Instagram, the Ultimate Tool for Artists.

In this media driven society, the artists should get in on the action.

In the past, artists have been at the mercy of the institutions, galleries, collectors and critics. But with this new social media landscape there is a possibility for the artists to be much more independent. I would argue that setting up an Instagram account is now more important for artists than having a homepage. I mean you should still have a homepage. But in 2017 your main focus online, should be on Instagram.

What works for artists on Instagram? Even with the new algorithm that was implemented, last year, that made it harder for new accounts to grow. It’s still possible to get followers.

Why should you, as an artist, care about followers on Instagram?

  1. With followers comes power. Power to sell work. Power to help other artists. Power to bring attention to your exhibitions and work.
  2. The independence. There is a shift in power in your relation to other players like galleries or museums. They want, what you now have. The attention of he public.
  3. You can now sell work online rather being totally dependent on a gallery or a few collectors.
  4. It gives your audience a sense of being closer to you. Which in the long run can translate over to more sales.
  5. Your community online has a much broader reach than local galleries.

But getting real, engaged followers is not easy.

Your approach should be as original as the art you are trying to sell. You should also remember that of Instagrams 400 million daily users, 90% are under the age of 35.

How should you approach setting up your Insta account as an artist?

First a few basics:

  1. Post every day(not a must, but be consistent and remember more is better).
  2. Be engaged with other accounts.
  3. Do not be boring.
  4. Use your real name as account name(makes it easier for people to find you.)
  5. Find a distinct thumbnail picture.
  6. Don’t be too serious when writing your bio. Link to your gallery or homepage at the bottom.
  7. Link to other artists and galleries when posting.
  8. Write your tags in a comment section below(Just looks better).
  9. Use the right tags. They are the foundation for your instagram community/subculture.

So what is important when trying to create your Instagram persona?

  1. Do not be too shy. If you’re not willing to give something of yourself, it will be hard to attract followers.
  2. Personal is better. Don’t leave too much distance between you and your followers.(But don’t tag every location you visit either.)
  3. A mix between posting from the life you lead and the art you make is a good formula.
  4. People want to see artists living successful, free lives. That an alternative, to the life they lead, is possible.
  5. Keep your freak flag high.
  6. Look to other accounts for inspiration.
  7. Know your stats! Use Iconosquare or similar tools to find out who your followers are and how to get more.
  8. It’s important to be realistic when planning your strategy and have the willingness to put in the hours. It needs to be part of your daily routine and hopefully an enjoyable part too.
  9. Some art genres do better than other. I have seen figurative painting getting much attention and also certain type of sculpture. Video art is a hard sell though. The important thing is to stand out. Be the unicorn!
From @themostfamousartist on Instagram.

So what is a good number of followers for an artist. I mean we are not talking about movie stars or reality stars here. Numbers from 20,000 followers and up is a force to be reckoned with. But we are talking about real engaged followers here. With 500+ likes per post. In the future I hope we see artist accounts competing with big celebrity accounts. That would signal a new and improved role for artists in society.

Any thoughts, please let me know.