If you want to reach more people with your art, then you need to get on Instagram! As a visual social media platform, it’s ideal for artists who want to share their art and grow their reach.
So, if you haven’t created your Instagram art account yet, you’re missing a trick! There’s so much potential to gain a larger following through Instagram. And that can convert into more customers, sales, gallery features, and more.
But it’s not just as simple as setting up an account and posting photos here and there. The best digital artists on Instagram are popular because they know what they’re doing.
So, you’ll need a strategy to get your art noticed on Instagram. There are so many creators there that it’s essential to stand out from the crowd. Plus, you’ll need to work with the Instagram algorithm and create content that will lead to more followers.
Let’s dig into these Instagram tips for artists!
Is Instagram Good For Artists?
Instagram is a unique opportunity for artists. Becoming a successful visual artist used to rely on having connections high up. So, if you didn’t come from a well-connected family with money, it was harder to get started.
There were few opportunities to get your art in front of people and build your reputation. But now, you can harness the power of Instagram.
You could potentially get your art in front of thousands of people (or even millions if you go viral!) With around one billion Instagram users, it would be silly to ignore this platform.
Beautiful, high-quality images are what it’s all about on Instagram. So, it lends itself perfectly as a platform to share your artwork. That’s true for everything from digital art to watercolors, sketches, and even comic art.
Instagram creates opportunities for all sorts of artists to reach their target audience. As a result, finding success as an artist is more accessible.
Read on to discover my top tips for how to use Instagram as an artist.
10 Top Instagram Tips for Artists
1. Create a Professional Instagram Account for Your Art
The first step is to create a dedicated account for your painting or sculpture. That means keeping your personal and professional life separate.
Because as you grow your account, you don’t want people to see a messy, confusing Instagram grid.
Imagine this scenario. You share a post with one of your best pieces of artwork. It’s beautiful and starts getting more and more views. People love it and want to see more of your art, so they click through to your profile.
But then, they see a mish-mash of what you had for lunch and snaps from your last vacation. They have to hunt through to find your artwork and designs.
This is not what you want to happen! You want your Instagram account to provide value to your followers. It should be professional and on topic – so that means art-related stuff only. (There is one exception to this rule – more on that below!)
So, it’s best to start as you mean to go on. Set up a new account with a clear and memorable name. It doesn’t need to be clever or snappy, either.
It’s better to keep it art-related, so people know what your account is all about. Avoid any underscores and other punctuation or numbers, so it looks clean and is easy to type.
I would recommend going for a business account from the beginning. With a business account, you get advanced features like analytics and insights. So, you can see what’s resonating with your audience and what’s not working so well.
2. How to Upload Digital Art to Instagram
Now, you’ve got your account set up. The next step is to post something on it!
It’s very simple and straightforward to upload content on Instagram. You can do it from your smartphone or laptop, whichever is easiest for you.
Check out this simple guide to get started! This tutorial mentions posting photos, videos, and Instagram Stories. I’ll share more on each of these types of Instagram content in detail below, so keep reading.
You can also use an Instagram scheduler to post content to Instagram. There are lots of different Instagram tools out there, both free and paid.
These tools let you schedule out content weeks or months in advance. That’s helpful if you want to batch create content or make sure you post consistently. It takes less time and is a key step to growing a successful Instagram account.
3. Optimize Your Bio & Add a Link
This step is about making your Instagram profile more user-friendly. So, when people land on it, they know straight away what your account is all about and what it has to offer them.
Below your account name, you’ll find your Instagram bio. This is where you share who you are and what you do. You should keep it concise, specific, and easy to use.
I would recommend keeping your bio to three lines or fewer. You can add in emojis to make it eye-catching and break up the text. Try to pick emojis that make sense in context, e.g., the paintbrush if you’re a painter!
Another essential is to have a link in your bio. It will appear right under your bio, and that way, you can direct people to your website or online shop. That’s another reason to keep your bio short. If it’s too many lines, your link can get hidden.
Add a clear call to action directing people towards the link. For example, it could be as simple as ‘See more of my art here!’
You can only have one link in your Instagram bio. But if you have more than one link you’d like to include, you can use a service like Linktree. It creates a customizable page where you can have as many links as you like. Make sure to label each of these links clearly, because people are unlikely to click on a random link.
4. Make Your Instagram Grid Look Gorgeous
I’ve covered all the technical aspects of setting up your profile. So now, it’s time to look at your Instagram grid.
When it comes to your grid, it’s most important that it looks visually appealing. You want to use images that are as high-quality as possible. So, it’s also worth taking time to brush up on your photography skills (and maybe even invest in a better camera!)
All your images need to come together cohesively and balance out the grid. That means not having too many busy photos right next to each other.
Make sure to have some white space in there. For example, calm images with light backgrounds can balance out bright, busy artwork.
Another option is to sprinkle in some quote graphics to mix it up. Because sometimes, less is more.
Crucially, you want to think about the overall aesthetic of your Instagram account. Is it fresh and light, bright and bold, or dark and moody? Of course, it will need to fit with your unique art style.
Then, try to keep your grid consistent and fit with that aesthetic. It’s a good idea to plan out your grid and visualize how it will look before you post. That’s another reason why batch scheduling is a good idea.
Tools like Later offer a visual Instagram planner, so you can see how it will look. Then, you can shift posts around for the best layout.
Here are some ideas for the kinds of content and images you can post:
- Complete artworks
- Sneak peeks of what you’re working on
- A tour of your studio
- Your desk with a work in progress
- Pencil sketches
- A photo of you holding your artwork up
- Photos of you working
- The inspiration behind your artwork
While you may want to focus on your art, people like to see photos of the person behind the account, too. It may feel scary to show your face, but personal posts tend to get more engagement. So, try to plan a few photos of yourself in your grid. It’s also a great opportunity to introduce yourself to new followers!
5. Do Competitor Research
While you’re working on your account, you may find yourself lacking in ideas or inspiration. A clever tactic is to do some research into what your competitors are doing.
If you already know of fellow artists on Instagram, look and see what they’re posting on Instagram. You can get some ideas and see what’s working well (and not so well) for them.
I would never suggest copying someone else’s content. But you could get some fresh ideas for how you can present your own work.
It’s also interesting to see if your competitors use calls to action and hashtags in their posts.
6. Consistency Over Quantity: Choose a Schedule and Stick to it
When you first start posting to Instagram, it can feel new and exciting. But soon, it may start to feel like one other thing on your to-do list.
I would recommend thinking about how often you can realistically post to Instagram. Then, factor in the time it takes to create that content and engage on your account.
While posting regularly is effective, you don’t have to post every single day. What’s more important is choosing a schedule and sticking to it.
If you decide you can only post once a week, that’s also okay. But try to choose a regular day and time and keep to that consistency. As a result, Instagram will reward you, and your followers will know when you post.
Here’s another tip that’s key for Instagram businesses and influencers. Make sure to use hashtags!
Hashtags are a fantastic way to get your artwork in front of new faces. That’s because Instagram will show your posts to people following those hashtags.
Picking the right hashtags is vital here. You want to pick out hashtags that your target audience follows. But you also need to choose the right size hashtags. If you go for hashtags that have too many posts, your photo will get pushed down too quickly, and no one will ever see it.
If you want to reach people in your local area, make sure to find out and use popular local hashtags. That will ensure that the right people see your content!
It’s worth spending a little time researching the best hashtags. Check out which hashtags your competitors use – especially if they are doing well on Instagram!
But here’s a little secret: The recommended number of hashtags changes all the time. So, don’t stress too much about your hashtag strategy.
8. Engage with your Followers
Don’t forget another key point – social media is meant to be social! So make sure to interact with people and make real, genuine connections.
It’s recommended to engage for at least 15 minutes after posting is recommended, but up to 30 minutes is even more effective. So don’t just hit post and run!
So, what should you spend this time doing? First of all, you should reply to any comments you get. It shows people that you’re interested and that there’s a real person behind the account.
The first hour after posting is crucial for the Instagram algorithm. The more engagements you get in this time, the more Instagram will show your post to other people.
If you get a new follow from someone, click over to their account and leave them a nice comment. Make sure that it’s meaningful instead of spammy.
Or, you could send them a little message to get to know them and thank them for the follow. The crucial point here is to personalize this message.
You can also do this for anyone who likes your content but doesn’t comment. Try to find a common factor that connects you both – even if it’s a cute puppy you can comment on!
Even if you use a scripted message, make sure to tweak it a little for each person. Don’t forget to address them by their name and ask them a question. For example, who is their favorite artist, or how they came to find you on Instagram?
By making these personal connections, people will remember you. And they’re more likely not only to see your content but also to engage with it positively.
9. Staying on Top of the Trends: Use Instagram Reels and Stories
You might have seen that Instagram isn’t just a photo-sharing platform now. And that’s obvious, as the new Instagram algorithm is really pushing Instagram Reels.
As of now, Reels are the most popular type of content on Instagram. That’s especially true if you’re trying to grow your account or reach new people.
Instagram wants people to create this kind of binge-able video content. So, if you post Reels, they will reward you by showing them to many more people than your average photo. It becomes a snowball effect, where the more often you post Reels, the more people will see them.
What does that mean for you? The short answer is that you should seriously consider creating Reels. This type of content has the potential to go viral, so brands are making it a key part of their Instagram strategy. For example, Later has seen their engagement climb by 280% since using Reels.
Reels are short videos that are often entertaining, informative, or inspiring. They tend to be short and snappy, and the trends move so fast that it’s hard to keep up.
But visual content can also work well in this format. A time-lapse of an artwork from start to finish can be super satisfying to watch.
You can’t fit in a lot of content in 10-15 seconds, so keep your Reels simple. Choose trending audio, and your Reel might just take off.
Batch-creating Reels can save a lot of time, and I’d recommend using an app like InShot. This free app is much smoother and less glitchy than the actual Instagram app. You only need very basic video editing skills, and there are lots of tutorials online. Then, upload your Reel to Instagram and add your music, and it’s ready to post.
Check out this video for some tips on making your first Reel:
One last Reels tip is to keep an eye on the latest trends. And if possible, try to respond to them with your own version from an artist’s perspective. Take inspiration from other small businesses and see how they’re using Reels, too!
10. Use Instagram Stories to Connect More with Followers
There’s one other content format you should know about. Instagram Stories are short video snippets that stay on the app for up to 24 hours. They tend to be more down-to-earth and relatable rather than polished.
Using Instagram Stories is a great way to give people a sneak peek into your life as an artist. You can share some personal things here (so long as it’s not too personal!).
Plus, it’s a fantastic opportunity to walk people through your creative process. You can keep them up to date on what you’re working on (and when it’s ready to hit your store!)
While Stories can still be seen as a marketing tool, their real value is in the connection they create. If you post regularly, people feel like they get to know you, building up that customer loyalty.
Bonus Tip: When posting Stories, include the engagement stickers like polls and sliders. These fun, interactive tools show Instagram that people are interested in your content.
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The Wrap Up
Instagram could be a crucial tool for becoming a successful artist. Whether you use it to sell your art online or just give your reputation a boost is up to you.
But this social media platform has so much to offer budding (and even established) artists. Especially if you know how to make the most of it. And with this simple guide, you should be off to a strong start!
So, how are you feeling about posting your art on Instagram? Let me know how it goes, and feel free to post your Instagram art handle here, too.
Then, make sure to follow me on Pinterest. That’s where I’ll keep you up to date on all the latest trends, tips, and guides for creative professionals!