There's a theory that goes if you perform a certain task every day for 30 days, new pathways are formed in your brain, so it becomes a habit. This can be applied advantageously to many areas of your life. I also feel this is a great approach for gaining great follows on Instagram. Today I have just over 4,600 follows...granted it's not quite as much as August Wren, but a girl has to start somewhere. I have received many enquiries via IG for commissions, some of which have transpired. There are a surprising number of art directors and editors on Instagram who may not state they are art directors and use personal accounts to follow your work !!
This is not a definitive guide for gaining follows - it’s based on my own personal experience since I started in September 2014. Please do not be tempted to 'buy' follows or likes - a few clicks in the profile link will reveal if someone has 200 FB follows and 10K on IG...something doesn't add up! Here are 10 quite simple tips...
1) Make art everyday. Start a habit of putting aside 10-30 mins each day to create art & post. Just a doodle, hand lettering, sketch or collage. Set yourself a monthly task perhaps - I started with pen and ink sketches of fruit and veg. I've also done 'dessert a day' for a month. Join in with #artdaily2015 or use #sketchaday#painteveryday. I've been making a quick watercolour sketch (almost) everyday for about 7 months.
2) Aim to post 2-3 times a day roughly 4/5 hours apart so followers see fresh images throughout the day on your feed.
3) Content. Folks who follow artists primarily want to see their art, but you can include things like your work materials or studio space ( as well as shoes or your coffee) Keep your feed well curated & relevant.
4) Post a mixture of old, new, & work in progress. By 'old' I mean from your website portfolio. Also any features on other blogs can be put on your profile link.
5) Caption your work - tell folks what inspired you or how it was made.
6) Like & comment other artists work, especially those who may be using the same hashtag eg surfacepattern. A comment really bouys me up even if it’s 3 hearts. Try to thank or reply to all comments.
7) Hashtag your work appropriately - the most popular ones are...#art #artist #painting #illustration #drawing #draw #sketch #sketchbook#artoftheday #instaart #instaartist #wip #artistsoninstagram #sketchbook #watercolours (or whatever medium you've used) #yourname #illustration
8) Uploading your work - send screenshots or jpegs to your phone email or Dropbox for easy uploads. If you take photos of your work use natural light.
9) Watermark your work (install iWatermark app) use the adjust/ vignette/ tilt shift function if you are worried about unscrupulous use of your art.
10) Be professional & use a positive tone. Avoid complaining or bad mouthing anyone.
Do not underestimate the power of Instagram!! I find it very satisfying following fellow creatives and seeing everyones amazing work, which inspires me even further. Please be mindful that gaining followers takes time, be patient, keep posting good content and support other artists. If this is sustained like a good habit, the momentum will start & it will be most worthwhile.