Optimized for images, Instagram is undoubtedly the perfect social media platform for artists. Unlike Twitter (where words are king) or Facebook (where mostly videos get the most traction), this is the place where images draw attention and acclaim. This is what makes Instagram a pretty great place to sell art online!

Also, eliminating the need for top art critics to call the shots, and helping both seasoned and struggling artists connect with buyers across the globe who are willing to pay for their work. Though, Instagram is an excellent spot to find art buyers but be aware that they are just not often going to buy your art right away. They would initially follow you for weeks, months, or years. And then, when something clicks and a wall space opens up for them, then they will indulge in buying.

Remember, excelling at the social media platform of Instagram is all about understanding this journey and to make decisions based on it. And do not just look for quick conversions, get this clear that the random person who likes your Instagram posts regularly (or maybe once in a while) this year could turn to be a huge customer the next year.

To help you out, we have put together some golden rules for building an audience of art buyers on your Instagram page.

  • Direct Message Every New Follower

As an independent artist, you have the unique ability to pull off this rule exactly as required. Though you may count this task as one that doesn’t scale, it will prove to be really beneficial making a personal connection with the buyers.

Unquestionably, giant art retailers or galleries selling art online with more than hundreds of thousands of followers could never even think to DM every new follower they get throughout the day. But if you are receiving about 1–100 new followers a day, you certainly can.

Remember sending off a short, quick, personal DM to a new Instagram follower will take just a few seconds, but it will establish a personal connection and let the buyers see the person behind. Indeed, a great way to make an unexpected and strong connection with your newest fans. Receiving a welcome message will instantly grab their attention and will ensure that they remember exactly who you are whenever they see your posts in their feed over the coming weeks.

Apart from this, you can use this as a great opportunity to do some market research, you can ask your newest followers a quick question such as Will they prefer to buy Indian paintings online? Or where did they find your profile?

  • Respond to Every Comment (Instantly)

Make sure that you don't just build your audience to sell art online on Instagram, it is important that you engage with them.

Replying to comments on your posts will significantly improve your audience's emotional connection with both you and your art (you know this is what eventually leads to sales). You don’t need to give long replies, a crisp response with few words or even a quick emoji can make an impact.

Know that comments are a form of engagement on Instagram. So, by responding to comments you will be constantly doubling the comment count on your posts, which will lead to more and more activity on your Instagram account.

This is how it works — when you respond to every comment on your posts, you go about increasing the size of the engagement on your posts. Though your own comments don’t carry as much weight as comments made by other people, they still count. So, it’s a win-win situation!

Also, if possible try to respond as quickly as possible (immediately would be the best) because it would not only improve the size of engagement but also improve the size quickly, and too effectively, fulfilling both essential criteria of the top posts algorithm.

  • Post Regularly (and At the Right Time)

Once you have followers on your Instagram account, you need to make sure that you are consistently visible on their feed. This is all the more important if you want to be your followers' new favorite art account. So, keep posting regularly, if not daily at least several times a week.

Depending on your other tasks, you can decide on the frequency of posts that work for you, and make use of tools to schedule your posts beforehand if you have a paucity of time. For example, you could consider posting on every alternate day such as Monday, Wednesdayand Friday.

In case you are not sure about what kind of posts you should come up with or at what times during the day, you can consider using a free Instagram Business account or Insights. It will let you keep a watchful eye on the types of posts and the times during which your audience is likely to use Instagram, giving you the best results.

  • Try Posting Stories More Often

Do you know that Instagram Stories are one of the most effective ways to build an audience on the platform? Well you know it now, make sure you follow!

This snapchatty feature lets you make goofy, off-the-cuff snapshots and short video clips. Appearing at the top of your follower’s feed, these Stories expire after 24 hours and are perfect for you to share behind-the-scenes looks of what you are up to.

Having a more casual character, Stories provide an initial unrefined base to your upcoming posts or updates. The best part is your audience is going to love exploring the more intimate life of the artist they follow, whether it’s a tour of your art studio, a glimpse of your work-in-progress, a revisit of your favorite artworks, or a simple walkthrough of your latest tool and equipment, this would make you seem more human and approachable.

As these stories appear at the very top of the follower’s feed, if you post them frequently enough (something like 3-10 stories a day, a few days a week), your audience would not have to scroll their feed to find you.

  • Use Popular and Relevant Hashtags

No matter how large or small your art store brand is, hashtags are an integral way while sharing photos of your artworks on your Instagram account. If used wisely, this could have the potential to expand your reach and impressions for your Instagram page!

For example, if you are looking to sell your creations of Indian art, then using hashtags such as #Indianpaintings #Indianart #traditionalIndianart #Indianartworks would be a good idea, this way people looking to buy Indian paintings online are more likely to come across your art.

You can even research other artists working in similar kinds and styles of artworks, and find what terms or hashtags they preferably use, try incorporating some of the hashtags they use into your Instagram posts and see what works best from the Insights stats. Like anything this is also trial and error, so switch it up and keep trying.

In fact, you can also consider starting your own hashtag, it would not only initiate a trend but also make it easier for people to view your work. Certainly worth a shot!

Apart from this, you can even tag some of your favorite art pages in your posts so that it is not only viewed by your followers but also by popular art blogs and profiles.

  • Don't Always Try To Sell

Indeed making a sale from a follower on Instagram is an awesome feeling, but that's not the only reason that your fans are there for. Agreed, you have beautiful art to offer and are looking for sale but you don't have to always shove this in their faces. Though you might find it tempting to push for sales (everyday) but it will for sure hinder your followers from wanting to purchase, with a strong possibility that they might unfollow you.

Instead, attempt to make them aware of your artworks and online store (if any) through your posts but not all the time. Go for limiting it to once a week.

  • Be Accessible

It is always better to be accessible as a person, and not as a brand or company. Always make time to reciprocate the love of your followers.

As your activity increases on your Instagram account, you are likely to get more and more people reaching out to you, some looking to make a connection with you – to compliment your art, or satisfy their curiosity about your personal life, or, know your story behind the work, or, perhaps to enquire about a piece of your work. Make sure you give them one by simply being available and easily accessible on Instagram.

If possible don’t hesitate to chat with your followers, it would make them feel more amazing, valued and loved.

Wrap Up

Remember that the results won't be immediate, instead this is a slow-build task that will ramp up over the months and years or more. Just stay focused, keep posting consistently so that your profile is constantly bursting with new, exciting content, comments, and Stories.

Lastly, don’t forget that on social media platforms you would not always find people who love you but also there would be some who would criticize or disagree with what you say or create. Don’t take these personally instead tackle it with patience and peace. Just be yourself and don't hesitate to express yourself through your works or even your words and be who you are. As long as it's something positive there is nothing to worry about!

Be Authentic, Be You. Good luck!

If you have any tips to help artists achieve success on Instagram, please don’t forget to share your amazing ideas in the comments section below.