For starters, let’s ask one question. What benefits have you seen from Instagram? Speaking for myself, I have used it for a couple of years now and became burned out on keeping a consistent level of outputs, while dealing with the normal problems of social media which are making subconscious comparisons to other accounts, habitually scrolling when I was bored, etc.
Furthermore, my work on illustrations got some decent exposure, but from people, I would call art “enthusiasts” or other artists, not anyone who would actually give me work.
SOME GUIDELINES ON HOW TO MAKE INSTAGRAM WORK FOR YOU WITH ILLUSTRATOR
While my overall experience is helpful to a point, I would suggest some guidelines that I follow, which can help you to gain the most from Instagram without losing your mind.
I hope to encourage you to approach the platform with a positive mindset that will not only benefit you but many others who follow you. Below are the five ways, with which you can start seeing more returns from your efforts on Instagram.
- UNDERSTANDING WHAT MAKES A GOOD CONTENT:-
What I learned after a couple of years into posting my illustrations on Instagram, is what makes a good post. People are just scrolling all the time, so you hardly have any time to persuade them to respond to yours.
In my opinion, here are three qualities of a so-called “good” post.
- Your post should be catchy, and easy to depict your thoughts.
- It should be well crafted, unique or interesting.
- The post should be relevant.
- TARGETTING PROPER AUDIENCE AND A PIN-POINT PURPOSE:-
Before creating the post on Instagram, you should have an audience in your mind. And, this goes hand in hand with having a purpose. I would like to narrow down some WH questions, in order for better understanding.
- Why do you have an account?
- What is it for?
- What do you want to share, to whom and why?
- Why should others follow you?
- What value do you promise to deliver to your followers?
You just have to state this in your profile clearly and just have to hold on to it. Having an audience in your mind helps you have a stronger voice because you know with whom you are connecting with, and presumably why your message is important to them. Being an illustrator, in my profile, I have specified beforehand that my posts are illustration related only.
- UNDERSTANDING THE COMPLICATIONS OF INSTAGRAM ALGORITHM:-
Before starting this, let me clear one thing, first of all, that, I’m not really an Instagram Guru, where everyone would suppose me to know all the mantras of succeeding on Instagram.
To be very honest, I really don’t understand everything about the Instagram algorithm, or whether my limited understanding is up to date, but I know one thing for sure, The Algorithm favors Regularity.
Now getting to the point. What is an Algorithm?
Well, it is a code that determines which of your followers, whether they would like to see a new illustration on a doggy or not! Perhaps, most frustratingly, it prevents most of your hard-earned followers from seeing most of your posts unless they check your account feed directly.
That is how you are able to see one person’s post all the time when you, in fact, follow hundreds of people. You just never got to see what those other folks post, because of this insane algorithm.
On Instagram, another thing is Reach. Now, in order to unlock as much Reach to your followers as possible, you have to play a little game. Sounds fun, isn’t it? Remember one thing, Instagram is free, so this is how you pay.
If you can approach this with a sense of humor, it can be fun. But like any games, there are losers, and you might be one of them.
Enough of talking trash, now let’s come straight away to the game. Below are some of my guidelines to the game:-
- When you post something, it should be related to other things you post on your feed.
- Don’t use too many hashtags, but be sure to use the relevant ones.
- Once you post, if you see any spelling mistakes in the caption area, just try to avoid or ignore them and don’t go and edit it until a few days have passed.
- To really get Instagram to unlock your Reach, once you have comments on your post, respond to them right away, let’s say, within the first hour. If nobody comments in that period of time, then wait for a couple of hours more, and yet if you fail to get any response, then things are really looking grim, my friend.
- Post at least once a day if you are able, but no more than two posts on a given day, provided that the two posts are not close together.
- Finally, be sure to remain active on your stories too, remember one thing, stories are an innovative way of connecting with the vast public within a short span of time. So be sure, to post content on your stories also.
The algorithm is designed in such a way that people are automatically glued to the screens. It favors content that engages people more and encourages interactions like comments, likes, and of course more scrolling. This is the deal. Understanding the algorithm can help you reach more people with your content.
I often take comfort in this small fact which goes like:
For a given post, I expect an average of 10% likes, meaning if 100 people viewed a post, 10 have liked it, give or take. If I get 40 likes on a post, when I typically might get 300 likes, I’ll check the insights (a Business account feature) and see; of course that only 400 people were allowed to see it.
- CONTENTS ON VALUABLE QUALITY RATHER THAN QUANTITY:-
Some illustrators can be quite efficient at generating content daily, and those folks are the happiest on the platform. But others, like me, are rather slow and find it easy to get carried away. While it is great if you are able to post quality work every single day, not everyone can, nor should they be expected to.
Lately, my own approach is simply to post what I want, when I’m able, as often as I want. While it’s important that my existing followers see as much of my work as possible, it’s equally important that my Instagram account presents well to newcomers checking out my profile. Not everyone will go to your portfolio site rather they will head directly to your profile instead and would probably stop there if it’s not put together well.
So to sum up, I can guarantee that if you focus on the quality of each piece rather than some cheap things on a tight schedule, you will get better results in the long run.
- ALWAYS POST WHAT YOU LOVE:-
Out of all the above points, this is by far the most important point. If you post something that you really love or it matters you the most then my friend you are doing good. Keep it up! The whole purpose of sharing things online is to show what are the things that you are really fond of, things that you really care for, or the things that you really love and passionate about.
When you are considering to share what to share online, nothing matters more than you actually caring about it. When you post something you made yourself clear about your choice, which excites you, it doesn’t matter whether others are liking it or not.
On the other hand, if you post something feeling uncertain about something, hoping others might like it first so that you can too, then my friend, I would say, get ready for an emotional roller coaster. Posting what you love, not only matters for your fragile artist’s heart, but also in a deeply engaged audience. When you post something that you really love, then it comes from an honest and authentic place. This will, in turn, help you in getting reach and engagements. There’s a famous saying, which goes like, “ALWAYS REMEMBER YOUR ROOTS” which helps us understand this point more.
TO CONCLUDE, POST WHAT YOU LOVE, WHEN YOU WANT, AS OFTEN AS YOU WANT, AND DON’T WORRY ABOUT IT!