How to Grow Your Instagram Account - Part V
What you should post - Part V
A lot of artists are disappointed with some of the recent changes at Instagram. The algorithm has evolved, as they always do, and some artists are having trouble seeing the engagement that they used to. In fact, Instagram has caused quite the uproar in the past week with high profile complaints about the service morphing into a TikTok clone coming from two of their biggest users, Kylie Jenner and Kim Kardashian. Twitter is abuzz with hate for the new Instagram feed. And Instagram’s CEO announced they would (temporarily) walk back some of the changes. However, this week on Meta’s earnings call, Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg made it clear that the future of Facebook looks like TikTok and that Instagram won’t be going back to straight up photo sharing with a chronological feed.
This has happened faster than I expected and I let our Facebook group in on a secret project we’ve been working on - namely - we are launching a new photo sharing network that works very similarly to the original Instagram: Easy photo and art sharing. Chronological Feed. No TikTok style insanity. As you can see from the image below, the artists in our group love the idea and there are 438 comments all basically saying “do it, and hurry!” Stay tuned in this space for further announcements about the new network and how you can get on the waitlist. If you’re interested in helping us jumpstart it, please let us know in the comments, which are open to everyone.
OK, back to Instagram. The changes are disappointing, however, all is not lost (and our @boldbrush account is killing it under the new Instagram algorithm), today we’re continuing our series to help you understand how to be successful on Instagram and how to work with their algorithm instead of against it. The things you learn in this series are valuable, however, if you pair them with what we covered in the Studio Sale series and the Circles of Art Marketing series you will 10X your results. If you are a paid Sovereign Artist Club member you can review our past article series on our Sovereign Artist Resources page. If you’re not yet a paying member, please consider joining here.
Here’s are the articles we’ve already sent in this series if you’d like to catch up:
1. The Instagram Algorithm
2. Who you should follow
3. What you should consume
4. What you should post
5. What you should post - advanced tactics
Planned for the next several weeks:
7. Your Brand on Instagram
8. Deleting posts
In today’s article we’re going to talk about what you should post on Instagram from your art business account.
OK, let’s go!
In short, right now, what you need to post are Reels.
What follows is a continuation of the information we started last week where we covered the basics of Reels. This week we get into some advanced ideas.
Length - the best performing Reels are relatively short, only 15 to 20 seconds long, because human attention spans have decreased, especially on social media. So follow the goldilocks principle and make sure your videos are not too long and not too short.
Authentic - Don’t overly edit your videos. I know it seems a little bit strange, but the best performing Reels are kind of raw so they feel natural and authentic. It helps the viewer feel like you are a real human and not a channel that is produced by a television crew. The more organic, normal and human your video feels, the more they'll connect to it.
It’s a way for viewers to live vicariously through you. A lot of people who watch videos on Instagram of painters and artists working are people who want an escape from their reality, they want to feel like they're painting with you because they admire you. Or maybe they even want to be you (as in be in your situation). So they want to feel like they're right here on your shoulder watching you paint because they can't, at this time, do it themselves.
Music - For your followers, your Instagram is a haven. So if you add music, choose something calm. You certainly don’t want death metal. Don’t use anthat's screaming, shouting or distracting. Try to pull your viewer into a peaceful, interesting little world. Of course, the music will depend on your brand, but the music cannot be annoying, screaming or disruptive in any way. Important: If you're going to be using a popular song, or an audio file that's been used everywhere, make sure it's being done tastefully, so that it still highlights your work. And select something that makes sense with your work.
Voiceover - A lot of people, especially for teaching reels, do voiceovers. If you choose to do this, do it in a way that you aren’t rambling. Just get straight to the point. If someone is scrolling through your Reels and they keep heard, “Hey, guys, hey, guys, hey, guys, hey, guy” they’ll get bored. So instead of saying, “Hey, guys” just start with your point.
Caption - Keep the caption in your Reels very brief so that you're not covering the image. You want people to be focused on the video not on the writing. If you use hashtags with your Reel, add them to the comments, not the original post (more on why, later).
Analytics - So when you just post a Reel, you're going to have access to two really important pieces of analytical information. At the bottom, you’ll see the number of likes, and the number of views. This is valuable and important information because it tells you quite a bit about the engagement with your Reel.
Keep your Reels as standalone posts - Don’t put videos in carousel posts. The reason is, if you put a video in a carousel post, Instagram no longer registers it as a standalone video. And what this does is that it prevents you from seeing all of the analytics discussed above regarding that video. When you put a video in a carousel post, you're no longer going to have access to the views part of the analytics.
Post in Threes - When we post to the BoldBrush page, we post three somewhat related or similar images (or videos) at a time. The reason why this is useful is because, by posting three images, you can see which image performed the best. And if one of those images performed a lot better than the other ones, and it was a different thing, maybe you should post more images like the one that performed the best. By posting three at a time, you are excluding the time of the post as a factor, since all three were posted at almost the exact same time, the only difference is the actual content of each post. This gives you valuable clues about what types of posts your particular audience is most interested in seeing. So you learn a bit each time you post that helps you refine what you post in the future to maximize the engagement with your page.
The higher the response, the higher the engagement, the higher the engagement, the higher the traffic on your page. So engagement is what you are after. Engagement is anything that causes someone to take some action with your content: views, likes, shares, saves, and comments are all engagement. What engages people tends to be the same content that sells. So by figuring out what your followers engage with, you are developing huge clues as to what they would like to purchase.
Quality over quantity - A great Reel isn't exactly what's going to get you a lot of followers, but a great Reel will be more likely to be shared by other art pages or other people.
If a big art page shares one of your reels because it performed great, then it's likely that other smaller art pages will share it as well. And therefore your work is suddenly going to be all over Instagram.
If an account shares your Reel, or any of your posts, no matter how big or small, always, always post them on your Stories and tag them and say thank you by showing gratitude. By sharing them, you are also directing some of your followers to them and they can follow the pages of your followers. In that way, you are supporting each other, and it becomes a really symbiotic relationship.
You never know who is going to see one of your Reels or Stories so ensure that everything that you post is well presented. By presenting it well, other accounts will post it and, before you know it, you'll have collectors and followers on your page asking how to buy your work.
Next up, we’ll get into some tactics regarding hashtags, which seems to confuse a lot of people.
That’s our topic for next week’s article, which will be locked at available in full for paid members only.
If you are a paid member, and just can’t wait to get started, click the button below to watch our video How to Grow Your Instagram which covers, in video format, everything we’re going to cover over the next several weeks.
See ya next week!