Instagram (IG) is a social networking service that aims to give users a simple, fun, and creative way to capture, edit, and share photos, videos, and messages with family and friends. Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger founded the service back in 2010 before it was acquired by American company Facebook Inc.
The app began its life as a neat way to upload, edit, and share media but slowly became a good source of income for aspiring users – from emerging hobbyists to huge companies – as a venue for attracting more people to their business.
Make Money on Instagram as an Artist
Yes, Instagram can help you make money as an artist too. This article shows you the steps you can take to do just that.
1. Establish Your Brand
The first thing you have to consider is branding. A brand establishes your style, gives your business a more professional image, and helps people associate your work with quality which builds trust.
As an artist, decide what art style your IG account will focus on.
Will you be making and posting classical or modern art? Will your art lean more towards quaint and rustic or modern and chic? Do you want to sell unique one-of-a-kind pieces or part of a set or print-on-demand?
These are just a few of the questions to ask yourself when visualizing your brand. What's great is that answering these questions can lead to more questions that'll help you establish your brand even better.
2. Get Lots of Followers
If you want your art to sell on IG, you'll need to get followers – a lot of followers. Just like a brick-and-mortar store, the more followers you attract to your IG page, the better your chances of converting them to customers or clients.
How exactly do you get more IG followers?
There isn't really a clear-cut formula that works 100% of the time. There are just too many variables involved like your branding, your target audience's disposition on any given day, your level of proficiency in your art style, etc.
That said, you can always try the steps that bigger IG accounts use to get more followers.
3. Connect and Collaborate
Instagram is a social network composed of people following other people. Some IG artists and influencers will have more followers than others but this isn't necessarily a bad thing.
By connecting and collaborating with other IG artists and influencers (big or small), you're more likely to attract their followers into following you as well and vice-versa. This makes it a win-win for you and the other IG artists and influencers you're connecting with.
4. Post Often Enough
Another way to attract more IG followers is by showing that you're serious about your IG page. Many businesses and personalities create IG accounts in an attempt to get more followers only to leave their IG accounts collecting digital dust by failing to regularly post anything. This results in followers deeming these people's IG accounts as "dead" and promptly unfollowing, and worse, even warning other users to stay away.
We also don't recommend posting too much. Posting too many times a day not only dilutes the quality of your posts but also gives your followers "post fatigue". This is where people see your name, face, brand, etc too much to the point where they get sick of you and ignore all your posts entirely.
Instead, experts recommend you post at least once a day and not more than 3 times daily.
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5. Consider Image Quality
We've mentioned this in earlier blog posts but it's worth mentioning again because it's THAT important:
Use the highest quality images you can get.
In an industry where fame rises and falls based on visual beauty, you'll want to use the best camera you can get to produce the highest quality photos/videos of your subject art.
You don't have to break the bank and burn your wallet. Even your phone will do if you're on a tight budget, just make sure you get plenty of natural light and focus your camera correctly.
6. Craft Captivating Captions
High-quality images should go hand-in-hand with well-crafted captions. A great caption can add a layer of emotion to an already stunning art piece elevating it from something that's simply aesthetically pleasing to a compelling story given physical form.
You don't have to go into lengthy details about your work. Most times, a short anecdote or background of the motivation and process behind the piece will be enough to pique a follower's interest.
7. Pick the Right Hashtags
You can have the highest quality images with the most well-crafted captions and still get little to no views if nobody can find your posts. If you want followers to flock to your posts, you have to make each post as discoverable as possible.
Instagram uses hashtags to help users find the content they want. By using the right hashtags for your posts, you increase your chances of getting more followers – and more sales.
Finding the right hashtags can be difficult, though, especially if you're new to the hashtagging scene. You can always find the best ones for you through a lengthy (read: tedious) process of trial and error or you can check out what hashtags the bigger IG artists/influencers are using amd learn from them.
8. Leverage Your Bio
If you want to drive followers towards your portfolio site, YouTube channel, or other website featuring your art, you'll need to give them a link to follow.
The thing is:
Instagram is unique in that you can't just post links anywhere on your page. So, how exactly will your followers find your link? By going to your Bio page.
Your Bio page is one of the few ways IG lets you post hyperlinks. This is why a crucial part of the IG sign-up process is to complete your bio. Make sure to include a short and sweet description and change out your link when you need to.
9. Try Sponsored Posts
If you get enough followers on your Instagram account, you'll eventually get proposals from sponsors. These sponsors are often connected to your art through the products you use or the theme your brand represents.
Sponsors may offer to send you their products or pay you an amount of money in exchange for publicity or that you recommend them to your followers. This can be a double-edged sword as it's quite possible to receive monetary gain on the one hand but also lose your brand's integrity (and followers) on the other.
To avoid this problem, you have to uphold your brand's integrity foremost. Only accept sponsored posts for products you already use and like and wouldn't think twice about recommending to your closest friends and family. This way, you earn some passive income from your art while connecting your followers to quality products – another win-win.
10. Become an Affiliate Partner
Speaking of passive income:
Another way to make money as an artist on Instagram is by joining affiliate partnership programs.
Similar to sponsored posts, entering into an affiliate partnership with your favorite art supply company lets you earn extra cash by simply recommending their products to your followers. For each follower that clicks your affiliate link, and makes a purchase shortly thereafter, you earn a small kickback from the company.
Our company, Nova Color, actually offers talented artists a place in our affiliate program through a simple signing-up process. Feel free to check it out here: Nova Color Affiliate Program.