Instagram is the ultimate visual social network, placing the image at the center of its users' thinking. And it is precisely for this reason that it plays a leading role in the art world! Artists, museums, and foundations use it on a daily basis to support and expand their reputation. This platform is essential to develop the visibility of your gallery. Highly intuitive, it only takes a few seconds to create an account. And yet, the subtleties and underside of its operation can be perceived as a brake for busy gallery owners...
Artsper has taken on the challenge of sharing its user manual with you, step by step.
From your most frequently asked questions to the ones you hadn't even imagined, discover all our answers in our article!
How does the Instagram algorithm work?
The Instagram algorithm dictates the order of appearance of the posts. This is an absolutely key element, although often unclear to most users of the platform. A good understanding of its mechanism allows you to optimize your publishing strategy and thus ensure better visibility of your account.
Each time you post a publication on Instagram with your gallery account, it will automatically appear in the news feed of the people who follow your account, also called "feed". In the past, posts appeared in a so-called "anti-chronological" order, so the most recent posts were visible at the top of your news feed, followed by the oldest. Today, the display of content is governed by 6 factors, all of which influence the reach, or visibility, of your posts.
Three factors "independent" of your activity:
The most recent publications remain more visible, which is why it is important to publish when your subscribers are most likely to be connected to Instagram. A morning post when they usually log in at 6:00 pm will make your post too old to appear in their feed.
Publications that are considered to be more likely relevant for you are listed first in your feed. The same goes for your subscribers, which means that the quality of the content you post is very important.
First publications depend on the ones that most caught your attention when you last logged in. To sum up, it's a virtuous circle, the more your content appeals to your target, the more it appears first in his Instagram feed and so on.
Three factors "dependent" on your activity:
The more your visitors interact with your Instagram account, the more your publications will appear in their news feed. This way, people who "like" your post, or comment on it, send positive signals to Instagram. And these same people are much more likely to see your posts than those who never interact with your account. It's up to you to get feedback!
The more accounts your subscribers follow, called "subscriptions", the more content in their News Feed comes from different accounts. Thus, you are less likely to appear on the feeds of your subscribers who follow many accounts, due to competition.
The amount of time each of your visitors spends on Instagram determines the density and chronological stretch of the publications in their feed. So if they spend little time on Instagram they will only see the most recent publications, accounts with which they interact the most. A visitor who scrolls several times a day or longer is more likely to see your publications.
How can I view solely the content I like?
As a gallery owner, it is important for you to watch and be guided by the best practices of your peers. As an example, you can follow art galleries whose content inspires you. Also, think about extending your monitoring, other actors of the cultural world, such as museums, foundations, auction houses are very active on Instagram. Not to mention the artists themselves, some of whom have become stars of social networks, such as Inès Longevial or Chloé Wise.
Startups and other companies related to art (like Artsper!) can also be breeding grounds for ideas. Every time you come across a new innovative player on the market, for example at a trade fair, don't hesitate to visit their Instagram account to find inspiration. Your Instagram feed may have become overloaded with new accounts. By following our tips on the Instagram algorithm, you can sort out your feed.
You can first act on the 3 factors that depend on your behavior on the platform (relationship, subscriptions, and usage). Don't like or comment on posts from accounts you are less interested in, which will allow you to give more space to those you want to see. Following fewer accounts and spending less time on Instagram can also help you prioritize the content you want to view, saving you time. Working on these first 3 factors greatly influences the next ones (freshness, interest, and frequency). Don't unnecessarily clutter your feed by following accounts that don't match your editorial line. Sort regularly, unsubscribe if necessary, and follow only the accounts that inspire you.
How can I stay at the top of my target audience's feed?
Staying on top of the Instagram news feed of your target accounts is challenging. It involves continuously providing content they like on a long-term basis. That's the secret behind generating an optimal engagement rate, which is your main goal.
The more likes, comments, story sharing, reposts or other social networks you generate, the more likely you are to stay in the spotlight. You must ask yourself the proper questions. Place yourself in the position of the people you want to reach. What do they want to see? What makes them interested? How do you start a customer loyalty process? How do you convince them to subscribe? Keep in mind that optimal engagement also means that the audience you reach is large, and therefore composed of different people with different interests. Focus on the commonalities between all these targets, to find the content they would all like to share and find on your account. It is essential to make your subscribers an active and committed target!
How can I accumulate new subscribers?
Many people discover new accounts thanks to the algorithm, but also via the "Search" tool. It allows them to view your content without necessarily subscribing to your account. By clicking on the magnifying glass tab (second tab at the bottom left of your screen), users access the "Search" page and can discover IGTVs (long Instagram videos in vertical format), the Instagram store (in which are listed the publications most likely to offer them products they may like), and other thematic tabs such as "Architecture", "Decoration", "Art", which group together publications from accounts they do not yet follow and which may arouse their interest.
Meanwhile, there are several effective ways to entice other accounts to subscribe to yours. Consider partnering with another account that will have to mention you in a story or in one of its posts. Another way is to develop a contest, stating in the terms and conditions that participants will have to tag their friends in the comments.
How do I evaluate my results? Which statistics should I follow to ensure that I am on the right track?
Several computer tools are available free of charge to help you measure the performance of each of your publications (Creator Studio, Instagram Analytics for Business Accounts and Iconosquare for example). Creator Studio is a free platform, easy to use, and accessible from your personal Facebook account. With Creator studio, you can schedule and publish all your publications on Instagram from your computer. You can also consult the statistics of your Instagram account.
We advise you to keep an updated tracking table, or editorial schedule. For each post, fill in the date, time, subject, type of post, cover, impressions, number of likes, comments, visits to your profile and number of clicks to your website.
Impressions may be higher than the cover if some people have viewed your post more than once. Indeed,
impressions correspond to the total number of times your publications have been viewed by the accounts that follow you, but also the accounts that do not follow you and view your content through hashtags, geotag, or the search tool. Coverage is the number of unique accounts that have viewed your publication. It is a more revealing statistical indicator than impressions to judge the impact of your account with users.
A good starting point is to look at your past content. Identify the type of content that gives the best results, the influence of the time or day of publication, the artists that generate the most excitement. Then you can think about how to replicate this success in a sustainable way. Also consider your failures: maybe some posts underperformed, so they should be avoided in the future.
Statistics details of an Artsper publication via Creator Studio
What are the best practices to increase my visibility? And how to use them?
Instagram provides some practical tools that are very effective when used properly.
Similar to SEO, the hashtag is the keystone of good visibility on Instagram as it allows you to be well-positioned on the search engine. Whether on Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest or here Instagram, it is often admitted that the proliferation of hashtags increases the visibility of your account. Get this idea out of your head! Take the example of the hashtag applied to the word "art" (#art). The latter generates more than 681 million publications, which represents as many accounts in competition with yours. At the opposite extreme, putting the specific title of a work in hashtag will not be of any interest, because this hashtag does not generate any search.
The perfect balance between these two extremes consists of positioning yourself on well-chosen hashtags, such as the name of an artist, the current work, the specific technique used, etc. will help you increase your visibility. Be content with a maximum of five hashtags under each publication and adapt them as much as possible to your editorial line in order to attract the accounts you target.
Geolocalization or "geotags"
You can tag a place in a post or on a story. For example, it can be a museum where you exhibit, the studio of one of your artists... When you go to an exhibition or an opening, remember to post a publication or a story mentioning the place via the "position" tab. A user may come across your publication or story simply because he has searched for the place in question, or clicked on the geotag in another publication.
In your story or on your publications, identify your artists and influential personalities on Instagram. This is a great way to engage their own subscribers. The people mentioned will automatically receive a message and usually do not hesitate to share your content in their stories.
It can be smart to collaborate with influential accounts so that they tag you with a reciprocal commitment. A two-way exchange that helps you reach a new target!
What do I need to know to effectively publish my content? How can I plan ahead and find new ideas?
Theme & Timing
A golden rule: always pre-plan your content. Prepare an editorial schedule in advance, which lists all the themes and topics covered in your posts and stories for the week. At the end of each month, take the time to reflect on the highlights of the month ahead. Make a note of the key days you want to communicate about: opening dates of your exhibitions, new artwork additions, art openings, meetings with an artist, promotions... It is much easier to offer varied content with visibility over the next few days than to have to think about it every morning for the day itself! Thus, you will be more inclined to propose a varied content, meticulously thought, and well worked.
If you are in need of inspiration, the dates of birthdays of famous artists, the current exhibitions in your city, or events that have marked the history of contemporary art are an easy way to create content that is appreciated. Tools allow you to plan your content days in advance, such as Planoly, Agorapulse, or Onlypult. You are free to modify the content or the date of your future post as much as you want until the publication date.
Screenshot of Artsper's Instagram feed via the Planoly website
The Instagram feed is the set of publications that a user sees when he clicks on the name of an account. A harmonious feed is more pleasant to consult and easily encourages a user to subscribe. Think about color harmonies, for example, by publishing posts in the same shades or by always using the same filters.
It is very easy to preview the appearance of your future feed thanks to the Planoly application. With a free account, you can simulate posts, move them around, and see how they will look.
Artsper Instagram Feed offering a set of publications with harmonious colors
Posts will remain in your feed. So choose images that match your previous publications (colors, tones, atmosphere). Before posting, make sure that the image resolution is the highest possible resolution to avoid an unpleasant and unattractive pixelated effect. You can also use the filters offered by Instagram and various free, easy-to-use mobile applications to enhance the quality and colors of your image.
Do not hesitate to resize them (Instasize, InShot) to respect Instagram's format constraints and remember that the square format is ideal. Beyond the purely visual and decorative aspect of the image, don't forget the emotional dimension. Your goal is to get a message across, to provoke a positive feeling in the person viewing your publication. The choice of the image is the main criterion!
The caption is the description that appears under each Instagram photo, some users choose not to write one systematically, but it remains very important and almost imperative especially for the use of a professional account. It will not be visible in your feed but it is just as important as the picture. Choose a synthetic caption, pleasant and that corresponds to the spirit of your gallery. You can invite the most curious readers to discover more by adding a link to your website but be careful, it will not be clickable.
Example of an Artsper publication, with an English and French caption
What’s the best way to use Instagram stories?
Story's Role and Frequency
Instagram stories are 24-hour visible publications only. They are displayed at the top of your home screen as a circle. To view them, simply click on them. The interest of a story is to keep your Internet users informed of your daily activity, to share with them ephemeral moments, and to inform them about current events. You can make your stories visible in perpetuity by archiving them via the " New " tab under the " Edit profile " bar of your profile.
Do not publish more than one story per day, your subscribers risk being drowned in a flood of information and may voluntarily decide not to consult them anymore, or even unsubscribe.
Optimal Story Size
In each of your stories, it is advised not to exceed 5 slides. Propose a synthetic and didactic content, keeping a rather objective point of view. Always think about the coherence of your story, you must tell a short and simple "story" that is easy to understand. Follow a common thread and propose a beginning and an end, so as not to interrupt your readers' reading and reflection. To make your slides more dynamic, you can use mobile applications like Unfold or Mojo.
Define Templates Based on Content
Finally, make sure to keep a common aesthetic line for the creation of each of your "templates" (the models of your stories). For each slide, use the same filter and the same text font. Use light colors for the background and highlight your text with brighter colors for example. Remember also to limit the number of gifs you add, your rendering must be qualitative and professional! You can use each time a specific template for your different story themes. For example, a specific template when you announce the new exhibition of your gallery, a template for the interviews of your artists, another one for partnerships and contests, etc.
How to Add a Link to Your Story
If you have more than 10,000 subscribers, have upgraded your personal Instagram profile to a professional Instagram account, and it is associated with a Facebook account, then you will be able to add a link to your story. Users viewing your stories will be able to use the swipe up feature (which means "drag up" on the smartphone screen) to open the link you inserted when you created your story. To better understand how to do this, we propose you a scenario with a link to the Artsper page of the Jacques Ardiès Gallery :
Choose your link, copy it and click on the icon indicated by the red arrow on the image below.
Click on the link type you have chosen (product, profile store, IGTV video, Web Link, in this case, Web Link).
Paste your link and click "Done".
In the end, the most important thing is to enjoy managing your Instagram account. If you have fun creating content and showcasing your gallery, it will show up in your feed.