Instagram has become the social media of choice for many artists, and for good reason: it is built on a foundation of imagery. Gone are the days of flipping magazine pages and skimming the beautiful images. Instead, consumers now turn to Instagram to entertain themselves while waiting or relaxing.
Artists are using Instagram in unique and novel ways to get their visual story in front of potential collectors. Here you can swipe those ideas to freshen up your own feed:
Curating a visual story. The best artist Instagram feeds do more than catalog finished artwork. They curate a visual story that a collector can connect with. Collectors come to Instagram for inspiration and connection. As an artist shares their own stories, potential collectors see themselves in those stories and connect. Artists are telling their stories both in their imagery as well as in long-form captions. Artists sharing why they create their work, and what inspires them, create a deeper connection with their audience.
Mood board. Mood boards are traditionally created by interior designers. Multiple inspirations are posted onto one board that create an overall feeling or look they are trying to convey to a client. Some artists are creating mood boards in their Instagram feeds. The most successful plan 9 to 12 squares in there grid that feature a finished piece of artwork, the artwork in a setting, some detail shots, other settings where the work would fit in, and even quotes that convey the mood of the finished piece. Mood boards add context to the finished work by conveying a vibe about the finished piece.
Inspiration wall. An inspiration wall is similar to a mood board, and some artists are using a combination of both techniques. While the mood board speaks to where finished work might be the best fit, the inspiration wall speaks to the genesis of the artwork. Inspiration walls might include images of inspiring words or quotes, studio shots, reference photos, and process photos.
Multiple Image Posts
Sharing a step by step process. Artists are sharing mini tutorials using the multiple image post feature. Instagram recently expanded the ability to post multiple images at a time from 3 to 8. Essentially, this feature can be used as a swipe-able slideshow. Even if you don’t care to share your exact technique, you can capitalize on this idea by sharing images of your work in various stages. Simply post a finished image of the work, along with multiple process shots. In your caption, let your audience know they can swipe for more details.
Sharing a story. Fun and quirky stories can be told using the multiple image post feature. For example, one artist showed the story of purchasing new supplies by capturing images on her way to the supply store as well as some of the things that distracted her from her mission. What story can you tell in a fun, unusual or entertaining way?
Showing the artist working. By far one of the most engaging uses of video is short clips in which you can see the artist working on something. They never get old. These videos do not have to be long, nor do they have to share your secret techniques. Mostly, these just provide a small insight into the life and studio of an artist. Some artists do very short videos of just one paint stroke and other artists do longer videos showing more process. Whatever you decide to do, you cannot go wrong with posting more video.
Time lapse. Time lapse video is fast and fascinating and can make the most mundane studio tasks seem exciting. Even a video showing you pack artwork to ship done as a time lapse is engaging. If you were thinking of doing a video but are concerned that the topic may be somewhat boring, switch on your time lapse feature on your cell phone camera. Your audience will thank you.
Animations. There are many ways to create animations from still photos. There are some apps that can do the work for you. Apple has a feature in their storage that will create animations from still shots taken in a short period. Some artists are creating flat lay animations from images cut out of their artwork that are extremely engaging and a great way to make your two dimensional work stand out.
One of the beautiful features of Instagram stories is that they only last for 24 hours. This makes them ideal for sharing anything that you might not want to keep on your main grid. It is also great for camera-shy artists who are dipping their toe into selfies or video. No matter how bad you hate it, it’s going to disappear soon. Here are some ways that artists are using the stories feature:
1. Announcements, shows and sales. Got anything happening that will be ending soon? Stories are great way to make announcements and calls to action because they were only be around for a short time.
2. Spur of the moment musings. Care to be silly or make a political statement that you don’t want to post on your main grid?
3. Behind the scenes. Maybe your studios a mess and you don’t want a permanent photo of it. Again, stories are great way to show the truth about what goes on behind the scenes without having a permanent record of it.
4. Non-art related activities. Sometimes we want to share some information that is not related to our art account. Stories are great place to do that.
5. Shout outs to other artists. Many may not realize that you can repost and give praise to your favorite artists and feeds. When you see a post in your feed, click on the small paper plane and re-post it to your stories. Not sure what to post? Start with some quotes or jokes!
6. Features. Were you recently featured on a website or in some other feed? Take a screenshot and repost it with some gratitude for the recognition in your stories.
7. Your own posts. Want to call attention to an important post? It doesn’t matter if it’s a new post, or an older one, just repost it to your stories.
Tutorials. IGTV is ideal for longer four minute video that may be too long to create a post for. Many artists who create tutorials or do artist demonstrations are saving their videos in the IGTV area of Instagram.
Artist Talks and Presentations. If you’ve been tasked with giving an artist talk or presentation at a show or event, consider filming it so that you can post it permanently on your IGTV. You can even do it live if you want your audience to be able to interact in real time.
Instagram is constantly adding new features to their platform. As an artist, take advantage of those features to keep your audience connected and engaged.