Ellie's Question of the Week
How do you gain an audience through social media?
Ah, yes. The struggle of social media. I know I've talked about this subject before. I even mentioned it in my opening statement "hope + easel: the beginning". Social media has the tendency to make you feel like you're at a middle school dance. You stand in the corner, perhaps wearing something flashy to get noticed, and not a single person approaches you. It's disheartening. It's as if you're screaming at the top of your lungs and no one hears you. However, radio silence can sometimes be better than a full blown rejection because in most cases, it's not that people don't like you or your work...they just haven't actually seen it.
Low and behold, the Instagram Algorithm. This is when Instagram determines whether or not your post is "good enough" to be seen. If it's not, then it gets thrown to the bottom and only a handful of people really see it (mostly your close friends and family).
So to answer Ellie's question, we've reached out to the Hope + Easel artists for some feedback, personal experience, and advice.
Michelle Brunner states that she has gained a following simply by posting at certain peak times. Reaching out to your Instagram Analytics page can help guide you toward your peak times. This all depends on when your followers are the most active. However, Instagram is not always right in this sense. From my personal experience, I have posted during Instagram's suggested highest peak times, and got an even less response than at my lowest peak time. So in order for you to truly know your peak time, it may be best to test it out for a week yourself. Post at all times of the day to find what works best for you.
"I also try to engage with others on IG. It's been a super slow process but that is what I have been doing," says Michelle.
No one likes to be ignored!
If a viewer comments on your photo, the best thing to do is acknowledge it. Talk to them, ask them questions, and engage in conversation. You'll be remembered in the long run.
Melanie Chadwick adds that joining a challenge through Instagram will certainly help in gaining an audience. Certain hashtags such as #the100dayproject and #meetthemaker are great ways of not only getting your work noticed, but also finding other inspirational artists around the world. Hashtags are an important aspect to reaching out to other Instagrammers, so it's vital to know which hashtags to use. Using #art contains far too many Instagrammers using the same hashtag, so your personal art can easily get lost in the weeds. It also makes your profile an easy target for robots and fake accounts that, in the end, it won't help grow your business.
"Try something more specific like #acrylicpainting," says Melanie.
Go behind the scenes!
Are you only posting final product photos? Try posting a picture or video of an unfinished product. Viewers love to see the process, especially if they are not art savvy. They like to see the work you've put into it! Watching artists show time lapse videos of their work seems to get a great response. Here's an example below of Taylor Lee .
Try a giveaway!
After some conversation, we all agreed that giveaways are a hit or miss. But it doesn't hurt to try! Some artists host giveaways everyday, once a week, or once a month. It's entirely up to you! Check your wallet first to determine how often you'd like to do this as it will cost you money. The upside to hosting giveaways is that it gets people to your page and encourages participation. Plus, everyone loves free stuff!
In the end, we want to stress that social media is not the most important aspect to your art career. It's what you do outside of social media that truly matters!