Instagram is one of the most exciting ways to grow a large following online right now. Marketing on Instagram is an absolute must for any art or creative business and is really easy to get started.
You only have to look at how some of the big brands are using this platform to see the potential, with hundreds of thousands of followers.
You really only need two things to stand out on Instagram. One: great high quality images, and Two: a slight edge, something that makes you stand out.
From a business-building perspective (which is where I come in really of course), marketing on Instagram is also a powerful way to makes sales. There are lots of people who have ditched the website in favour of an Instagram account. Just add all the information to your post description telling people what they need to do to get hold of you and complete their purchase.
Let’s Look At 6 Steps To Get You Started Marketing On Instagram:
Step One: Set Up Your Account.
Instagram is an App, which you access via your smart phone. (You can view and edit your settings via the web, but as yet you can’t up-load your images here). Download and create an account with a username and password. Again it’s best to try and get your full name for your account, please avoid numbers, abbreviations and names that appear clever but your target market won’t understand! Keep it clear, clean and simple – you simply want to appear professional.
Further down the line, once you have the hang of things you could have multiple accounts, which show your different interests, (oils, acrylics, watercolors etc.) sides of your business or what you do. But for most people managing the one account is quite enough.
Step Two: Create Your Bio.
Your bio is the first thing people will see when they land on your profile; and just as Twitter has a limited character space, it’s the same here. Make sure you really demonstrate in one short sentence what it is that you do, so people are very clear. Instagram users also tend to like using Emoji (smiley faces and other symbols), these are on your smart-phone keyboard. This is a great way to enhance what you are saying.
You only have one place currently on Instagram where you can have a clickable link, and this is in your bio. So use it well, send people to your gallery page, or a special offer you have, or another Social Media account. Think also about changing this regularly if you are running a promotion for something, it’s not fixed in stone.
Step Three: Start Posting 1-3 Images A Day.
Now starts the daily discipline of posting great quality images that communicate something, show off your artwork and/or tell your story. You will see that right now Instagram displays 3 images wide, so make sure when you set up your account you have at least those to post.
Ideally posting 1 great image a day is plenty as you don’t want to flood the home feed (as this can be a quick route to un-follows). Quality over quantity.
For each image you want to create a good description, include your own set of hashtags (more on this in another post), ideally between 10 to 30 is great, but less when you are starting out is ok too. Have a good look at what other people are doing and be inspired. Some people suggest that using just 3 powerful hash-tags also works; so experiment till you see what works.
Images should be 1080 x 1080 pixels and ideally be high quality images you create yourself online. Although you can also use landscape, I prefer the original square images best.
TOP TIP: I usually create a batch on Picmonkey, Canva or Photoshop first, and then add them to my Dropbox. On my phone I have Dropbox synched, so all I have to do is save the images and I can easily up-load into the Instagram app from there.
Step Four: Find & Add Followers.
Using the ‘Explore’ tab (the search facility within Instagram), look for fellow artists, galleries, online shops, and experts in your field. Start by building a connection with them. Then look through their followers and follow them. If you want to build a large following fast, then like Twitter and Pinterest it’s a case of daily discipline and adding large numbers at a time.
Start following people who look like a good fit, and they will follow you back.
Next use #hashtags to search for specific topics and see who might be good to follow there. This can be a really powerful way of finding people.
Lastly for now, look for people who leave good comments, either on your posts or on other peoples. If they are engaging, then they are probably good to connect with.
Step Five: Build Engagement.
Now you have a following, it’s all about posting great content, liking (double-tap) and leaving useful supportive comments yourself. This needs to be a part of your daily action plan, as you build things up. When someone like or leaves a comment for you, see if they are someone you might like to follow as well.
Your aim is to get people interacting under your images. Now while this might take a while to build up, it will be worth it. So make sure you are posting relevant images that capture your target market’s imagination. Studio shots, materials, completed works, inspirational as well as other more personal ‘life’ images.
Check out a few different looks here:
Step Six: Have A Call To Action In Every Post!
Once you have all this in place, it’s really down to understanding that when you post up your image, firstly you need your own unique set of hash-tags that are niched to your market. Then you want to write accompanying descriptions that draw comments out of the on-looker. Once you have an established career and following this will take over.
Lastly and the most important, is to have a strong Call To Action with every single post. You can ask people to ‘go to the link in my bio’, or ‘copy/paste this url’… or anything else you want people to do.
Marketing on Instagram can also be huge fun and another outlet for your creativity as you design your beautiful posts.