Hi, I'm Jessica!
Using the techniques in this series, I started my Instagram account at 0 and grew it to 1200 engaged followers in just 8 months.
This isn't a "get rich quick" guide or a "Jessica can do it, but I probably can't" guide.
This is a real-artist, real life kinda guide.
You can do it! XO Jessica
Does your artist Instagram account growth seem to be coming to a screeching halt? Or even worse, you're starting to lose followers?
There could be several reasons why, and it's entirely possible its not your fault. We'll discuss those... as well as how to start turning things around.
Instagram wants to show off the very best content on the app so you'll be motivated to scroll for long periods of time and as often as possible. That's more time for them to display ads and monetize their business.
For that reason, they'll always be tweaking their algorithms (or what I like to call them: Instagram fairies) to show the very best of the best.
Because you are so amazing, I'm sure you are already putting in thoughtful captions and making sure your photos look the best they can. But if you aren't, you better start. The top 30% of posts on Instagram are what show up in your followers' feeds - so upload the best quality content that you can.
How do the fairies know if you have the best content? After all, there is a LOT of it to sift through. The easiest way for them to tell are likes and comments, especially right after you have uploaded your post.
Your problem might be as simple as posting at the wrong time of the day.
Scheduling your posts in the AM or the day before with apps like CoSchedule (what I use), Plann, Hootsuite or Later can help solve this problem. They'll look at your previous posts to see what times of day your audience interacted the most and help you have a better chance of success.
A terrible trend in Instagram growth strategies is the "I'll follow you so you'll follow me, then I'll unfollow you so my account looks more prestigious." It's a mean game. I'm sure that is not their intention - but it isn't nice either way.
If you woke up with less followers than you had yesterday - this is the most likely cause. It doesn't mean they don't like your artist Instagram account, they probably didn't bother taking the time to look at it. Don't take it personally! It's just an unfortunate side effect you'll have to deal with when using the platform.
Sidenote: My personal form of rebellion is to unfollow anyone using this strategy. If I notice them follow/unfollowing me several times, I'll block them... So don't do it!
When someone stumbles across your artist Instagram account, do they immediately know what you are about? If there is any question in their mind, they won't be hitting the follow button. Be sure to let them know what you do and who you do it for. Have a great photo. Keep your bio text organized with dividers or bullet points. Basically, look like a pro!
I covered hashtags in detail on a previous post, so I won't dive into this extensively, but you should be using hashtags on every post if your goal is to grow. The maximum you can use is 30, and my opinion is you should use them all. (Free advertising? Yes, please.) Using the ones your audience is also using will dramatically increase your chances of finding kindred-spirits who will love your art.
If you were trying to make a new friend in real life, how would you start? You'd probably walk up to them and give them a genuine compliment. Start there. Follow their account, give them a compliment and strike up a conversation when a post you have something to add to pops up in your feed.
Not only is this a good "growth strategy", but its also a great way to meet some really cool people that you wouldn't have met otherwise. Friends are good for business, but more importantly good for your heart.
You might just meet some new BFFs who love you as much as you love them and you'll be happy to help promote and support each other.
Look through your favorite accounts' feeds and see which of their posts have the most comments. What type of content are they sharing that make people want to comment? I'm not talking about the posts with 100 comments that all say "I love this!", but the ones where conversations are being started.
I looked through a couple of my new favorite accounts for examples to share with you. These girls are great with words! (You can click on the photo to see their account.) Pay attention to how casually they talk to their follower-friends.
Don't forget to respond to the comments you receive on your account. No one likes a one-way conversation, but everyone wants to join a party!
Another side note: Yes, all of their art is colorful and abstract. I love many forms of art, but this happens to be the one I am most drawn to at the moment. This shouldn't have any influence on the style you think you should have. Next month I'll probably love realistic pencil drawings. Be you!
If these techniques seem too simple to work, just remember the Instagram fairies. They want to make money by keeping you on the platform as long as possible, and they do this by keeping their customers scrolling. If you help them out by creating an engaged following, they'll reward you by showing your posts more often.
Not to mention, your Instagram marketing will become much more fun.
Jessica's college experience was spent falling in love with getting her hands dirty. She showed her paintings at art galleries all over the city, but kept waiting to "make it". After the galleries took 30-50%, she would never be able to pay the bills. Determined to learn where she was going wrong, she took a job at a marketing firm where she managed over 50 projects at a time for three years, then ran her own web design company for the next three. Combining all of her unique skills, she opened The Artist Market Co. to teach artists techniques to create a thriving online business from their craft.
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