There’s two pretty common goals that most artists and photographers share: showcasing their work in a gallery setting, and managing to monetize it. Partnering with a gallery definitely has its upsides. Your art is visually organized for potential buyers to view in-person, and there’s plenty of opportunity for recognition and success. But, when actually making sales, the gallery always collects a partial profit of the dough. Aside from this, many artists trying to monetize their craft are young up-and-comers with minimal gallery connections. It’s hard to get a reputable gallery to showcase your pieces, and even harder to make a sustainable profit.
Many artists have turned to the tactic of selling their own personal creations on Instagram. On the app, you’re able to create a “gallery” of sorts on your own personal feed. You control the aesthetic, the marketing, and the pricing. And, if you manage to hack Instagram’s algorithm, it’s possible to get a ton of eyes on your work, thus reeling in potential new connections and clients.
Here’s a few ways to jump into Instagram’s art world!
Start a Website
One option is to create a simple website that showcases photographs and pricing for your work. Just stamp the link in your bio, and allow your feed itself to incentivize viewers to shop your pieces. Make sure you’re advertising your most exciting work on your feed, so potential buyers who happen to come across your work are tempted to check out your online shop.
Dan Lam (@sopopomo), a Texas-based sculptor, has curated a vivid, drippy feed filled with her colorful and whimsical pieces. Once you’re enticed by her virtual collection, you can click over to her website to sign up for her email list, where she’ll hook you up with private drops and auctions.
ggggrimes (@ggggrimes), a Philly-based drawing talent, showcases their available art pieces via their Instagram feed with handwritten descriptions about the inspirations behind each work. They provide a set of links in their bio, where buyers are able to select their favorite design from ggggrimes’s feed in print, canvas tote, or even clothing form. Additionally, links provide opportunities for art commissions when open.
Or, Build Your “Store” Feed
Another option is to forgo a website altogether, and simply conduct your sales through Instagram DMs. More and more Instagram-based sellers are choosing this tactic these days. It makes sales seamless through keeping sales and advertising all on the same platform. And, aren’t you, as a shopper, more incentivized to buy a product if it’s as simple and quick as sending a DM?
Betina Jørgensen (@bettunika), a Danish ceramics creator, uploads photos of her handmade pieces, which are each individually unique and individually priced. Then, prospective buyers can simply DM Jørgensen with their selection and PayPal their invoice.
Engage Potential Art Buyers
To gain traction on your Instagram shop, you pretty much just have to follow the basic rules of Insta outreach. Utilize hashtags. Follow like-minded accounts and users you see as potential clients who might be interested in your work. And, of course, interact with your follower base.
And, since your Instagram account is first and foremost a business, there are also plenty of ways to get your followers excited about the product you’re selling. For example, you can hold a “Flash Sale,” where you discount certain pieces for a couple of hours, incentivizing followers to buy ASAP. You can hold “Story Sales,” where you post exclusive shop-able items to your Insta story. You can even tease product drops or new collection releases. Ultimately, getting creative with your followers will keep them coming back for more.