How to Grow Your Instagram with Purpose

Having a social media account has become just as important as growing it. As an artist, we wear many hats, which can be stressful at times. But don’t panic! Follow along as I go over the six habits I’ve tried and tested that have helped me grow my Instagram account organically.

How To Grow Your Instagram With Purpose | Sketch Design Repeat

1.   Detach from the word ‘followers’

“Woah, this article is about growing followers and now I need to detach from it?” Hear me out! In most people’s minds, the word ‘followers’ directly correlates to associating themselves with numbers. As we know in the Instagram world, the higher your number, the higher everything — reach, likes, shares, more clients, etc… While that may be true, is it really fulfilling? Ask yourself!

I can speak for myself and many other artists I follow since I’ve seen them work with significant clients, even though they only have a considerably small number of followers. When I learned that, I was a bit shocked because the mindset we are usually pushed to comprehend is that ‘having more followers indicates success.’

Side Note: I don’t deny that statement, but I just feel that it is not so applicable in the art community.

Considering this paradox of having followers and their impact on our career, it’s easier to detach yourself from the whole game of trying so hard to boost your profile. If you’re growing a small business, that’s super important.

But if you have a normal art account, maybe not as much. It’s best to be careful about where you attach your identity, regardless of the type of artist you are. Are we as good as our last artwork, or our follower count? Hmm, you may need to sip some coffee over this.

How To Grow Your Instagram With Purpose | Sketch Design Repeat

2. Understand that algorithms are dynamic

Gone are the sweet days when sharing anything online was just out of pure joy without giving a second thought to how something was going to perform, right? The most we can do with our art is to have an adaptable strategy, given that we are now reliant on algorithms and are aware of their dynamic nature (for example, the whole hashtag thing where 30 hashtags are applicable one day and only 5 the next).

Simply put, we may concentrate on how we present our best selves in a new way rather than getting frustrated with the algorithm’s constant changes. Believe me, unless we don’t own a platform, focusing our time on why and how it works or doesn’t work can take away time from our art practice! 

Related Article: Artists on Instagram: How to Grow Your
Following Organically

3. Create what YOU want

Showing up for yourself and creating for your progress is the best way you can grow, not only in terms of community but also your skills. That’s because whenever people are attracted to your account, it’s because they like YOU and not a version of you who’s trying to please the people or the app!

Imagine if you made art according to what performs well. You’d become exhausted in no time because remember: the app keeps changing! While it may feel like our brainchild doesn’t resonate with people, it’s YOUR brainchild. It’s a step towards your inner artistic progress!

I understand that after putting in a lot of effort, it can be difficult to watch a post fall short of the interaction we had hoped for. But I think you win some, you lose some, right? You may lose on an online expectation of pretty high numbers, but you’ve won your heart by creating what it desires. Trust me, this works best in the long term!

How To Grow Your Instagram With Purpose | Sketch Design Repeat

4. Participate in art challenges

One of the easiest ways to gain organic exposure to more people and talent is to take part in challenges hosted by one or more artists. Via the challenge hashtag, you can interact and extend support to fellow artists and sometimes receive it back too! It is a great opportunity to find like-minded yet unique people and see how everyone can interpret the same prompt so beautifully, just like you can! Bonus points if the hosts notice you and share your work! 

I’ve had so many hosts and artists discover me and we follow each other ever since. The best part is that it’s an organic way to grow by getting more eyes on your work than you normally would. Pick a challenge that tickles your artistic senses. That way, you grow your skills and have some organic traffic come your way.

If people like your work, they stay. If not, it’s okay!

Most importantly, you want to drive people that are your kind of people. The people that follow you for you and not that particular artwork. But seriously, avoid doing this just for the sake of it! Take the art challenge as an opportunity to grow, learn, and find the tribe that resonates with you! 

5. Engage with artists of all levels

One part of growing as an artist is giving back to the community that we are a part of. Just like you, each of the artists is here trying to do the same thing, that is to find their tribe.

But what do I mean by all levels? Just like many, I like to simplify the types of artists as beginners, intermediates, and professionals. Whichever type you belong to, make sure you try to show up to their content as much as you can. After all, we are humans, right? On my account, there are a bunch of artists who always encourage me, and I remember them! It’s a beautiful thing to artists online virtually and slowly you’ll see how one person becomes ten people and you start building your account with real people who appreciate you for who you are and what your art represents. I seriously love this about the art community! 

It doesn’t have to be 24×7. Some days we’re just double tapping while other times we feel like leaving lots of nice comments. The idea is to have a bunch of artists of all kinds around you. The ones ahead of us inspire us, the ones with us understand better, and the ones just beginning remind us of how far we’ve come! 

How To Grow Your Instagram With Purpose | Sketch Design Repeat

6. Accept that everyone’s journey is unique

Some artists may seem to have it all figured out or have the perfect job and income that you desire. But the thing is, we don’t know their reality! They may have gotten it easy, or not at all! We don’t know the struggles, effort, and time they must be putting behind getting to where they are now, because it’s impossible to share everything on the internet. 

Even though your favorite artists are living the best life according to you, and while you may badly want something similar, there are chances you won’t get it! No, this isn’t de-motivation! I say it because you will have a totally different journey. If all artists had the same journey to an ideal life, wouldn’t that be so boring?

An artist’s individuality is determined by the uniquely individual path that they carve or come across. And I think that’s something you should own up to! All the pivots, mistakes, luck and headstarts are part of your story. A story that you’ll inspire someone with, won’t you? So next time you see somebody online and think, “Ugh, I want that!” or “What’s wrong with me?” remind yourself of your individual journey!

Related Article: Ways to Market Your Surface Pattern Designs
Beyond Instagram

While these habits may take a long time to build and stick with, you can pick one and start with it. See how these tiny changes can change your relationship with art. I started showing up better on my canvas, and I believe you will too. That’s how you can perform better and grow your community with purpose, as opposed to blindly trying to get more numbers! Lastly, remember why you are on this platform. If your actions align with your heart, you’ll show up as your best no matter what! 

Written by Daksha Giri

Instagram: @dakshagiri

Daksha Giri is an illustrator and lettering artist based in India who creates beautiful and unique artwork that is both visually appealing and emotionally resonant. Her work is seen in greeting cards, packaging, giftware & home décor.

  1. Dale says:

    What a wonderful article! Thank you for your insight.

  2. Chris says:

    Thanks so this thoughtful reminder that it’s really about us, makimg true social friends and our journey when it’s all said and done!

  3. Anthea Koop says:

    Thank you for the article. I’m a beginner in the world of surface pattern design and artwork. I’m working on showing up for my self and being regular on instagram. (Still a working progress and not a tech head) The article gave great insight and is very uplifting.

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