Instagram Success for Artists : 2 Week Challenge to Grow Your Following | Ohn Mar Win | Skillshare

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Instagram Success for Artists : 2 Week Challenge to Grow Your Following

teacher avatar Ohn Mar Win, Illustrator Artist Educator

Watch this class and thousands more

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.



    • 2.

      Overview of the class


    • 3.

      Your Instagram Profile


    • 4.

      Make Art Everyday


    • 5.

      Other Content to Consider


    • 6.

      Use good quality pics


    • 7.

      Use great captions


    • 8.

      Timings of posts & Insights


    • 9.

      Comments and Engagement


    • 10.



    • 11.

      Final thoughts & Class project


    • 12.



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About This Class

I set up my Instagram account in September 2014 starting with a fuzzy picture of a pear sketch, and just a handful of followers. Now just over 3 years later, I have 100,000 followers, and in this class I want to share some of the tips I used to achieve this. I really enjoy sharing my art on this platform, as it almost serves as a daily time capsule of where my art is at, and is a good reflection of me and my personality. 

There's a theory that goes if you perform a certain task every day for 30 days, new pathways are formed in your brain, so it becomes a habit. This can be applied advantageously to many areas of your life. I also feel this is a great approach for gaining great follows on Instagram.

This class for those who are already using or wish to use Instagram as part of their art, illustration or design business. I believe if you made consistent effort for at least 2 weeks, using the tips I'll be outlining in the class you'll seen tangible results in that time: more followers !!

The class will cover :

* an effective profile, including profile pics, identifiable user names and links

* making art everyday ( if possible) to build up anticipation 

* good quality phots or images

* effective captions for your post

* timing and using insights

* comments and the all important engagement

I hope you'll join me in this first class of 2018

Also a massive thank you to the artists who kindly let me feature their work - without their helpful support I would not have been able to create this class

Claire Picard  

Dylan Mierzwinski 

Tom Froese

Jess (jeshypark)

Affra Gibbs

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Ohn Mar Win

Illustrator Artist Educator

Top Teacher

Hello I'm Ohn Mar a UK based artist, illustrator author with a long and varied 20 year career. 

I am a great advocate of sketchbooks having filled over 30+, which each serving as a record of my creative journey as a self-taught watercolourist for the last 7 years. They have helped capture my explorations in texture, line and tone as I extend my knowledge with this medium.  I also share process videos and sketchbook tours on my YouTube channel - please subscribe! 



Filling my sketchbooks remains a constant in my life,  and furthermore inspiring many folks to pick up a paintbrush. Oftentimes these sketch explorations provide the basis for classes here on Skil... See full profile

Level: Beginner

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1. Introduction: Hi, I'm Ohnmar and I'm an illustrator and service designer. I set up my Instagram account in September, 2014 starting with a really fancy picture of a sketch I made of pair that I had picked that day. I only had a handful of followers. But three years later, I have just over a 100 thousand followers. In this class, I'm going to share with you some of the tips and tricks that I use to achieve this number. This class is mainly for those who are using or wish to use Instagram, whether you're an artist, illustrator, or designer. We will explore how posting art every day can be leveraged to show the world your unique creative talents, along with great captions and timing and hashtags to boost your follower engagement. I really hope that if you follow the steps that I'm going to outline, you're going to see an organic increase in your following numbers. This is going to be a really fun few weeks. Please join me. 2. Overview of the class: I did write a blog post in August 2015, which I will be basing this Gill share class on because I do feel the fundamental principles for gaining followers still hold true. I am aware that Instagram do change their algorithms fairly often, but I really hope that what I outlined in this class we'll still be really useful. First of all, I need to say that it would be really useful if you had the right mindset going in to this exercise. Please I expect to have thousands of new followers after just a few weeks. Even for me, it took me about three months to get 200 followers. Please don't view this as some popularity contest or a way to validate your art. I know it's really tricky, but sometimes those likes are not a reflection of who you are. I urge you not to become fixated by this. Roosevelt said, "Comparison is the thief of joy." I have to say, I still feel like I'm the same person as when I had a 1000 followers, as when I have a 100,000 followers, nothing's changed that much within me. As I said in the beginning, it is an organic growth, some weeks there will be massive spurts and you'll gain later followers. Then other weeks it'll be slow and steady. Either way is absolutely fine, I just need for you to be realistic, please don't be upset if you lose followers, it happens to me every day. It's cool because new ones will always come along. Going back to my blog post, I'm going to read to you how I started it off. There's a theory that goes, if you perform a certain task every day for 30 days, new pathways are formed in your brain, so it becomes a habit. This can be applied advantageously to many areas of your life. I also feel this is a good approach for gaining great followers on Instagram. Please stay with me, I'm going to explain all this. I firmly believe that if you make a concerted, honest effort for two weeks minimum with the tips that I'm going to outline in this class, you are going to see tangible results. There is going to be a tiny bit of forward planning, but not very much. He's just a few minutes every day just to stay on top of your comments and catch it with other people and comment on their work. I'm afraid, is not just a case of doing one of the task. You have to be mindful of trying to combine all of the information that I'm going to be giving you into the ground does not have to be daunting. If you give yourself permission to just play around in the next few weeks and put in some guided action just for a few minutes every day, I'm sure it's going to pay dividends. 3. Your Instagram Profile: I want to talk to you about your Instagram profile, because it tells your potential followers who you are, and gives them a reason to follow you and engage with you. I think the best Instagram profiles have a few things in common, like a recognizable photo, an easily identifiable username, and also an informative biography, and also links to your relevant sites. First of all, I do highly recommend that you set up your profile as public and not private, because then loads of people all around the world will be able to see what you post. I think it's really important to use recognizable and searchable usernames, or what's called your IG handle. Your name and username are the only fields that Instagram considers in search queries. That's why it's really important to make sure that the name you do use in your Instagram bio is one that your followers and clients are searching for. Mine is simply [inaudible] with underscores in between the different parts. Some people might add design or art after their name to differentiate themselves. Moving on to your profile photo or picture, it's one of the first things that people will see when they visit your Instagram profile, so it's important to get this right. It is displayed very prominently on the top left-hand side. So for me, I felt it was important to put a face to my art business so that people could connect with me as a person and see who's creating the art that they can view. Please don't put up a sloppy selfie. I did have this for a while in the beginning, but now I make sure that my photo is really clear. It's mainly of my face and taken in good lighting, and it's very clear. Try to smile, or at least show some personality, because that is what's going to draw people in. You may need somebody to help you. These pictures were actually taken by my 12-year-old son on an iPhone, so you don't need a massive professional setup. Just a really clear photo of yourself smiling. Now, moving on to the bio section. This is the description at the top of your profile. It's also one of the first things that visitors to your profile will see. You only have a maximum of 150 characters, so please use them wisely. Let people know what you're about and give them a reason to follow you. If you want to stand out for a particular skill, or hobby, or interest, you should also include these in your details, and explain to potential clients what you do as well. Instagram only lets you have one link to be included in your profile. So in the old days, I used to just have my website there. However, as my business is growing, I now use Linktree. Linktree is so useful because I can change it up and people can see my newest YouTube video, or my new Skillshare class, or if I've started selling something new in my Etsy shop, so people can see it simultaneously. I'm going to quickly talk you through Linktree. You sign in with your Instagram handle and password, and as you can see, it's arranged in a certain way. This is the desktop version, but you can do it on your phone. I've got my YouTube channel website, and also my Skillshare classes. When you click them, it links to whatever, like the website, or my YouTube channel. The great thing is you can shift the order that your links come in. So some days, I might want the Skillshare to appear at the top, and other days I might want my Etsy shop to appear at the top. It's really easy to use. The image of the phone on the right shows what a viewer will see. So I always put link in my profile so it will take them through to that screen and they can choose whether they want to go to my YouTube channel or Etsy shop. One last thing is please don't forget to enable notifications for Instagram, so that when people comment on your work, you are able to see it straight away, and I'm going to move on to why that's important. But basically, it means that you can engage with your followers really quickly and easily. I'm just going to demonstrate what I've just talked about using my own page. So this is my feed, and at the top we have my profile. If you click "Edit Profile," you can change your profile photo and put in a lovely version of yourself there. So there's your username, which is your IG handle. In the website area, I've put the Linktree link to my page, and there's my bio at 150 characters. I counted them out. Another thing I want to quickly share you is underneath that little cog logo is the settings, if you want to turn it into a business account, which means you can see the insights, and also the push notifications so that you can see comments when they pop up and you can decide who gets to comment on your work. 4. Make Art Everyday: When you start out, you don't have to have every detail sorted. Please be assured, I certainly didn't. Try not to become too bogged down with branding or posting consistent pictures just yet. That will follow with time as it did for me, as you get a better feel for Instagram and what is working and what isn't and you will learn. Now, my first suggestion is to actually create the art that is going to feature on your feed. Maybe you already have a portfolio of work, some of which you can post every day. What I did since those very early weeks back in 2014 was to set myself a daily hour challenge and I wasn't even doing watercolors then. I do urge you to put aside 10 or 20 minutes a day to doodle, hand lettering, collage, or even calligraphy. Some of the challenges I set myself were, a month a few sketches, food packaging, and even a dessert a day. Before you set yourself these challenges, just take 10 minutes out and think, "What am I really interested in personally and creatively?" Perhaps it's butterflies or flowers or even shoes. As I mentioned in a previous video, Instagram is a platform that reflects you as a person and your tastes. What do you want to convey to your followers and potentially your clients? You want to show them what your main artistic interests are, so they get a better understanding of your work. I want to take you to the very beginnings of my Instagram feed. As you can see, I started off with a very fuzzy picture of a pear sketch. I was drawing sketches of vegetables and fruit that I had around the house. I called it the 30 Days of Food Drawings Challenge, moving onto biscuits that I also had lying around the house. I think it gave people get the indication that I was really interested in food. Carrying on with that, it looks like I started doing herbs and spices. Then the next month I started with 30 days of food packaging. Again, what I had around the house, so I would use a dip pen to draw the outlines. As you can see just there by that stage, maybe it took me about two months to get 200 followers, but I carried on with my challenge. It was like a challenge to myself and also show the viewer that I wanted to become more proficient in my drawing either by using a brush pen or a dip pen. The other images you can see here we're mostly done in Photoshop. At the time I didn't know the best way to show these. I was actually taking photographs off my computer screen, which don't look great, but I worked out what to do in the end. What I use is Dropbox. I simply take a screenshot and then load it onto my Dropbox and it is also on my phone and then I upload it onto Instagram. This was a piece of art that I did for shrove Tuesday or Pancake Day here in the UK. You'll find that on particular days, let's say, St. Patrick's Day, there will be a lot of people posting related out imagery. There will be loads of people looking for that stuff and there will be more engagement. Other things that I include is when I used to upload to They Draw and Cook and also this is at the beginning of my watercolor practice. I'll talk more about how I used to set up photos with this. It's very much a mixture of my water colors and also my foods, work in progress sketches, anything that relates to my art practice pretty much. By this stage, I was posting a mixture of old work and new work, surface design, and if any of my art appeared in magazines, or on packaging or greetings cards. Just a little bit further along, there's a few pictures of me at [inaudible] , some of the people I met and some of my products. Ask yourself, what will hold your interests for the next seven,14 or even 30 days so that you can sustain a daily art practice in order to post every day on Instagram? You might want to draw a different flower everyday, or a different mushroom or shoe every day. You can make your own hashtags for this one. I'll talk more about hashtags later. Of course, you could just sketch a watercolor or whatever you wish. However, I just want to explain, for the follower, so the viewer of your art, posting daily will build up initial excitement and they'll look forward to your posts and anticipate it and they'll become more enthusiastic about your art. After they hit that follow button, they will continue following you because they want to see what you're going to produce next. Also, a really important message that this sends out is that you're serious about producing art and that it's fun for you to produce art every day. Also as a personal challenge, it holds you accountable, which is important to sustain just for at least two weeks. You may want to consider joining in with other IG challenges such as inktober, which does receive a lot of publicity when it takes place in October. 5. Other Content to Consider: For me Instagram is primarily concerned with my art business. Although to begin with I was posting all sorts like little snapshots of my life. But I will say with high [inaudible] I do think it's worth sticking to your niche if you want to grow your following. I realized that the people who are following me were often other artists. This may be easier said than done and I did find it a little challenging at the time until I got a feel for it. This can't be a difficult adjustment. When I learned that the majority of my artistic followers didn't really care about the mails I made or selfies, they really wanted to just see my art. I would say, to post a mixture of new and old work, some from your portfolio and a mixture of handmade pieces, watercolors, pass tools, gouache and also if you work on the Mac or the iPad Pro maybe it's supposed to move those as well. Because remember you're trying to convey a snapshot of what you can achieve artistically. Also, works in progress are really good if you explain what you're trying to achieve. One thing I will say is that folks really want to see what art supplies you use. Every now and again, I'll take a photo of all my art supplies laid out and I will put what they are in the caption and folks seem to really appreciate that and ask a lot of questions. Even though I have asked every day, what paints do you use? It just gives everyone a chance to see what I do use in my daily artistic life. Now I want to move on to other ways that IG is now allowing you to post more of your art. One of them is the IG story. I didn't use this very often at first but now I post about once a day. It's just a little snapshot of my life, which does not appear on the main feed. It is only around for 24 hours unless you have it on a certain setting. I might take a picture of a page from a cookery books that I illustrated and say, "Oh, I'm going to make this curly kale stir fry. Or there will be a little work in progress shot." Or it would just be me painting some cherries for 10 seconds. What does seem to work really well for me is posting a video to my main feed, either time-lapse video or a process video. People love to see how I paint and many, many artists seem to do this and it's just fascinating to watch. I love watching other artists, whether it's abstract or it's figure work. I find it hugely entertaining and that's probably why it's so popular. One of my videos is just me painting some limes has had over a million views on Instagram. Another great way to connect with your followers is to use the IG live feature. This is where you live stream to your followers and they can see what you're doing and they can ask questions in real time. I sometimes do this if I've got fun announcement or I want to discuss a particular art related challenge or just a discussion really. So that I can put forward my ideas or put forward a new class or announcing that I've got a YouTube channel. Again, this is a really great way to engage with your followers and they can engage with you. Engagement is key, I'm going to talk more about that later. Last thing is try to be mindful to keep your feed well curated and relevant. If you feel that something isn't working after a few weeks, you can go and delete it. I do this every few months. Something is sticking out. If something doesn't look right, you'll know when you go through your feed. I think for me, I knew intuitively when something doesn't feel right and it's okay to delete it, it's not an issue, because I think it gives you much more consistent brand. I know I said don't think about it too much, but I'm talking about after about three or four months, you'll start to get a feel for it. 6. Use good quality pics: As you are aware, Instagram is so visually stunning and great photos are a huge part of its draw and it's a very important part of your Instagram profile. When people visit your profile, the chances are the first thing they'll do is scroll through the first 6, 12, 20 images on your feed, and the quality of those photos will be a big factor in whether that person will follow you or not. So you have to make it count because most people only consider your profile for 10 seconds at the most. I've only ever used my iPhone to take pictures of my sketch brick work. I usually lay it down on a white piece of paper or straight onto my wooden floor. It's always in front of a window because the lighting is so important. I try not to use artificial light and don't use glaring light because it will be too harsh. I will take several pictures from slightly different angles and you can actually post more than one image now using Instagram slideshow feature. Another thing is I very seldom use the pre-set filters that come with Instagram. What I like to do is play with the brightness on the contrast controls, as you're going to see here. This is pretty much my setup most days. I put a white sheet of card or paper on the floor in front of a large window. I might use props like my watercolor set or the brushed I use but nothing much more than that. Just arrange it nicely so that it's within the square format. If you've got a square setting on your phone, please use that so that you're making use of most of the space. What I tend to do is always take my images through a watermark app. I use iWatermark, but there's lots of other apps you can use. I arrange my logo in a small corner of the image and then I send it to Instagram. Once it's loaded onto Instagram, I tend to manually edit the picture because of varying light qualities. I tend to use the contrast button which is on a slider, and also the brightness buttons so that the paper looks really wide and the colors really pop. There are other features there that you can play around like saturation and warmth. When you have finished adjusting it, you're ready to add a caption. I would say be mindful of what you post. Some days I don't have time to do a sketch, something that I really can put a lot of effort into, so I tend not to post at all. If I'm too busy, I'll just use something from my portfolio. People do say, and it's up to you to decide, if you don't have anything pretty to post, don't post anything at all, because if somebody lands on that image, they'll say, "Not sure about this," and they might just scroll past you and not follow you. What you want to do is produce something that's of a really high-quality so that they want to engage with you. One last thing that people have asked me in the past is how do you upload images from your computer onto my Mac? I use Dropbox. I've got Dropbox on my Mac and Dropbox on my phone. There are other ways where you can post directly to Instagram from your Mac. As you go through this process, you'll find what methods work for you and what's easiest in your lifestyle. 7. Use great captions: The caption that you put underneath the image that you post is as much a representation of your brand as your Instagram feed and this could be a really key factor to attracting some of your followers. I tend to be very honest about why I might have created a certain piece or why I wanted to sketch something that particular day. I might go into what my thought process was or any challenges I faced or if I've gained any insight as a result of painting in a particular way or using a particular color or a technique in Photoshop. Also, when you offer behind the scenes looks at your studio or the materials that you use, your followers are more likely to engage because they do want to know a little bit more about you. Engagement is really key, I will explain this in a lot more detail in a later video. One of the ways that the caption can help you is you can come across as your authentic self. I do know that authenticity is being bounded and balancing all different circles and I do think it's really important to be you. Write in a voice that reflects you, let that personality come through. You don't have to write lots, just a few sentences to explain where you are at, or any thoughts you may have about the piece that you've just put up. It might also be quite seasonal. I love autumn or you call it fall in America and I tend to post a lot of images about fall and my reflections on it. Now sometimes I might ask a question like, Do you like this floral with the neutral background or the dark background? This in some ways is called a call to action. Again, this is something that will hopefully drive up engagement between you and your followers. It may inspire them to comment more on your post and you could also use this if you want to announce something like, "Hey, I've opened a new etsy shop or there's a new print or T tau or tote bag in my shop. Go and have a look. The link is in my profile." They have to take action. Hopefully the image that you've posted is all that new tote bag and it's so amazing they have to follow the link and buy from your shop. I'm just going to show you some of the captions that I've used. This is based on my daughter's hand and she really does love blackberries so that's why I wrote here, "I swear blackberry seasons get earlier every year." That's my own personal thought I'm letting my audience know about that. In this next one, its illustrations that I did for a book but I also used it to say my pantry stuff full of little jars and spice mixes. This is so handy and that really is true. If you can came to my house I have a wall full of herbs and spices. I'm letting my followers know a little something about myself. Again, I really do grow tomatoes and I have suffered from tomato blight in the past that luckily there wasn't any this summer. I let them know that and I got some really great comments like, "Oh, you were really lucky not to have blight because we've got blight." Just little things like that that help with the interactions. I'd like to introduce you to another Skillshare teacher and fellow designer and Illustrator. Her captions are wonderful. I love building them. There is one featuring buttons is actually about her grandmother she said she got to see her again a few days ago. She also talks about wanting to use more blues in her illustrations. That's a great example. Next one is something that you posted at the beginning of this year. She wanted to focus more on piece about a floral that she did. She even talks about loosening up and letting go that need for control and losing some of that joy. Which is something that I can really relate to. 8. Timings of posts & Insights: I would say, if you are starting out on IG, to try and post two images a day for at least the first two weeks, and then you may want to bring it down to once a day. I do think it's best to space them out to be about three, four, or five hours apart, maybe one about midday and one in the late afternoon. Weekdays are often best to post. Sundays are not so good. So I only post once at least, if at all. I'm afraid I'm going to get a little bit technical now, because Instagram's algorithm shows the user's posts arranged in the feed going down based on what Instagram determines that is relevant to them. It is not based on chronological order as it used to be. I told you I'd come to this. One of the big factors that Instagram looks at when evaluating content is how much engagement a post is getting. So what you need to do is to build up the momentum for your post to move towards the top of an Instagram feed for your followers. That's why I keep going on about engagement, engagement, engagement. What that means is people are liking your work. Hopefully, they are commenting on your work, and you're commenting back within the next 60 to 90 minutes. Something else that I do urge you to consider is to change your IG profile to a business one, because then you can view the statistics that will be collected. It's called insights and there's a tiny graph-like icon on the very top right of your page. I'm going to show you here what you can see. I'm going to show you the insights for my page, and it starts with followers and then impressions. You can look at the reach, profile views, website clicks, and clicks to your email. It also gives you a breakdown of the gender of your followers and what age they are. Also, in this section, it shows you the top locations of your followers, the cities, and also the countries. Mine seems to be in the US. In this section right at the bottom, it tells you which days seem to do the best. It looks like on a Saturday, it's roughly 3:00 PM. Same again on a Monday. Most of my weekdays, it's between about 1:00, 2:00 or 3:00 PM, and that's when I normally post because that's when most of my followers are around to engage, to comment, and like. This is a really great feature. It gives you the breakdown and the statistics for your posts. It was set at the impressions for a year, but you can change it up to things like engagement over the last 30 days. As you can see, that lime video is one of the top. Let's have a look at the likes. Yeah, the lime's got a lot of likes. Also the spoons and the knives. Let's see if anything changes when we do comments. So I got a lot of comments for reaching 100,000 followers. This is overall what's been happening over the last year. Sometimes it shows some really surprising results. I don't know why some pieces do better than the other, but it's always really interesting. This one did particularly well. It's just a video of me drawing orange shape in a jug, but for some reason it did really well. So I hope you'll give video a try. Also with insights, it will show up after a few hours if you press "View Insights" underneath your post, and you'll see the reach and engagement, and likes, and comments. Now you may think, "This is just all getting a little bit too technical for me." Bottom line is you want people to see your art. You don't want to be posting at 2:00 AM when maybe most of your followers are in bed, unless you're in the UK and most of your followers are in the US. But it's something that you do actually have to be mindful of. 9. Comments and Engagement: In this video, I want to talk about leaving comments and also replying to comments, and also engagement, that word again, engagement is really important because it's the new buzzword it seems. Engagement is how often new followers interact with you and your post by leaving likes and comments. I am sorry to say that Instagram does seem to change their algorithm a few times a year, so your new posts are heavily reliant on this engagement activity. After a few hours, the exposure of your posts will gradually begin to decrease if you do not respond to comments left on your photo within about 60 minutes. The latest information I have is the comments left on your feed do have to consist of at least four words to be counted as engagement. So you can't leave things like great picture or I love it, or nice, or a series of little hearts. You have to say probably an actual sentence, I really like what you've done with the paint and the colors that you've used. I wanted to quickly share with you some of the comments that I would leave on other people's posts. Here, we have Claire Picard, she's an illustrator and skilled teacher. She posted this one recently and I thought its delightful, so I left a comment that is quite close to the thing I'd say in real life. I'm hoping it's authentic. Here we have Dylan's page again, and this is her latest post. I really liked the way she uses color in this and the three Color ways. So I left a comment to that effect because I really enjoyed looking at it. I always enjoy looking at Mr. Toms Instagram feed. He's another illustrator and skilled headteacher. His work is so retro and I really wish that I could convey that sort of look in my work sometimes. So that's the comment that I left him. I hope the comments that I leave are supported and filled with appreciation for their art. Sometimes I do find it really tricky when I'm working on multiple projects and I'm really juggling my time. But I still try to interact with my followers, even if it's just to say thank you with a few hearts or a few blowing kisses emojis. I do think that when you take the time to write a personal comment or to answer questions, your followers really do appreciate it. If they do ask a question, and I'm in the mood, I will try to give valuable tips and information like the paints that I'm using or something that I might have done in photoshop. Instagram really likes these conversations, and it means because you've taken the time to respond to the people who took time to comment, it builds a relationship. I may not answer every comment, and I may miss quite a lot of questions, but I do try and make time in my timetable to facilitate some rapport with my followers. 10. Hashtags: In this video, we're going to talk a little bit about using hashtags. People search on Instagram using hashtags, and they are amongst the best tools for users and brands to increase their visibility on Instagram. We have a considered hashtag, you can open up the possibility for new users to discover your content. Obviously, more than one hashtag gives you more reach and exposure, and because you're going to be mindful of the hashtags that you do use, you could attract really great clients. I've often had projects where the client has found me on Instagram because I've often used the hashtag food illustration, so you're going to want to find the best hashtags based on the business or the industry that you're in. You want these to relate to the post. There are specific tools out there to help you find hashtags, such as Hashtagify. Or you can manually find hashtags from other accounts that are doing well and see what hashtags they use, and they might be fairly similar to yours, or it's something that you're interested in. So just take a look and see what they use. It is going to be trial and error, but it is important that you experiment a little bit and try new hashtags and see how they work for you, and maybe look at the performance, how many comments or likes that you receive. Now, I do know there was a time when you could post dozens of hashtags, just list them, list them down the page. But I'm afraid those days are over. The latest word on the street is to limit your hashtags to five, six, or seven at the absolute most. Otherwise, it could be considered spamming. I know it's strange, but there we go. Also to use different hashtags every few days for the same reason. Now, I'm going to talk to you about a really neat trick that I've often used in the past. Instagram gives you the ability to now follow hashtags. For example, hashtag watercolors. One really great way to leverage this is to scroll through the hashtag watercolor feed, for example, and like other people's art. If there's a few artists that you feel really drawn to, you go to their feed, see what they've got, scroll through some of the images, like two or three of their pieces, and leave a personal supportive comment, more than four words, of course, like, "I loved the way you've approached this." What you often find is that these artists or follower in return will check out who you are and often follow you back. I do this in a very authentic way. So I tend to do this about once or twice a day. I mean, it literally only takes about a minute. I might try different hashtags that I personally use, like food illustration, or surface pattern. This is an artist that I first saw under the hashtag illustrators on Instagram. I really, really loved her bold use of color, and she also did lots of fruit and veg. So I followed her straight away and I left this comment for her. 11. Final thoughts & Class project: Instagram has transitioned over time from being a place to share selfies or your cat's snaps or your food into a tool we used to promote your business and brand and to engage with your audience. Also for us creatives, a place to showcase our talents. Now if you're anxious to grow following whether you're starting from scratch or you're following has been a little stagnant for some time, I hope this class will really help you to jumpstart your growth. Even if you've been posting and it's been hovering around the same number for a little while, it might mean that it's time to change what you're doing. I really hope that tips that I've outlined are a general guide that you should be mindful of as a whole. As I said, you can't just post really amazing pictures without decent captions and hashtags and look at the timing. Apart from creating that new piece of art or sketch, I really do spend more than 8-10 minutes tops each day answering comments or seeing what other folks are up to. As I mentioned at the very beginning of this class, if you make a concerted effort with these tips over the course of the next two weeks at least, I hope it will be fun and rewarding for you. I am absolutely certain that you will reap the benefits. I'm going to just quickly go through the tips once again so you have a really clear understanding. I've also recorded a bonus video for you to have a look at. I'm going to go through again my top tips. Please try and work on this for at least two weeks, and I'm sure you're going to see a positive difference. First of all, please review your profile picture, your biography and your links. I do recommend posting a new piece of art every day, whether it's calligraphy or collage or a water color. Just so that you can show your unique talents and show the world what you're interested in creatively. Try to post a mixture of new and old work, works in progress, seasonal stuff, especially when it's Halloween or winter holiday, products from your shop. Also consider Instagram's new IG live, so you can interact with your followers, maybe show them around your office or a painting, or talk to them about what you're working on. Also, the IG stories is a great way for them to see into your life. Take good quality photos in natural light, and you don't have to put loads of props around it. Try to watermark it just in case. When you're writing your captions, think about what you want to convey to your followers. Did you have any issues with the goulash that day or what were you trying to achieve? Another great way is that call to action, where you ask them an opinion whether they like the blue or the gray backgrounds. Try to set up a business profile so that you can look at the insights for each post and gain further statistics about how your posts are doing and the reach and engagement that they're receiving, and this can help you further your Instagram presence. Always leave kind and thoughtful comments on other people's work, and thank people if you can when they leave comments about your work. I've definitely researched the hashtags that are specific to your industry or the sort of art that you're creating if you look at what other people use. Lastly, I would say always be yourself, be authentic, not some other persona. Try to be professional at all times, if there are rude comments, you don't need to be rude back, just delete them. Also you try to have fun with this entire process. I find that if you're helpful, that good energy and positivity and we'll come back to you. For me personally, it's been such a rewarding and enjoyable experience. Their potential for Instagram as part of your art business is really quite phenomenal. I'd love for you to fulfill your potential. Here's your plan of action. Decide which day you are going to start. Mark out 14 days on your calendar. Take a screenshot to record your follower numbers, follow the steps that I've just been through. Post twice a day, include a few call to actions, like, comment, and follow other people who use similar hashtags to you. Then after 14 days, take another screenshot and compare and contrast the results and see if you can find any patterns, that could be effective for you moving forward. 12. BONUS VIDEO: I want to share with you another way to gain a lot of Instagram followers in quite a short burst of time, and it is to actually host an Instagram contest by getting your followers to tag their friends or three in the comment section. It will actually draw more attention to your contest and actually boost your engagement than you would normally otherwise. You're standing within somebody else's feed to go up. The giveaways themselves are not the valuable part. It's the tagging of the friends that is the most important aspect of this. The giveaways drive traffic to your profile. Hopefully, the person that they've tagged may not follow you at the time but afterwards, they most probably will. That's how that works. Try to remember to always post quality content in a quality context. Something that you think is relevant to your niche, to your followers that they'll really enjoy receiving, and it also really add to that brand that you're a really decent person. I'm going to show you some statistics from my feed for the last year. You can see that giveaways appear in probably the top five of 10 post. One of them received over 1,000 comments followed by 300 and 200. This is the last competition I ran, where I gave away a notebook and greetings cards and I asked them to tag a friend. As you can see, there were 129 comments, and this is people tagging in their friends or two. This definitely drove traffic, I reckon, to my Instagram feed. Just look at all those people. I really enjoy reading their comments too.