Fun fact: I’ve been on Instagram for 5 years. I started using it just after moving to Cambodia, because it seemed like a kinda neat way to share my travel snaps. I took bad photos and overused filters, because it was 2012 and it seemed like a good idea at the time.
Although I’ve been ‘gramming regularly for half a decade (!), I’ve only recently decided to really use it as a tool to promote my artwork. Here’s how it looks right now, November 2016, compared to last year:
SUCH a difference, right? And it’s taken just a little focus and effort. I’m not going to pretend like my current feed is perfect, but it’s definitely a big improvement, showing my current illustration work while reflecting my branding and aesthetic.
I only started improving my feed this August (so literally 3 months ago), and seen some definite results; I have improved my following, am slowly getting a higher number of average likes/comments, and been approached for commissions as a direct result of the work I’ve shared. Yeah, my numbers have nothing on any ‘power’ Instagrammers, but the difference is evident.
Here are my “Top Tips!” to keep in mind when improving your Instagram feed for your illustration business:
Your Feed’s Overall Aesthetic – I never used to think of what my feed looked like as a unit. But if people have clicked through to your profile, that’s where they go.From there they decide whether to follow you or move on. So it’s gotta look good to someone scrolling through, or they’re going to click away. Your feed needs to show the viewer roughly what they’re going to see from you day-to-day, that your content is reliably high quality and attractive, with a good mix of interesting posts.
Lighting – My feed last year was definitely too dark and gloomy. Now I try to keep it bright and light! This is tricky throughout a London winter, especially since I don’t have access to a good camera or fancy lighting in my home right now. I make the effort to take the photos using Camera360, and tweak them before posting using the same app.
Colour Scheme – Not only was last year looking pretty badly lit, I didn’t have any unifying colours in mind to keep it unified – though I guess the black gloom is pretty prevalent! Now, I try to use a colour scheme to match my branding (basically “CMYK plus white”!) as much as possible.
Theme – Each month I’m trying to pick a theme. October was easy – I shared my Inktober sketches, and tried to present them in interesting ways. I’m trying to continue showing my work in a similar way throughout November. December is going to get more festive! Let the seasons guide you and join in with challenges (like Inktober) if you can.
Variety – I’m definitely working on this! I mostly post my artwork, but very little of my studio/environment/myself. I guess because my life does not look terribly ‘aspirational’! But I’m going to work on presenting my work in interesting ways, showing off my workspace and materials, and possibly posting the odd selfie.
Tags – I never used to use tags very much, but now I max them out. I have no shame. I use a mix of generic tags, such as #illustration and #sketchbook, for example, but also tag in appropriate communities like #myunicornlife and #calledtobecreative, as well as more general ones that may relate to my work, such as #feminism and #bodypositive. Obviously I change what tags I use to relate to what I posted!
I’m happy with the results of my mini Instagram makeover – it really doesn’t take that much hard work to show your illustrations off that little bit better! Maybe this time next year I’ll be able to show off a truly beautiful Instagram feed!
Follow me on Instagram to check out my Insta-journey from here – I try to check out & follow back every legit human being who follows me!
– Rachel xx