Interact, it’s not enough to post.
Posting is just the beginning, interact with your audience, follow other accounts and comment on their feeds. You get what you put into it!
Be strategic about who you choose to follow. You may want to follow a gallery because you are interested in showing there and want to know more about what types of artists they show. Or perhaps you want to see what is trending in NYC art galleries so you follow Roberta Smith, Co-Chief Art Critic at the New York Times. You can follow other artists simply to get inspiration from their posts.
Always get permission in advance if you want to show an image of an artist and/or their artwork on your social media sites. If you want to mention an artist in a social media post, or if their artwork is in a photo on your social media account, make sure you tag them if they are on social media. If the artist is not on social media, at the very least add their name to your text caption. Same thing with organizations. For example, if you have an exhibition at the Cambridge Art Association, not only should you tag them, but you should tag their location as well.
Numbers: who you follow and who follows you
People do get quite judgmental about numbers, many people do notice the ratio between the number of followers a person has vs. the number of people they are following. When you see an account for someone who has 200 followers but who follows 459 people, you will look at that person differently than a person who has 3,860 follows but who follows 50 people.
Those artists who have 598k followers, who you have never heard of before, who have terrible artwork? Chances are they used a bot like Instagress to buy followers. So don’t believe everything you see on an Instagram account.
People notice comments above likes & follows.
Commenting is more time consuming, but it’s by far the most impactful form of interaction. While some people can be obsessive about tracking who likes their posts, it’s an intelligent comment that will really call attention to you. Most people do not track who likes their posts, whereas a comment stands out and gets noticed.
Always reply to comments.
If someone comments on your account, always reply, even if it’s a one word reply or something very simple. People want to be acknowledged when they take the time to comment on your account.
Use hashtags that are specific, but not too specific. Very broad hashtags like #art are pretty much useless, whereas hashtags that are super specific like #liverofsulphurpatination are not helpful either. Strike a balance and aim for hashtags like #charcoaldrawing, #lifedrawing which are broad, but also have some specificity.
You don’t need to add 50 hashtags to every text caption on Instagram. Having that many hashtags quickly can turn into an ugly, distracting block of text that can take away from your post.
Maintain a diverse feed.
Switch up your photos so you aren’t posting the exact same type of photo every day. Post a work in progress photo, followed by a photo of you working in the studio, followed by a finished artwork, followed by an exhibition image. Posting several photos in a row that are very similar get repetitive and cause your followers to think that they’ve already seen your image before. People will be quick to unfollow you if they see that every photo is almost the same as the last. One option if you want to post many photos are once is to embed several images into a single post, for example, Instagram allows you to post up to 10 photos in a single post.