If you’re a visual artist who wants to sell and show your art, then you want to use Instagram.
Yes, you should still use email marketing to notify subscribers of your upcoming shows, but Instagram is a more immediate and consistent way to keep in touch with your collectors, fans, friends and family. Today, many people are more likely to follow you on Instagram than they are to sign up for an email.
Following local galleries and artists on Instagram is also a good way for you to keep tabs on open calls, workshops, and local events in the art world.
Getting started with Instagram
How to set up an Instagram account
- First, download the Instagram app to your phone or tablet. Instagram is a mobile platform, you can’t post to it from your laptop.
- Signup for an Instagram Account using your personal Facebook account, Phone or Email. Follow the prompts on the screen to enter your name and create a password.
Tip: If you’re seeing the login screen, click at the bottom of the screen on “Don’t have an account? SignUp.”
- Check your email – “Welcome! Confirm your email”
Confirming your email is an important step. If you’re ever locked out of your account, this will help get you back in.
- Setting your Username
Instagram will automatically generate a username for you from your name. You can change this if you wish. Note: your username is public.
- Find Facebook friends & contacts
Instagram is owned by Facebook. You can connect the two platforms so you can find Facebook friends on Instagram and post to Facebook at the same time.
- Add a profile photo
You can edit this at any time
- Add a Bio – Edit your Profile
Add a short bio and a link to your website. You can come back and edit these later.
- Private or Public Account
We don’t recommend that you make your account private, after all this is about marketing your art business. If you want to post personal photos for friends to see, then create a second account and set that one to private.
Click the Three Stacked Lines Mobile Menu in the top right corner and Settings at the bottom of the screen. From Privacy and Security you can set your account to private.
Tips for Using Instagram
Yay! You now have an account. It’s time to share your first photo.
- Add your first photo by clicking the + plus icon in the bottom of the screen to open the Photo Library on your phone.
- Scroll through your photos to find one you want to post.
- You can drag the image around the screen to reposition it. Use two fingers to zoom in or out
- Click Next in the top right corner.
- You can add a preset Filter option to enhance the image or Edit the image manually (bottom right). Here you will find tools to straighten and adjust your image. Click Done or Cancel. Then click Next.
- Write a caption to go with the image. Explain what the photo is about. Invite followers to take action, ask them a question or tell them where and when they can attend your art show, direct them to the link in your bio.
- Use hashtags (#wordsnospaces) in captions to link your photos with other photos on Instagram that use the same hashtag. If everyone posting about your art show uses the same hashtag, visitors to the show can see all of the event’s posts. TIP: create lists of hashtags and put them in the Notes section of your phone ready to copy and paste into your post.
- You can use the @ icon to mention and link to other Instagram accounts, such as the gallery where your show is taking place or other artists who are in the show. They will get a notification that you mentioned them.
When you’re happy with your caption click Share (top right). If you want to discard or make changes to the image hit the back arrow < (top left).
Instagram stories are different from posts. You don’t add captions to them. You can add words, @mentions and hashtags on top of your pictures. They only display for 24 hours. If you want to keep them around longer you can add them to Highlights. Mix it up, share some photos as posts and other times post a story.
Interactions | Follow & Comment
Follow others, like and comment on their posts. When someone comments on your post, reply.
There’s no obligation to follow someone back just because they followed you. If it looks like a spam account, ignore it or report it. Follow accounts that interest and inspire you.
Emojis add fun to your captions and to comments on Instagram 🙂
Adding Instagram to a WordPress Site
Add your new Instagram account to your social media follow buttons. We also recommend using the free Instagram Feed WordPress plugin to display your Instagram feed on your website.
There you have it, an introduction to Instagram. There’s more that you will discover as you play around with Instagram and become more familiar with the platform.
WordPress for Artists Workshop
If you don’t have a WordPress website, check out our Toronto Build your Artist Website Workshop