Currently, Instagram is one of the fastest growing social networks in the world, because of it’s visual nature it is also probably one of the most “artist” friendly social platforms.
You can use Instagram to connect with fellow artists or gain an international fan base.
Instagram Tips for Portrait Artists
First impressions last. Therefore, it is very important that your bio must be as complete as possible.
- Add a website link – whether it’s your official website, Facebook page, deviant profile etc. This makes it easier for potential customers or galleries to find you
- Include at least your Country Name in your description so that people have an idea where you come from.
- Do add a little bit description of yourself as an artist – whether you specialize in oil paintings or create art that is about gender perspectives.
- Add a visual attractive profile picture. Remember that every time you like or comment on other people’s posts this is one of the first things potential fans will see.
- Don’t make your artist profile private, potential followers first want to see your artworks before they consider whether or not they want to follow you.
Fans that are interested in your artworks, don’t mind selfies when it is relevant to your work or even artistic. However, when your profile is more littered with pictures of cats, food, selfies than your own work – they might get a little bit irritated and unfollow your profile. The best is to open a separate account for your “Artist” profile where you only share pictures, videos and any other things that are relevant to you as an artist.
Instagram has just over 300 Million Users and every day over 70 Million Photos/Video are uploaded. In that mass of Image overload, it makes it even more important to only post interesting & visually attractive imagery.
How to improve the content of your profile?
- Be Selective with your content – treat it the same way as you would do with your portfolio.
- Post Quality Photos. Use your Professional Camera. It is better to rather post 1 High-Quality Pic than 10 mediocre images. Images should not be blurry or too dark/light
- Mix up your content don’t just post photos of your finished products. Keep it interesting
- Have a specific goal in mind and think strategically on how you can achieve this via your Instagram account.
Content Ideas for portrait artists:
- Artworks or Things that Inspire you as an artist
- Events – Gallery Exhibition, Walkarounds, workshops, and other related events
- Accomplishments & Awards
- Work in Progress
- Inspirational Quotes
- Video Demonstrations
- Behind the Scenes & Studio Shots.
Unfortunately, when you are just starting out gaining followers can take a while. One of the best ways to makes the process as fast as possible is to be an active participant on Instagram. By engaging with other Instagrammers, you make them aware of your profile and this can lead to a potential new follower or (if you lucky) customer.
How to share the love?
- Be authentic in your captions. If you share your artwork, write a little bit about what inspired you or the story behind the artwork. People don’t want to just hear the normal sales pitch (title, medium, price). They want a glimpse of the artist’s mind. It doesn’t have to be long essays with art academic writing.
- Like other pictures/videos (be genuine)
- Give meaningful comments on pictures/videos that fascinate you
- Reply to comments on your pics/video. Even if it just saying a quick thank you or liking their comment. If somebody asks an insightful or interesting question – answer them
- Follow other people.
This will be based on each artist’s own strategy. We only follow relevant people to our industry, whether this is International Portrait Artists, Galleries, Museums or businesses that we can collaborate with.
Hashtags are one of the best ways to gain more potential followers, likes, comments and create an overall awareness of your profile. When you don’t use hashtags your posts can only reach your current followers, but with hashtags, you open this to a much wider audience. It is also a great way to search for other artists or galleries that create/share the type of art you aspire to.
Basic Tips around hashtags:
- It’s important to use the right hashtags. Try out different ones, until you find a few that works for you
- Start out with at least 6 – 10 Hashtags. You can downsize or add more until you find your perfect formula. You can add a maximum of up to 30 Hashtags
- It is also a good idea to maybe try out hashtags like #art in other languages like French or Spanish
- Do not add hashtags that are not relevant to your post. It looks spammy and can actually lead to less engagement as people block your profile to remove you from their searches
- Do use unique hashtags like your artist’s name or even one that you use as part of a campaign or competition. We use #livingportraitmaster or #saportrait for example.
Here are a few good hashtags to start off with:
If you already have followers on your Facebook Page or subscribers on your newsletter group – you should and must utilize your existing fanbase.
- Promote your Instagram Account on any of your other Social Media Platforms & Website
- Include it in your branding such as business cards, email signatures etc
- Promote it at your “stall” or “art gallery exhibition”
- Add it to the back or bottom of your artwork.
- Add it to any adverts or newspaper articles.
- If you meet a fan, tell them about it
There are many creative ways to promote your Instagram account
The best time to post is anytime between 6 am up to 9 pm. However, this isn’t a hard rule as it depends on your type of audience. Do try out different times and days to test what timeslots work the best for your type of art.
It is also important to keep your Instagram profile as active as possible. Quality is more important than quantity, but you should at least post something once a week or preferably once a day.
This tip depends on the type of art you create or your specific Instagram Strategy, it won’t necessarily work for all artists. However, the reality is that influencers like Celebrities or Galleries can provide quite a lot of exposure – the key is to find a creative way that will benefit both parties
A few collaboration Ideas:
- Collaborate with a musician to create some art illustrations for a video or album cover
- Create a portrait artwork of a celebrity/person that you admire and tag him/her. They might just share this with their followers
There are quite a few Instagram Accounts that provide platforms where they can share your art (if deemed good enough) to thousands if not millions of followers. Sometimes all you need to do is add a hashtag to your photo and other times you need to email it to them.
There are also quite a few Instagram Art competitions. All of these are great opportunities to get more exposure to your art.
People only like, comment or share art that they find personally appealing. Although people’s taste does vary, it is usually only the artworks with the most visual appeal, technical excellence or great visual narrative that will rise to the top.
Your nr 1 priority as an artist should always be to pursue excellence, dig deeper into your soul and strive to produce better art than your previous projects.
How to achieve excellence:
- Create art daily. The more you work on your craft, the better you will get
- Attend art workshops, work through Youtube Video Tutorials or try your hands on new art book techniques.
- Ask for critic. A person that is not personally attached to your artwork can usually give more objective critique. Sometimes it is small things like a little skewed angle or a too sharp edge
Other relevant links: