*To the Admin: This topic could probably also be posted in the In The Studio or Potter's Council section of the forum, but due to my use of Instagram for business I've started it here. If it should live somewhere else, please move it.
Who's using Instagram as part of their clay life? For me, it's been a really helpful, monetarily beneficial, and FUN tool. It's helped me connect with fellow artists and customers, and it's played a large role in building my brand. I've had a great experience with the tool, and I figured I'd share. For those using the forum who don't have Instagram on their radar, it is now.
In short, Instagram is a photo sharing application that allows user to upload, edit and share photos with the Instagram community at large, or (by using the private profile option) specific users who have been granted permission. The application also allows users to "filter" photos to make them look like they've been Photoshopped. Users can include a caption when they upload a photo, as well as hashtagged terms (ie #pottery #ceramics #puppies #tacotuesday) to make photos easy to locate using the application's search feature. Users "Follow" other users to subscribe to their photos; the homescreen is populated by the most recent uploads from all the users one follows. Users can "Like" and/or leave comments on photos. The application is available for iOS and Android and is primarily used on smartphones and tablets; recently a view-only version became available for folks using a traditional notebook/desktop browser.
Mixed in with all the users posting pictures of their kittens, babies, hipster parties, adventures with bacon, etc is a large community of ceramic artists sharing pictures of their daily process and their pots. I open Instagram on my phone and scroll through my homescreen feed a few times a day, and I'll be greeted by pictures uploaded from folks like Adam Field, Michael Kline, Alex Matisse, Birdie Boone, Brett Kern, Justin Rothshank... The pictures are visually fun to look at, and give a look into the life of the artist and process behind the work.
For me, Instagram has been a versatile tool, and a source of both give and take. I get inspired by posts made by others, and others (hopefully) get inspired by posts I make. Through comments left on photos, I have gotten a lot of quick troubleshooting support and have provided a lot of this as well. I have found potters who's work I've begun collecting, and I have received a good bit of business from customers who find me via Instagram then connect to my website. It's also a great tool for promoting an event or an Etsy sale code.
If you're not on Instagram, give it a try. Whether for business, pleasure or both, a lot of us are already posting daily, sharing images of our studios, processes, firings, pots and lives. If you decide to take the plunge, here's my shortlist of 20 clay-related must-follow accounts to get you started:
@chris_throws_pots (shamelessly, me)