Social media for Artist : : Instagram and Your Bio

“Social media is not about the exploitation of technology but service to community.” — Simon Mainwaring

This is part two of my series on Instagram. While my target audience is artsists, much of the advice equally applies to entrepreneurs. Is your Instagram set up to turn leads for you? What do you want it to ultimately do for you? Be specific as it will help you really tighten up what it does. I personally want three things from my Instagram page;

to generate sales - requires excellent photos of my art and the story behind it
connect with other artists - like and comment on other artist’s posts (with more than an emoji)
increase traffic on my website - use linktre.e

My video talks about the app Linktre.e. A follower sent me a message that made me realize that I needed to tighten up my use of the app, she was looking for the blog post I wrote a month ago and mentioned in a recent Instagram post. Whenever I write about a blog post, I need to add the direct link to the blog post on linktre.e. So now when I schedule a post, I take that added step so I increase the direct traffic to my website. I created that video over a week ago and so in the past week this is what I’ve changed. Each picture is loaded up for easy indexing and then the direct link to the blog post. Plus I added a sign up for my art newsletter listing. it takes the follower to a sign up page from Mailchimp which helps me develop my mailing list.

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Please note that I do not receive any affiliate income for my mention of Linktre.e.

And as always, let me know if you have a question and I will try an answer it in another post.

Instagram for Artists (and small businesses)

One comment that is consistent among artists is that they love Instagram, but that it doesn’t work. They expect that one or two posts will lead directly to a sale. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but social media just doesn’t work that way, even on Instagram. You have to be social on social media. And you have to make it easy for people to know what it is you do and why. The brain is biologically hard wired to remember stories, are you telling your story? The story about you work, why you make it and the challenges you’ve had in making it?

I can’t tell you how many artists Instagram pages I’ve seen where all they have in their bio is a link to their website if anything. Sometimes I will hear, “My art speaks for itself.” You believe that? Then why do art museums make the effort to provide labels? Make it easy for others to learn about you and your art practice. For example, if you walk into a store and have to look around for a sales clerk to help you find something, especially as you are in a hurry, do you stay at that store? Do you return? Think of your bio as providing excellent customer service. You are helping a collector, curator, gallery owner, architect, interior designer, art consultant, art director know more about you in a few short sentences in your bio. Sure many of your friends already know about your work, so it may feel redundant, but are you trying to connect just with your friends?

Create 3-4 short sentences about your art.

Medium

Inspiration

Who you seek to connect with on Instagram

How to contact you.

If you are a small business owner, what do you offer? What sets your business off from all the others out there? If you are a chef, let them know that French pastries are your thing, but you also love charcuterie. Your bio directs the viewer. So be sure you have a call to action. What do you really want your followers to know or do? In my case as an artist, I want folks to buy my art, whether an original, a print, or just one of my handknit hats on Etsy. I am also a teacher, so yes, I want to teach to a full classroom. Once you know what you want you can work backwards and write your bio. Be sure to watch the video for different examples.

As Instagram only allows you one live link, linktr.ee is an option for you to have one link turn into 4 or more. Basically when you click on a linktr.ee link it takes you to another page with multiple links. I have them set to take you to my website, my blog, my fashion line, my Etsy store etc. You could also use it strategically to promote an exhibition. Say you are soon to have an opening. Write a blog post about it with the story behind the work and photos of you installing it and the gallery information along with the exhibition duration. Now when someone sees the art in their feed, then can go up to your bio and click on the linktr.ee link which takes them to your gallery opening post with all the information and the story of your art. Maybe they can’ t make the opening, but they may enquire about purchasing an artwork. And you’ve driven traffic straight to your website.

Instagram Stories started nearly 3 years ago! Gasp! I am woefully behind on this. I hereby declare that my 2019 resolution is to get better at posting stories and to do so in a strategic manner. You can group images to tell the story about you and your art. So maybe one story about your family, another of sold works, exhibitions for 2019, the themes in your art, what inspires you etc. I’d love to see what you do and follow you on Instagram. So drop a link to your page in the comments. Thanks!

These next few weeks I’ll have more posts about Instagram, so be sure to sign up for my newsletter to have the content sent directly to your email box.

Social Media Content Your Fans will Love

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Other than during the Super Bowl, no one turns on the television strictly to watch ads.  They turn it on to be entertained or educated.  Facebook has acknowledged this truism. They have changed their algorithm to push more content that readers wish to see. As the New York Times summarized  

In short, you’ll see more posts from friends that have spurred lively debates in the comments. And you’ll see fewer cooking videos from brands and publications. Prioritizing what your friends and family share is part of an effort by Facebook to help people spend time on the site in what it thinks is a more meaningful way.

This adds extra challenges to small businesses and their social media managers.  I have three Post-it notes attached to my desk asking these questions. I try to make sure that at least 1 or more of the questions has an solid answer.

  • How can I help more people?
  • Does this post touch your heart
  • Only share content that educates or shares emotions.

Content that engages your fans spurring them on to like the post, share it or comment on it means you need to share something that is a pit personal.  

What are your passions?  Are you a parent?  Then show how you love your kids by sharing posts about family things to do over the weekend. It shows that you are a person who recognizes that other working parents may be struggling to find quality time with their kids in their busy lives and everyone gets tired of their usual routine. Make this into two posts. Post one shares a website for a hike in a nearby state park.  Post two shares stunning scenery from that park with a quote that seems relevant.   Or are you a four-legged parent? Make your pet the company mascot! Pet photos are very popular, add humor with it and you will have a winning combination.  Create a Where's Waldo contest with  a find the store cat in the photo as a weekly post will be fun.   Again, you are keeping it social. You are sharing humor and empathy in these examples.

Be a thought leader in your industry. Bookmark posts that are relevant to your industry. Read through and share a snippet from the article that really spoke to you.  Add that in the body of the post with a comment from you and the link to the article.  Warning - stay away from the articles on politics unless directly relevant to your industry.  If something worries you in your industry, you could have a lead comment of "This has me worried. What do you think?" and then add the link.

Be sure to keep up with the comments, you can turn on the notifications for social media on your phone so you can check out what has been said and comment back or give it a quick thumbs up as a thank you. This is true across all social media, but especially Facebook and Instagram. The faster you respond, the more likely your posts will be read as a conversation is happening.

Don't forget about the businesses who may be suppliers to your business. Share their content on your page or engage in conversation on their posts. They will notice and likely share the favor.