Instagram : A Love/Hate Relationship by Artist Delie Putnam
Some artists hit it out of the park almost immediately. Some have slow but steady progress. Did I say slow? I cannot really say what makes the home run. I really don’t think anyone can say with certainty. Besides hard work and creating art that the market wants, there is certainly a little bit of good luck and timing. But, I have noticed that almost all of the success stories have pretty amazing marketing and consistent, eye catching branding. (Or a super interesting messy story about their 100 dogs and divorces which they share in an original, quirky way.)
Instagram is the perfect platform for artists. It is visual and gives us the perfect platform to create our brands.
Just like many of you, Instagram is how I first built my business. Of course, there are definitely MORE qualified people out there to write this post. But, I’ve been asked me to share my thoughts about Instagram so here goes:
Set yourself free. Set. Yourself. Free. SET YOURSELF FREE. Free from the experts that claim to understand the algorithm. They might actually know the truth but then what? How do you keep up and win at the ever changing game? Instead, let’s talk about what you CAN do.
Treat Instagram as its own art form. My goal is that my top 9 photos on my feed always represent my brand. I try not to worry about likes and views. I can’t. It will drive me crazy. But, as long as my feed represents me, I can feel satisfied. When people see my feed, will they be interested in my art, my look, and do I look like a professional artist? Will they be inclined to press the almighty “Follow” button?
Find a feed look that matches your brand and art. Is it moody? Is it bright and airy? Is it saturated with color? Does it match your art and style? Make that look your goal. Every photo you take and every piece of art you post should look cohesive and develop your brand. There are many great editing tools, including the ones already installed on iPhones. Personally, I use the LightRoom app on my phone to keep my editing consistent.
Captions should be interesting and a little mysterious. The first line of the caption should capture the attention of the readers and hopefully get them to read further. A call to action and/or asking a question to get a conversation started is always a good idea. Captions can be written quickly and that’s great. But don’t fret if they take you a long time and get rewritten a bunch of times. To quote Ashlyn Carter, a copywriting expert, “Copy is not written. It is assembled.”
Sometimes I have my posts planned out… and sometimes I just grab a photo and post. So for me, it's a mix. I think there is a lot to be said for posting in the moment. But for some people, daily distractions may make this hard. Do what works best for you. I keep a plan in Unfold App to make sure the photos keep my feed looking cohesive.
Scroll through your feed through the eyes of a stranger. Don’t be afraid to remove posts that stick out on your feed or no longer represent your brand and colors. Maybe don’t do it all at once, but a gradual editing over time may be helpful.
Do not feel obligated to go Live, show your face talking etc. Do what feels comfortable for you, what you can be proud of, and what fits your brand. Do you feel a sense of relief that I said that? I am so glad.
Instagram claims that it favors Reels. Don’t let Reels freeze you in your place. A good artist friend of mine said “Reels are fun!” And she is right…they certainly can be. Create them as you can and post when you can.
Stories can be spur of the moment and more casual in nature. Glimpses into your day. I use Unfold and Canva templates to keep consistency in my stories. I purchased the PRO level in Unfold. I love how I was able to upload my brand colors and fonts. What apps do you love for Instagram? Please share in the comments below.
Consistently look at your day for possible content. Video yourself buying art supplies. Video yourself painting or prepping a canvas. Tiny clips and even still photographs can be made into Reels. Grab some music, make sure it matches your brand and hit post! Make sure you have an iPhone holder for these videos. There are so many iPhone holders available. I have two but use one from @shopcanvas.co the most. It is an investment, but it was 100% worth it for me. Another great option, for a smaller budget it this IPhone holder from Amazon.
Whatever you do.
Don’t obsess over likes and views. Almost everyone is saying likes and views are down. Don’t get me wrong, I can get a little discouraged when I spend a lot of time on a caption and post and it only gets a few likes. It happens to the best of Instagrammers.
As long as you are proud of it, it represents you well, and adds another on-brand photo to your feed…..you have succeeded.
Congrats for getting your message out there to the world.
Please feel free to share this blog on your social media with the links below.
https://unfold.com/ (Instagram planner & stories templates)
https://lightroom.adobe.com (Photo editing)
www.canvasfam.co (My most used iphone holder)
https://ashlynwrites.com/ (My copy writing hero)
*some of my blogs include affiliate links. I️ only link to products that my artists and I️ actually use and love.