Photo by Chelsey Faucher on Unsplash

Keep your art business strong with an updated Instagram strategy. 

It can feel weird to post something that is unrelated to COVID-19 or, more currently, social injustice right now. But, this doesn't mean you have to completely stop sharing parts of your work and it doesn't mean you should go silent. Consider changing up your usual social media posts to address issues and share resources and posts. 

Adjust your messaging, but don't go silent

Here are just a few ways that you can use your Instagram to engage with your audience right now. 


Create a virtual studio tour with Instagram Live

While you may not be able to bring people into your studio for in-person tours, you can use the Instagram Live feature to create virtual tour experiences for your fans.

The silver lining to virtual tours? You will be able to reach more people. You can also directly engage viewers and answer their live questions in real-time.

Before getting started, you will want to make sure you are set up to get the most out of your virtual tour. Zoom in on artworks to show details that a viewer would have to get up close to see. Show the works from different angles. Don't walk too fast or move the camera too quickly. Add dimensionality by describing not only what an artwork looks like but what it feels like to create or feels like as you handle it as a finished product. 

If you don’t have access to your usual studio, do a studio tour of your work-from-home studio. Your viewers will be curious to see how you are adapting to changes in your work world. Make it personal by introducing yourself and showing your face before you show the studio. If you have a studio pet, give a little cat or dog cameo. People love studio pets. 

Remember to save your Instagram Live video after you are done recording. As soon as you finish using Instagram live, there will be an option to save your recording. You can save this recording and create a featured story for it, or download to share in a newsletter or email to your contacts. 

Keep the communication going after your tour as well! Reference your live tour, continue to answer viewer questions in your Instagram posts or stories, and follow up with contacts about the progress of your works that you showed in your tour. 


Consider contributing a portion of your art sales to support a cause

These last few months have been challenging, to say the least.

Art brings us creativity, self-expression, and community. But it also has the ability to uplift one another and support others. If you are looking for ways to personally take action or contribute to a cause that you are passionate about, consider a special sale, raffle, or auction that you can contribute a portion or all of the proceeds to the organization of your choice. 

With the current economic challenges, a monetary donation isn’t always possible. However, you can use your artwork to support a greater cause. Perhaps you started organizing your studio and going through old work with the downtime during social distancing and there are some works that you could let go. 

Start by identifying a cause that you care about and let people know that a portion of your art sale proceeds will go directly to that cause. Before your sale goes live, let your audience know more about why you chose that organization and any logistics like how long the sale will last and how they can buy or donate. Update your Instagram with money that you’ve raised so far and make sure to tag and reach out to the organization that you are supporting.

Not only will you be raising money for a good cause and generating goodwill, but you will also be gaining a wider audience.

Some organizations that we have seen artists partner with and fundraise for so far are: First Nations Community HealthSource, United Way, Doctors without Borders, NAACPFeeding Americaand Alight

To research and find a fundraising cause that you feel good about, you can explore a breakdown of relief efforts at Charity Navigator


Create mini-collections of smaller works with lower price ranges

Your viewers and clients want to support you and are empathetic about how work has changed as a result of COVID-19. One way to take into consideration the possibility of smaller and more modestly priced artworks. 

You can even brand these smaller collections as explorations or as COVID-19 quarantine-inspired works. The novelty of the strange situation we are all in may help you to market and create commonality—we have all been affected by COVID-19. Additionally, by branding this collection as such, it is viewed as an outlier to your normal pricing and won't change your hard-earned pricing structure. 

Offering smaller artworks is a great way to foster a connection to perhaps new collectors who will continue to follow your work and could perhaps be a repeat collector in the future.

Having lower price-points, even if temporarily, also allows you to tap into a larger audience and continue to expand your network and reach. Having multiple price ranges is a strategy for selling artwork with or without a pandemic.

Instagram is about capturing moments and instantaneous marketing. Capture your new smaller ticket collections in multi-photo posts that act as mini collections and representations of the times themselves.


Leverage hashtags and join the conversation

You can continue to make creative content to engage your Instagram followers during COVID-19. 

You're probably already used to using hashtags on your Instagram posts, but your usual hashtags might not be the best options right now. Instead, look through the trending hashtags related to coronavirus and current events. You can combine your personal brand hashtags with cause-based or trending hashtags to get your work in front of a wider audience. But, make sure that they are still relevant to art and the art world so that you are getting your message to the right people. 

There are many creative prompt challenges that use hashtags that you can to get involved with as well—like the Artwork Archive creative prompt challenge. Another popular Instagram challenge is to stage and recreate a famous artwork in your own home. Explore what’s trending to find a community generating activity that speaks to you.


Collaborate with other artists on Instagram

Is your work currently in a gallery that is close due to COVID-19? Reach out to your partners to see if there are opportunities for digital programming and engagement.  

Many galleries are opting in to virtual exhibit openings. Galleries and arts organizations are using a combination of platforms, including Instagram, to create these experiences. See if collaboration with your galleries is a possibility and suggest ways in which you can help use your platform to support them as well!

If you’re not in any shows currently, reach out to past galleries, partners, and collaborators. See if there is interest in organizing a new virtual exhibit or in highlighting past work and collaborations.


Use your bio to share more information

While small, your bio should be not underestimated in its importance. It’s the only place where followers can click on a link, so make those links count! 

Using something like Linktree will help you add multiple links to your bio for your audience to get more information. You can let your followers know in a post that you have a link in your bio that goes to further reading, more resources, your Artwork Archive Public Profile Page, or a campaign landing page. 

Then when you start making sales, you can keep everything organized on Artwork Archive. Mark which pieces have been sold, generate invoices to get paid, and track sales insights so your Instagram account stays profitable.

To start running your art business online, try Artwork Archive's free 30-day trial