Should I Use Instagram to Sell Art Works?
Blog | Art as a Business

Should I Use Instagram to Sell Art Works?

By Steve Miller

Instagram is a great way to expand your reach and engage with customers

You look up to catch the stranger on the subway doing it. You catch your coworkers doing it. Is there anybody not using Instagram? Not only do people use this social media platform for sharing photos and videos, but art galleries can even use it to launch the e-commerce arms of their business. 

Over 1 billion active users use Instagram, and 500 million of them use the platform daily. That’s a lot of people, and the platform is a relatively easy and inexpensive marketing tool that can help your art business expand its reach. In fact, it’s free to start an account, and there are ways to develop a following without spending money. But it pays to have a strong strategy. 

What kind of businesses can use Instagram, how should they use it, and what are the elements of a strong strategy? Whether you already use Instagram or haven’t yet signed your business up, below are six helpful tips to help you either develop a strategy or strengthen the one you already have. 

Shopping… on Social Media?

But Instagram is just for sharing photos and videos, right? Wrong. Over the years, the platform has extended e-commerce capabilities to users. While the Reels tab simplifies the process of making easy, fun videos to share with your audience, the Shop tab helps galleries and other art businesses connect with customers by sharing products they enjoy. By using Shop, you can offer recommendations, curate collections, and help customers buy art online. 

How does it work? Simple. Instagram users tap on items they want right on their mobile devices — no need to interact with people to finalize sales. Oh, and lest you think there aren’t many people making purchases via Instagram, well, think again. Nearly three-fourths of users have purchased a product they saw on Instagram from the 25 million businesses that have profiles on the platform. 

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Instagram Exhibitions

During the COVID-19 pandemic, some galleries, art fairs, and artists started to get creative with organizing online events. For example, David Kordansky (@davidkordanskygallery) started using the Instagram grid for exhibitions, while wife and husband artist duo Neil Constantine (@neilconstantine) and Niceli Portugal (@niceliportugal) shared news about in-person exhibitions as well as played with the grid format. 

Using Influencers to Share News About Your Gallery

There are general users on Instagram, and then there are influencers or individuals who have large followings. These influencers often promote brands or products by sharing posts with their followers. 

Galleries can pay influencers to write a set number of posts for a fee — these are called sponsored posts. For example, an influencer with 100,000 art industry followers might be paid a few thousand dollars to write a sponsored post and share a handful of exciting posts about a gallery show. These sorts of posts are enticing to their followers, who may then want to visit shows, buy artworks, or at the very least, engage with the posts, making them even more popular.

Don’t Ignore Micro-Influencers

While big-name influencers are great, lesser-known artists or “micro-influencers” are also great at getting the word out, as they’re often eager to share the news that will help them develop their own following. These micro-influencers, who may only have a few thousand followers (opposed to the hundreds of thousands or even millions who follow larger influencers) may also engage often with their followers, encouraging them to comment, like, share, and follow your gallery. 

Money, Money, Money

In addition to setting up e-commerce and using influencers, galleries can monetize their Instagram content. For example, content creators in the United States, Australia, and the United Kingdom can make ads that users (potential customers!) can watch as IGTV videos. Ad creators receive 55 percent of the revenue, while Instagram keeps the rest. Ads can be targeted to specific demographics and linked to your website, and they can also collect user data that can help you recalibrate your marketing efforts in the future. 

Storytelling for the Win

It’s vital to keep the customer journey in mind while developing your Instagram strategy, as this will help them to become aware of your business, consider the items and art you’re selling, and then decide to make a purchase. If you have not jumped on the Instagram bandwagon yet, you may be doing your gallery or other art business a great disservice, as it’s such a key player in helping drive your marketing strategy and growth story.




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