This summer, the news artists and designers had long feared became clear: Instagram is no longer a social-first photo-sharing app. Despite its decade-long dominance as the platform where creatives of all kinds could showcase their work, engage with a professional, creative community, and even monetize their profiles, the social media giant has been long plotting a pivot to video to compete with TikTok, the wildly popular short-form video app.
But what does the algorithm’s spotlight on bite-sized Reels and Shopping mean for creatives who relied on the app as a portfolio? They’re seeing fewer followers, engagement rates for in-feed posts dropping more than 44% since 2019, and a growing dissatisfaction as many are either forced to tweak their work into TikTok-style entertainment content or shift to different platforms.
And this has designers looking for alternatives. “What if all of this Instagram strategy shifting is just them coercing us all to finally update our portfolio websites,” tweeted lettering artist Jessica Hische, calling out many designers’ most dreaded task.
Creatives: Instagram might not be the same anymore, but we’ve rounded up some platforms that you can use to get your work out there (and yes, updating your portfolio website is one of them).
“I was initially attracted to Vero because of its promise to be an advertising, algorithm, and data mining free platform,” says photographer and lecturer Anthony Prothero. “The direction Meta is taking Instagram is no longer aimed at, nor works for, the artist working with still images.”
Imagine Instagram as its best possible self: that’s Vero, a social media platform that encourages users to post more images—not videos—and engage more deeply with their network. But while it is currently free, Vero has a much smaller user base than Instagram, so it may not be the best platform for artists looking to sell their work on it.
2. X (formerly known as Twitter)
Not just a soapbox for the Silicon Valley elite and messy public discourse anymore, X (formerly known as Twitter) has quickly gained favor amongst artists—especially the NFT and digital art community—who find its engagement more genuine than other platforms.
“Twitter allows for a better global reach,” said Rushil Bhatnagar, a graphic designer and motion artist. “I usually share work-in-progress artwork and I get feedback and reciprocation of love from underground artists in places like India, Australia, and Europe, which has been really authentic and helpful.”
3. Portfolio websites
Art Director Mehek Malhotra always had a personal portfolio website, but it took the heartbreak of feeling left behind by Instagram for her to realize that it could become a unique method of expression.
“It felt like a task to be part of a platform that wanted to push people to dance to their beats, literally,” she says. “The idea of moving away from Instagram was to scatter breadcrumbs of my personality all over the internet. I didn't want to exist only on a single URL when I could make art, write poetry, or even curate my favorite music on various minisites without the idea of a finite or countable audience.” Make a professional portfolio website that shines a spotlight on your personal brand using one of our many customizable, designer-made Editor X templates.
Fun, uninhibited, and decidedly Gen Z: Discord is a great place for artists to connect with people about shared, niche interests via voice calls, video calls, and text messaging.
“The main difference between sharing my work on Discord vs Instagram or Twitter is that it feels more like a conversation,” said Grace Ling, digital product designer and founder of the Design Buddies Discord server that has over 40,000 members. “I also felt intimidated by other design communities. I wanted to make my Discord server a place where everyone could be themselves.”
“Visual artists don’t usually think of using LinkedIn to their advantage, but it is a great way to get noticed and get jobs,” says animator Deborah Anderson. By actively engaging with people through comments and personal messages, and by sharing posts and articles, creatives can tap into a large professional network on a platform that isn’t just for corporates anymore. According to Anderson, LinkedIn “allows artists to display a more detailed resume along with samples of their work and establish their expertise.”