Whether you love it or you hate it, social media is the best and worst tool to market your art today in 2017. The best because you have the potential to expose your art to millions of people, increase your visibility and grow your sales. The worst because, if used incorrectly, you may see little to no results or even results that are unfavorable. I’ve compiled 6 basic tips to help get you started and/or improve your Instagram as an artist.
Social media was first created as a social networking tool to stay connected with friends and family in a fun and easy way, but has since grown into a social marketing stratagem that can either make you a star or dilute you in the vast mass of artists.
1) Post high quality unfiltered photos of your art.
There are several photo editing apps that are super fun to use that provide hundreds of preset filters to give your photos an extra edge. However, with posting your art, you want the colors and hues to stay as true to its original form as possible. This is because you hopefully want someone to eventually purchase your art and they should never be deceived by an enhanced version.
Be sure to post high quality photos of your art. Imagine your social media feed on Instagram. I bet you usually scroll through your feed and like the photos that are most appealing. You have to think like your audience. Would you like a photo that is pixelated in poor lighting? No. In fact, you may even scroll right past it. You’d be drawn to a photo that has great composition, quality and lighting. It is totally okay to improve the colors of your art through photo editing if your photo dulls your art. Keep in mind, however, that you want to draw your audience in with your photos—have them stay a little while on your page and be so impressed that you earn their loyal subscription. This is the beauty of Instagram Marketing.
2) Make your content special.
Social media marketing is all about story-telling. You should be revealing a little bit about yourself and your story whenever you post something. Get in the habit of opening up and talking about your life through your art. Let your audience know what inspired you to create such a work of art. Think of ways to keep your audience invested in you. Help people to feel the same way you feel when you create your art.
The huge catch is, you’ve got to do this in 2-3 sentences or less. The attention span of your audience is 2 seconds before they move on to something else. Grab their attention quickly! This first starts with your photo and then they read your caption. Be sure your caption isn’t too lengthy and still represents who you are as an artist. If you’re funny, be funny. If you’re insightful, be insightful. If you’re poetic, be a poet. But first things first, always be genuine and true to who you are.
Other quick ways to make your content special: maybe choose a day out of the week where you release something unique. For example, you do a comedic art piece about tacos every Tuesday for “Taco Tuesdays” or paint/draw a celebrity that inspires you every Wednesday for “Midweek Mogul.” The cool thing about doing something like this is you can tag this celebrity and hash tag them in hopes that you can capture their fans or even their attention! Who knows what may come of it!
3) Know your target audience.
This is perhaps the most significant piece of advice that I will cover in this blog. You have to know who your target audience is. Your target audience is your meal ticket. You have to think about your identity as an artist and what this means for the people who may follow you. Once you understand the demographics of your target audience, you have to make sure you cater your posts to them. Your tone, the frequency of your posts, the colors, the fonts and the visual aspect of your grid are all things that matter so much to your target audience. If you know who they are, you know what they like and if you know what they like, it’s much easier to market to them. For example, if you feel your target audience are Millenials, you should do your research on what millenials are into. More specifically, if you think your target audience is into surfing and water activities, you need to hashtag something that relates to surfing and the beach (one of Instagram’s features is seeing how popular a particular hashtag is—be smart when choosing which hashtags to use). You may use hashtags like: #surftart, #hawaiiart, #surfartist, #hawaiiartist etc. Go beyond the obvious. Even if your art has nothing to do with stand up paddle boarding for example, it’s okay to explore hashtags that relate to that activity. You’re just trying to capture that audience, because they might take interest in your surf art.
Another great tip is to look at all the cool accounts you already follow on your Instagram. Pay attention to their Instagram and how they market their art. Spend some time looking through their followers and who they follow and engage with those accounts by liking their photos, commenting on their posts and giving them a follow. Hopefully, if you’ve spruced up your own account, they’ll do the same to you. This is a key way in increasing your following. This whole process takes lots of time, so be patient and don’t lose heart or get discouraged. It could be some time before you’ve gained some popularity. But the important thing to remember is it isn’t about how many followers you have. What truly matters is the quality of followers– people who can sincerely say they are a fan of your work.
4) Pay attention to your Instagram grid.
You want to post lots of photos of your art, yes. But you should also vary up your content. Once in a while, post a lifestyle photo. These are super fun because you can for sure use your photo editing apps to your heart’s content.
You also want to post progress photos of your art until it is completely finished. Use various angles, close ups, long shots to add to the variety of your grid. Make sure your grid looks cohesive.
Every photo should have the same type of feel—like it was meant to be a part of your grid. This is because, when a person happens upon your account, they will look at your grid and if it lacks togetherness and cohesiveness, they may not subscribe. The easiest way to achieve this is to choose a color scheme and stick to that. I’ve seen some great accounts that only use earth tones or pastels, or only blue tones…it’s completely up to you! Just make sure everything feels like it makes sense and all your posts are part of the same family. Pay close attention to the successful accounts you’ve followed and admire and how they’ve varied up their content without losing the cohesiveness of their grid. Chance are, they’re successful because they’ve got their Instagram Marketing on lock!
5) Engage with your fans.
Lets not forget the “social” aspect of social media. The reason why it works is because your followers feel a special type of connection with you. Your posts are live, in real time, and it’s their only opportunity to interact with you. You want them to feel heard, appreciated and loved by you. Be sure to respond to your followers, answering their questions, “liking” their comments and simply saying “thank you.” Acknowledgement goes a long way. Don’t be snooty! And don’t make it seem like you don’t have time for them. Ask your followers questions, do giveaways, host contests—give your followers a reason to want to see what you’re up to next.
Sidenote, Instagram and Facebook has merged and these social networks believe in engagement. The more you engage with your fans and the more attention your posts receives, the more likely it is that Instagram will push your post to the top of your followers’ feeds. Don’t sleep on this tip! It is SO essential that you interact with your fans!
Another form of engagement is opening up all of the hashtags you use and “liking” all of those photos in the hashtags. You may “like” someone’s photo that will take interest in your art and they may decide to follow you. But it first starts with giving them a little attention.
6) Be active and consistent.
The only way your fans will remember you is if you stay on their radar. That means, you have to be continuously creating art and sharing it with your fans on a regular basis. Be sure people understand what kind of artist you are right away from your posts. You should be starting off posting at least 4x a week just to build your fan base. Get to know your audience and test out times during the day when your posts receive the most engagement. As a general rule of thumb, early mornings around 7AM-8AM, right at noon and just before bed time are the times when people seem to be peaking/browsing on their phones. These would be ideal times to test your audience. Due to the new algorithm Facebook and Instagram has implemented last year and falling into this year, no matter what time you post, (once you’ve gained strong engagement) your posts will appear near the top of your follower’s newsfeeds IF and only if they’ve interacted somehow with your previous posts on a consistent basis. This is why being active and consistent is extremely important.
These tips are literally just the tip of the iceberg! There’s so much more to Instagram that I have yet to cover. Tune in to future blogs to help you improve your Instagram presence.
Was this blog helpful for you? Let me know in the comments below!