Perfecting your Artist Profile on Instagram

(Pre-S: I expanded this article and made it into a video class on Skillshare. If you’re a visual learner, you can check it out here!)

Instagram is one of the best ways to promote your art online and connect with patrons and/or fans of your work. It’s fun, quick, and can definitely help you sell more art when done right.

The thing is, Instagram also really limits how you can sell because there is only one spot for you to include a clickable link to your shop or website: in your profile. Which is why today I just want you to focus on making sure your profile is working for you, and not against you.

Perfecting your Artist Profile on Instagram

First off, I just want to say that I always want to encourage artists to create their businesses in ways that feel comfortable and right for them. So I try to offer alternate suggestions for each section below, in hopes that you find something that works for you and  helps you to sell more art. So, let’s get started!

People who aren’t artists but love art tend to admire artists and want to feel connected to them/you on Instagram. So let’s start off with your profile picture.

I would encourage you to include a photo of yourself in your Instagram bio. It doesn’t have to be fancy or professional, but it should represent your brand as an artist. If your work is bright and cheerful, your photo should be, too. If your work is moody and dark, maybe your photo would be in black and white.

 

Artist Julianne Strom Brill uses a photograph of herself making art as her Instagram profile photo.
Artist Julianne Strom Brill uses a photograph of herself making art as her Instagram profile photo that feels very on brand.

 

I also realize that some of us artists — especially those of us looking for ways to make passive income with our art — are introverts and may not feel comfortable with a photo of ourselves on Instagram. No problem! There are a few different things you can do in this case. One would be to simply use one of your favorite and/or most popular pieces of art. You could also include a self-portrait you made, your signature, or even your logo from your website.

 

Artist Lisa Golightly uses one of her paintings for her Instagram profile picture.
Artist Lisa Golightly uses the detail from one of her paintings for her Instagram profile picture.

Now let’s tackle your Instagram name.

Seems easy, right? You just put your name there and done! But there are a few things you can do to maximize your results from this space. For one, you could simply write something like: Jules Tillman, Artist.

On mine, I also include my URL like this: jules tillman julestillman.com I do that because when people search for you / your name, what comes up first is your IG name, and then the information you put in your in your name section and I feel it adds to my branding, and helps people recognize that they have found the right person.

You can also use this space to get creative by adding emojis and such, but just remember that you want to keep your profile on brand. So if you’re brand is cheery and fun, add some cheer and fun. If you’re going for a more “serious artist” brand, however, just keep it simple and to the point.

Up next: Your website!

This should be easy, but unfortunately I see many people adding “extra” information to their URL that they don’t need. For example, if you’re pointing people to your Etsy shop, you don’t need to copy and paste everything from your address bar, like this:

https://www.etsy.com/shop/JulesTillman?ref=hdr_shop_menu

When you could really just do this:

https://www.etsy.com/shop/JulesTillman

Or, even better you could shorten is to this:

https://JulesTillman.etsy.com

And, the best case scenario is that you’re actually just sending them to your website:

www.JulesTillman.com

Having your own website with a shop, blog, portfolio, a newsletter for people to subscribe to (or some other way of collecting your patron’s info and staying in touch with them), etc. is optimal. But even if you just buy your domain name and have it point to your Etsy shop, you’ll look that much more professional. I use SiteGround (that is an affiliate link, and if you don’t know what that means, please click here) and they offer free domains with purchase of hosting, which starts at just $3.95 a month. To me, that’s a very small price to pay for a much more professional look.

And last but not least, your 150 word Instagram bio!

This is where you want to fit in as much relevant info about yourself and your art as you can, while also including a Call To Action, or CTA (which I will explain in detail below).

You’re obviously a creative person, so you can really get creative here! I like it when a bio shares something about the artist: maybe where they live, what type of art they make, and a bit about themselves.

Here is a nice example from Christina Baker:

 

Artist Christina Baker's Instagram bio.
Artist Christina Baker’s Instagram bio.

 

So what is a CTA? A CTA is a marketing term that basically refers to what you want your patron to do next. Do you want them to shop for your art on your website? Including something like “Shop my art here:” at the very end of your bio, because the next line will be your URL. In the example above, Christina tells people which galleries to contact for inquiries about her art.

In this example, I love how artist Jessica Nichols invites her followers to sign up for her newsletter:

 

Artist Jessica Nichols has a great CTA in her Instagram bio.
Artist Jessica Nichols has a great CTA in her Instagram bio.

 

Here is another great CTA example from Artist Yao Cheng:

 

Artist Yao has a great call to action, or CTA, in her Instagram profile.
Artist Yao has a great call to action, or CTA, in her Instagram profile.

And finally, just a couple of  “don’ts” for your Instagram artist profile:

  • Don’t put your profile on private. A business account (which is what this should be considered) should never be private! It’s like inviting people to your show, and then locking the door and closing all the curtains. A few people might request to follow you, but more will just find another artist to follow instead.
  • Don’t write your name in some cutesy way like j u l e s  t i l l m a n or with fancy fonts like ןยlєร tเll๓คภ. Instagram helps people find you by the name you use in your bio. Don’t make it harder for them!

Instagram is a great way to connect with your fans and patrons. Your bio can be a short but powerful introduction when utilized to its fullest. I’d love to hear in the comments below if you’ve updated your artist Instagram profile in the comments below!

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  • Thank you for writing these tips. It’s very helpful specially for someone like me whose just starting to learn how to build my own artist instagram profile.