9 Instagram Tips To Connect With Art Collectors

What is the biggest online platform for contemporary art? Surprisingly, it could be Instagram. Collectors (and dealers, galleries, curators and artists) use the app to discover, buy and track contemporary art.

Half of the collectors who are active Instagram users purchased work from artists discovered through the app, according to a recent article and survey, “How Collectors Use Instagram to Buy Art,” by Elena Soboleva, published on Artsy–a great article. Importantly, those collectors purchased an average of five pieces by artists discovered there and a third bought work they found on Instagram, according the survey. Wow.

The app is becoming a crucial tool for the art world. Combined with other platforms, social media sites, blogs, and web sites, Instagram can help drive art sales.

Here are some highlights from parts of the Artsy article, as well as tips on how galleries should be using Instagram to connect with collectors.

Purchasing Power

51.5% of collectors bought art first discovered on Instagram. They went on to collect about five pieces by artists found there. This is stunning: half of active Instagram collectors buy work originally found on the app.

Aim to Buy

27% follow accounts they want to buy from, while half (46%) follow gallery accounts they have already purchased work from. Additionally, over half follow accounts because they are viewed as art trendsetters. The Artsy survey reveals how powerful following an account can be: one quarter of collectors are interested buyers.

  • 27% Follow accounts they want to buy from
  • 46% Follow gallery accounts they have already purchased work from
  • 50% Follow accounts because they are viewed as art trendsetters

Trend Finder

30% post works they are considering acquiring for their collection. Collectors look towards Instagram as a discovery tool and for tracking art trends, and perhaps post works to gauge responses before they make a purchase.

Active Collectors

Half of the Instagram collectors have over 100 artworks and have been actively collecting for over nine years. Most (55%) collect emerging art; 45% are contemporary art collectors. These are not one-off, casual or exclusively young collectors just jumping into the market, but are veteran buyers.

  • 55% Collect emerging art
  • 45% Contemporary art collectors
  • These are not one-off, casual or exclusively young collectors just jumping into the market, but are veteran buyers.

Artists Discovery

42% of collectors discover artists through hashtags. This search feature is an extremely important way to find art, artists, and galleries, and collectors use them very actively.

  • 42% Collectors discover artists through hashtags

Frequent Checking

Half (55%) check Instagram five or more times a day; 87% check twice daily or more, according to the Artsy survey. Collectors on the app are passionate and nearly all check the app at least twice a day.

  • 55% Check five times daily
  • 87% Check twice daily
  • Collectors on the app are passionate and nearly all check the app at least twice a day.

Active Posters

  • Half (55%) post on Instagram more than several times a week, according the Artsy survey.
  • 55% Post more than several times a week
  • So, we see that Instagram is a collector’s online destination. What is the best way to connect with them?

Here are nine tips for galleries (and the art world)

1. Start with a Strategy

Instagram posts should be a reflection of you and the gallery. They could be serious, academically oriented, playful, comment on the art world (@JerrySaltz), or a mix. Once a strategy is set, be consistent but know that it’s a work in progress which constantly evolves. It’s tempting to relegate this task to interns–but would you let them run sales on the floor? Lastly, have fun.

2. Post Unique Content

As a gallery, you have great “content”: fantastic images. Upload a mix of photographs of the current roster of artists, recent art world topics, openings, events, printed media such as books or recent catalogues, and most importantly, add “behind the scenes” shots of installations and back room images. Show that you are an art insider, and balance personal and professional posts.

3. Engage and Be Responsive

Engage with collectors and other posters on Instagram. Like posts you genuinely find appealing, and when someone likes you, perhaps like or follow them back. Importantly, leave comment to start a dialogue and get noticed. If someone leaves a message on Instagram, be sure to always respond.

4. Include Informative Text

Add interesting information to the post. Create a small description or narrative about a painting, for example, explaining how it was made or what it evokes to draw collectors in. It’s okay to be personal.

Create a small description or narrative.

5. Add Appropriate Hashtags

Add hashtags for the artists and topics that you post might fit into–but be specific. “#ContemporaryArt,” or “#EmergingPainter,” are way too broad and will get lost in the literally millions of other posts with the same hashtag. Also add “@[Collector’s Name Here]” to target collectors so they will see the post.

6. Target and Get Key Influencers

Identify “key influencers,” namely, collectors, curators, other dealers and interesting Instagram posters and follow them. Don’t worry about the quantity; instead, focus on quality. Find Instagram followers you like, look at their followers, and follow some of them.

7. Set a Daily Process

Each day:

  • Post an image, ideally in the evening or the evening timezone of your target followers. Add work on Saturday and Sunday too.
  • Like a handful of images, checking Instagram at least twice a day.
  • Write a comment on one post that interests you.
  • Search for related topics, events and artists, and follow at least one.
  • Post Image
  • Like images
  • Write a comment
  • Search for topics

8. Things to Avoid

  • Don’t sell. Collectors are smart, so speak their language.
  • Don’t say, “Catch our latest show before it closes.” Rather, be descriptive, engaging, personal.
  • Don’t be all over the place. Stick to your basic strategy.
  • Don’t be too personal. Over sharing could lead to problems.

If this is bewildering, daunting, or seemingly out of reach, get professional help. Work with an online reputation builder or social media expert who knows the art world. If you don’t, you could risk alienating your collector base, making things much worse.

Collectors use Instagram to find and purchase art, and following these nine tips should help. But it’s just one tool. Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest (yes, Pinterest), art related blogs, online auctions, Wikipedia articles, targeted blog posts, and your website all build online trust, which leads to art sales.


Feel free to reach out with any questions. We speak art. Helping galleries navigate Instagram and the online world is our specialty.

Originally published at www.recoverreputation.com.



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Steven W. Giovinco

Steven W. Giovinco


Online Reputation Management, Repair, Tips; Online Brand Building, by Recover Reputation based in NYC.