Tips for Insta-success for Artists

August 20, 2020

Tips for Insta-success for Artists

Images are often the only way collectors see or experience our art unless we have open studio or gallery representation and this rings especially true for self represented artists where your online presence is integral to being 'discovered'.

It's up to us how we tell our story and share the voice behind each piece of art. The internet and your website are key to reaching a wider audience and it needs to showcase your art and show up as your 24/7 visual, virtual self.

Imagine a collector walks into your studio... what would you share with them? Which images or sketchbooks would you reveal? Which processes would you detail or show them? A good website takes the time to illustrate this and connect with your visitor through videos, audio, slideshows, images...

Your Instagram account is an ideal starting point and invites your followers over to your website to learn more about you in a curated space where you offer them the chance to experience your studio practice and connect with your art.

So lets start with some tips for creating good content and engagement on your Instagram account which will organically grow your following and generate more  leads to your website.

Elevate your Instagram feed
Produce beautiful clean images for your feed which reflect your overall vision of your art.  Only share images which directly relate to  your art or art practice - if walking your dog inspires a landscape painting, feel free to share a photo of your dog or the lansdscape and explain how it relates to art practice. But try and make 4 out of 6 squares should show your artwork whether that's a work in progress #wip, close up, sneak peak, full image, artwork in a setting or artist at  work. This creates a cohesive gallery which will attract followers to your art and keep them coming back to see more. Images should be clear and in focus and if you choose to use a filter, use them wisely to create a mood without distorting the true colours of your art. A really good tip is to plan one hour a week or every two weeks where photograph your current work in progress - snap pictures of yourself, your art, your studio, your tools, flat lays, still life and close ups. Then use an app like Plann, Planoly or Collecge makes like Photoshop Express to plan your grid. Doing things in batches like this will stop you worrying about what to share and whether you've snapped the right image. It will help create clearer, better images with a distinct feel and cohesivity.
Caption your work with storytelling
Instead of saying “8x10” watercolour painting of pink and purple flowers in a spring meadow” you can try “can you feel the gentle spring breeze on your face as you lose yourself amongst this rich, jewel toned meadow of flowers?”  You want to entice collectors to own your art to capture that story, that essence. Weave your vision, inspiration, truth and storytelling into your posts in a friendly way that resonates with a real person. If you struggle with this, imagine you're speaking to a friend. If you find typing out comment hard, experiment with a voice memo and just say  what comes naturally.

Use hashtags
The easiest way to find great hashtags is to search for different hashtags which relate to your work or theme. Check out the related posts and if they fit, use the hashtag. 50k -500k are good ones to pick plus a few others with a greater following. You can use a mix of hashtags: for a niche following choose ones like #gloucestershireartists or #contemporaryart; broader terms like #colourinspo or #calledtobecreative or target followers of a local news or tourist board like @visitdeanwye or @gloucestershirelive #DeanWye when promoting an event or launch.

Share videos
Sharing videos has just become easier and fun with IG Stories and Reels. They're short, easy to prepare and fun to create with a good supply of music, text and GIF overlays. Share video clips panning over your art work or showing you creating. Videos of artists at work get seen by so many and are a huge success so prop your phone next to you, select timelapse and hit record! It couldn't be  easier to give your collectors a quick insight into your process. For longer videos or slideshows, use IGTV to upload the full length. We all love to see the creative process!
Instagram Stories
Instagram stories has been huge! They are often more personal and spontaneous and disappear within 24hrs. You can share the day to day stuff behind the scenes including processes, inpiriration or work in progress. They are a good way of sharing your personal artist journey rather than the final piece. They're also an incredibly useful marketing tool to build intetrest in an event or collection launch by sharing specifics like launch date, sizes, prices and sneak peaks of your artwork to build anticipation and interest. And they can also be incredibly successful as flash sales, studio sales or stories-only releases where the buyers simply DM to purchase. As a basic, you can simply share your latest post to your stories using the paper aeroplane symbol and add some fun GIFs. Again, try to ensure your stories stay on point by relating to your art practice. Sharing 5-15 stories a day is a good target.

Be consistent
Everyone moans about the algorithms, about posts not being seen but you can do something about ensuring visibility of your brand/ work by consistently showing up. Train your audience what to expect from you. If  you only post every 3 days that's fine. If you're so prolific, have lots of images to share and the stamina to match, then post daily.  There's no right or wrong but if you disappear from burn out (which often happens with social media overload) then your post visibility is likely tto suffer. So find out what works for you and be consistent.

Engagement breeds engagement
To be seen you need to show that you're a human interacting and not a robot or auto-poster (like an app like Plann or Hootsuite). Post your image then spend some time interacting within IG. 10- 20 mins is a good amount but if that seems too daunting try this, remembering to use 4 words or symbols when you respond:

  • Comment on 5 posts from accounts you're following
  • Comment on 5 posts from accounts who follow you
  • Comment on 5 stories or reels
  • Comment on 5 posts under a hashtag that relates to your art or what your ideal customer is searching for or interested in (ex. #interiordesign or #coastaldecor).
  • Share others people's posts to your stories using the paper aeroplane symbol making sure you use the stories 'Mention' feature to tag them (only those that relate to your art practice)


Give it a try and see if you start to notice a difference and be sure to let me know how you get on or if you have further tips to add!

Leave a comment

Comments will be approved before showing up.

Also in Home Style Inspo

Studio News Sept 18th 2023 Summer Roundup
Studio News Sept 18th 2023 Summer Roundup

October 17, 2023

It's been a busy summer season moving the studio home so come take a peak and see what's happening!

Continue Reading

Studio News Oct 11th 2023
Studio News Oct 11th 2023

October 17, 2023

It may be Autumn outside but it's sunshine and rainbows here in the studio. Plus get your FREE digital wallpaper!

Continue Reading

Permission to play
Permission to play

May 31, 2023

Discover how I've overcome creative block by giving myself permission to play!

Continue Reading