Most people start with an Instagram account for their personal connections. Instagram is famous for connecting friends and family through images and notes that service captions.
As you developed as an artist, you may have been posting some of your projects on your personal Instagram account. Likey, you received plenty of likes and comments. But at some point, you’ve probably wondered, “Should I create a separate Instagram account for my art?“
If you have transitioned from exploring art as a personal hobby to pursuing it as an art business, the way you use your Instagram probably needs to change. If you are using your Instagram account to promote your artwork and develop connections, it’s time to make your intentions clear. You should either convert your personal account to a full-time art account, or open a new account for the sole purpose of promoting your art business.
Why You Should Have A Dedicated Art Account
A dedicated art account on Instagram signals to potential collectors and other art professionals that you are a professional artist. By far, this is the most important reason to create a professional business account.
Instagram has enabled special features for business accounts, and they are rolling out more all the time:
- Business accounts of access to analytics that inform you how well your content is doing;
- Business accounts can be connected to one central “Business Manager” where you can manage all of your messages and comments on both Instagram and your Facebook Page;
- Business accounts can be set up to sell your art directly on Instagram and Facebook, or link to your own website site with product tagging.This is very helpful to artists to wish to sell artwork and handmade items directly within the Instagram application; and
- Instagram allows Business accounts to use scheduling and planning applications like Later and Planoly.
With all of the benefits of creating a dedicated Professional Art Business page, it’s a no brainer. You should definitely have a dedicated account if you are serious about selling your art.
What’s the Difference Between Managing a Personal Instagram Account vs. a Professional Art Account?
Aside from the main features that Instagram gives to professional business accounts, the main difference between managing a personal Instagram account and a professional art account is the content that you post.
A professional art account should show the story of the art. This is where the line between posting personal content and business content can get a little muddy. To clear it up, just remember this rule:
Every post in the Instagram feed should tell the story of the art. Artists should post images of their art, all aspects of making art, stories about their artist journey, their inspirations and influences, and announcements. If the content does not support the story of why and how the art is being made or influenced, it probably does not belong in your Instagram feed.
Posting irrelevant content can be a turn off to your audience, so if you choose to post it anyway, make sure to keep it to a minimum, or do it in the “stories” feature that only lasts for 24 hours.
Here are some examples:
If you are an artist who creates Landscape art, your Instagram feed might include posts of road trips, outings or hikes featuring some of the scenery that you depict in your art. Even though it might seem like a personal vacation, it informs the artwork you make and therefore gives your audience a behind-the-scenes look into what goes into creating your artwork. On the other hand, posting a picture of a plate of eggs and bacon you’re about to eat may not make much sense unless you explain you were up all night celebrating after a huge art opening.
As another example, if you are working on an art series involving vintage muscle cars, your account may feature your trips to car shows, car museums, or your own muscle cars. Photos and memories of trips you took with your family in old cars when you were a child would fit in because it would explain your connection to your subject. Even though they are personal, they tell the story of why you are creating your art. On the other hand, making snarky political posts might turn off a large segment of your audience — unless, of course, it relates to the politics around phasing out muscle cars.
Should You Convert your Personal Account or Create a New Instagram Account for Your Art?
Once you have made the decision to create a professional Instagram account, the first question to answer is whether you will convert the personal account you already have, or create a separate Instagram account specifically for your art.
The biggest factor in this decision is convenience. It is far easier to convert your account than it is to maintain two accounts. So, before you start a new Instagram account, you should decide whether or not you’re willing to put the time and effort into maintaining two separate accounts. If you open a new account, you will have to grow your followers from scratch.
If you prefer to keep only one account, and are thinking of converting your personal account, you will need to consider the following factors:
- Will the accounts that follow your personal Instagram account easily transition to a focused art account?
- Do the majority of posts that make up your personal Instagram account reflect the story of the evolution of your art?
- Are you willing to archive or delete posts that do not reflect the story of your art?
If the answer to these three questions is yes, you’re ready to convert your personal Instagram account to a professional art business account. However, if you answered no to any of these questions, you are better off to set up an entirely new Instagram account that is solely for the purpose of promoting your art business.
How to Convert Your Instagram Account to a Professional Art Account
Step one – Edit Your Profile
- Open your Instagram account on your mobile device.
- Go to your profile page and click “edit profile.”
- Change your profile photo to reflect yourself as an artist. A picture of your own face is best because it builds trust with your audience.
- Add your website if you have one. Remember, you can add any link you like, so if you do not yet have your own website, you can add a link to anywhere your art can be seen.
- Update your bio to describe the type of art and subject matter. Keep it very simple, space is limited. Use hashtags in your description to help people find you.
- Click the Blue Check Mark to Accept the changes.
Example bio: California plein air oil painter specializing in coastal and small town scenes. #commissions and #designers welcomed
Step Two – Switch to a Business Account
- Open your Instagram on your mobile device
- Tap on the hamburger menu icon (three horizontal lines) in the upper right of the screen
- Tap on the settings icon (round gear) at the bottom of the screen
- Tap on the Account icon (profile) in the list
- Tap in “switch to business” and follow the prompts.
Step Three – Adjust Your Content
When you first convert your account, go through your old posts and archive any content that does not tell the story of your artwork. Stick with the rule that all posts should somehow relate to your work as an artist. You will be surprised how many posts you thought of as “personal“ actually have a lot to do with your artist life and making art. Even if the image you want to post does not seem directly related to your art, just make sure to make the connection when you create the caption.
Although a few personal posts will come through, aim to relate your entire Instagram feed to the behind-the-scenes moments of making art and your life as an artist.
How to Create a New Instagram Account for Your Art When You Wish to Keep your Personal Account Separate
- Open your Instagram account on a mobile device
- Tap on the hamburger menu icon (three horizontal lines) in the upper right of the screen
- Scroll to the bottom and tap on “Add Account”
- Tap”Create New Account” and follow the prompts.
- Once you have created the second account, follow the steps outlined above that describe how to edit your profile, switch to a business account and create your content as outlined above.
- Post at least 9 posts onto your profile before you begin following and commenting on other accounts. This gives other account owners something to look at when they come to see your profile and decide whether to follow you back.
If you have become serious about pursuing your art as a professional, it’s time to make your intentions known on Instagram. You can either convert a personal account to a professional art account, or open a new Instagram account. Either way, you will need to edit your profile, convert your account to a business account and alter your content so that the majority of your posts tell the story of your art.
Of course, it is OK to post a few personal things. After all, artists are influenced by the lives they lead, other people and current events. But be careful to occasionally archive or delete old posts that no longer serve your art business.