How many of you are artists or photographers are on Instagram? Put your Instagram handle in the comments below to give a show of hands.
Many artists have used this social media platform to show their art and expand their fan base. It was terrific for this. Working in galleries, I used it to discover other artists without opening the floodgate of calls and emails about having someone from our gallery view the work.
If you have been on Instagram over the years you may have noticed less likes and less new followers recently. There is a new algorithm, the way the programming side quantifies your posts. Remember, just as you are not in the market for your art to be free for “more exposure”, neither are these platforms. It takes time to cultivate a community which becomes a valuable commodity for sales.
THE 2018 ALGORITHM
Only about 10% of your followers will now see your posts since the chronological view is now out the door. The number of likes and comments within the first hour of your post will provide ranking as well as your engagement to those comments.
Trust me this has really upset many. As a user I like chronological viewing in my feeds. But to make money, many of the social media platforms with a big communities are tossing that out. Just get used to this because now they need money to pay the data storage, the developers, and the people it takes to run a bigger company.
WHAT CAN YOU DO?
Personal to Business Profile
First off, if as an artist you are on a personal Instagram you may want to change it to a business profile so you can get the analytics or at least if you hire someone to manage your social, they have access to the data of when your followers are best engaging with your posts. You can also now tie it to your Facebook Page for more data. In your bio, have your web page addres, so people know where to buy your art.
Planning Your Posts
Plan to post at least one image a day at minimum, 3-4 if you are ambitious. If you are not a social media person but have been doing it and hate it. Or if you are just so busy, pick a day and gather 7 images for the week. Then write a caption for each. Nothing too long is needed as the digital attention span is short. An example “Finished this original piece 16×20 canvas titled ‘Memories’ that will be for sale at opening (tag gallery or event’s Instagram here) or will be on my site for sale. You can find the link in my bio. (End with hashtags)
If you need a scheduling organizer for those posts I use the free version of Hootsuite. You can easliy just write these in a document and above each post put the image file name and where to find the file above each caption.
While users can now hide certain hashtags (#) it is still a vital way to find you. You can use up to 30 per post and make them relevant to the image. I have been playing with using in my caption and adding at bottom of captions. See which works for you. Create a document that has the best hashtags that can include style, media, subject, of art. Here are just a few to start that you can copy and paste to your weekly caption document.
#Art #Canvas #ArtOfTheDay #InstaArt #Painting #Artwork #Gallery #Artsy #Artist #WallArt #Decor #FineArt #OriginalArt #ArtOnCanvas #ArtFinder #CustomArt #ArtCollector #Inspiration #Creative
#ContemporaryArt #AbstractArt #PublicArt #ModernArt #WaterColorArt #ArtPrints
#ArtProgres #WIP (if a work in progress)
Likes and Comments
Getting those likes and comments in the first hour is going to be some work. If you are scheduling post on Hootsuite, you may want to set an alarm or have a set time that you know to peek at your phone. Reply to comments or at least give a heart to them. I have notifications come to my phone. For me I really enjoy reading the positive comments you as customers have for FinerWorks and sharing them with staff.
The best way to keep people informed has been e-mail lists and sending out newsletters via MailChimp or Constant Contact. Free versions are available if your list is under 2500 subscribers. There are signup apps so you can keep this on your tablet or phone at events and have people subscribe. There is usually code you can copy and paste to put on your website too. The open rate is 20% or less.
Messenger and Chat Bots Horizon
I am still contemplating these. For me, they annoy me and I abandon a page all together. But it may be that, I have reached that age where I like not having a million dings on my phone. But if you are trying to reach a new set off young people who will mature with this technology you may want to keep this on your radar. I will give an update once I give this a good chance. For now, know it is coming up. My two year old niece knows how to work a tablet and the internet already. To quote a meme, at two, I was eating dirt.
A new social media platform, Vero, smarty positioned its release for the Instagram algorithm update. I have been seeing the screenshots of the profiles on Instagram and Facebook from friends. Yes, it offers a chronological feed and has surpassed 1 million users but it takes a while to move a fan base to a new platform. I have set up my personal profile on there to test the waters so it will be a bit before, I can give any real feedback. A new platform can come with many issues.
Long arsenal of tips. You can read a million how-to blogs and watch tons of video but the only way to learn is just like art you need to just do it.