Things you need to know to sell art on Instagram.

I have had several clients ask me where I get my sales leads for my art. Instagram!

The beauty of Instagram is that you can connect with people all over the world. Unlike Facebook and LinkedIn which are your friends or business associates, Instagram lets you connect with people who have similar interests around the world. I have met probably a hundred people face to face that follow me on Instagram. It’s crazy.

Step one is to download the Instagram APP, activate it and set up an Instagram name. Make your “nickname” fun and memorable. Have it relate to your art and include your first name if possible. Your full name can be included in the description if you’d like. Some of my favorites are Gary_draws_fish, TikiRob (that’s me), FlamingoFred, theartcoach, and giantstrawberry. That leads us to your description. Instagram allows a couple lines to describe yourself and give a link to your website. You cannot add “clickable” links anywhere on Instagram except in your description, so be sure to add it here.

Once you are set-up start exploring by clicking the magnifying glass icon at the bottom of your screen. It will show you some popular posts. As you use Instagram more these will relate to your interests and the hash tags that you use. (More on Hashtags later.)

The search bar at the top of the “magnifying glass” page will allow you to search People, Tags, Places, and it even recommends people to follow. I would start with Tags. When people post a photo in Instagram they can add a “#” symbol and a description of the photo. This way others can find it by searching the Tag section. You even have the opportunity to follow tags. For instance if you like Geckos, search Geckos in the tag section. There will be thousands of posts of geckos. You can choose to follow gecko tags by clicking “Follow” in the blue button at the top. You can also scroll through the gecko images. if you find one you like click on it. It will take you to that person’s Instagram account. If the images that they are posting interest you you can choose to follow that person. Then every time that person posts a new photo it will appear in your feed of images.

Play with the icons at the bottom of the screen, they are pretty self explanatory and do some cool stuff. Get to know Instagram by clicking on everything and seeing what happens. You can’t break it!

Before you follow too many people I’d recommend uploading 10-15 of your best images. When you follow someone, they often look to see who started following them and if they like your photos you may get a follow back. Your goal is to get as many followers as possible. You want real people who are interested in your art and your posts. Getting new followers can be slow, but the more time you spend on Instagram, the more followers you’ll get.

When uploading images feel free to use the Instagram filters to make them look even brighter. Artists may choose not to do this if it alters the colors in their art. Once you upload an image you can tag the location, write a brief description and then add hashtags to the image. Some people are turned off by too many hash tags but I’d recommend at least 5 but no more than 10.

If I were uploading a painting of a Gecko I would say something like this… “Here is my latest gecko painting! I went a little crazy with the colors on this one and call it “Crazy-Legs Gecko”. I hope you like it. Prints are available on my website. See my profile for information. #gecko #geckopainting #geckoart #madeonmaui #mauiart #starvingartist #dentistofficeart #waitingroomart”

I try to add a couple humorous hashtags in there. Hashtags will help Instagram know what your image is and allow others to find it. Be sure to click on your hashtags after you post to see what your competition is!

Once you have 10 images up, start making friends. The more you comment on photos, follow people with similar interests and like photos, the more friends you’ll make and the more followers you’ll get. You’ll find that if you comment on people’s images, that they will start to comment on yours. The more you communicate the better your chance of selling a piece of art to that person.

Wow, that was kind of all over the place, but here are some bullet points to get you started.

10 things you need to know to be successful on Instagram

  1. Choose a fun memorable name and profile photo. add your website link in your profile.
  2. Upload 10+ photos before starting to follow people.
  3. Limit posts to no more than 2 images a day. If you must post a group of images use the multi image tool to allow interested people to scroll through your images, or post to your “story”.
  4. Be positive and don’t talk Politics or religion on Instagram. Don’t do any hard sales, you will get blocked.
  5. Don’t forget to add at least 5 hashtags to every image you upload
  6. Get on Instagram daily and find people with cool images to follow.
  7. Comment on your favorite images and images of potential customers
  8. Avoid posting food and pets. People can’t taste your food and too many pet posts can get annoying.
  9. Artists – Post progress images. People love to see the process!
  10. Have fun and make friends!

Have fun and be sure to follow TikiRob


Rob Hawes