Creators have been enjoying so much success selling their art on Instagram that the phenomenon has made it to the mainstream media. Magazines like Forbes and Vogue have covered the topic more than once, sending new motivated buyers to the platform.
Though it’s used for many other purposes, Instagram has now grown into a global online art gallery, with its most important feature being that no artist is excluded (unless your art contains nipples, which Instagram is strangely terrified of).
If you have an Instagram account and would like to join the ranks of those successfully selling their art and homemade goods through the social media giant, you’re in the right place.
If you’re new to the platform, then it would be worth checking out our guide to building a social media presence from scratch first. Once you’re up and running, head back here for your next steps.
Wall curation is an art form in itself
If you think the artistry starts and ends with the works you wish to sell, think again. Instagram is all about visual appeal, and this isn’t achieved through individual pictures alone.
Though it’s important to ensure each image you upload is stunning in and of itself, you also need to think about how your feed looks as a whole. For example, if you’re constantly using filters with different tones, there will be no consistency to your feed. Similarly, if you upload images of artworks with clashing color themes, they might look individually fantastic, but the overall aesthetic may be too loud and aggressive.
Take some time to come up with ways to create a sumptuously flowing feed that keeps viewers engaged. To give you an example, many artists add power to their favorite pieces by splitting the grid. Illustrator JuniperOats is probably the best example of this technique done well.
Another great idea is to ensure you’re adding personal pictures in amongst your art shots. A study conducted by Georgia Tech found that people are far more engaged by images with faces in them. On Instagram, pics featuring faces garnered 38% more likes and 32% more comments than other images.
Hashtagging is an art form too
Hashtags are key to getting your art seen by a wider audience. Use terms like #art, #artistsofinstagram, and any other labels relevant to your style in the description for each image you upload. These hashtags are both clickable and searchable, connecting you into the stream of content that appeals to your target market, thus making it more likely that they’ll find you when they’re searching for art on the ‘gram.
Once you understand the value of hashtags, it can be tempting to go overboard, adding everything that’s even vaguely relevant. However, this looks super spammy and really isn’t good form.
Though Instagram allows up to 30 hashtags in a description, the consensus among artists is that it’s best to stick to around 3-8 hashtags that are genuinely relevant to your target market. You can also comment on your own post and slip a few sneaky extras in there.
The best hashtags for selling art on Instagram include those related to your subject matter, your medium, your inspiration, the theme of your work, and your local area (people often search for local artists). If you’re following the tips we offered in our guide to selling art on social media, you may also want to tag a charity to whom you’ll be donating a percentage of each sale.
How to get your Instagram following started
One of the best ways to build your following is to use the platform for it’s designed purpose – socializing.
Follow large channels that are relevant to your artwork in any way. Then start following their followers. People get a notification when you follow them, and if they see that you’re creating the kind of content they love, there’s a good chance they’ll follow you back.
Combine this strategy with commenting on other people’s posts and just generally being an active Instagram member, and you should see a steady stream of new followers each day.
It’s also worth getting yourself set up on more than one social media platform, thus allowing you to cross-promote. For example, you may wish to start a YouTube channel where you offer art tutorials. In each video you make, you can direct people to your Instagram gallery to check out your artwork.
For more details on the channels you may wish to add to your repertoire, along with tips on how to curate your content to garner sales, please check out our guide to selling art and homemade products on social media.