the photo), and post consistently even if its not every day
2. Build your followers authentically, never say or post I’ll follow you if you follow me. Don’t pay for followers (they are probably fake accounts anyways).
3. Stick to a filer and use it consistently, don’t get wacky with your filter and photo editing apps
4. Curate your photos – take down anything too cheesy, sales-focused or that diverts from the look of your Instagram page.
5. Like and comment on other photos, it will help build your following by interacting with other Instagrammers
6. Need some Instagram ideas? Pinterest has lots of post inspirations to get the creativity flowing!
7. Utilize hashtags to help identify your message on a certain topic (much like a tag on a blog)