The art market is, at its core, a visual industry. It is little surprise then that image-based Instagram has become one of the preferred social media platforms amongst galleries and artists alike. In 2020 it was reported that 87 percent of art buyers used the app as a key factor in discovering artists and buying art (Statista), and its importance within the art market has, and will only continue to, rise. Two years ago the app introduced a new feature, "Instagram Reels", giving its users the ability to post videos up to 90 seconds long. Since then, Instagram has pushed its Reels feature, and it has now become arguably the most important format on the app for both personal and business users. How can you, as a gallery or artist, utilize Reels to fully mobilize your Instagram marketing strategy? Artsper has put together a step-by-step guide explaining the importance of Instagram Reels, and how you can make them!
What is a Reel, and why are they important?
If you have been on Instagram recently, you will have noticed the increasing presence of short and engaging videos appearing on your home and explore pages. They are designed to be a way for users to connect with their audience, capturing interest in an accessible manner. Since 2022, Reels have become the most engaging post type on Instagram, performing 40% better than traditional video posts. With photo-based posts declining by 41% in terms of engagement over the course of 2022, it is important that the art market begins to use Instagram Reels as a key feature of their digital marketing strategy, in order to retain, and boost, outreach.
Much like Instagram’s existing algorithm, the app suggests Reels to users based on their interests, their following, and their interaction. If you want to stand out and attract the attention of art-enthusiasts and new collectors, in particular Generation Z, Reels are not to be ignored!
In 2022, Reels outperformed all other types of content on Instagram in terms of reach and number of likes © HypeAuditor
What does a Reel look like?
The content of a Reel depends greatly from user to user. However, within the art market several types of video content remain popular amongst users.
- Artist interviews
- Time-lapse videos of artists creating their content
- Visits of art events: fairs, exhibitions, gallery openings…
- Artistic inspiration: a visually appealing video-moodboard to attract the attention of art collectors
- Interviews or "Day-in-the-life"-type videos of artists, gallerists, curators, and others within the industry
- Trend forecasting videos: reporting current or future trends within the art world
The list of art market Reel content goes on. There are a myriad of ways by which those within the industry can use the feature to create engaging content that resonates with an audience of fellow art-lovers.
How to make a Reel?
Having outlined the importance of Instagram Reels and some ideas for those within the art market, one question remains unanswered; how do you, as an artist or gallery, actually make a Reel? Being ahead of the trend now will ensure future success! Artsper has compiled a step-by-step guide on how to effectively create an engaging, and well performing, Instagram Reel.
1. Use the tools within the app
An example of the different set templates the app offers, you can also create and save your own.
Always edit your content within the app. Instagram gives its users an easy to use, clearly laid out editing software. They have worked on making it the most instinctive and accessible possible. By editing your Reel within the app, it also lets you create a set template, allowing you to easily replicate it for future Reels and giving your videos a cohesive look.
2. Grab the attention of your audience
Use aesthetically pleasing, eye-catching content. Instagram is a visual app. Why not take some videos of your favorite artworks at upcoming exhibitions, or of artistically-inspiring street art that you find when walking around? The more visually appealing the content, the better it will perform. What’s more, make sure the opening visual to your Reel is your most eye-catching clip or photo. This will ensure an immediate level of interest from users.
In continuation to visuals, having an engaging thumbnail on your video will also draw users’ attention. For bonus points, why not have a cohesive theme throughout all your Reels’ thumbnails? This will allow for a cohesive brand image and an aesthetically pleasing look to your Instagram feed!
3. Don’t be afraid to use filters
Just a few examples of the vast range of professional and visually appealing Reels filters offered by Instagram.
When it comes to editing, use an Instagram effect or filter on your video. The app loves to push videos that use its features, and this trick will boost the algorithmic engagement of your Reel. Gone are the days where filters were seen as a gimmick! Now, there are thousands of professional features and filters, giving a slick, polished look to your content.
4. It’s all about the audio!
Instagram shows you how many uses a sound has had, so you can know what’s trending, and what’s on its way out.
Always use a trending audio track. Our advice? Opt for one with around 5k - 10k uses. This means the sound has only just started trending, and your video will be amongst the first to use it. More than 50k uses on a sound often indicates that the trend is already over-saturated, or that it’s on its way out. Make sure to use a sound that is relevant to your post, rather than just because it is trending.
5. Boost your post with hashtags
An example of using hashtags for a reel: starting off with one well-used hashtag, and then narrowing down to a more niche selection.
Use four to five niche hashtags, pushing your video to those interested in a specific artistic topic, movement or event. This will allow your Reel to be found easily by those browsing the topic. Then, use one popular hashtag, boosting the algorithmic engagement of the Reel and pushing it to more accounts.
6. Authenticity is key
Finally, be authentic in what you are posting! Create content that you would want to see. Authenticity and transparency are key within the art market, and if you, as a gallery or artist, find what you are posting to be interesting, it is likely that a similar audience of art-enthusiasts will also be interested and engaged in the content that you’re posting.
Publishing Reels pays off
Embracing new technology may seem difficult, or even frustrating at times. However, with the popularity of Reels on the rise (and the importance of Instagram as a whole for marketing in the art market) understanding them is vital to the success of your digital marketing strategy. The figures speak to themselves. Despite Reels accounting for just 7.5% of content, they accounted for 20% of engagement in 2022! What’s more, the Instagram algorithm rewards accounts who utilize the feature, meaning that the more Reels you post, the higher your content (and your account) will appear on peoples’ home and explore pages. Whatever inspires you artistically, why not turn it into a video instead of a traditional photo post? It will allow you to boost social media engagement and attract more art-enthusiasts to your page!