Just because you post something on Instagram, it doesn’t mean anybody values it.
Despite best intentions, she struggled to see the value she provides to her followers on Instagram and how her posts connected to her goals.
Here’s a bit of the email she sent me:
My question is how to provide something meaningful or valuable to my followers or potential followers on Instagram. Valuable to me means a teaching moment, an inspiration, or something entertaining.
My goal is to sell my art and connect with other people in my field. I really don’t know if my posts have value. That makes me think that they really don’t. Any ideas?
Below is my answer to Karen, which is applicable to anybody with similar goals.
Start with your target audience and work backwards.
In this case, you have two target audiences: People likely to buy your art and fellow artists.
The question becomes, what can you post to provide value to them?
For the first audience — people who might buy your art — think about why they might buy it.
Besides the obvious (“they like it”), most people buy art because it resonates with them, inspires them, makes them happy, or they’re interested in decorating and feel it fits well in their design scheme.
Those are the things they value.
On Instagram, you provide value to them by fulfilling those desires. You share your art to give them a bit of inspiration and happiness in their feeds.
Here’s a way to better understand the specific value you provide to people — both on Instagram and off it.
To get a clearer sense of the value you provide, ask people who purchase your art or follow you on Instagram why they do so.
Their answers will teach you a lot.
Pay close attention to the words they use —patterns will emerge that clarify the unique value proposition of your work and Instagram posts.
Pay attention to why you follow other artists.
You provide a different value to the the second part of your target audience, fellow artists.
They might follow you to see your creative process, how you overcome struggles, how you approach and sell your work, where you find inspiration, and because they relate to the work you do.
Consider the artists you follow and the reasons why— what’s the value they provide to you?
Artists will follow you for the same reason you follow other artists. That’s the value you can provide them.
To further hone in on that value, think about what you wish some artist out there shared on social media and share that with your followers.
Do you wish they talked more about creative block? About their customers? That they showed more step-by-step explanations of their work?
Whatever it is, do that.
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