Using Instagram as a marketing tool was the subject of member Jamie Hansen’s presentation at the Feb. 10 meeting of the Anderson Artists Guild.
Instagram is a social media platform with over 400 million monthly active members that relies primarily on images. It’s a place where you can post photographs not only of your artwork but of you creating that artwork or of what inspired particular pieces or of your tools or even of mistakes you made or challenges you’re working through.
To get started, download the free Instagram app and create a personal account (not a business account since Hansen said the platform favors personal accounts). As a goal, plan to post once or twice each week.
You need a picture, of course, and the higher the quality, the better. Hansen said that good lighting is the key. She recommended taking pictures outside on a covered patio, if possible. She also recommended using a ring light for photos taken indoors.
Photos appear on Instagram in a square format, so it’s best to crop them into squares. If not, the platform cuts them off.
Add a brief caption explaining the photo. An example might be “This is my acrylic painting Line Dance, a work in progress. I’m not satisfied yet with the color contrast.”
Then add up to 30 hashtags. These are the labels that will direct your post into different feeds. When you start to type a hashtag, a list of possibilities will pop up, and you can see the number of posts in each. These numbers are key, telling you how popular each feed is. You want something that is popular enough so your post will be seen but not so popular that your post will be buried. Hansen suggested using hashtags with between 5,000 and 10,000 posts.
For example, to post a picture of Hansen’s presentation, search for hashtags related to Hansen (the presenter), to the Anderson Artists Guild (the group to which she’s speaking), to the Anderson Arts Center (the location of the presentation), and to Instagram marketing (the topic of the presentation). Here are possible hashtags that might be used:
Once you start posting regularly, people will start following you, meaning that your posts will show up in their Instagram feeds. Hansen said she has sold some of her artwork this way, with one person even posting to Instagram a video of opening the package containing Hansen’s painting. But be sure that your profile includes information about how to contact you.
One example of an artist whose feeds you might use as a model is Carol Carter (#carolcarter). To see Hansen’s Instagram feed, search for #jamiehansenart