Social Media is a powerful force and a really significant one for artists who want to promote themselves and their work. Profiles offer free advertising that can get you seen globally if you do it well, but since everyone is using these platforms, it is important to know how to stand out from the crowd. Instagram is now the biggest social media platform and one of the best for artists because of its visual nature. So if you are looking to get started on Instagram then check out our tips on how to make a great profile:
1) Decide what your focus will be
The best profiles are focused and specific. This means that it is a good idea to keep separate accounts for your personal images and your artistic ones – it makes the page look clean and professional, and it also means your followers are seeing what they want to see. Thankfully this is easy to do now since you can be logged into multiple accounts from the same app. If you have a variety of art forms which you want to show case it might even be worth setting up different accounts for each, but make sure you know before you get started.
2) Build your brand
The first thing you have to do when you set up an account is decide on a name, so you will have to pick the one thing that everyone will identify you with straight away. If this is a professional account then you are really building a brand, even if you aren't selling. Think about a name that captures your work well – don't worry about it not being your name, you can have this in the bio.
3) Think about content
What do you want to post – examples of your work? Or the process in action? What filters will you use? A variety of content and styles can keep things interesting but can also distract from the overall concept and feel of the profile. The type of content you post may change as your own art develops and that's a good thing too, people want to see the journey you have come on, but day-to-day it is all about being consistent.
4) Post regularly
You may only do your art once a week but you will want to post photos more often than that. Build up a bank of content then schedule your posts using an app like Hootsuite. This means you can plan content in advance, optimise it for the best time and you don't have to be on your phone all of the time. Schedule your posts for the week then kick back and relax.
5) Get seen
The best way to get seen on Instagram and gain followers is to use hashtags. Make sure they are relevant to people who might be interested in your work as these are the people who will follow you. It may take some time to investigate which hashtags are right for you and the image which you want to build so it is good to explore!
6) Engage with people
If people follow you, like or comment then talk to them. It is a really good way to keep their interest in you up and sometimes it is just as simple as saying thanks. Also comment on other people's work too if you like something you find, it is a great way to network and build up support and followers.
7) Use different media
Instagram is optimised for photos but it also supports other types of media which might suit your artwork. While images are great for visual artists, if you are a performer you might want to make use of videos more (and find a willing cameraman!). It is all about what works for you and your art form so experiment and see what works best.
8) Explore other profiles
This is a great way to investigate what is going on to help you decide how you might want to use Instagram. What are your favourite artists doing? What are popular profiles posting? You shouldn't copy these but it can help to give you some inspiration.
Not everything you post will work but that is ok, it is important to experiment and try new things to keep your profile interesting and exciting. Sometimes a new style of post will really work and sometimes it won't, but thankfully social media moves quickly so it isn't a disaster. However, if you realise something was a really terrible idea then there is always a delete button too.
10) Have fun
Instagram is just another way of expressing your art and being creative, so don't let it turn into a chore. Use the features it offers as an artistic tool and see what it can do for your work.
To get you kick-started check out some of the artists who I love on Instagram:
A talented poet, Rupi Kaur posts images of her printed works on white paper, making for sleek and fresh looking page full of beautiful words
Ali Jardine combines photography with impressive digital media skills to make fairy-tale like images which will make you feel like you have fallen into wonderland.
A New York Times dance photographer, Andrea Mohin illustrates how you can capture performance art with her striking images of ballet dancers.
While he hasn't posted much, even Banksy has Instagram and his images really capture the style of his work. I'm still holding out for him to post some more!