10 Easy Instagram Tips to Help Grow Your Creative Career

Instagram Tips for Artists

Photo: Ben Kolde
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It’s no exaggeration that social media has changed the way we live. This is especially true if you’re a creative small business or an artist wanting to sell your work. With the right online strategy, you can gain attention from millions of people who are not only fans but potential customers. Instagram is one of the most powerful tools you have to market yourself and your work. If you need proof, consider this—actor Leonardo DiCaprio famously bought an artwork that he first spotted on Instagram.

Whether you’re looking to ramp up your Instagram presence or start an entirely new account, it’s never too late to start growing your business this way. It can seem daunting, especially at first—the company (now owned by Facebook) has made many improvements and features since it began in 2010. But the app is a lot of fun and we encourage you to stick with it. To assuage any fears, we’ve compiled a list of 10 Instagram tips to help you in your creative career.

Do you use Instagram to market your creative business? Check out 10 Instagram tips that will help you grow your influence.

1. Everyone starts with zero followers.

One of the most important things to remember is that everyone starts from zero. Even Kim Kardashian once had an account with no one following it—and now look at her! It can feel discouraging to send posts out and feel like no one is seeing them, but if you can push through the low follower rates, the first six months will prove worth your while. Once you start steadily gaining followers, the rate in which you gain them will increase exponentially.

2. Use hashtags.

Hashtags are the key to others finding your content. They are valuable (and powerful) search tools, and so it’s best to use at least seven hashtags in your post. There are some hashtags, however, (like #art) which have millions upon millions of posts. Super popular hashtags like that will push your content down the timeline almost immediately since people are constantly posting to it. So, add some hashtags that have fewer posts to ensure that your content has a chance at being seen.

3. Engage with your audience.

Instagram is a social media platform for a reason—it encourages you to interact with others online. Engaging with your audience will also help gain more followers. You can do this in two ways. One is to like your follower’s posts; they will notice and do the same. The other way is to leave comments that show that you’re interested in the content that this person is posting. Don’t say things, however, like, “Nice pic! Check out my shop.” It sounds spammy and disingenuous—you won't win any new fans that way.

4. Convert your account from personal to business.

A business account sounds serious, but it's essential to make the conversion. One of the biggest perks is that you’ll get to add links to your stories (once you have 10,000+ followers)—it’s perfect for when you have a new product launch or are advertising an exhibition. Additionally, a business account also gives you access to analytics that will show you peak times for your posts; study the stats to see when your followers are most engaged, and post at that time.

5. Plan ahead.

A great social media strategy takes planning. Apps like Tailwind and Planoly allow you to schedule posts ahead of time on Instagram, but they both come with a caveat; Instagram won’t let them automatically post on your behalf. So when it’s time for you to post, they will send you an alert letting you know it’s time. You still hit the “share” button yourself. Despite this fact, they are great for if you’re on the go but still want to remain active on Instagram—it’s one less thing to remember.

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Sara Barnes

Sara Barnes is a Staff Editor at My Modern Met, Manager of My Modern Met Store, and co-host of the My Modern Met Top Artist Podcast. As an illustrator and writer living in Seattle, she chronicles illustration, embroidery, and beyond through her blog Brown Paper Bag and Instagram @brwnpaperbag. She wrote a book about embroidery artist Sarah K. Benning titled 'Embroidered Life' that was published by Chronicle Books in 2019. Sara is a graduate of the Maryland Institute College of Art. She earned her BFA in Illustration in 2008 and MFA in Illustration Practice in 2013.
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