Start a Successful Art Account on Instagram | Maria Lia Malandrino | Skillshare

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Start a Successful Art Account on Instagram

teacher avatar Maria Lia Malandrino, Story / Illustration / Animation

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

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.

      Before You Launch


    • 3.

      After You Launch


    • 4.

      How to Interpret Insights


    • 5.

      Master the Instagram Tools


    • 6.

      The Instagram Algorithm


    • 7.

      Do's and Don'ts


    • 8.



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About This Class

You’re making great art, but your Instagram account just doesn’t seem to take off? Your follow/unfollow ratio keeps your account stagnant? You have many followers, but keep getting just a few likes on your posts? These are all common issues many artists trying to get more visibility of Instagram face and exactly what this class will help you tackle!

I signed up to Instagram in may 2017 mostly just to see what all the fuss was about, and soon realised that it’s an amazing tool for any artist, if you know how to use it - so I decided to explore and learn. After a year and a half of experiments, I have a following of over 45K, 2000 average viewers on my stories and around 2500 likes per post*EDIT* I've recently changed my Instagram handle - you can find me here as @art_bymemo

In this class I will share with you step by step:

  • What to do before starting your account
  • How to launch your account in the right way
  • How to ensure a steady growth and help make you art career a success!

Absolutely anybody can take this class, you just need a phone (or tablet) to download the Instagram app.

So what are you waiting for, let’s start making that Instagram profile today!

Meet Your Teacher

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Maria Lia Malandrino

Story / Illustration / Animation

Level: Beginner

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1. Intro: Hi guys. My name is Maria. I'm an illustrator and character designer from Turin, Italy. The classes that I've created for Skillshare so far have focused mostly on practical and creative topics, such as how to draw a cartoon character, or how to draw hair, and my latest one was how to animate your static illustration. But what I felt was that there was a lot of interest into what comes after you've created your artwork. That is how you can share it online and how many people are going to be there to actually watch it and enjoy it. In a nutshell, how to use social media to become a more effective artist. Of course, many artists, both professional and amateurs, want to have a successful social media account on Facebook or Instagram, for example. They're all faced with the same issues really, which is how to get visibility in an Internet that is already filled with visual content, how to grow your following, and how to keep it engaged when you have it. I signed up to Instagram about two years ago. I had a fairly skeptical mindset towards it and I had very low expectations. But in the past few years, I was able to grow my following to more than 40,000 followers. It happened because I did a fair amount of trial and error. I tried things out, some things worked, some things didn't, so I guess in this video, I want to share with you guys my tips and tricks and what worked and what didn't. Bear in mind that these are not 100 percent foolproof strategies that are going to take your account from zero to 100,000 followers in two months. That is not going to happen. But what I hope you can take away from this video is certain strategies and certain tricks that might help you with your content even though Instagram is always evolving and the art community on Instagram is always evolving, so certain strategies that may have worked six months ago may not work right now, but at the same time, you can still get a sense of how to approach social media and specifically Instagram. If you want to give social media a try, join me and let's try and unravel the mysteries of Instagram. See you in the next video. 2. Before You Launch: Hey guys, and welcome back. In this video, I'm going to talk about the little bit of planning that goes into opening a social media account before you actually open it. That's why it's called Before You Launch. So a lot of people go straight into opening an account and they don't really think about anything, they just open it, they're just find the handle and open your page, but then find themselves stuck because they don't have any content, so they find themselves into a position where they have to create layers of content every day and that is both stressful and inefficient. Before you actually open your account, please take a moment and think about these things that I am going to talk about. First of all, the first thing you have to think about is why you are opening an Instagram account. Is it because you want to get money? Because you want to increase your popularity? Because you want to get a job with the studio? The reason why you have to think about this is that then you can plan your strategy accordingly. Of course, you're not going to be spending all of your time pushing whatever you're selling at people, that is not how social media works. But at the same time the knowing what you want to achieve with your Instagram account will work as a underlying strategy throughout all your moves. For example, the reason why I opened a page on Instagram was because I wanted to improve my skill, and I can be quite lazy and I knew that to avoid procrastination, I had to set a challenge to myself and post every day, so I started posting on Instagram in May 2017, MerMay, which is in hashtag, where you have to draw a mermaid every day. In that month, I was able to post every day, draw every day and actually, I was able to improve my skills enormously in a very short amount of time, so that was my first motive and is still my first motive to have a social media account, which is to make sure that I draw every day. My second reason for opening an account has been so far to increase my following and have more people interested in my own intellectual property, so that one day maybe I can interest a publisher to publish my own comic book or graphic novel and in the meantime, I'm still getting quite a lot of commissions from all of the people that enjoy my art and even from publishers to illustrate books, book covers, games, so it works as an aid for my financial support. The third reason to have an Instagram account for me is to sell my product. For example, these skill-share classes that I make, these Skillshare tutorials, I share a lot of videos of my process, of my painting process on Instagram, so people will get interested in that aspect and then I can redirect them to Skillshare. Once you have an idea of why you're opening your account and therefore, what content you should produce, sketches, tutorials, time elapses, final artworks, then you should have a rough idea of who your audience is and decide on your voice or tone. This is because when you create a public Instagram account, you can't behave as yourself. You can't use it in the same way that you would your private Facebook profile or your private account on Instagram. That's because at the start, maybe only your friends will be interested in your art, but as your account grows, you will actually reach quite a lot of people, quite a lot of strangers, that you might not even be comfortable sharing your personal life with, so even though this is going to sound really arrogant and pompous, you have to think of your Instagram account as a brand, and like any brands, they need to have an audience and a message which is targeted to a certain type of person and usually that is based on what product you offer. For example, if your style and the topics that you usually draw are pin-ups and soft erotica, you're probably going to have a slightly older target. If you like to draw Disney princesses like I do, you probably are going to have a younger target. Based on this target, then you need to consider the way that you talk to them and the way you express yourself, both in the descriptions of your posts and on your stories. For example, I have a target audience of about 18 to 24 year old, predominantly female. I also have a younger audience that is still quite dominant of 13 to 18 year old, so I try, I wouldn't really draw not safe for work art because I don't particularly like it, but I still wouldn't because I feel as though it wouldn't really be appropriate for the people who enjoy my account the most. This thing about responsibility when you have an audience is something that I also want to talk about, but I'm going to do in another video. The reason why I'm mentioning the audience is because, when I express myself in my stories, I still want to be myself, I want to be authentic and genuine. But I'm just basically cleaning up my language a little bit because my audience is a bit younger. It's basically me and I like to retain my sense of humor, my interests and everything else that makes me an individual but I just clear it up of all the self-indulgence and that's why it worked, this is because I don't want to lose my identity, but at the same time I don't want to stray too far away from the family-friendly focus that my account has. If you're in doubt about what you should share and how you should come across to your followers, you should definitely, before you launch your account, take a day or two to just study other artists' pages, maybe bigger accounts to make sure that you understand how these people that already have a following, present themselves to the world. This is not plagiarism to study, it's an important and fundamental part of getting good at anything. I think to have your own successful art account, you should definitely study other successful art accounts, and again, it's not copying them, it's just understanding what works and then applying it with your own content. Once you have decided why you're on Instagram, who you are, and who you're talking to, and how, it's time to think of how you present yourself, which on Instagram you can do with your handle, which is the name, your at something, with your bio, which is very short and with one link, which is really not much at all if you think about it. You have to be very efficient using these few characters that you have to present yourself. Again, there is no one specific way to make a successful introduction. It all depends on what your communication is, so if you want to present yourself as a professional because you're trying to get hired by a big studio, you should have a bio that reflects that, so you should have quite a professional handle, maybe just your name and underscore art or underscore draws, underscore animation whenever and a bio that just explains who you are, what your background is, and perhaps soften it a little bit with some emojis so that you don't look too stack up. In my bio, for example, I write that I am an illustrator and animator, that I'm a story artist and how to get in touch with my business e-mail and where you can find all my links and my tutorials. For the link section, for example, I use a service called a Linktree, where you have just one link and then it takes you to another page where there's several links, so because I want to make the most out of the one link that Instagram gives you, I have decided to use this service so that then, with just one link, I can link to all of my tutorials on Skillshare, my other social media, my website, et cetera. If you instead want to appear as just a student who draws for fun or as a hobby, then you can go for a much less serious presentation and have a funny handle and maybe in your bio, write something a bit less professional and that's okay too. Again, it depends really on how you want to present yourself, think as a brand. Finally, the last thing that you should do before you launch your Instagram account, again, to avoid being left with a lot of content to create and freaking out because you don't have enough time to draw everyday, is to create a backlog of posts. So for example, before you launch, you should have maybe one month worth of posts. Which means that you're very relaxed and you can take time to engage on Instagram every day and especially commenting on other people's posts and dm'ing and networking with other artists. Instead of having to stress because you have to create content every day. Then when you're up and running, and you're already launched, then you should always try and keep two weeks of buffer. Always know what you're going to post for the next week or even for the next two weeks, and that will really help you just feeling a bit more free, at least for the first six months to one year. These days, I post a lot less than I used to because I'm a lot more busy and also because I have established the following and I feel as though people are not so fickle that they would just abandon me if I don't post for a week. Actually, it hasn't happened. I haven't posted for like a week, sometimes things have been fine. But at the start, when you don't have that much of a following and people don't know you that well, they probably don't feel as loyal. At first when you're trying to grow, you should really be posting three to five times a week, and for that amount of posting, you need to have something prepared or you're going to feel really stressed. Now that we have talked about what you should do before you launch your account, I'm going to give you a little assignment. If you go in the course materials sections, you'll find the word document where I have written down some questions, which is basically a worksheet for you to work out who you are and what your brand is and what your communication strategy is going to be. Before you proceed to the next video, I encourage you to create a project in the project section of the class and basically just spend a few hours on that worksheet and try to feed it out and post it, so that you can get my feedback and the feedback of the other people in the class, and then I'll see you in the next video where I'm going to talk about what to do after you've launched your account on Instagram. Great, see you there. 3. After You Launch: Hi guys? In this video, I am going to talk about how to gain visibility and grow your following after you've launched your account. So you're all set, you create your handle, your bio and everything, now the only thing you have to do is to make sure you create high-quality content and you engage your public. Again, these are by no means the only ways that you can run your account, but it's just what I've seen works from my experience. The first issues artists with small accounts face is visibility. Because to be fair, they are not playing in a fair play field. There are big brands out there and even just bigger art accounts and they tend to cannibalize all of the space that is out there because they just occupy more space and also because most of the times they pay for advertisement. If you're a small account and you don't have money to spend, which I think is probably like most of our situations, you have to be smarter about it. You have to make sure that you respect the two musts, there are two general rules of social media. Which is, frequency and consistency. If you have a small account, you will start to build a following if you are consistent with the days and times that you post. That's because people are creatures of habit, so a really good moment to post usually, if you live in Europe is around 6:00 PM, because of course people are just getting out from work and they're commuting, which is the best time that you're going to get. Because people when they're commuting, they're always on the phone. At the same time, you get people that are having lunch in the states. Again, this is not necessarily the best time for everybody, and I'm going to talk more about it in detail in the video where I talk about how to read insights so that you can figure out which one is the best time for you specifically. But as a general rule, I think 6:00 PM UK time is quite good for posting. One reason why small accounts have even lower visibilities than they should have is that they might be posting on the wrong days or at the wrong time. If you ask Google, when is the best time for social media posting? Most blogs will tell you that is Wednesday. I feel like because of the fact that most blogs say that, actually Wednesday has become the worst day for social media posting. Because everybody posts on Wednesday, I feel is the best day for social media is actually Sunday. That's because people are really chilled on Sundays and especially in winter, they're not going to be out there enjoying the great outdoors. Everybody going to be inside on the sofa, chilling and relaxing on their phone. Sunday is a great day for posting, and also all the big brands don't post on Sundays because they don't have people working on a Sunday. That's a good day. Again, these are general rules and I'm going to talk about how to figure out the best times for posting for your account in the video where I talk about how to read insights. More on that later. Another golden rule of social media is that people don't like to get sold things. They look at advertisement for that. Social media is social. You need to be there and actually be part of the community, otherwise it becomes very apparent very quickly that you are only there to sell your things, which an immediate turn off for most people. You need to be engaging with your followers and ask them questions on your post or on your stories. For example, you need to be creating content for the sake of creating this content, not for the sake of selling something. Basically you need to be asking enough questions and engaging enough so that when once in awhile, you ask your followers to look at something that either you're trying to sell, they will actually take a moment to look at it, because they know you as a real person. A really good way to engage is to use the full range of Instagram tools. So stories, live broadcasts, and IG channels and IG TV. But I am going to talk about it more in a video on its own because it's a bigger subject. To make sure that you're keeping tabs on how well your account is fairing it's important that you switch to a business account. This does not entail anything really, the business account on Instagram is free and it doesn't really differ in any way from a normal account apart from the fact that you cannot make it private, but then you wouldn't. When you do make it business, you get access to a lot of insight. You can see how many people are looking at your post, liking your posts, it gives you statistics on your audience, demographics. All of this data is priceless, really, numbers are your friends. To make sure that you're really making the most out of your account, I'd recommend immediately to make it business and the only thing you have to do is to link it to a Facebook page, which you can create and never even make public. I am going to be talking about insights on another video, so more on that later. Another useful tip for gaining visibility and traction for free is to jump on band wagons. Basically, you can use popular hashtags to make sure that your posts is visible to thousands or even millions of other artists. There's rounds and rounds of popular hashtags on Instagram in the artist community, the latest one is and has been for six months or so. The ''Draw these in your style challenge'' which means that if you haven't seen it, you post a character with your style and then challenge all of your artists friends to draw the same character but with their style. This has been hugely popular in the past six months since September, I think. It helped my account grow a lot because when I join and draw another artist's character, that artists will then post my drawing on their account or their stories and then, my art gets seen by all of these artists followers. If you join, draw these in your style of accounts there are bigger than yours, you have a high chance of reaching far more people that you would just by simply posting it on your account. This is true for all of the popular hashtags and events on Instagram. Again, you get a lot of traction and visibility for free. The only problem with these hashtags is that, you need to be an early adopter for them, so you need to join them as soon as they happen. Even though it might be difficult because you might screw up your posting schedule and you might stay up late because you have to create content specifically for this hashtag that just happened, but it's worth it because if you join too late, the hashtag will already be full of other people's posts, it will be swamped and a lot less people will actually see your posts because it will be down in the chronology, these monthly challenges, they are useful for about a week. Basically, there's so many posts out there that only the really big accounts get seen and the smaller accounts get swamped. You can still do it for the fun of it, but it's not going to be very efficient. Just as you should engage with your followers, it's important to engage with the community. So the artist community on Instagram is lovely. When people say about how toxic Instagram is, I don't really understand it because I only follow artists on Instagram, and I know nothing about fitness models or celebrities. I don't see that part of it, the part of the ugly Instagram. I only see all these people who post their art and the role, illustrators, animators, and they're all really quite nice people basically. If you engage with them, you can simply send them a direct message and I know it's scary because it feels like, maybe you're contacting someone who's got a bigger account than you, or that you don't know in person, but if you're honest about it and just since you are liking their art, and you tell them that maybe you want to do in collaboration or, shout out or something. Most people would probably say yes, because, why not? Also asking is free,so you might as well try, you never know. Another way to interact with the artist community apart from doing collaborations, is to do fun giveaways, and events yourself. So, whenever you reach a milestone, it's nice to sort of say thank you to people. So, whenever you reach 1,000 followers, 2,000, 5,000, I don't know whatever a milestone is for you, you should make a giveaway. Giveaways in the last few months since draw these in your style, everybody has been making, draw this in your style challenges for giveaways. So, basically they make a character they say, "Thank you for 5000 followers". Then they challenge all of their artists friends to draw their character. Usually they give away a shout-out or a feature on their page for the art works that they prefer. I actually have done this for my 30,000 and 40,000 giveaway. But before, draw this in your style existed, I've figured out that the best type of giveaway is especially if you don't have that much money, or merchandise to give away, is to give away free portraits. That's because it can be joined by people that are not artists. So any of your followers can join just by commenting under your post, or sharing it with a friend and they get a chance to win a free digital portrait, which doesn't really cost you anything apart from the time that it takes you to make the portrait. Talking of portraits. One strategy that I used when my account was way smaller, when it was about 2,000 followers, and that really helped me grow my following, was to make free portraits of suitable Instagram stars, well basically alternative Instagram models, and give them to them for free. Just sort of messaging them and saying, "Oh, I've done this portrayed based on your picture, which was really cool. I'm going to send it to you by email but feel free to share it on your page or on your stories". You're just sort of give it for free, and most people will actually share it because they feel flattered by the fact that you made them a portrait. Because, people are nice light that usually. Even if they don't share it, at least you've made a person happy because you've made them a portrait. When you choose which models to portray, a good number of followers, like this model should have, is between 50,000 and 200,000. If you draw bigger accounts, they probably will not even see your message or your tag. So, don't try and gift a portrait to Emma Watson, she will not see it. Another way to involve bigger accounts in your posts and perhaps attract their attention is to tag them in the post directly before you actually post it. This will help because maybe someone that you really admire will notice your posts and we'll give you a shout-out or in general, it will help you networking. So, that's always a good thing on Instagram. The last tip I can give you regarding getting visibility and traction for free, is to be generous. That sounds sort of counter-intuitive, but actually it's really important. What goes around, comes around sort of thing. If you're generous and you give out information for free on your Instagram account, people will actually enjoy it more and come back for more. I have, for example, given away tutorials, information on how to use layers on Photoshop, I have given away free wall papers, for example, that you can simply, hold and screenshot so that you can use on your phone. These things do not make people simply take this stuff and just go away forever. Actually, quite the opposite, people will come back for more. If I can, sometimes I literally can't because I don't have any time, but if I can, I always reply to direct messages. Even the message is just asking, "What sort of iPad do you have?" "What sort of softwares do you use?" Even though they're always the same sorts of questions, I always answer them. It's not a waste of time. If you show that you're a nice person, that you are willing to help people for free. They might just give you some of their time, and some of their money when you actually need it, or want it. So, I think as a general tip, be generous online and be open to answer questions, is always a good way of giving back a little bit to get a lot more back. Now that I've talked about this general sort of tips and tricks on how to increase your popularity and visibility, I am going to focus on smaller, more in-depth topics in the next few videos. First, I'm going to talk about how to read insights, which I was talking about before. Then I'm going to approach and sort of show you guys how to use the Instagram tools like stories and live broadcasts, et cetera. Then I am going to talk about some do's and don'ts of Instagram, sort of like social etiquette, and then I'm just going to do sort of like a roundup of what we've learned. I hope that so far you've found these videos helpful, and yeah, please let me know in the comments below if you want me to talk about something else. Thanks. 4. How to Interpret Insights: Hi, guys and welcome back. In this video, I'm going to talk about and walk you through the insight tools on Instagram. Insights can really tell you what you're doing right and what you're doing wrong. What is working and what's just isn't. So it's really useful to know how to read them. You can reach your insights by tapping on your profile and then tapping on the top right corner and on the first button that you find, Insights. When you reach this page, you have three tabs: Content, Activity and Audience. The content tab lets you see all of the posts that you have posted in the past week. If you go and see all, you can see all of the posts of the past year or if you tap on the blue one-year, for example, you can change all those parameters. When you scroll down, you can see your stories as well and see how many people have seen a certain story. If you go and see all, again, you'll see all of the stories, for example, showing impressions for the last 14 days. What is an impression? An impression is how many times your story has been shown. Not to how many individual handles because that is cover or reach, but just how many times it's been shown. For example, I'm going to tap on the best post of the last week which is this post showing that we're sisters from the Sabrina show on Netflix. If you tap on View Insights, it will show you the insights for the specific post from your feed. As you can see, I have at first a very general insights. I have 7,500 likes, 44 comments, 136 shares, which means people that have shared it on their direct messaging to their friends and 1,600 saves, which is actually a very important metric because the more your post get saved, the more the Instagram algorithm recognizes it as good content, high-quality content. I am going to talk about the Instagram algorithm and how it works in another video. If you scroll down, you see 2,165 actions taken from this post which means that from the people that looked at the post, 2,000 people decided to visit my profile because of it. Which is really great because it means that my profile got visited and maybe those people that were attracted by just one post then decided to stay and maybe look at other posts and maybe give me more likes. I also got nine website clicks, which is good. Maybe some people actually signed up to my Skillshare or something, and three emails. If you look even lower, there is discovery. In instances here, 47,173 accounts reached. Seventy six of these weren't even following me. That's really good because it means that I'm reaching people that are not my followers and they might become followers. Actually I did get 309 follows from this post alone, so it did pretty well. I was talking before about the difference between impressions and reach or cover. Impressions on this post are 60,000 whereas the reach is 47,000, which means that 47,000 single handles were shown this post. I then got 60,000 impressions, which means that a few of these people looked at this post more than once. Which again, means that this post was pretty good. It was good content because people were coming back and looking at it again, 15,000 times more than the ones that were shown it the first time. From these insights, you can figure out the most important ratio that you can get on Instagram really, which is the engagement ratio. This ratio is really good because it allows you to figure out how well your content is doing regardless of how big your account is. Because it's a ratio, it's not based on absolute numbers, it's based on relative numbers. You can work it out by looking at how many people saw the post and how many likes you actually have. The percentage of likes over the number of people who saw the post is your engagement ratio. You can do the calculation by multiplying 7,400 per 100 and dividing it by 46,500, which is the number of people that were shown the post. In this case, I have an engagement ratio of 15 percent and that's really quite good. Broadly speaking, any ratio around 10 percent is good. As your account gets bigger, it's normal that the engagement ration will get lower. As a general rule, if you have an engagement ratio of 10 percent, you're doing everything right basically. The people that like your account are not bought, they are there because they actually want to see your content. If your engagement ratio is lower than 5 percent, then you should probably consider trying to engage more with your followers because they gave you a follow, but then they don't actually follow you. They're not actually seen your accounts or if they're seeing it, they're not engaging with it. There's something wrong there. You need to be asking more questions in your posts or you need to engage more on your stories perhaps. Let's go back to your insight tabs. The second tab is activity, and it will show you how many interactions you have had on your account in the past week. It will also show you a number relative to the week before. For example, this week, the week starting on the 3rd of April and ending on the 9th of April, I had 8,513 interactions on my account. That was an increase on the week prior to that of 3,000, which means that last week I was engaging more with my followers with regards to the weak even prior. That's because the week before that I was really busy and I wasn't even posting very much. Also, you can see a spike on the days of the week. For example, you can see here that I had more engagement on Sunday and even more on Tuesday. That's because those are the days that I posted. The days before, I didn't post anything, I didn't even post an Instagram story, so of course people weren't really engaging with my profile. It also shows you discovery, which again, shows you reach and impressions, always counting it over the week prior. A really important tab is the one called, audience. This is because it shows you demographics for your followers. It really helps you with figuring out the times that are best for you to post, and also related to where your followers are in the world. Because again, Instagram is a global theater so sometimes when you post, you have to consider all time zones, not just the one that you live in. Last week, I had an increase of 1,196 followers. Underneath it shows you where in the world these people are. It shows you cities and countries. Predominantly, my audience lives in the United States, 28 percent of them do. In the United States, they live in Los Angeles and New York. The age range of my audience is predominantly 18-24 and they are basically all women, 77 percent of them are women. Underneath as well, they give you the days and hours where they are most active. In terms of days, it seems like almost every day is the same for my followers. As you can see, the blue becomes more intense, it becomes darker blue when there's more activity. As you can see, Sunday and Monday are basically the days where my followers are most active and the hours are always after 6:00 PM. That's because the early hours of my morning, I'm Italian so I have a UK time, 6:00 AM, 9:00 AM, 12:00 AM. Well basically, if my audience is mostly based in the States, at that time they're sleeping. Of course, those times will be the less likely for my followers to be active. Instead, after 6:00 PM, 9:00 PM, and 12:00 AM, those are the times where my followers would be most active because in the States it's daytime. I would say that in general, it's useful when you're starting out to experiment a little bit with the times of posting, the days of posting and the content. So try and change a little bit between. Maybe you post at 5:00 PM and then at 07:00 PM. See if there's a difference. Do it one day and then after a week, check your insights and see if on that day you had a spike or if nothing happened. This way you can figure out which times of the day are the best for you, for your account and for your followers to post. Maybe even try and post different types of content. If you have Procreate on the iPad, you can easily make time lapses of your art. Maybe one day post the final artwork, another day post the time-lapse of the artwork if that artwork got a lot of engagement and see what sort of engagement you get for which type of post. I've noticed, for example, that when I post time lapses of art that people have enjoyed, I actually get a lot of engagement. That's because Instagram privileges videos over photos. So the algorithm will already push your content if it's a video, more than if it's a photo. Also it will interest people and keep their attention focused for longer because a video can be up to one minute long. If they're interested in your time-lapse, they will look at it for one minute. This will give you higher engagement and a higher chance of someone liking it or commenting on it. Now that we had a look at the Insights and how to interpret them, in the next videos, I'm going to talk about the Instagram tools, which are the Instagram Stories, live broadcasts, and the IGTV channel, which are great ways to boost your engagement. I'll see you there. 5. Master the Instagram Tools: Hi, guys and welcome back. In this video, I am going to talk about the Instagram tools, as I like to call them. These are the tools that allow you to use Instagram in a more social way. Because as I was saying in the videos before, you are not on social media just because you want stuff. You don't want just to sell things, you don't want just attention, you want to engage with other people. Otherwise, you shouldn't be on social media. The way that you can do it on Instagram is to use stories, IGTV, and live broadcasts. For example, the stories are probably the tools that I use the most, because it allows me to post every day even when I don't have any content to actually post on my feed. Also, it allows me to be a bit more fun, I guess. It allows me to share things that I wouldn't want to be permanently on my feed like the pictures of my dog, for example, because they're not professional, and my Instagram page is quite professional. I do a lot of fan art, but I don't post pictures of myself, for example, on my feed. I just post art or art related content. If you look at your Instagram app, the way that you can add a story is by clicking on the little camera on the top left corner from your homepage. You click on the little camera and it opens up a camera which you can orient in front of you or straight out to you if you want to take a selfie. You have several options underneath at the bottom, like normal, which means you can take a picture or if you keep pressing the button, you're going to take a video. Boomerang, which is a nice way of shaking up a picture that maybe is not that dynamic. Superzoom, Rewind, all of these are basically just gimmicks that make your Instagram stories and pictures a bit more interesting. Then you have hands-free, which is actually really useful if you're going to take a video of yourself, for example, painting on traditional medium, or sometimes I use it with a tripod to take a video of me, even working on my iPad, for example. You have to select this mode, hands-free, and then you don't have to keep pressing the button for the video to actually record. For example, I'm going to take a random picture now. When you have a picture, you can then swipe right or left on that picture, and you can change filters on top of that picture to make it a bit nicer. My favorite one is Lagos or Oslo. Oslo makes it a bit brighter and Lagos makes it more faded, which looks a bit hipstery and I quite like it. Then you can add, for example, text to your image or you can add a sticker. Stickers are very important parts of stories and they are super useful to engage with your followers. For example, you can ask questions, or you can do a poll, or you can even just add a GIF, which makes your story a bit more fun, I believe. Or you can add the "like meter" sticker, which is the one with the little emoji with the heart eyes. The two stickers that I use the most are probably polls and questions. Polls I use when I want to ask my followers for their opinion on something. I've been making Tarot deck featuring most of the Disney characters, Disney princesses and stuff. To figure out which princesses to feature, or even when I got to the point where I wanted to print this Tarot deck, what print options to feature. Would you like to have a deluxe deck or just the basic deck? How much would you pay? All these questions to really probe your audience and understand whether what you're willing to produce, what you want to take to market is worth it and if anybody is even interested, you can ask by using a poll. That's the poll sticker. Then you have the questions, which is a great sticker to use, especially over the weekend. Sometimes I do it on a Friday night if I'm at home and I ask a question, especially when I see that my account has grown a little bit. When your account grows all of a sudden, it's like you don't know them anymore and they don't know you. So to make the relationship easier, I use this question sticker where I ask, assume something about me and I'll tell you if you're right or wrong, or ask me anything and I will answer to the best of my ability, or ask me anything after related. I always change slightly the question, but the point is that people can ask me things and get to know me better, either on an art related topic or just as a person. That really helps engagement. Those are the most important stickers that I feel like you should know about. Then you can just decorate your stories to make them fun and in line with your brand, as we were saying. Another useful tool for the stories, an important part of the stories, is that after you reach 10,000 followers, you see the option on the top bar of a chain link. If you tap on it, it will give you the option of adding a call to action. A call to action is basically a web link or an IGTV video that is linked in into your story that people can access by swiping up. Of course it's super useful if you have something to plug that is outside of Instagram or even that is inside of Instagram, an IGTV video, for example. Another useful tool that you can access from the stories tab is if you, again, click on the little camera and you go on live. When you go live, all of your followers get a notification that you have gone live. Basically it's a really good way of popping up on people's feed and giving people a notification that you exist. Going live, even for just five or ten minutes sometimes, if you just want to do a vlog because you're somewhere nice, or if you want to do like half an hour drawing session with people, it's a good way of reminding them that you're alive basically and that you're live. That was really bad joke, sorry. Again, that's a really good tool to use. There was a point, about a year ago, where I used lives a lot. I used to go live every Wednesday night and I paired it with going live on Twitch. I would ask people to tell me what to draw and then on Wednesday night, I would be on Twitch for a couple of hours and on Instagram streaming directly from my computer, and just using my phone with a tripod to stream on Instagram for a couple of hours. I think a couple of hours may be too long as a time frame for Instagram. It's not like Twitch where people go there to spend an evening. Instagram is more like half an hour, top, experience. So I feel like that particular experiment that I did for about a month wasn't really that successful because it wasn't the right medium. I could have continued doing it on Twitch, but then it was also really time consuming and I got to a point where I had too much to do at work, so I couldn't do it anymore. But in general, I would pick it up again and do it on Instagram, but maybe for shorter drawing sessions. So you can definitely try that. To access IGTV, you simply have to tap on the little TV that you see in the top left corner when you're on your homepage. If you look on the right, there's going to be your little avatar icon, and if you tap on it, you get the chance to add your own video. You cannot use hashtags on IGTV videos. You can only add a title and a description. When you post your video, you can choose the preview cover, and if you wanted to post it as a preview on your feed as well as on IGTV. I've noticed that if I post a preview of the IGTV video on my feed, then it gets a lot of views, for example, it can get up to 3,000, 4,000 views. But if the videos is simply on IGTV video, it gets maybe 100 views. This tells me that people are not necessarily going on IGTV channels on their own and therefore I use the call to action tool on my stories to redirect them then and this way, I get more views and my videos are shared more. These are the main tools that you should use and know on Instagram. Again, mostly because they act as a support for your main content. You can see your content on your feed as the main actor of the play where it's important that it's high-quality, it's important that you post it often, but then when you cannot post, on the days where you're too busy, you can simply use stories or live broadcasts or quick work in progress or vlogs on IGTV to make sure that you keep being active. Also, if you have just posted your main content on your feed, it's useful to then share it on your stories or make a story about it and invite people to go and check out your post so that you can redirect more views and more likes to your main feed. Great. Now that we've talked about the Instagram tools, it's time for the big reveal. In the next video, I'm going to be talking about the infamous Instagram algorithm. This famous algorithm that everybody wonders how you can work with it and it's really bad because it keeps the small accounts small and big accounts big. What's the truth about it? I don't know. I am no expert about it, but I have tried to find solutions for it. So in the next videos, I'm going to talk about tips and tricks on how to work with the algorithm. See you there. 6. The Instagram Algorithm: Hey, guys and welcome back. In this video, I'm going to be talking about the Instagram Algorithm. The Instagram Algorithm changes every six months to a year. That's because Facebook is forever trying to figure out the best way of re-purposing content to its users, basically that's all it does, the algorithm. It just sorts out posts and decide which posts are high-quality and which aren't, so that we can avoid looking at a lot of spam and they can delete a lot of bots. Really, the algorithm is there to help you if you're making high-quality content. The problem with the Instagram Algorithm when it changes, is that usually small and big accounts face decrease of the visibility and the engagement. That's because the rules by which a post is defined, worthy or unworthy changes and so you have to adapt to it. For example, I've noticed that at the moment, the algorithm privileges videos over pictures, so if you post a video, it's as if the algorithm on Instagram gives it a plus, so when it gives it a plus, it means that it will be shown over something else, for example, a picture. I've noticed it by looking at the engagement ratio of my own posts in the past few weeks. Definitely videos and IGTV videos are privileged over pictures. That's because, of course, Instagram is trying to push their new service, IGTV. If you post previews of your IGTV videos on your feed, those videos will get a lot of traction because the algorithm will show them to people a lot more than normal videos, for example. Another plus that is given to your post to signal that it's of high-quality is when you post it, a lot of people immediately engage with it and engagement is rated in the following way, so a Like, of course, means that your post is interesting. You've given it an engagement like, but when someone comments on it, that comment is more valuable than a simple Like. A simple trick that you could use, especially if you're trying to grow. At the start when you created your account, is to tell your friends and your family people that you can actually ask this as a favor. As soon as you post, if they can go on your page and like your post and comment underneath it. Comments need to be longer than four words. Otherwise, Instagram just see them as spam. They can't comment simply heart, heart, heart or emoji, emoji, emoji. They actually need to be saying something like, I really like the shading or nice line art or whatever. Things that actually make sense. This way your post will have a boost because Instagram will go, "This post is so interesting that not only gets likes, but also gets comments so people are really into it." Another really important metric is the Save button. If your post gets saved a lot, it means that it's even more valuable than if it's liked or if it's commented on. Because it means that people are so into it that are willing to save it into their watch later folder. It means that they are willing to treasure it. Again, ask your friends. As soon as you post something, please go on my page and like it and comment and save it. Those are the three metrics that will really help improve your visibility. This is because the algorithm is vetting whether it should show your post or not and to how many people. Even though I have an ideal following of 43,000 people. My post usually don't get shown to 43,000 people. Actually, they get shown to a minority of those people. They get shown to about 7 percent of those people and that's true for every account, so whenever you post something, whether you have 100 followers or one million, Instagram will show your post to only 7 percent of the people that follow you. This is to vet whether they should show it to more people or not. That's whether your post is of high quality or not. You post it, it gets shown to 7 percent of those people. Those 7 percent, if they immediately interact with it like it, comment, et cetera, then Instagram will show it to more people. If those people interact with it even more, you have a chance that your post might end up in the Explore section. Therefore, it gets shown to people who are not following you, but who might be interested in what you're creating because they already like things that are similar to what you're creating. That's jackpot basically. That's the way you can really grow your following because you are reaching out to people who might be interested in your art and you're doing it for free. Instagram is doing it for you. The way that you can work the algorithm the best is basically to create high-quality content and make sure that you're posting it at exactly the right time where most of your followers are active so that those followers can like, engage, comment. You can also ask these of them. You can post on your stories. If you want to help me and you can't support me financially, you can still help me by turning on post notifications on my content and get notified immediately when a post comes out so that you can like it, share it, comment it. This helps me hugely, so please do it. This is an easy way that you can increase your visibility and make sure that the algorithm doesn't screw you over, but actually helps you and shows your posts to people who might be interested in it. Another thing that you can do to make sure that the algorithm doesn't think that you're a spam, is not to use hashtags that are too different from each other. Whenever you use hashtags that are a bit spammy, like follow for follow. Things that don't really matter with each other like you use the hashtag, digital art and then girls or digital art and then Cattle. Those two areas are very far away from each other logically speaking. It looks as though you're just using popular hashtags for the sake of using popular hashtags. Therefore, the algorithm gives you a minus. When it gives you a plus it rates your post more interesting, more high-quality. When it gives you a minus, it makes it more spammy, so your post is not going to be shown as much because by using popular hashtags that are not related to each other, you're actually making it look as though it's spam. Another thing that you might be careful of is to edit your post when you've posted it. Make sure everything is correct, grammatically speaking and everything and post it and then don't change it. For some reason, it seems as though when you post something and then you edit it immediately after, the algorithm gives you a minus. I don't know if this is because a lot of spammy bots do it, as in they post something and then they change the description or they change the hashtags but, I don't know. I've noticed that it's true that if you post something and then you edit the content immediately afterwards, it's also gets marked as spam a little bit more. I guess these are my tips and tricks on how to work with the algorithm and not against it. Again, at the end of the day, if you have a good relationship with your followers and you post high-quality content, you will have results, but doesn't hurt to make sure that you follow these simple rules as well. In the next video, I'm going to talk about some super quick best practices. Do's and don'ts of posting and being on social media like social etiquette, which I feel as though will really help your image on Instagram. I'll see you then. 7. Do's and Don'ts: Hi guys and welcome back. In this video, I'm going to be talking about some do's and don'ts, general best practice tips and tricks that I have found irritates me when I see some other people do it. I think they don't really help you when you're trying to convey a nice and professional image on Instagram.I'm going to start with the don'ts and then we can move on to the do's and finish on high positive notes. The first don't that I feel like I should really mention is, do not use the follow for follow hashtag. It's really cheap and it will make you look desperate. It's also inefficient because the point is that you do not want a million followers who simply follow you because you asked them to and because you gave them a follow. You want to have followers that engage proactively with you who follow you because are actually interested in your content. Ten followers who are there, and just because you gave them a follow, are not worth one loyal follower. Number two, don't comment on other people's posts, things like, "I really liked your feed please give mine a follow." Or, "I really like your posts.Your pictures are lit.Give mine a follow or give mine a look. I also make out to come and have a look at my profile." These sort of comments sound really insincere. Not only people will not come and have a look at your profile, but also they will immediately abandon any idea of following you because it's such a generic type of comment. " I like your feed. " Or, "I like your pictures." It tells me immediately that you haven't even seen it but simply you're using a bot to leave these self-generated comments. Which again, it goes against everything about social media, about being actually interested in other people and actually looking at other people's posts. If you want people to actually come and look at your profile, you should leave genuine, sincere comments and then people will actually come and have a look because you were nice to them. Number three, do not be so eager of getting to huge numbers fast because that again, doesn't really help you in the long run. I've seen some accounts that have swollen from just a few thousand followers to hundreds of dozens in a matter of months. That can happen sometimes because again, you may jump on a bandwagon that is really popular or one of your posts might get on the explore section and thousands and thousands of people might be interested in follow you on the spot. Then something changes in your community becomes a little bit different. You have to make sure you take the time and you become acquainted with your own community again. I feel like there's stages to the growth of your social media persona, your social media account. You should respect them. Things will evolve sometimes more slowly, sometimes faster, but sometimes when it's faster is not even that helpful or fun. Sometimes it's actually a lot of stress because then you feel like you have to produce a lot of content of really high-quality because now you have all these followers and it can actually put a lot of stress on you. Don't be so eager to get big fast. You just take your time and things will come naturally. Also, I don't know if you're aware of the 1,000 true followers rule. Is the sort of online marketing rule by which if you have 1,000 followers that are true followers, that actually are your core followers who will like anything you post, who will engage on anything you post, apparently those are enough. Those 1,000 people are enough to subscribe to your services, buy your merchandise, give you shares, give you visibility. The true followers are probably 10% of the actual number of followers that you have. To have 1,000 real followers, you should have at least 10,000 followers on Instagram. When you get to 10,000 really, you made it. You know what I mean. You're sure that you have enough people that are really interested in what you do. Therefore, you can try different projects and maybe go even on different platforms and those people will still follow you. That's the important thing to have true loyal followers, not to have a million bots who follow you. That's useless. Now for the do's. My first do would be to think twice and then think twice again before you post around. Runs. Sometimes they're useful because sometimes you're a person and sometimes you get fed up. I understand it. I get for that sometimes, but then I take a deep breath and maybe call my friends and talk to them about it. I feel like if you are just fit that with something and you immediately go on Instagram on your stories, or make a post about it or a blog and you just talk and talk and talk and rant about something, anything really,it can be something related to your art or something related to your life or politics, whatever. I feel like most of the times when you're really angry and fed up, you say things that you don't really want to say. You don't really have a filter. Again, because it's different when you have a public account and when you have a private account. You have a responsibility because you are a media outlet. That's the thing that is weird about social media. The thing that I think a lot of people who are famous on Instagram don't understand is that, when they become famous, when they have millions of people listening to them, even if they are not a public figure they are. The things they say have an impact. As small your account is, if you treat it as a professional outlet, if you treat it as a public outlet, then you have a responsibility, not just to say anything that comes into your mind. It might actually affect some people and you might encourage people to do things or not to do things that you don't even know about. Your actions have a ripple effect when you're on social media and when you have a platform and an audience that you are not aware of. You need to be extra careful about it really. My second do is, do be open about people re-posting your stuff. Anybody who has seen something on their Instagram can simply taken screenshots of your art and re-post it anywhere without giving you credit. Just like drugs and alcohol, previsionism doesn't work. People will do it anyway if they like your art and they want to share it. Instead of just being, "Do not re-post this." Maybe just say, "Please repost it with credit." I make a lot of Harry Potter fun out these different art. These gets re-posted all the times because people like those phantoms. To be honest, I owe a lot to these phantoms because it's because of these people that my account could grow. When an account that specializes in re-posting fan arts re-post my art and gives credit to me and say, "This is done [inaudible] illustration." They actually do me a service. I'm not doing anything and my art gets shared. Really, it's a win-win. The final do is, do be nice. It might sound like a bit fey, but it's true. Do be nice on social media because, first you never know who you're talking to. It might be that someone approaches you as a private account, turns out to be the executive of Disney Studios. If you're nice to them, they might even hire you at some point and also because generally speaking, if you put out good vibes, positive things will come your way. I've noticed that is true. I guess that's all my do's and don'ts. I will see you in the next video where I will talk about everything we have seen in this class and I will do wrap up and say goodbye. See you there. 8. Wrap-Up: Hey guys. Welcome back to the wrap-up video. I hope that the past few videos have been useful and have given you some general rules, tips, and tricks to navigate the social media platform, that is Instagram. If you have any comments, any questions that you want to ask, anything at all really, just post it in the comment section of this class or just DM me on Instagram. I am MLM_Illustration, and I'll be happy to get back to you. I think one last thing that I wanted to say, that I feel like it's really important to say, is that your worth as a person or an artist does not depend on how many likes you get on Instagram. I feel like this has to be said because, social media is, it's kind of a drug really. In the good times, you can feel pumped and you can feel hyped because people are liking your post so much, everybody's following you, people are sharing it. You feel a rush, you feel a hype but then there will be times where you get nothing, you hit a dry patch, and for some reason the hashtags that you used in the past and worked just don't work anymore or people don't seem that interested in you anymore. You can really feel as though you've lost your edge or your skills got worse, your drawings are not interesting anymore. That is simply not true, your ability as an artist, has actually very little to do with your success or not on social media. You can see it very easily by looking at some really amazing Disney animators and artists, or just fine art painters who don't have a following at all. They maybe have 1000-2000 followers. Then you look at other artists who have a million followers, and they're just young students. I'm not trying to take away from those artists because obviously, if you have like one million followers, you must have done something right. I'm not trying to bad mouth them at all. What I mean is that, they are definitely not veterans of the industry as some other artists might be who don't have that much of a following. I feel like a lot of it depends on luck, chance, and being in the right place at the right moment. Just for example, using the right hashtag, following the right event, taking part in the right challenge at the right time. That will help you more than being really good artists for some reason but you must be the best artists you can be and you want to be for yourself, for your own sake. Again, just being a good artist does not influence your worth as a person. That's still another thing. Please use social media because it's fun, because it's helpful, because it can help you even financially, but don't depend on it. Just try and keep some distance between yourself and the phone because otherwise, it might get into your head a little bit. Please let me know if there's anything that you want to know about more in-depth, and if there's something that you're not clear about, just comment below or DM me on Instagram and I'll be happy to answer you. I hope you really enjoy this class. Please leave some feedback and leave a review that really helps me. I hope I'll see you all there on Instagram.