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There’s a new star in the art world and it’s not an artist, it’s a social network. Instagram has become the go-to social network for any artist trying to sell more art. Stories abound about artists selling new pieces of art for upwards of $30,000 as soon as they post an image of a paining to Instagram, and as a result, just about everyone is trying to cash in on this social network. Instead of posting photos of what they ate for breakfast, artists are posting beautiful photos of their latest artistic creations.
Getting started on Instagram
Of course, selling art via Instagram is not quite as easy as it might seem. For one, you need to build and develop your presence on Instagram, and this rarely happens overnight. For example, one origami artist committed to posting a photo of one new origami creation every day for 18 months. By the end of that time period, though, 120 followers had grown into 100,000 followers. Once you’ve reached that type of size, it’s much easier to make a sale.
If you are looking for more of a short-term solution, one answer might be coming up with an ad budget to get you the reach you need to grow. By buying ads on Instagram, you can create a new influx of visitors, many of who might convert into followers and then into buyers. Once you’ve made money from a few sales, you can then re-invest some or all of that money into new promotional activities. For the proverbial starving artist, that might be one way to bootstrap a promising artistic career.
Best practices for selling art on Instagram
Over time, artists have perfected a series of “best practices” that help them sell art very effectively on Instagram. For one, it’s absolutely vital to post high-quality images that accurately reflect your artwork. Photos should not be blurry, poorly lit, or awkwardly styled. And, to ensure that you maximize user engagement, you should also think about creative ways to highlight your artwork, your painting process, or even your artistic inspirations.
Moreover, you need to think about how all the various elements of Instagram – such as filters, captions and hashtags – can be used together as part of a consistent branding strategy. Imagine how Picasso would have used Instagram during certain periods of his artistic career more than 100 years ago. During his Blue Period (when he mostly painted in shades of blue and blue-green), he might have tagged all of his photos with #BluePeriod. In his captions, he would have explained why he was painting in such austere colors and why he has choosing such depressing subjects (beggars, prostitutes and drunks) for his paintings. A key part of being able to sell a painting is having a “story” or “narrative” about it, and that’s why captions and hashtags are so important on Instagram.
Selling art on Instagram with art inventory software
Another important element is the bio for your Instagram profile. Here is where you can include a brief description about your artwork and your style. And, most importantly, it is also where you can include a link to a website where people can buy your art. Some artists, for example, use Artwork Archive, which gives them a way to manage and organize their artwork. When Instagram followers click over to your Artwork Archive page, they can see your contact information, which galleries are showcasing your work, and when your upcoming shows are.
In addition, an art inventory software system like Artwork Archive gives you access to a payment system. It includes features such as invoicing and billing, meaning that you can pretty much automate the sale of your artwork anywhere in the world, as long as you set up this system at the same time as you launch your Instagram presence.
Starving artists used to have limited resources for attracting potential buyers, aside from word-of-mouth buzz from friends and family. But now, with Instagram, they have a powerful new way to reach a much larger audience and bypass the complicated system of galleries and professional art critics. Instead, they can connect directly with potential buyers and have much greater success selling their artwork.