Instagram is one of the most visual platforms an art gallery or artist can use to engage with the social media circus. Naturally, its all about the images (and video) which suits the aesthetics-driven art market perfectly. Below, we share some tips to perfect your art gallery marketing strategy on Instagram.
1. It’s not all about the finished product
Try to think about Instagram as a book, or a timeline. It’s enlightening to see the journey someone took to create something. If you’re setting up an exhibit or a painting a portrait, why not document the process?
This can be achieved with simple progress pictures of your work, or a time-lapse of the work in process. These look great, your audience will love it, and they’re very easy to work into your art gallery marketing strategy.
The picture below shows an artwork in progress. The image is so creatively strong on its own, and really gives the audience a look into the processes behind a finished artwork.
Kayleigh Marshall, @MarshallArt_
2. Engagement is everything
If you’re on Instagram, you’ll notice that some posts get a lot more engagement than others. Why?
It’s not just the quality of the content that matters - it's also the engagement. Instagram's algorithms favour posts with plenty of likes, comments and shares, so it's important to encourage your followers to interact with your posts.
You don't need to constantly run product giveaways and competitions to achieve this, though. Instead, think about your images and captions in relation to your audience. Ask them what they think about an artwork, tag the artists featured in your photos and reshare images that others take of your gallery. Try to spark a conversation with your posts, and invite viewers to engage with your brand. Art galleries have a reputation for being somewhat intimidating, so smash that stereotype and start the conversation.
3. Make your feed a work of art
If you’re marketing an art gallery, you have so much content on hand to make your Instagram feed a work of art. Considering how fast-paced today’s social media community is, a pretty picture on its own doesn’t cut it.
There are tons of apps out there that will help to make your Instagram page stand out. For instance, Giant Square allows you to break one image into multiples that can be placed side by side or on top of one another to make your page look awesome.
If you don’t know what we’re talking about, here’s a good example...
4. Analyse and improve
If you want some fresh ideas on marketing an art gallery, why not take a look at what your competitors are doing? You might just get some inspiration. Don’t copy though, no one wants to do a Kylie Cosmetics and get called out for it publicly.
Make a list of the things you like about what other brands are doing, which images get the most engagements, and what you think they could do better. Use all of this research to make your own art gallery marketing strategy as tip-top as possible.
5. Quality time
If you’re following an art gallery or artist on Instagram, you expect their feed to contain images of the highest resolution possible. If not, what on earth are they doing? They’ve spent countless hours grafting away at a glorious piece of art or display and then uploaded a pixelated photo. What’s the point?
This doesn’t mean you have to invest in a top-of-the-range camera to get insta-worthy shots. Most smartphones have pretty good cameras now, and Amazon sells a whole range of different lenses and tripods to jazz up your photography sessions. There’s are also plenty of apps out there offering multiple filters that aren’t available on Instagram’s primary platform. Check out VSCO – that’s one of our favourites.
This may seem outrageously simplistic if you’re already knee deep in Instagram, but if you’re trying to get your work seen, you need to use hashtags.
Have a little search around Instagram and see what other artists and galleries are using. When it comes to marketing an art gallery on Instagram, popular hashtags are essential in the early days when you’re trying to build up a following.
Don’t just use the hashtags on your pictures either, click on them and explore what other people are posting. Like their images, and chances are they’ll venture across to your page to have a nosey.
7. Endorsers and influencers
More and more marketers are moving away from promoting posts and are instead investing their money in influencers. Influencers might be a term that you cringe at, but it’s one you should start researching and getting involved with.
If you’re just starting out, do a bit of a research and find creative Instagrammers with high levels of engagement on their account. Start a conversation and ask them to share your content. It’s best if they visit your gallery and take some pictures themselves. People can smell a rat when someone’s been paid to endorse something.
Make sure you identify influencers with a genuinely engaged audience, rather than simply investing in someone who has thousands of fake followers on their account. Think quality over quantity!
Remember your artists too – many have a thriving social media presence and loyal audience of their own.
8. Get regramming! – build a community
We’ve probably all heard that annoying phrase, “you’ve got two ears and one mouth.” What they’re essentially saying is, don’t just put your content out there. Like someone else’s work? Regram it, comment on it, like it. If you share other people's work, they’re much more likely to share yours too.
Again, this art gallery marketing strategy relies more on engagement than pure numbers. Really connect with people and start interesting conversations. You can also encourage gallery visitors to share their own images and tag you in them, helping to build a wider circle of brand advocates around you.
9. Weird tip
We’ve got one random little tip for you: add a tiny bluish tint to your images. It doesn’t have to be full on blue, you can choose the level of transparency you want.
For some reason, images with a bluish tint have a much higher engagement rate than any other colour on Instagram. It’s a weird one we know, but you’ll just have to trust us on this.
10. Make the most of Instagram stories
The real beauty of Instagram Stories is borrowed from Tinder's biggest draw - swipeability. This may or may not be a real word, but bear with us. Insta lovers can click through their Instagram Stories feed in a continuous flow of content from every account they follow. What's more, while Instagram algorithms are rumoured to impact on the visibility of your normal posts, Instagram stories are simply arranged in chronological order. For this reason, you may often click through Insta stories from accounts you rarely notice in your feed, and see a greater range of content in line with what your followed accounts are up to right now!
For this reason, Instagram Stories is the perfect companion for live events. Share exclusive snaps of behind-the-scenes setting up to drive interest, and post clips of the event in full swing so that followers feel as if they are there in person. Perhaps you can record a Q and A with notable people in attendance, so that viewers can hear from them directly. In short, you can create a window into your most exciting and exclusive events!
Stories Highlights also allow you to group Instagram Stories together and promote them in your Instagram bio. These highlights can be arranged based on events, themes, locations, products... the options are endless. Story Highlights lets you curate your Stories and produce compilation that tell your viewers a story.
Last but not least, the 'swipe up' functionality is available on Instagram Stories and Highlights for accounts with a certain follower count. The rumour is you need to have a verified account or a business profile with more than 10,000 followers to access this functionality, but knowing Instagram this could change in the future. Instagram Stories links let you lead directly from your account to a web address, opening a door to promotional content.
So here are our tips for Instagram Stories and Highlights. Consider your brand voice and try to maintain a single look and feel throughout your posts - if more than one person is posting to your account, this may require some planning. Posting little and often is our preferred approach to avoid looking spammy and turning followers off. Most importantly, show your passion! This is a new opportunity to engage with your audience, so grab their attention and engage their imagination.
Marketing your gallery in a competitive space can be difficult. If you want some some solid information on how to do it right, read our blog "Marketing your art gallery online: Everything you need to know"