How can I find my art audience and attract followers on social media?

  • So I had watched "How to get your first 10K followers" by Jake Parker a while ago, and I'm still having trouble getting a following on any of my social media accounts.

    My two accounts I mainly use are:

    I've tried things like posting somewhat regularly, I've also commented on a few art pieces I have liked, and I have included an appropriate description page saying that I'm an aspiring artist etc. I'm also aiming to improve the quality of my work, so I'm trying my hardest to ensure that my artwork is not boring.

    But regardless of the steps I have taken so far, I don't seem to be attracting followers. I also struggle with finding people who do similar art to what I do or finding artists who do a certain type of art. For instance, if I like drawing cartoon characters whether it's people or animals, it's hard to find people who do the same or are within the same art skill level as I am.

    Can anyone give me some advice on how I can gain an actual following on social media? I feel like there's lots of methods I've tried that don't work, so I would appreciate it if someone could have a look at my accounts and tell me what I can do to make it more worthy of being followed.


  • @Toony-Days I don’t think you’re giving it enough time. Your accounts don’t have very many posts on them. I’ve also noticed you aren’t using any hashtags, I don’t think anyone will find you without them. You need to treat it like a job and really engage with communities that are doing similar work to yours.

  • Pro

    @Toony-Days I'm not sure how old that class is, but social media has changed a lot even just in the last couple years. There was also a big algorithm change not too long ago that really affected artists. It's difficult for artists to post every day as the algorithm would like, we would end up just posting a bunch of crap and not attracting followers anyway. I've noticed that artists who do best are the ones that share a lot of stories and reels on Instagram. Their followers engage with that, so they get shown their posts when they do post. Reels are also new and really taking off lately so it can bring you a lot of views.

    But I've noticed you Instagram is so new still! You only have 6 posts, no highlighted stories, and you're not even using hashtags or keywords in your post descriptions. I'm sure Jake has advice on that. There's still a LOT of basic advice you can be implementing before going into advanced strategies, and 6 posts is really WAY too soon to be deciding that what you're doing isn't working! You have barely started your journey yet, you're not even out of the parking lot so don't discourage. Building social media takes a long time, so you have to have patience. But as long as you start actually following the advice from the class (more than just putting "aspiring illustrator" in your bio) you should start gaining a following slowly but surely 🙂

  • @Toony-Days you have very few posts right now. Don't get impatient. Aim for where you want to be in 2-5 years. It takes time! I had 300 followers for years before I suddenly got 500, then 1000, then quickly 2000, and so on. It's hardest to get your first 100. It's a slog, but you need to work at it... for like, a year.

  • You gotta use hashtags I don’t exactly know how it works but the more hashtags you use the more people you reach.

  • @kylebeaudette
    Thanks! I'm still trying to figure out how to get started though, since I'm quite new and inexperienced with social media.
    Would you recommend that I just keep on posting my artwork as I have been doing but with hashtags this time, as well as giving highlighted stories?

    And I'm sorry if you're the wrong person to be asking this, but what kind of stories would you recommend me telling that's going to get people interested?

  • @Toony-Days the question I have for you, and that you should consider for yourself is why you want people interested. Are you making art solely for the purpose of getting noticed, or are you wanting to make art that you like and slowly build your audience? I’d say it’s better to make things that you like, post more regularly and with things like hashtags, and your audience will come. It’ll take time though and if you want your 10k followers, you’ll have to be patient. But then again, I’d ask why you want that many so quickly. I’d rather get followers that don’t just do “follow for follow”, ones that genuinely like what I do and gradually build. Set smaller goals for yourself. For instance, I’m excited that I’m gradually growing my own audience (finally getting to 125+ followers after two years on IG). Setting smaller goals will help, and I agree with what the others are saying

  • @lpetiti Well said.

    One thing I've noticed is that some people who are building their following will follow me, I'll follow back (usually if they are also a writer or illustrator--or cat person), and then that person will UNfollow me. They are trying to build a noticeably larger following than their follow number...because a greater follower number will make them look more influential. A few years back at a SCBWI event, an agent told us about this in a discussion about creator social media.

    I'm not talking about someone truly influential and established (like the Three leaders of SVS).

    I asked one of the residential computer scientists, and he told me that these follower builders probably use apps to mass-unfollow people. Whereas once a month I manually scroll through and unfollow them.

  • @Toony-Days I'd say, just keep drawing daily and posting something every day if you can. Use at least three hashtags, use as many of Instagram's features as possible too. Stories, multiple photos in one post, igtv, so on. The more you make use of every part of the platform, the better.
    A good thing to put in stories is your process. Just take some video while you draw, slap some music on it with the app, have the music synch up for each part (keep track of where it left off on the previous story, music is found in the gifs area while editing your story)

    Also, comment a lot on art posts you like. Who knows, they might click your name and follow you.
    As you get more followers, this becomes more common. When someone comments on my posts, I click their name. Then if I see theyre followed by my art heros, or lots of people, im more likely to follow them.
    Really, just have fun on the platform, that'll shine through

  • @RachelArmington yeah, those bug me. Whenever I get a new follower and I see it's a young twenty-something girl who's doing the duck lips and is just doing the influencer-type poses and posts...I know it's just a "follow for follow" and I don't even bother with them. I know they'll be gone in a few days and weren't actually interested in me. And this is coming from someone who's going to therapy in part to help me get over my massive people-pleasing tendencies...

  • @Toony-Days What I'm seeing right now that's giving me the most exposure right now is posting progress walkthroughs on Reels. The reach on those is typically more than a standard post, and sometimes it's WAY more. Speaking of which, I should make more of those...

  • @kylebeaudette
    Thanks for that. It kinda makes more sense. Though I think I've seen a few people with big followers get away with not having to do videos. I'm not sure what kind of videos I'd do, though I often do more photos.

  • @lpetiti I'm mainly interested in doing artwork that I like while still getting an audience of people who like my art. The hard part for me is finding that audience.

  • @lpetiti I'm interested in getting real followers rather than fake ones. I want to keep posting my artwork that I like while also getting obtaining an audience eventually. The trouble I'm having right now is finding my audience. Would you have any tips for someone like me to find the right audience (it's fine if you don't have any)? I heard that this can take a long time, but I think it would be helpful to know what I'm doing as I'm continually posting my artwork.

  • @Toony-Days For a followers specific to the work you do, I think you just need to stick to a consistent posting schedule. Everything Jake said in his video works, you just have to give it more time.

    I've gained most of my followers by entering competitions and doing challenges. I strongly recommend that you take part in MerMay, KaiJune, Inktober, Dinovember, Creatuanuary and any others as that is when the most artists are active at the same time, looking at other artists' work.

    I've gained 80 followers from only 7 Mermay posts and I gained 300 last Inktober but I rarely gain any the rest of the year, and I think this is because the work being posted during that time is consistent in terms of schedule and the type of posts. As soon as you lose consistency you'll start to lose followers quite quickly so maybe try to pick a schedule that you're comfortable with, even if it's once a week. Posting every day is definitely the best way but it can be really difficult to keep that up.

    Also, using hashtags is essential for getting noticed. However, a lot of people don't look through the hashtags, so I would recommend looking through the most popular hashtag related to your post and click like on a few people's posts that you like when you have the time, it'll grab people's attention while making the algorithm more likely to get your posts seen. Once you get a good amount of followers, however, I don't think this is necessary as you'll have enough momentum, as long as you're still posting consistently.

    I'm still in the early stages with my instagram as well, so I'm not an expert, but this seems to be working for me so far.

    Hope this helps !

  • @Toony-Days other than posting consistently, I agree that participating in challenges will help too. It’s really just going to take time. There’s not really a quick fix tip to grow your audience. It will come, but you just have to patient.

  • @Toony-Days I want to offer a marketer's perspective on this subject. My notes from a recent social media workshop for businesses may be of help to you.

    You've examined yourself as a creator on social media, but have you also looked at yourself as a consumer? What content impressed you enough to hit the like button, repost or even subscribe to that person long-term? Whose SM accounts would you identify as a peer and/or competition. Are you able to identify their successes and failures?

    Since you say your current goal is to gain followers, I will write this… Shift your SM account’s focus from your artist journey to the customer. SM users are looking for content that is aspirational, inspiring, relatable. Create content that people can repost to tell others ‘Hey, this is sooo me!’
    The finish works you’ve uploaded are nice, but, thinking as a salesperson, it could be ‘repackaged’ into a sellable product. For example, could the karate squirrel piece be re-worked as a one-panel comic, animated gif or karate school poster?

    At your current career phase, I would discourage uploading work-in-progress images and black + white pencil sketches. These behind-the-scenes content are insightful to a niche group after you gain a reputation. It won't earn followers and it may even work against you. I love pencil sketches, but over the years I accepted the average person don't see it as art.

    Also, perhaps change your target audience from fellow creators to a consumer-community. Unless you intend to being an art guru/influencer, I don’t see a mass of artists following a fellow aspiring kin. Take time to identify your customers: list their demographics, wants, interests and dislikes. Appeal to your base first, then later broaden your demo.

    Your artwork has a classic animation/newspaper comics vibe. Maybe start with that fanbase? Back in the 2000's the it place was DeviantArt and Newgrounds. These sites still exist, but it's been 20 years... You'll have to find the contemporary equivalent. Look up a professional artist with similar style and see where they pop up online. Send a DM or e-mail asking for advice (most people are nice). If you can invest your time, regularly participate in group shows (gallery shows, art magazines, community art contests, etc). Build your rep to earn a shout out on bigger accounts.

    If it helps, think of your SM account(s) like a school newspaper. If the editor gave you space on the paper, what would be appropriate for the entire student body and will earn you respect amongst your classmates? Wouldn’t you want to publish something relevant to your shared lives as students, as teens, current events, etc?

    Hope this was helpful to you. Best of luck on your career journey.

  • Hello! I don't know anything about twitter so I'll only speak about Instagram. I started working on my instagram about a year and a half ago and just reached 20,000 followers! Here are some of my tips:

    In addition to the course, listen to the podcast about social media as well, I found them both helpful even though a lot of information was repeated.

    In the beginning, it does help to try and post a few times a week, or daily if you can manage it. I would prioritize Thursday - Sunday if not daily (Thursday is randomly one of the best days to post). When you post more often Instagram will share your work more.

    As others said, you don't have many images up yet, so you'll want at least 9 up there before people will really consider your account active enough to start following it. Your last 4 posts were consistent, but your first two posts are really different so that might also be confusing people who might be interested in following you.

    Promote to your friends and family that you have an instagram! Share it on your facebook or what not, often the first 100 followers are people that you know.

    New features will always be highly promoted by the algorithm, so if you can figure out how to do reels those are getting a boost right now because they are the newest feature.

    But for me the thing that I felt like really made everything "cilck" was understanding that it means to make "valuable" content. You'll hear this recommended by every article or person that you hear talk about how to make a successful social media account. I didn't really understand what that meant as an artist - if my art is good enough is it therefore valuable? For myself, what I came to realize is that "valuable content" means creating "sharable" content. You will only get so far with your own reach, if your instagram is inpiring and people to share it with others your reach will increase exponentially. Comics do well because they make people laugh, or feel understood and they want to share that with others. Tutorials or tips do well because people find them helpful and want to share. An illustration if it causes an emotional impact can do the same.

    You can also participate in challenges and DITYS because the person hosting might then share your work.

    There are of course other ways but that's been my thought process when creating my media accounts.

    Hope that helps! Good luck

  • When I started my Instagram and posted pretty leisurely, but then I started to get a bit more "serious". I did a bit of research, found most of it to be pretty useless up until I found the video This Youtuber is Destroying Cities on Instagram! (ft. iDubbbz, Drew Gooden) | Try Hards 3. It was really helpful and the short answer is a combination of Instagram-user activities (likes, comments, DM, content posting, proper tagging) and a mix of paid activities (giveaway contests, spending $$ for shout outs and ads).

    Followers is a vague vanity metric. If you can really figure out your target consumer, 1000 potential customers is better than 10k followers who want to click on pictures

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