An Artist on Building a Huge Following on TikTok and Instagram

  • Carolyn Mara is a photographer and painter who makes a speciality of paintings created with a mop and bucket.
  • With over 620,000 TikTok and 145,000 Instagram followers, she shared suggestions for rising an viewers.
  • Let your character shine by way of, give a behind-the-scenes look, and sustain with replies.
  • See extra tales on Insider’s enterprise web page.

When I first began constructing a web based group on Instagram round my conceptual pictures work over a decade in the past, I used to be always apprehensive about create content material individuals really wished to view and share with their associates. 

Deciphering the ins and outs of the net world was difficult at first, however all these years I spent posting and experimenting with my pictures helped me acknowledge and perceive what audiences love, in addition to what retains them coming again for extra.

I now have over 620,000 followers on TikTok, 145,000 on Instagram, and was nominated for a Shorty Award in 2020. Here’s what I’ve realized and how one can domesticate your personal on-line following. 

Infuse your character 

Audiences love originality, authenticity, and vulnerability. When you are posting on-line, provide your viewers content material that is infused along with your character or the ethos of your model id.

If you are posting content material simply to satisfy an arbitrary quota you’ve got set for your self, you are not going to retain and develop that core group of followers that can keep on with you. 


Carolyn Mara.

Carolyn Mara

For instance, I am an unapologetically bizarre inventive who loves to make use of inventive creation as a type of self-expression, and I need my followers to grasp that channeling their feelings into a creative medium might be each rewarding and rejuvenating.

So once I’m creating, writing, or posting content material, I like to combine the vulnerability of my very own emotional states with my bizarre creativity.

Whether I am portray with my mop or pulling the pin on a colourful smoke grenade, my viewers loves to look at and share as a result of they love my message, they take pleasure in my artwork, and they’re comfortable to defend each when the damaging feedback come round. 

A put up shared by c a r o l y n m a r a (@carolyn_mara)

Share insights into your course of

I do know that the thought of sharing your “how-to” can appear counterintuitive and even a bit scary. 

Loads of artists, creatives, and entrepreneurs are afraid to share their secrets and techniques, falsely believing that sharing their course of may find yourself crippling their viewers or gross sales because it opens the door for copycats. But I imagine this recommendation is among the largest causes for my success. 


Carolyn Mara.

Carolyn Mara

Showing the behind-the-scenes of your course of is compelling and holds consideration. I can not inform you what number of instances I’ve watched a 10-minute video of a Renaissance-era artwork restoration, not to mention what number of of my associates I ended up sharing these movies with.

Take this instance from my very own expertise: Months in the past, I started a web based performance-art sequence with my youngest son. We each poured paint throughout me, and I confirmed the progress from begin to end.

Several of the movies went viral and had been ultimately seen by tens of thousands and thousands, which opened up a world of alternative for progress and uncovered my work to new audiences. 

Stay related to your viewers

As your viewers grows, so too will your inbox. You’re going to be inundated with individuals asking questions and leaving feedback, and it is best to attempt to reply to every and each one. Audiences love engagement from creators, and you by no means know what interplay may result in your subsequent huge enhance in followers. 

Carolyn Mara.

Carolyn Mara.

Carolyn Mara

A couple of months in the past, I used to be hanging out on my sofa and replying to my viewers when a fan from Spain despatched me a direct message about certainly one of my performance-art mop work posts. This follower completely cherished the video and requested if they may repost it on their Instagram account. I fortunately agreed to allow them to repost my work and then rapidly forgot in regards to the trade. 

It wasn’t till a number of weeks after that interplay that I observed my video had exploded in Spain. Hundreds of hundreds of individuals had been viewing my work and commenting, which led to a big enhance in new followers. It turned out that the fan I related with had a very talked-about Spanish Instagram web page. 

That one interplay launched my artwork to a entire new group overseas — one which most likely would not have discovered me in any other case — and it is one thing that would not have been doable if I hadn’t taken the time to attach with a member of my viewers. 

Showcase your work in the true world 

This has performed a crucial function in my success during the last couple of years, and I at all times advocate it when different artists ask me create buzz round their work. 

I began to see actual traction in my following once I started posting photographs of what my work really seemed like in my shoppers’ properties. Showcasing my work like this allowed my viewers to see the practicality of a large-scale mop portray and think about a comparable design inside their very own residence.

Carolyn Mara

Carolyn Mara.

Carolyn Mara

While this recommendation appears geared towards artists, it is relevant to a number of individuals and professionals. For instance, for those who’re designing garments, present them the garments on a number of physique sorts. If you are providing teaching, ask a glad consumer to do a voiceover with you. And for those who’re promoting a product, do not simply present the product — present actual individuals utilizing it. Help your viewers envision themselves utilizing, proudly owning, or experiencing your services or products. 

Try to be constant

Posting constantly may imply as soon as a day on one platform and 3 times a week on one other. I wish to put up weekly on Instagram and in my electronic mail publication, and at the least twice a week on TikTok.

Consistency is vital to holding and rising a devoted viewers. The extra you create, the extra possibilities you must be seen. 

While I do not assume it is best to simply put up to put up, placing within the work and dedication to create and share brand-driven content material will assist in rising your following. Post to create worth in your viewers, as a result of the individuals viewing your content material are investing in you, so it is best to put money into them. 

Carolyn Mara is a photographer, painter, and on-line efficiency artist who makes a speciality of creating paintings with a mop and bucket. You can see her work or attain out to her on Instagram or TikTok, and view her present stock gallery at

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