This week I'm going to talk about an important traffic source, Instagram. You want to join Instagram because as a business it is FREE marketing to reach potential customers. This is especially important as artists because we share our artwork here and can capture sales without even having them visit our website. Now if you have another type of business, it still is important.
Now if you are looking for advice from someone with 20K followers and fantastic engagement, you won't find that in me. I'm late to Instagram, because while I was building on Youtube, I was not building on Instagram. Because of this I have a big following on Youtube and not so much on Instagram. The point I'm making is that it takes TIME to build. It isn't something that you get thousands of followers instantly. It also doesn't make your worth or expertise in anyway different because of your follower amount (despite what fake is on there). All you need to do is get on the platform and share, and you will grow and reach people who like your art. So let's get to how to do that.
Instagram: This a visual place where pretty pictures get noticed, shared, and people socialize. It is easy to set up and get going. You must do all this from your Smart Phone as Instagram is not for use on PCs. It is an app you must find in your app store on your phone and download first. Once that is done do the following below to start using it.
1. Choose your business e-mail to set up the account. Keep the business stuff mostly separated from your personal stuff. So select Instagram for business option when it comes up.
2. Choose your business name as your username and as later you can add your own name as the Name in your profile. If you have trouble like your business name is taken try your name or business name and what you do. For example: AshleyKriegerArt (you can't use spaces)
In Profile- Add your name
3. Upload a picture of yourself not your logo to build connection as it is social media, not business media. People want to connect to real people there.
4. Link your website. I used copy and paste into the share link space in your EDIT PROFILE section.
5. Enter your bio. Describe what it is you do and what you do for others. Add a personal line that describes your customers. For example you could add your religion if you write or paint specific to a religion. You could add that you love animals because your work includes mostly animals. Just add something to relate to your customers. At the bottom add what they can buy from you with "click below" and an arrow. Your website appears right below your bio so it will make sense. If you have troubles with it allowing you to have spaces- write it somewhere else and copy and paste it into your profile.
6. Link your page to your business Facebook Account if you have one.
7. Select category. This is easy...artist or author or boogie dancer.
8. Contact Options. Add business e-mail or whatever contact your willing to accept.
Click the check in the upper right corner.
There is a circle with the plus on it below your profile, this is where you add highlights. You can only add stories to your highlights. To add stories you click on your profile picture, it should have a plus next to it. You must first add a story and then you can add your stories to your highlights.
Stories are pictures or videos you want to share that are shown to your audience- they are temporary. Highlights are stories that you want to make permanent. I like to make them to share more of the story behind my art or give my audience categories of my work.
To build my highlights I use canva.com. On canva choose Create a Design, select Instagram Story. I recommend adding your products in a very nice visual way there and sharing what you do. I made separate stories for LEARN, TRAVEL, and SHOP. This is highly individualized. You only get about six letters to describe your category once your ready for that step.
Once your stories are shared you can click highlights and you will see all the stories you shared. You can select the ones you want and name your highlight. You only get about six letters to describe your category.
Stories. Stories are for sharing more personal stuff. They don't have to be made into a highlight. You can click on peoples profile icons anytime to see their stories. At the top of your home (the house icon at the bottom of your Instagram) you will see the stories from people you follow. I share pics that don't fit well into my Instagram page there. Maybe they didn't make the pretty enough cut or doesn't follow my business as much, or it is more personal. I like to post there once a day with something that shares more about me or my business.
Adding photos. Remember that Instagram is all about sharing visually attractive stuff. Don't share bad photos as it makes your Instagram look tacky at puts off followers. Stick to your brand, fonts, and pics that go with it. The better the photo the more likes and traffic you will get from them. Share things that represent you and your business.
Here are some examples: quotes from you or that pertain to your business (use a consistent font and color), pictures of you celebrating your work, pictures of your products, pictures that go with your blog posts and pictures of you working (but not if they have clutter everywhere). Keep it clean but you.
You can organize photos on apps like UNUM to see what your pictures will look like all together before you post them. Apps like that help you visually make it easier to add pics in a more appealing way, as you can easily switch pictures around to better spots so that you can post in better sequences. Once you post on Instagram you can't move it. You have to delete to move it, which is annoying to me, but how it is.
Once your ready to share a photo, click the plus at the bottom. Add your photo from your phone and now you need to...
Write what is important to the photo, tell a story, make connections with people.
Then add hashtags to the bottom of the post. I add some periods between my text and the hashtags as people don't read them.
What are hashtags? Well they are where people are going to find you. If you click search icon at the bottom people can search by hashtags. So you want to categorize what your content is with #artwork or relevant #'s. I put mine in notes on my phone so I can easily copy and paste a variety each time I post.
You can add up to 30 hashtags to every post. Instagram keeps changing whether they like you to use all of them or not. Play around with which ones you use and how many to see what is working at the time.
After you post keep up on comments....it is social media. Go follow people like you and comment on their page. This is how you also can grow your audience.
Followers happen like this...
1. pictures (the more you share the faster you grow.
2. comments (the more you connect the better chance people will look at your profile).
3. #'s the better and more (within the 30) the better chance to be found.
4. follow others (the more real people you follow, the better chance they follow back)
I just started to use Instagram consistently in November last year and it is been four months now and I have gone from 100ish to almost 2,000 followers. It is just like anything it takes time to reach people.
I don't take my follower count too seriously, as long as your art is getting out there you are doing just fine.
Also the more you use Instagram the savvy you will become with it.
Okay I hope you have fun using Instagram and it converts to customers for the BIG price of $0 you have to pay to do it.
Let me know if you have questions in the comments.