If you are a digital artist, you probably have an Instagram account. If not, you definitely should. Instagram is a visual platform, and what is a better platform to showcase your digital art than a platform that is made for posting photos? Exactly!
I am on Instagram for quite a while. I have had many businesses, all under that same name, and all under the same Instagram account @Jointhecreativeside.
Last August, I finally switched my niche to something that I love: Digital art. After three years, I am finally set up a business about something I am genuinely passionate about.
But because I had many business niches, all the followers I used to be interested in other things than digital painting. I used to have 1.850 followers on Instagram, and only a couple cared about digital art because the other followers were following me before I changed my focus to digital painting.
This resulted in me having about 1.500 followers who did not care about my work, so I ended up deleting them. I was left with 329 followers. And this all happened recently. Since then, I am focusing on gaining REAL followers. With that, I mean followers who do care about my work, followers who actually like and comment on my post. I know I am not a huge art account with 10K-100K followers, but I am still want to share the tools I use to grow my art account by 5-15 real Instagram followers every day.
Dave.xp his eBook
Last year, during summer, I discovered a fantastic artist on Instagram: @Dave.xp. Now, Dave is a guy who is killing it on Instagram as a digital artist. He has a consistent style, he has over 330K followers, he published an eBook (Which we will circle back to later), and he even developed his own app Dollify, where you can create your own avatars. Here is an avatar I have created with his app. Isn’t it cute?!
Because he reached a quarter million followers last year, he decided to publish a book: ‘’250K Instagram followers in one year as a digital artist by @dave.xp’’. While I only knew Dave at that moment for like two days, I still decided to purchase the book, because I had a good feeling about it. And until today, I still don’t have any regrets.
His eBook is jam-packed with amazing strategies to grow your art account as a digital artist. It is 54 pages long, and every sentence he wrote is valuable. I promise you; he won’t waste your time!
Since I have been reading his eBook, I can grow my Instagram with 5-15 real followers a day. I know it is not much for some people, but I only have 400 followers at the moment, since I deleted 1.512 of my Instagram followers. And also, keep in mind that I also have a day job, and digital art to create, so my growth probably will be slower than the average artist on Instagram
It is better to gain 5-15 real-engaged followers a day than to have 1.800 followers who don’t give a sh#t about what you post. You don’t need people like that. You need real followers that improve your engagement. I can quickly gain 30 comments on a single Instagram post with only 400 followers. Before this, I reached two comments if I were lucky with my 1.800 uninterested followers.
Dave not only teaches you how to gain followers, but he also teaches you how to increase quality followers! Here is what Dave will cover in his eBook:
I use Pinterest to drive traffic to my Instagram account. This is also a tip from @Dave.xp his eBook by the way. You should leverage other platforms to drive traffic to your Instagram, and vice-versa. I redirect most of the social media platforms I use to my Instagram account, so I can still gain followers from an old post that have disappeared to the middle of my feed.
This Instagram post of mine was posted on the 23rd of August 2018, and the video still gets dozens of views:
How? Because I have pinned it on Pinterest on my ‘’Digital painting tutorials’’ board, that has over 5K followers. My audience repins this post because it is a great digital art tutorial, and when they pin it, their audience gets to see it, and so on, and so on. And when they click the post, they get redirected to the Instagram post.
That is how I do it with most of my Instagram posts. I have a various amount of boards on my Pinterest profile. Here are some examples:
Most of the Instagram posts I create fits on one of these boards. And because of that, I get repins and clicks to my Instagram. And when artists see that I create more work like the pin they found, they decide to follow me.
You don’t have to do all of this manually. I use Tailwind to automatically schedule and loop my Instagram posts to my Pinterest account. Click here to try out Tailwind yourself. By clicking that link, you will get 100 free pins so you can test whether you like tailwind or not.
Draw this in your style challenges
I know, I know, this is not a tool. But this is one thing that helped me a lot to grow my Instagram account as an artist, and to get my art in front of another audience: Draw this in your style challenges. And that is why I think it should be included in this list.
What are draw this in your style challenges?
These challenges are hosted by artists, who create an original character, and your challenge is to draw it in your style. You need to include a specific hashtag so that the artist can find your work, and eventually, share it in their Instagram stories.
I always try to join challenges that are open to feature your work in their Instagram stories, so I can gain more exposure and grow my following. And I only join challenges from artists I know, and which I enjoy. Many original characters don’t fit my aesthetic, so I am also not going to draw them just to gain exposure. I believe that that is not the right thing to do. Only join draw this in your style challenges which you like, and not for the sake just to gain exposure.
How to join draw this in your style challenges?
You can find challenges in 2 ways:
1. Go to your favorite artist, and see if they are hosting any challenges. You can recognize the challenge because most of the time they have a digital painting with the text ‘’Draw this in your style’’. Then, read the description of the challenge.
2. Or, you can use the hashtag #DrawThisInYourStyle on Instagram to find some other significant challenges.
Here is a challenge from one of the artists I admire; Aveline Stokart.
As you can see, she provides clear instructions about the challenge. She tells you what to do, how to post it, and what hashtag you should include so she can find your submission.
Now, your task is to…
Draw the character in your style
Post your version of the challenge.
Use the hashtag the artist mentioned
Tag the artist
Post the original picture
And you are done! That is how you join a Draw This In Your Style challenge! Here is one I recently joined:
Since you are reading this post, you know that I have my own digital art blog. I also use my blog to redirect my traffic to my Instagram profile. At the moment, I only have Instagram to showcase my digital art. I decided to leverage this by redirecting every art post I upload on my website to my Instagram.
When I upload an example of my artwork to my blog, I can do two things:
1. Just upload the image to my blog post, without any links.
2. Upload my artwork with a link to the Instagram post, or even embed it.
I use the second option, so when visitors are clicking on an image that’s on my blog, they immediately get redirected to my Instagram profile. I killed two birds with one stone. I post my art on my website, and when visitors click on it, they will see my Instagram with way more artwork. I get traffic to my Instagram from my website on autopilot. Which is free, and no extra work is required for that if I link everything correctly.
Here are some places where I promote my Instagram on my website
For my blog, I use Squarespace. I love their easy interface, and no code is required.
Later social media scheduler
As you may or may not know, I live in The Netherlands, and my target audience is millennials. One big con of this is that there is a 9-hour time difference. So, If I want to post at an optimal time, sometimes I have to post at 10 PM. We both know that it is unhealthy to stay on your phone that late - Says the girl who plays on her Nintendo Switch until 01:30 AM on weekends.
But sometimes when I have to get up early, I don’t want to post at 10 PM on Instagram. But how do I receive maximum engagement if I don’t want to post that late? I schedule my Instagram content. That’s right! At the beginning of the week, I sometimes plan my Instagram posts in advance, and they will be published automatically at the time I schedule them. I use Later for that.
Later is a free Instagram scheduling tool that will help you post your Instagram post automatically, for when you don’t have time to post at the optimized time. I use Later because of my time zone difference, or when I don’t have time to post. 90% of my Instagram posts are created manually, but when I don’t have time, I upload them in Later, and I schedule the post to my Instagram account, and when it is time, Later will post it automatically for me. Oh, and did I already mentioned it’s free?
Those were the five tools (Actually four + the draw this in your style challenge) I use to grow my Instagram account as a digital artist. I would love to know a tool you are using. Leave a comment!
If you would like this post summarized into a toolkit, then don’t forget to download the #Artstagram Toolkit! It’s free, yo!
If you enjoyed this post, it goes a long way if you could take 30 seconds, and share it on your favorite social media platform + Pinterest. It is a small effort for you, but it has a massive impact on me. This allows Join The Creative Side to grow so that I can produce more content. And I am confident your audience will love this blog post too ;)
Lots of love,