Growing your lettering and art Instagram can feel difficult, but these tips can help! Although, it’s not just about numbers! These tips aren’t games or tricks that promise 10k new followers in the next week. They are my tips for growing an authentic and engaged following that can help your account to thrive!
Keep Your Photos Cohesive
This doesn’t mean that all of your photos need to look the same. It also doesn’t mean that you only need to create one type of photos. By keeping your photos cohesive, I simply mean that there should be some sort of consistency in the look/feel of your photos. This might be a certain color scheme or specific type of lighting.
For my own account, I share a lot of products that are naturally bright colored due to the fact that I use all kinds of different brush pens. This could look crazy because the colors are all over the place! But I break up the brightness of the pens by adding a lot of white space in my photos. This way there is a look of cohesiveness, even in a feed full of brightly colored art supplies!
Use All Of Your Hashtags
You are currently allowed to use 30 hashtags and I recommend using them all! This may be a topic where you’ve heard different advice from, but in my experience, using all 30 hashtags can be helpful when it’s done intentionally. (More on that later)
You see, if you are beginning to grow your account and you don’t have tons of people commenting on your photos, liking them and sharing them, this is really one of the only ways for people to discover you.
As for my personal experience, I do post the hashtags in the comments so that it doesn’t clog up my caption. This is just a personal preference. Some may say that it should be posted in the caption, but I haven’t noticed a difference in reach when adding them to the comments and it looks a whole lot prettier. 😉
Use Your Hashtags Wisely
This could be it’s own blog post in itself, but I’m going to try to give you the short version. The goal of using hashtags shouldn’t be to add your photos to the world’s most popular hashtag, because the chances of you getting seen my your target audience are going to decrease when you’re using a hashtag used by millions of others!
I personally like to use hashtags to get my photos or videos in front of my target audience. By target audience I mean the people who I think would love my content, want to follow me and engage with my posts! Growing a huge following might seem great, but without getting this step right, you could grow yourself a huge audience of people who will never buy your product or never comment on your posts or are simply just trying to earn themselves followers back.
I could honestly go on and on about this (and I do a bit more in the video), so I will leave tip #3 at this: If you don’t watch the video above, at least go listen to this tip (found at the timestamp 3:46) and hear some more thoughts about finding your target audience, what size hashtags you should use and how to go about finding your hashtags!
Take Quality Photos
This doesn’t have to be fancy or expensive. For the longest time, I used my phone for most of my photos and videos. I didn’t use fancy filters and I don’t even know how to use a preset (though I’d love to learn!). I just take my photos with the best lighting I can find and brighten them up in the Color Story app. There are other apps that work great, but the reason that I chose this one is because it allows you to edit video as well as photo.
Depending on my photo, I will often add contrast or adjust the temperature to get rid of any yellow tint on my backdrop. I am hoping to do a full tutorial on how I edit my iPhone photos soon, so let me know if you’d like to see that!
Tag Your Favorite Brands
This is one of the steps that I cautiously mention because it’s not something I would spend a lot of time worrying about. But at a handlettering artist, we are often times using a lot of different products and it can be helpful to our audience to tag the products that we’re using. An added bonus is when the company shares that photo onto their feed (and gives us proper credit, of course!). Depending on who your target audience is, this may be helpful for getting your photos or videos in front of them.
Create Process Videos
When I originally created the video that goes along with this blog post, I wasn’t sharing many lettering videos at all. But as I started to share more and more videos, my Instagram following began to grow even quicker!
If you are creating something like art or a piece of lettering, it can be really interesting for people to see the process behind it! Even if you’re a product based business, it can still be fun to show your audience a bit of your process. It can add a personal touch to the products and also help to remind them of the uniqueness of handmade products.
It doesn’t even have to be 100% process videos! One of my most engaging posts on Instagram is one where I showed a quick glimpse of my filming set up.
In fact, if you’re not sure how to create process videos, check out this post on Instagram. I also recommend using the app Hyperlapse to take videos that can be sped up to make your 1 minute Instagram time limit possible.
Authentically Interact and Engage
When I saw authentically, I mean it! Gone are the days of “Nice Feed” comments or a single emoji that’s completely unrelated to your post… hooray! I am not a huge fan of spending hours on Instagram just to scroll through the hashtags and comment on other people’s photos in hopes of getting high engagement only our own feed!
I am, however, a huge fan of engaging with those who you actually follow! When you see something you love, tell them! If you think a piece of lettering looks amazing, give some encouragement! If you’re curious what product someone used, ask! I think we get so used to quickly scrolling (myself included) that we forget to stop and tell the person the thoughts that went through our head when we saw their amazing piece of artwork!
Taking time to build authentic insta-friendships (is that a thing?) can be fun, encouraging and inspiring!
This one is something that I’ve done almost from the beginning. And I don’t mean cross-promote with other people. I mean that if you have a following elsewhere, send them to your Instagram account! At the end of most of my YouTube videos, I tell people that they can find me on Instagram @howtohandletter.
This has helped my account to continue to grow even when I’m not actively posting. If you don’t have a YouTube channel, that’s ok! You can use other social media platforms to remind people to follow you on Instagram.
You can now even link your Instagram to your Pinterest account and pin your posts right over there! This can help people to find your beautiful photos while they browse Pinterest!
Make It Fun & Don’t Compare Yourself To Others!
I know I say it a lot, but the comparison game is no good!
Again, I could go on and on about this, but please check out the video around the 12:12 timestamp to hear more thoughts on this!
Long story short, just because someone has a huge following does not mean much! Often times people with huge followings have a very low engagement rate. On top of that, you never know if someone has bought followers or if they’ve spent hours upon hours liking photos. Or maybe they are playing that nasty follow/unfollow game? Or maybe they really just are super amazing and everyone loves to follow them. But my point is, we just don’t know! And comparing ourselves will only lead to feeling inadequate (or arrogant… and neither are good!).
Don’t Play The Instagram Games!
If you’ve ever seen someone follow you, just to have them unfollow you 2 days later, then you may have been victim to the follow/unfollow “game”. This is essentially where accounts follow random people just to get them to see them and try to get them to follow back.
I recently read someone talk about how they had a big-time person in their niche follow their new account. They were naturally super excited that that person had followed them! And with a small following, were more likely to notice a drop in followers. So when this person unfollowed them shortly after, they were bummed. And I can’t help but think that could taint their thoughts of a big brand that they had once loved!
Now is this a huge deal? No. Is it annoying? Kind of.
Are all of the Instagram games the worst thing for your account? Probably not. But I do think that being that invested in the number of followers you have is a good way to waste time. And I just don’t think that we have time to waste, do we?! Again, more thoughts on this in the video around 13:00!
Work Smarter, Not Harder
This cheesy quote is just true as can be. You don’t have to spend all day working on your Instagram game! Batching your photos, batching your editing, saving your hashtags (so that you just copy and paste) and using an Instagram scheduler are just a few ways that can help you to work more quickly!
Don’t Waste Time Typing Out Hashtags For Every Post
I have tried out a few different ways to make adding hashtags work better for my account. First, I spent a bit of time coming up with a few different lists of hashtag sets for different types of photos. After that, I saved them to the notes app in my phone. Then when I would post a photo to Instagram, I would just select the hashtag set I wanted and copy/paste it to my post.
I now use the app called Plann, which essentially does the something. The main difference is that the hashtag sets are already separated and you can just click 1 button to copy it to your phone. Either way works great!
I hope that this was helpful for you! While it’s not all about the numbers, I do get asked this question somewhat frequently. So I wanted to share this for those of you who have been trying to grow your art Instagram account! Let me know if you have any questions and you can follow me on Instagram at @howtohandletter.