The Warrior Artist Podcast, Episode 4 Show Notes, Instagram tips for artists

Instagram is still one of the best ways for artists to share their work and be seen. Host Éadaoin Glynn shares 18 quick and easy tips for artists that you can implement immediately to up your Instagram game!

There are two sides to being an artist:

  • You want to spend as much time as you can creating work, investing in your learning and development and getting as good a you can.
  • You also need to put your work out into the world, if you want it to be seen, to be discovered. This is where Instagram can help.

Why should artists bother with Instagram?

  • Instagram is a visual platform. This is perfect for artists as we are visual with so much content that’s easy to share (e.g. paintings!).
  • Instagram is where people can find you and you can find people (collectors, galleries, artists, fans).

Why do people use Instagram?

  • For distraction and escapism – they like to look at beautiful things, like art, interiors, fashion, travel. Think of it as a beautiful magazine.
  • For community – it’s a way of connecting and finding artists.  I’ve made artist friends on instagram, some of whom I met in real life afterwards!
  • For entertainment and to learn. Think painting process videos!

Here are Éadaoin’s 18 quick and easy tips for artists that you can implement now!

  1. Don’t worry about how many followers you have and the ‘algorithm’.  Engagement is more important than how many followers you have. Forget about all the talk about the ‘algorithm’ – Instagram is always changing. Engaged followers are people who regularly comment, share, engage and love your work. Say NO to any offers to ‘buy’ followers. These are fake bots, not real engaged people.
  2. If you want to be found make sure you have a public account -not private. Think about security and reduce the risk of being hacked. Implement Instagram’s two-factor authentication.

3. Your Instagram handle or username (e.g. @eadaoin_glynn) and your photo. Make sure your actual name is somewhere, either as the ‘username’ or ‘name’ so people can search for you. It’s easy to change it. Click on ‘edit profile’. You can change it once every 10 days and everyone who follows you already will automatically still see you. You can easily edit or change your picture any time you like.

4. Your bio appears under your name and picture. It’s easy to change and update it as often as you like. Click on ‘edit profile’ to do this. Don’t make it too long as it takes up more space on someone’s phone screen (and they see less of your grid images).

5. Instagram gives you one link for free.  This is so powerful as anyone can click on it and leave instagram. Use it! Make sure you have a link to your website or somewhere where your work can be seen. If you want to share several links you can use something like linktr.ee which is a free way of sharing several links. Don’t copy and paste a long URL into your bio or a post as no one can click it. Either swap your live link in your bio or set up linktr.ee or similar to share multiple links.

6. Develop your Instagram voice. Share what you’re comfortable with.  But remember it’s not a formal exhibition in a gallery. You can be intimate and vulnerable. You can show work in progress, you can let people get to know you, the person behind the painting.

7. Be consistent.  Show up on Instagram. Share. Even if you’re not posting about your art, you can always share something of your day or share other artists or things that inspire you.

8. Manage your time. Don’t spend too long scrolling.  I spend very little time on Instagram but I maximise my time. I aim to share something and maybe spend 2-3 minutes commenting on artists I follow.

9. Post ideas for artists – a painting, your studio, you holding a painting, palette, paints, brushes, tools. Posts stay on your ‘grid’. It’s like a gallery or a mini website. Try and make it look good and represent your work. Archive any posts you don’t like any more.

10. Hashtags: Instagram allows you a maximum of 30. Apparently they are not so important anymore but they are still worth including. People still follow certain hashtags and it is a way of being found. Try adding a few but make sure they are smaller hashtags.

11. Always add the location to a post. People follow locations and they can discover you. It also adds a layer or interest and lets people know where you are. You can use a geographical location (e.g Ireland, Dublin) or something evocative ( e.g ‘ in my heart’ ‘in my studio’ ).

12. Check and reply to your comments.   When you make a post, make sure to check later that day and reply to any comments. Say thank you!

13. Stories are the circles at the top of your feed of everyone you’re following. The circle goes red when they share a new story. They are less formal than your grid posts. They disappear after 24 hours. This is where you can be more casual and intimate and let people into your life a little. You can share videos of your studio, what’s inspiring you, books you’re reading, exhibitions you attend, etc.

14. When you share a story, Instagram gives you the option of saving it as a highlight. Highlights are the little circles at the top of grid under your bio. Think of saving stories for ease of reference for someone to flick through in the future. You can save up to 100 stories in a highlight. Don’t forget to edit the name of the highlight and give it a label (e.g. exhibitions, inspiration, my studio, testimonials)

15. Reels – video is powerful.  We’re naturally attracted to moving images and Instagram will share your Reels to people who don’t already follow you. Making a time-lapse video of a painting session is the easiest way for an artist to experiment with a reel, and then add some music.

16. Reel cover – just before you publish, Instagram allows you to select a cover. You can choose a still image from your video or select a photo from your camera roll. This cover is what people see first before they decide to click. Don’t forget to check how the image looks in your grid post and adjust if you need.

17. Community – be supportive of others. Don’t just like a post, take 30 seconds to write a quick comment, follow other artists, share their posts to your stories, share exhibitions and tag them. Curate who you follow so you enjoy your Instagram experience. Block any spam or negativity.

18. Learn by doing .  Instagram is always changing.  Pick one or two of these suggestions to experiment with. Don’t overthink it, forget about being perfect and try them out. It will get quicker and easier with practice. Remember have fun with it!

I hope you found this useful.  Let me know what suggestions you implemented and what happened!

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