Through the Spyglass


Engaging Audiences on Instagram: Five Things Brands Can Learn from Artists in Brooklyn

@arielealasko on Instagram @arielealasko on Instagram

Have you heard of Ariel Alasko (@arielealasko), Nightwood NY (@nightwoodny), or The Things We Keep (@thethingswekeep)? Unless you're an aficionado of handmade finds in Brooklyn, New York, perhaps not. 

This fascinating community in Brooklyn is striking a cord with audiences on Instagram. They have 336,000 followers among the three of them. Each of their Instagram images has hundreds of likes and comments—every brand's dream. So what makes these influencers so effective at generating passion among their audiences? Let's take a look.

Compelling Imagery

Each update from these artists is truly a work of art. It goes without saying that someone who makes a living selling handcrafts has an eye for quality. But it's not necessarily a guarantee that a woodworker would also be a great photographer. So how do these individuals make it happen? They use geometric shapes, colors, shading, and a little bit of mystery to intrigue their audiences. 

@arielealasko on Instagram @arielealasko on Instagram

Take the image above for example. Viewers are left wondering what the whole story is, and as a result, a simple image and caption has grabbed attention for longer than a standard post would.

Not Just Products

While they regularly show images of their products, they also capture works in progress, give peaks of their studios where the magic happens, and convey the day-to day-lives behind the art, such as when they’re out for lunch, on a walk, or visiting with friends. 

Audiences on Instagram don't just want to see images that look like catalogs. They want to connect with the people behind the label. Especially in an industry of handcrafts, the personal touch is everything. So these influencers have honed in on the subtle skill of highlighting their work as well as the people behind the work and the lives they lead.

Driving Sales

Instagram can be a challenging social media platform for brands because you cannot embed links throughout your activity. Instagram users can have one hyperlinked URL in their profile, but that's it. Image captions and comments cannot be hyperlinked or even easily copied and pasted. So audiences are left memorizing and manually typing in URLs that they see on Instagram. 

But these influencers are still driving interest and sales through Instagram. How? By mentioning their blogs, regularly referencing or updating links in profiles, and posting URLs that, while not hyperlinked, are short and easy to remember, consumers are able to get to the webpages easily and access the products they want to purchase.


@thethingswekeep on Instagram @thethingswekeep on Instagram

Give people a reason to really take notice. Amazing images and interesting captions will get you attention and followers. But contests will make people stop and take note of each individual post. Rather than gaining a following and then being forgotten in the overflow of content from other accounts, let contests engage your audience on another level. This will also encourage fans to @ mention their friends and further extend your reach.

Be Real

@thethingswekeep on Instagram @thethingswekeep on Instagram

The individuals behind these accounts are just that—individuals. Sometimes brands make the mistake of becoming bland and sterile in their posts which makes them seem corporate and out of touch. Users of Instagram (and really all social networks) want to connect with the talent behind the title. Let your personality and your day-to-day show and your fans will be thankful.