Instagram is my number one channel for promoting my illustration work. I know a lot of illustrators use it and although it is a very fitting medium to show creative work, it can also be difficult to get a grip on it and to actually gain followers and engagement. I've been using Instagram for several years now and have gained 25.000 followers, so I thought it would be time to share some if my instagram advice with my fellow creatives. Here it goes!
1. Care about your caption
I'll just skip the image itself because assuming you are an illustrator or other creative, you don't need much advice on that. So let's move to the caption. What do you want your audience to take away from this image? Do you want to tell them something, ask them something or simply share a cute image with them? I try to to use both short and long captions and alternate between the two. From time to time I ask questions to my followers to stimulate engagement. Do what you think fits your style. Telling a short story about the image or asking questions can help to make your content more personal and your followers more involved.
2. hashtags are key
Use hashtags. Just do it, it really helps. I know some people think it doesn't look nice or even looks a bit cheap, but it makes it so much easier for potential followers or even clients to find your work. I use about 20 hashtags for every post. Of course they work best if they actually fit your content. For example, I always use #fashionillustration #fashionillustrator #art and often #liveillustration #eventillustrator when drawing at events.
3. Making shareable content
If others share your content, your artwork will reach a bigger audience. So you should make it easy for them to share. I notice that especially my drawings linked to a certain theme or day get shared a lot. For example, the girl in bed with a cup of coffee celebrating the weekend and my Coffee du Lundi (monday morning coffee) get shared often. The same goes for illustrations relating to Christmas, Easter and so on. These images appeal to a certain sentiment. If you're a fashion illustrator like me, illustrating designer looks and tagging the brands can also be a good way to get your work noticed and shared by fashion brands. Some brands like Moschino and Marchesa share artwork regularly.
4. The power of video
You hear it everywhere: video is the future. I personally don't believe that video will replace photo content, but it sure is important. The Instagram algorithm probably has a hand in the high ranking of Instagram videos. I tend to make short films with silver and gold pigments from time to time and they make my followers rise very fast. One of them has been viewed a million times!
5. Show your story
Instagram stories can do a lot for you and you can use them in different ways. If you just share your artwork, use hashtags! They work quite well with stories as well these days. If you're at an event or special location, use the location tag, this will also get you more views. I also like to show pictures of my life from time to time and not just of my drawings. I show the art and fashion that inspire me, the events I work at, the exhibitions I visit, parts of my vacations and so on. This will give your followers a better understanding of who you are and will make it easier for them to connect with you. Even in the digital world, we're all human after all.