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.



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, is an option for you to have one link turn into 4 or more. Basically when you click on a 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 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.