Getting Started On Instagram As A Fine Artist Today

Today we’ll dive into a topic that feels trickier than ever: how to get started on Instagram as a fine artist. 

We all know Instagram can be a powerful tool for showcasing your work and connecting with collectors, but it can also be a very frustrating experience, and using it successfully will undoubtedly take some serious time and effort. I feel like it’s important to decide upfront how you want to use the platform. Do you want to invest a good deal of time creating and posting content, interacting with other accounts, and building an audience? Or do you want to use Instagram more as a living portfolio and invest more time into building your collector base in other ways?

Let’s explore both approaches and see which one might be the best fit for you.

Regardless of your approach, setting up your Instagram profile correctly is key. Choose a clear, professional profile picture—ideally, one of you with your artwork. Your bio is searchable and should highlight who you are, what kind of art you create, and any relevant links, like your website or online store. 

Building an audience

If you decide to focus on building an audience with Instagram, you’ll need a solid content strategy. This means posting consistently and - at the time of this recording - focusing on Reels to grow your reach. In your reels, you can focus on sharing your process, studio space, and works in progress. You should also show high-quality images and video of your completed artwork. Use the captions of your reels to share stories and insights about your artistic journey and inspirations. In your stories you can use polls, Q&A sessions, and live streams to engage with your audience directly. 

Remember to use trending audio to increase your visibility, fill your captions with keywords that collectors might be searching for, and engage with other artists and art enthusiasts by liking, commenting, and sharing their posts. You should be posting every day and spending 15-20 minutes engaging with others. 

Instagram has great built-in analytics to track your performance. You just need to have your account set up as a business or creator account to use them. Insights can show you which posts are performing best, what times your audience is most active, and how people are finding your profile. You can then use this data to refine your strategy and give your audience more of what they like.

Now, if this sounds fun and exciting to you - awesome. I love to see artists really utilizing Instagram and growing their reach there. But for some artists (myself included) this consistent effort is more than we can or want to keep up with. If that’s you consider taking this second “portfolio” approach.

Utilizing it as a portfolio

If you decide to use Instagram primarily as a portfolio, your focus should be on maintaining a clean, cohesive feed that showcases your best work. Quality over quantity is key here. Each post should be a high-quality image of your art or a photo or video of your studio process, with thoughtful captions that provide context or share the story behind the piece. Aim to post once or twice a week.

Using Instagram as a portfolio means you’ll spend less time creating content and engagement and a lot more time building your audience through other channels. Essentially you will be spending your time reaching out and building relationships with people who can help grow your audience for you. It’s a strategy that has worked well for me.

Remember that no matter which approach you choose, engaging with your audience is really important. Make sure you respond to comments and messages, thank people for their support, and show appreciation for those who share your work. Instagram can be a lovely place to build community regardless of how active you are. And building genuine relationships can lead to loyal followers and collectors.

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