You can grow your audience with loads of quality content as an artist.
Do you want to grow your Instagram or other social media following, but you’re struggling to create enough content posting as much as the “experts” tell you? When I do an Instagram assessment with one of my consulting clients, I often hear a little panic when I get to the part of the session where I say “You need to post 1 to 3 times a day, 7 days a week on Instagram.”
At first, they assume that I’m saying they need to have 1 to 3 different pieces of art to post a day. That’s not the case at all, and holy crap that would lead to burnout if you’re not careful.
No, posting 1 to 3 different photos or videos a day on Instagram does not mean you need to create a ridiculous amount of art. It means you need to get creative with your content. In this post, I will give you a plethora of ideas to expand your content and get ready to up your Instagram game. Instagram is my main focus here, but you can easily post the same content on your other social media accounts like Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and more.
Why do you need to post so much?
The most common questions I get on this topic are: “Won’t people get tired of my work?” and “Doesn’t this seem spammy?”
No and no. Social media moves quickly, attention spans are short, and people are following you because they like what you do. When you are an artist operating online, you are providing a service when you post. When a follower finds enjoyment in looking at your work or reading what you have to say, they will happily consume 1-3 post from you a day. Happily. If someone gets tired of you, then they probably aren’t your target audience (or you’re asking too much of your audience).
You are not being spammy by posting up to 3 times a day on Instagram. You need to constantly show up and remind your audience that you exist online while also feeding the Instagram monster. Make it easy for your followers to interact with you by showing up in their feeds every day.
How to Create More Content for Social Media
1. Post the same piece of art multiple times.
It’s okay to reuse pieces of art in your profile. It doesn’t have to just show up once. In fact, I encourage you to post a piece multiple times to help create a cohesive color scheme throughout your social accounts. The important thing to do is to photograph the art differently and have a variety of photo compositions.
Here are six photos on my account all using the same piece of art:
*Note: I’m not posting pictures of myself and my art here because I’m obsessed with my own content, it’s just that I’m too lazy to go find content from other creators AND get their permission to use their photos in my blog in the short timeframe I’m willing to dedicate to this blog. So…
I could easily have created more posts with the same piece of art by recording time-lapse and real-time process videos. See how I changed the photos by using different angles and including myself in the shot? It’s all the same piece of art, but each photo has a different feel.
- As a general rule, limit yourself to posting the same piece of art no more than 3 times in the first 9 photos of your profile.
- If the photos are similar, stagger them with different photos so you give the appearance of more variety.
2. Include photos of yourself with your art.
All of your posts should have a purpose, and posting photos of you with your art helps to tell your story, connect with your audience, and build trust.
Staging photos of yourself working on your art, moving around in your studio, casually sitting in front of finished pieces, and more will give you great content to fill your social media accounts without posting ‘selfies’. (Don’t just post a selfie! Your art needs to be involved in the photo.)
Staging Tip: Use the timer feature on your smartphone, voice-activated pictures, or DSLR camera with remote or timer to capture more natural-looking photos of you with your art. This is personally what I do for all of my photos of myself (including the ones pictured above).
I’ve gotten asked a lot if you can use any smartphone to take photos for social media, and yes you can as long as your lighting is good and the resolution is decent.
Here are a few of the products I use for staging photos: (*These are Amazon affiliate links to products that I currently use and love. If you make a purchase, I earn a commission.)
- Smartphone tripod: https://amzn.to/2Ib0bpO
- Digital camera tripod: https://amzn.to/2TTvE1W
- Canon EOS Rebel SL2 DSLR: https://amzn.to/2HVvyFQ
- Canon Bluetooth remote: https://amzn.to/2IaOPCg
You can also ask someone to snap a few pictures of you if it’s convenient, but I spend most of my day alone and prefer not to have anyone witness the variety of expressions I make in front of the camera. (Because, Hi, I’m awkward!)
3. Use a variety of photo compositions.
I have already shown you a few examples above for creating a variety of compositions with your art and yourself, but there are more options. Using a variety of photo compositions will help open up your profile and keep each post looking interesting. I always encourage artists to avoid posting the same photo composition over and over again.
- Stage your art with other complimentary pieces.
- Do close-up shots of details.
- Photograph straight on shots.
- Stage your art with home décor and plants.
- Take angled/dynamic photos to create depth.
- Take photos of your art in different scenarios like holding the art outside, or even staging your art with photo staging apps (make sure it looks natural).
- Include your hand or parts of your body in the photo to create perspective and a human connection.
- Show your art in action: photo of you hanging the piece on the wall, or moving a canvas around in your studio.
4. Reuse the same exact photos/videos.
Yup. You can use the same photos or videos you have posted before on your profile. I don’t recommend doing this often, but it can work in a pinch.
- Archive the older appearance of the photos in case someone decides to scroll through your profile so it doesn’t look like you are recycling the same photos.
- When I recycle old photos or videos, I wait about 3-4 months. You’ll have a new batch of followers by then and enough time will have passed that your current followers may have forgotten about that piece/photo.
5. You can photograph older works and post them now in new staged compositions.
You don’t have to just post new work. It’s a good practice to bring old pieces back to your audience’s attention. Especially if the piece is still for sale.
Every few weeks, I do a mini photo shoot in my studio. I take out pieces I haven’t seen in a while and stage new photos. I also use this as a chance to create more photos of myself with my art. Always remember that the same piece can show up multiple times in your social profiles as long as there is enough variety in the photos or time between the new post and the last appearance.
6. Record the process of your work.
I can’t say this enough: creating and posting videos of your art on social media has more of an impact on your audience growth than photos will. If you follow me on Instagram, you know how often I post videos. Not only do videos give me more content to post, but they get shared more easily.
- Create full-time lapse videos of your art. (ex. @jenaranyi and @humbyart)
- Record real-time snippets of your process. (ex. @polina.bright)
- Create colorful experiments with art supplies. (ex. @josielewisart)
Here are the supplies I currently use to record my process videos:
- Logitech Webcam: https://amzn.to/2K3cuXO
- Desk Clamp Scissor Art: https://amzn.to/2CSVUnv
- Laptop with Logitech software.
- Daylight bulbs: https://amzn.to/2IaLza2
- Clamp lights: https://amzn.to/2K771iS
7. Capture your studio space, supplies, and artist lifestyle.
Selling your art often means selling your story and your life as an artist first. Make your audience feel like they can step into your studio space. Bring your viewers into your life with your photos.
- Tell a story through videos.
- Show a view of your studio and supplies while still showing your art.
- If your studio space is hideous (like mine has been many times), create a photo corner with a drop cloth, white sheets, fence panels, or whatever other props you can find to make the space look clean and branded to your colors, and then stage photos there.
8. Use quotes.
I don’t often recommend posting quotes in place of photos or videos of your work, but if it is appropriate for your brand, then it’s a good way to maintain a color scheme, show your personality, and provide value to your audience all while giving you extra content to post.
Just make sure that the quotes you post have a purpose beyond being ‘filler’ content. Whether it’s a quote from you or a quote from another creative person, it should be connected to your brand.
When you post quote blocks, try to sprinkle them in your feed naturally instead of posting all in a row or in a geometric pattern.
Social Media Doesn’t Have to Feel Like Work
I just provided eight different ways to create more content for your social media presence without actually having to create more art. Realistically, you can get 5-10 unique photos/videos all using the same piece of art. That means if you are just posting the bare minimum of once per day, you could create enough content by working on one piece of art a week. Sprinkle in a photo of you, a photo from past works of art, a compilation photo of complementary pieces, and maybe a quote, and you can see how quickly you can get into a content creation groove.
Please leave questions and comments below while commenting is open or reach out to me directly through Instagram or email. I’d love to hear from you! Make sure to sign up for my email list below to never miss a blog post.
P.S. You probably know by now that I am here to help artists with these posts. If you need help with your online branding, Instagram account, or just want a creative accountability coach, then check out my consulting services. You can easily add a session to my online calendar now.