How to Promote Your Art on Instagram

Expand your audience! By promoting your art on Instagram, you can connect with fellow artists and gain a fan base as well.

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A successful artist in today’s fast-paced world not only needs to create art but also should focus on promoting their art. Gone are the days of the “starving artist” and elite art dealers. Art is becoming more open for everyone to enjoy, and also forces artists to preserve quality both online and offline.

Just like many small businesses and large corporations, the art community is quickly finding a home in the online world. From Facebook, Pinterest, to Instagram, you can find a way to connect with fellow artists and gain a fan base as well. This may eventually lead into opportunities otherwise unavailable in a traditional networking setting.

Instagram lends itself well to artists as it is primarily focused on sharing images with friends, family, and the rest of the world. Artists now use Instagram as a way to show their process and to sell their paintings. According to Vogue, artists regularly sell their paintings straight off of their Instagram feed.  The accessibility Instagram offers to viewers is something unprecedented and will continue to expand. If you think about the audience you could potentially reach through the Internet versus your art show, you will realize just how important Instagram is to grow your art.

Below are some simple suggestions from the Agora Gallery Experts if you are new to Instagram or are unsure of how to use it to promote your art.

Posting Your Art on Instagram

  • Keep it interesting – Make sure to post only relevant photos to your overall image as an artist.
    Instagram is an excellent way to show your followers your art in progress, final images, any inspiration for your art, and perhaps other things going on in your life. Instagram is not simply about your art, but also your brand and your daily life. Post: Inspirations, Events, Accomplishments, Work in Progress, Studio Shots.
  • High-Quality Images – This may be obvious, but make sure your images are high quality and reflect your work and vision. When users go on Instagram, they are usually expecting highly curated and top quality photographs. Especially due to the frequent use of filters, it is easy to make your image look beautiful. It is much harder to get by with a low-quality photo on Instagram than it would be if you posted that same photo on Facebook or Twitter.
  • Think about the captions – Instagram has become a platform for visual story telling, so make sure that your image is accompanied by an interesting caption or a story that will stimulate your followers to engage. Instagram crowd loves interacting and will gladly comment, like, and report an all-around interesting post.
  • Represent you as an Artist – Because Instagram caters towards images, you want to make sure the images you take and use are something you want to represent you as an artist. Even if you are Instagramming something as candid as the sky or what you ate for lunch, you want to make sure you present it in an artistic way.

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How Often & When to Post Your Art on Instagram

Remember when you post: focus on quality over quantity. You want to post frequently enough so that people are engaged. However, if you are debating whether to post an image just to meet that daily quota, it may be better to skip if it’s not a good picture. Trying to post every day is a good goal.

Latergramme, a service that helps manage and schedule Instagram posts, studied 61,000 posts to determine when photos received the most likes and comments. Huffington Post posted the results which found that: 2 a.m. and 5 p.m. EST are the best times to post if you want your followers to pay attention to you; the worst times are 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. Also, Wednesday is apparently the best day of the week to post, though not by much.

using instagram to promote your brand

Using Hashtags on Instagram

A very important way to engage with your followers and attract more people to your Instagram is to effectively use hashtags. Hashtags is how Instagram categorizes content, so using a few with every post will get you added to different categories, raising your exposure on the platform. So, how many hashtags should you use? Instagram allows up to 30 hashtags per post, but it’s common practice to use between 5 and 12.

You do not want to overuse hashtags by using irrelevant terms. This practice will seem “spam-y” to other Instagrammers and can result in a decrease of followers. Instead, focus on using relevant and attractive hashtags that will bring in the audience you want. Checkout our post on hashtags for a list of popular art hashtags.

When you have a large enough group of followers, you may want to consider initiating a hashtag campaign. This can help spread the word, as other users will use the hashtag you created and increase its visibility. You can do this with a weekly tag (Agora Gallery’s #StudioSunday has been very popular) or an event, like an #AskTheArtist campaign or #PickAPic competition. There are plenty of ways to use hashtags to engage with your followers.

Eventually, you can even consider offering your artwork as a prize for your Instagram followers. This not only can increase engagement within your followers but also be a way to attract new members.

Engaging with the Art Community on Instagram

Studio Sunday

Similar to other forms of social media, in order to successfully use Instagram to grow your art, you will need to engage with your followers. Think about the audience you want to have. When you are starting out on Instagram, search and follow other artists through the user or hashtag search. It is easier for you to find your audience then for them to find you. Follow other artists or friends that you consider to be an inspiration for you. Instagram is an excellent place to gain inspiration as you can quickly screenshot and save an image onto your phone to reprint for later.
You should also comment on other user’s photos that you like. Engaging in conversations with fellow artists and users will help you show your personal side outside of simply being someone that creates art. You never know the connections you will make simply by liking or commenting on someone else’s image.

Promoting Your Art on Instagram

The sole reason you may be using Instagram is to promote your artwork. However, to engage a long-term fan base, you do not want to come off as only wanting to sell your artwork to them. Some of the most successful people on Instagram show that it is even more important to develop a brand and style that people love. Only then will promoting your artwork seem natural and be most effective.
Installation in Progress posts on Instagram

An excellent way to promote your artwork is to focus on all aspects of the process. For example, do not only post finished products. As most artists are always working on something, it is a great idea to post some photos as updates of your work. Use a hashtag like #sneakpeek or #comingsoon and give people an exclusive feeling to raise the hype of the work. Keep your followers engaged, and build the suspense to the final product.

 

Promoting your artwork on Instagram can also lead to collaborations with other artists and brands. Find like-minded people or companies you would like to work with and follow them. Like their images on Instagram, comment actively.

Even if they do not follow back immediately (and they may not), you have started a small relationship that could potentially lead into something in the future.

Using Instagram to Lead to Sales

Many artists who have found the most financial success over Instagram have realized it is often spontaneous and unpredictable. The potential for Instagram is huge, and if your work is good, people will begin to follow you. You never know who one of your followers may be, and soon enough, you may find yourself making a sale.

Depending on where you are as an artist, you can at the very least have a way for buyers to contact you. Several consumers will just comment on the image that you post to see if it is up for sale. If you have more established work and are looking to be more direct, you should include your online portfolio or website in the information section. Instagram does not allow you to add links in your image descriptions; however, you can always lead them back up to your profile biography.

promote your art show on instagram

You can consider posting images as a way to promote your pieces online. Make sure that you do this in between several other posts, as you do not want to appear as to be spamming others only to earn money. A good marketing tip to remember is that you first want to build that relationship with your future clients and buyers before too quickly offering to sell.

One reason Instagram works so well is because there is a lack of pressure for your followers to buy something. Instagram followers will respond to an authentic feeling of liking your artwork. This is something that is unprecedented as it brings art to everyone at the ease of a few clicks of a button. It also allows artists to be in more control of their work, in contrast to waiting for a show or dealers.

As your followers grow, you may find people re-gramming your artwork or tagging their friends in your comments. This is how one photo can easily go viral and gain followers to sell art both on and offline. Of course, your primary goal as an artist should not be to solely pursue the most amount of fans. However, the more publicity you get, the more likely you will be to bring in the cash flow.

Share Beyond Instagram

  • Facebook
    Instagram can easily link into your current Facebook page or artist’s website. You can do this by adding the Instagram Widget to your website. Since Facebook recently bought Instagram, it is now easy to add an Instagram Tab onto your Facebook page. This will encourage your Facebook and website fans to follow you on Instagram and vice versa.
  • Your Website
    Bringing Instagram to your website can also help your website feel more intimate and add personality through the high-quality photos.

integrate Instagram with facebook

As time goes by, you will find even more people using social media. Instagram is always shifting their ways of promoting businesses and corporations, and you want to be on top of the game.

If you have not already, sign up for an Instagram account today and post your first image! And make sure to Follow Agora Gallery’s Instagram page.

At the time of the update, Instagram was preparing to launch its very first news feed algorithm, not unlike the one Facebook uses. The purpose of the algorithm is to improve user experience by making the most interesting content appear at the top of the Instagram feed. Stay ahead of the game by thinking about your posts and the content you share. Like, comment, and regram your favorite posts and encourage your fans to do the same.

As a promotional gallery, we take pride in the diverse group of artists from across the globe represented by us. Want to give your art more time, and leave the marketing and promotional hassles to someone else? Visit our Gallery Representation And Artist Promotion page for more information.

Let us know what are some of your favorite ways of interacting with your followers! Comment below or send us an email at blogs@agora-gallery.com

This post is also available in: Spanish

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70 comments

  • Thank you so much for your very informative articles! After years of being a Middle School Art teacher, I’m ready to move into the next chapter of my life. I’m hoping to become a full-time working artist, with sales that will allow me to support my household. It’s a very different art world compared to when I got my BFA in 1991! My Instagram and Twitter: kimberlymorrow.art.design
    Thank you so much!

  • Thanks for useful advice. I am creating algorithmic art as a hobby and try to post fairly regulary. But my followers have stagnated. I might have to optimise my use of hashtags…Please visit me at @francogr8 and let me know how i can enhance my IG interaction.

  • hey everyone. im kind of new to social media (exept of fb) and it feels to me like im starting from zero, since i am not the kind of person that envjoys openly promoting myslef …
    but i am pushing my comfort zone, and i started instagram for my art-i found it interesting to engage conversations wiht other artists i adore for ages already.
    but my own follower number are growing so slow, and there are days when i even loose some. i dont know what im doing wrong.. you can see here for yourself and tell me maybe.. (i started one month ago)
    @romykovar

    • Hi Romy! Your Instagram feed looks nice and it seems like you’re doing a great job. Our advice is to keep doing what you’re doing and promote your work by using researched hashtags and engage with the artistic community. Maybe you can ask questions in your captions or repost something inspiring. Once in a while it’s fine to make an appearance – for example, you could share images with you while you work in the studio. Whatever is comfortable for you. Good luck!

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  • It’s really a great and helpful piece of information.
    I’m happy that you shared this helpful information with us.
    Please keep us up to date like this. Thanis for
    sharing.

    • Hi Mora! Thanks for your feedback. We’re glad you liked our article. Is there any other topic you’re interested in? Let us know!

  • So Will This Help You Get Discover Becoming a Famous Artists?

    • With a lot of work, it should help you boost your career.

  • Thanks for the tips, I’m starting an account for my artwork @iqramalik__
    Hope to see you there, I’m excited to start! ?

  • kindly tell a device for taking pictures of art work cuz mainly the work is amazing while the quality is not that gopd

  • Good info, thanks!

    What happens with our photo art once it is published on instagram? I mean, do we loose any right on our photos by publishing!? And when publishing at very high quality, does this mean that followers will have a high quality file to download for free? Please help me with this doubts … thanks in advance

  • This has been great! Follow me @Chrissysartstudio

  • Thanks for the information guys, it’s really been useful!

  • Some great tips, thank you! I’ve just started up a new account @ink_works_ hope to see some of you there ! 🙂

  • Thank you so much for this! I’m really struggling with finding a good artist name/username for Instagram. I’ve been getting a few tips from someone that I shouldn’t be using my name and lastname as my username but make something up instead, just a word or maybe another name. This is extremely hard because I can’t come up with anything. I’d love to know your opinion about this!

    • May be you can come up with a name related to your art style.. the mediums you use or if you paint some themes in particular.. Just an idea.

  • Hi,

    I am a Graphic designer and want my work promote for freelancer.

    Is Instagram help explore my work?

    • Dear Anuradha,

      Yes, you can use Instagram. You can also consider using Behance to showcase your portfolio.

    • Hey, sorry I am asking off the track question. But can you suggest me any good institutions where I can study Graphic Designing in India? Thanks.

  • Thank you for this!
    I’m 16 and I want to create an art page. I’ve already posted some of my artworks on my personal account. So shall I create a separate art page or not.? Will it promoted more in a separate account.? And what app shall I use for a watermark and what artists shall I follow.?

    • Dear Ishita,

      It is always better to have a separate account for your art, because then you can leave it open to public. As far as the watermark is concerned, there are a number of apps you can find, just use the one that best goes with your art. Hope this helps!

  • Thank you very much, I will do it.

  • Just find people who would love your arts. Search for them everywhere, you can even spam it. Or use some services like zen-promo.com that will help you find such ones. So, you even have got a choice.

  • Hi!
    I am a mixed mixed artist and wanted to know if you recommended separating my artist account from my personal account? I also do fitness and was not sure if that should be separate as well? What do you think?

    • Hi Caroll,

      Separating accounts is probably a good idea if you want to target a certain kind of audience for both your interests.

  • I think that people don’t even try to look at your art if you have not many followers. It’s cruel but people pay attention on that. In the beginning it’s so hard to do it. But I think that with apps like zen-promo.com it’s more possible to find more followers with the same interests.

    • Hello Leo,

      Ofcourse, it takes time on any social media platform to build a good audience base, much like it does in the real world. Thank you for the tip!

  • Thank you so much for the article. You give very useful information.

  • Hi, One thing not quite clear: how exactly are people selling artwork on Instagram, especially if you cannot put the link to your website? Is there a way to set up an Order, with a PayPal link, for instance?

    Also, do you recommend using watermarks on photos of your work?

    I’m not yet on Instagram, just researching and considering,–does this program work only on my phone or can I download it on the computer as well?

    • Dear Rose, you can add the link to your site in your Instagram profile. Your followers will not be able to buy directly on the platform, but they should be able to follow the link in your bio to go to your site and purchase your art there. We hope that helps!

      Using watermarks is a personal preference – some artists use it and some don’t.

  • Thankyou so much Agora Experts. This article is very good and helpful to promote art but its not easy as it sounds.

    I hv tried everything the hashtags, mine quality is also good and my art is also but even i m not getting likes and followers as others. They have just 50 post with some bullshit drawing while they’re getting hundreds of likes and thousand of followers and i have 200+ post but still my followers are just 180.

    My account is not only for art i post ny art and my daily pics too first i was posting daily but as the result was not satisfying i post one pic in a week or 2 week. Please help me to promote my account.

    • Hi!
      Have you considered taking the help of artist feature blogs as mentioned above in the article?

  • Thank you for providing these how-to articles – they are well-written and to the point. You are making an excellent example of quality content bringing in followers – as I just followed Agora Gallery on Instagram.

    Keep up the great work and thank you again!

  • I agree with all the tips you have mentioned. I have used most of them and had a great success from my art in terms of followers. Thank you

  • Good article. I am trying to promote my art with instagram sharing accounts but none of them answer me so I think my art is not good enaugh for getting featured. So I started an ad campaign with one artwork and I will get hundred likes every day for that image:
    https://www.instagram.com/p/BC-p2slCySP/

    But it costs 1,- /per day and If I stop the ad campaign, all the likes will be lost.

    My oportunity now is to get an official Disney license for fashionprints with my cheshirecat…just because I show the post with all the people which love this artwork 🙂 so maybe all art featuring accounts doesnt like my art….but all others does.

    • And what do you think about art promotion with social media? I dont ask instagram art featuring accounts again and will trying to do it alone 🙂
      I think I could sell thousands of shirts/tanktops with my cheshire cat art. But nobody believes it. Nobody can see the success of that image and I dont know why. Here in germany I cannot find fashionproducers which are interested in asking Disney for licensing this artwork.
      But in america I found Threadless and maybe they will produce it. I will alo ask youtube fashsionstars with millions of views to show that product. I am sure that I can earn ~USD 100,000,- with one artwork just by promoting it on social media channels.

      But again…its sad that nobody will believe in me

    • Hello Alexander!
      Thank you for the tip!
      Good Luck with your prints! Keep it up and we are sure you will succeed.

  • The best way to use the maximum 30 hashtags is to post your hashtags in a comment AFTER you post your image. This way it will still be visible on all of the hashtags however once it drops down the ranks, you can remove the comment and it will look like you never even used any!

  • I like instagram a lot. I like looking at the photos, instagram is much more built for the creative mind.

  • hi Guys , follow my photography instagram account @melodiiousdiariist, thank you

    • Hi Sarah, if you want to grow your following you have to make your account public. It’s much easier to hit “follow” than request an admission.

  • Hello Agora! This article is lovely! But promoting my art successfully is rather difficult, even with the hashtags I use, all art related….

    • Hello KL, we know that self-promotion can be very difficult. To help you navigate the often treacherous waters of art business and promotion, we’ve written multiple articles on Marketing Your Art. If there is a topic that we haven’t covered yet, please let us know in the comments!

    • your content has to be unique, or else it will be hard for you.

      • Dear Abe, you are very right; unique, interesting content is one of the most important things. Thank you for visiting.

  • But instagrama traffic to my site is very small

    • Hi Eugene, in order to increase your following on Instagram, you need to learn how to use hashtags (well, and also consistently post quality content). As we mention in the post, “Hashtags is how Instagram categorizes content, so using a few with every post will get you added to different categories, raising your exposure on the platform.” Please take a look at another useful article, How To Use Hashtags To Promote Your Art. When used properly, hashtags will grow your following in no time.
      Please let us know how it goes!

  • Thank you Agora.
    I will venture to say that most Artists aren’t very good in promoting themselves. Even I with 45yrs in Advertising Agency background find it hard to do just that, promote. I believe the way to be noticed is to create Art that has a unique look. And that is the hardest part. The rest is finding a Gallery that sees merit in your art. Expose it, promote it and maybe generate interest in your Art. Instagram has intrigued me. Why not? Is an extra wall space available to us. We all know how precious wall space is. I see my work on the walls of Agora Gallery, why not? But that is a bit too remote. In the mean time I’ll follow Agora Instagram suggestion. Thanks for the tip.

  • I need to promot my instagram account

  • Being a beginner on Instagram, I understand that I can only use it through my iPhone
    And photos are not so good and it is difficult to control quality of the photos. A part from http://www.daviddriscoll.co.uk/

  • Nice article! Now it seems easier to use Instagram to promote my art – sometimes I try to put something interesting and then I cancel the post because I don’t find it very useful… I’ll try to keep some of them and see what happens following your tips. Thanks!
    Best, Quim Alcantara, visual artist http://quim.com.br/

  • This is a great, thoughtful article, a pleasure to read. Although i have an opinion that may differ from yours. I’m not an artist myself, but i help my artistic friends promote their creations, and i see how much effort they have to put in the social media to get attention. This made me try to find an easier way, which i did. The service zengram.net has a lot of useful functions, but what is really intriguing is the ability to copy the competitors’ followers and city-based search. I think it’s an ultimate tool, first of all for artists and local business owners. By automating some routine processes an artist can spare some more time to create something worth sharing. Good luck!

  • Agora Experts, Thank You so very much. I just opened an Instagram account to try and bring awareness to my art work. I did this with some trepidation as I did not want to intrude on others. You advise is straight forward and I am so glad to have found your Gallery and site. Cheers.

  • This article presents a fresh take on the artist within the social media world; while we see many artist fall into the trap of commercialising their work, this article clearly enforces the points of “Represent you as an artist”.

    What is to be said however is that logistics such as numbers of posts a day, when to post (etc) is something that l personally believe an artist shouldn’t have to be concerned about- if there art is good, it will receive positive reaction for it. However, thats not taking into account the new behaviours that society has taken up i.e. when there is most traffic online, so unfortunately we see that despite those who do say true to their art, even if they’re great artists, go unrecognised. Where is the solution within that? Could one debate that our society has cultured itself into a mainstream frame of mind when it comes to artworks?

  • Thank you for the article!

    The list of advices are awesome! The article shows not only possible activities directly in Instagram but also promoting through other services. I like the idea of using a website and facebook to get more followers. That’s why I would like to add information from my own experience.

    I am a professional photographer and found Instagram as a perfect source to share my portfoliio with everyone. All the “rules” of promotion I tried to keep. But I wanted to go further and searched for other ways of making people interested in what I do. Also I created not-so-bad-looking website. Then the idea of embeding Instagram to my website came to me.

    To my mind the best way to share your Instagram feed on the website is to use a special plugin. Instagram plugin will automatically show all images chosen by you. There are different products which can be free and premium. If you are ready to spend some money for a good-quality product then buy premium plugin. I use Envato marketplace – easy way to learn and test plugins.

    Concerning the plugin I bought InstaShow. No need in knowing code. I just customized it and add to my site. The Demo made me feel amazed, just look at it: http://elfsight.com/instashow/ .

    Regards!

  • You have shared very valuable information for instagram users.

    To all art lovers please support my daughter’s Art? She is a self-taught artist specializing in doodle/henna/apparels/company logos/body art/tattoos etc. Please view her page on instagram.com/trishavaz1 and request your friends/fans to do the same. You will see amazing but one of a kind art. Any guidance will be highly appreciated. Thanks a million in advance!!

  • Thank you wonderful tips will be right into moving forward for the future promoting my art Isabel

  • Great tips! Thank you for posting!

  • Being a beginner on Instagram, I understand that I can only use it through my iPhone
    And photos are not so good and it is difficult to control quality of the photos
    Filters alter the quality of textures and colors of my paintings
    Taking photo with my iphone is not as satisfying than with my camera
    So what do you advice about it ?
    Tks

    • Dear Nadia,

      Great question! Fortunately, you can upload any photo to instagram as long as the file is on your phone. Take all your photographs with your camera, and simply transfer or e-mail the pictures to your phone. When you’re on instagram, simply upload straight from your phone’s gallery by using the “share” tool. There’s no need to add filters if you don’t want to.

      Let us know how it goes!

  • How does one protect their artwork online?

    • Good question, and you can expect an upcoming article about just that topic from the Agora Experts! In the meanwhile, one widely-used tool is the watermark. You can put a logo or your name lightly over your works with any basic image editor, and that way nobody else can claim authorship over your images.

      Stay tuned for more tips on this in the future!

  • Thank You Agora Experts. I’ve enjoyed reading your informative articles on promoting my Art on Social Media Platforms and look forward to staying connected via your Newsletter.