Instagram Tips for Artists: How to Grow Your Audience Online

We hear it all the time: “Market yourself. Get more followers. Widen your reach. Use social media to your advantage.” But what exactly does this look like for artists, and how can they turn these ideas into results?

In this article, we’re going to explore a few simple and actionable ways for you to grow your social media following, visually express your art unique practice, and generate sales.

Let’s get to it: here are some Instagram tips for artists.

1) Include Call to Actions in Your Post Captions

Including a call to action is always a good marketing practice no matter the platform. In your Instagram content, you want to give your followers an explicit call the action so that your posts spur them to do something and give them a concrete way to continue interacting with you.

Some examples of call to action are:

  • “What would you like to know about my artwork? Let me know in the comments!” This could be any genuine question.

  • “Click on the link in my bio to learn more!”

  • “Check out my story for a more in-depth look at my process.”

You could say a wide variety of things—just be yourself and authentic, so you don’t sound too sales-pitchy.

2) Use Relevant Hashtags

Hashtags are a big one—they are an effective way to further your reach on the platform. Hashtags will place your content in conceptual groupings so that they are discoverable outside of your current followers. There are free tools online for coming up with good hashtags for your posts.

It’s a good idea to use hashtags under one million posts as those are more saturated and harder to be discovered in. The lower number of posts a given hashtag has is better—you will appear for longer in the hashtag feed. Using a more common hashtag will cause your post to leave the hashtag feed quicker.

It is best to use all thirty of the allowed hashtags in your post. Just put a few of the hashtags in the post’s caption; place the rest of them in a comment below to avoid a cluttered look.

3) Interact With Your Audience in Your Instagram Stories

Your Story is a great place to interact with your followers without having to make a whole new post. If you’re not familiar, Stories are the circular icons that stay at the top of your feed—when you post to your Story, it’s only online for 24 hours.

There are different ways you can leverage your story engagement. One major one is to use “stickers,” which are basically widgets you can use to make polls, surveys, countdowns, and more. When users view your story, they can actually interact with it with stickers instead of just looking at it. For example, you could do an “Ask me anything” post, where you can directly answer questions from your followers about your upcoming exhibition, art process, and more. Stories are a great way to show your personality more casually and connect with your audience.

4) Use Carousel Posts

Carousel posts are simply posts with more than one photo or video. Instagram lets you add up to ten images or videos in one post, and they reportedly generate more engagement since there is more to look at. Typically a user will spend longer looking at your post since they need to scroll through the content.

Excellent use for carousel posts for artists could be the different steps in a certain work of art or a detailed look into your typical process. You could also highlight works that will be included in an upcoming exhibition.

5) Opt for an Instagram Business Account

Instagram offers a few different account types: personal, creator, and business.

If you’re an artist looking to use Instagram strategically, the business account is the best option. You get access to a number of useful features, including:

  • Analytics to see how your audience is reacting to your posts

  • Analytics to see how your account is doing overall (profile views, change in followers, website clicks, demographics of some of your followers)

  • You can promote posts

  • Access to Instagram Shopping—a feature that allows you to tag products in your post. For example, if you’re releasing something like a set of prints, you could tag that.

Ultimately, from a marketing point of view, a business account gives you an advantage. It is free to set up a business account! Note that it requires you to link to your business Facebook page in order to set it up.

6) Optimize Your Bio

Take advantage of your bio—this is just the space at the top of your profile showing people who you are. It’s a good idea to put a link in your bio so people can explore your website, email you, or view an article you’re featured in. However, you’re only allowed to put one link in your bio—we have a workaround for you though: LinkTree. Through LinkTree, you can connect with your followers with just one link. LinkTree basically compiles several links into one; you can then put that one link into your bio. So, when people click on the LinkTree link in your bio, they will see several links so you don’t have to limit yourself to just one. This serves as a great call to action, too!

7) Engage Back!

This applies to all of the above—make an effort to engage back in your comments, the above-mentioned Stories, and by commenting on other artists’ posts too! After posting something, try to keep up with the comments; when you reply to someone, they get a notification, which brings them back to your profile.

Take Advantage of All Instagram Has to Offer

Instagram is a valuable tool—making an account is free, and learning the ropes of the platform is pretty straightforward. It’s a great tool for inspiration, too; with so many artists on Instagram, there’s so much to discover and so many artists to (virtually) meet.

There are plenty of free resources and tools online to help you with things like hashtag research and other features of Instagram. A lot goes into driving online traffic, but you can absolutely share your art with a broader audience by following these steps!


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