I have started making my art instagram page last year (2019) but I started being active with it this March 2020 because of the pandemic and I have a lot of time. I started out with maybe just 60 friends followers last March but now I have 900-ish followers. I am hoping to reach more people through the tips that you showed us.
I am a Speech-Language Therapist and really have no prior knowledge with art stuff. One thing that helped me grow my following was to make relatable content that teachers and people in my country feel during this pandemic. A lot of them shared and interacted with it both on instagram and facebook. It really started from the support of my friends sharing and liking them.
Also, you are certainly super right about giving away some freebies (I just needed a validation that I was doing it right haha). I am not good at making portraits but I can make simple backgrounds. And being a therapist/teacher that now uses teletherapy or online therapy/classes, a lot of us uses virtual backgrounds! And that is what I used for the freebies. The backgrounds I made are somehow easy to make because we usually just need a simple background during therapy so that the children aren't that much distracted. A lot of my fellow therapists and teachers loved them!
What I did for the mechanics to get the freebies are to:
1. Follow my account
2. Comment a certain line (for example: yay backgrounds)
3. Tag their friends
I got so many interactions and new follows from people because of this! It's like a snowball of referrals!
But right now I think I'm hitting a rough patch because there's not much followers or likes already so I really appreciated what you said during the wrap up session. Whenever I feel discouraged about not having a lot of likes, I would now always go back to the purpose of why I started my instagram page. And that is to be able to share my feelings through art, like an outlet or a journal and to improve my art. If by the end of the day I did those things, that's good enough for me. The likes, comments and follows are nice bonuses.
Thanks for this great tutorial!