How to Grow an Instagram Following as a Motion Designer (13 Pro Tips)

Are you looking to grow a Motion Design Instagram following? Here are a few tips for igniting your Instagram channel.

As a Motion Designer who focuses on widescreen content, it can be easy to overlook the power of Instagram for Motion Design branding and marketing. However, gone are the days when Instagram was simply a passive platform for sharing latte art and cat photos. Today, Instagram reigns as THE premier platform for sharing Motion Design work with the world. In fact, Instagram is more popular than Vimeo, Behance, Dribble, and Twitter combined. In short, there’s never been a better time to be an artist on Instagram, but growing a following is no easy task. It takes time, attention, and dedication to grow your Motion Design Instagram channel, and I suspect if you are reading this article you may be having some trouble growing your follower count. I totally understand your pain. It took me years to grow the Motion Hatch account, but I can assure you that with time, patience, and a few of the following helpful tips, you can grow an impressive Instagram following in only a few months.

How to Grow a Motion Design Instagram Following Q&A with Sam Burton

I recently had Sam Burton on the Motion hatch podcast to discuss how he grew his Motion Design Instagram following. Here’s the episode if you’re interested in hearing his insights.

How to Grow a Motion Design Instagram Following

Here are the tips for growing a Motion Design Instagram following. I hope you find them to be helpful.

1. Create Awesome Stuff

There’s no way around it. If you don’t create incredible motion graphics projects, you will have a very difficult time growing a motion design following on Instagram. Instagram is a VERY visual medium. As such, you should always try to put your best forward when sharing out your content with the world. It can take time to develop the skills to create something great, but, in general, you should always try to share something you are proud of.
There’s no need to overthink it. Try to do a simple design with great execution, rather than an overcomplicated project that misses the mark. Remember, most Instagram posts will fizzle away within 24 hours of posting. Don’t spend too much time working on a post that will soon be lost in the abyss (unless you’re really passionate about it.)

2. Take People Behind-the-Scenes

For some reason, people really resonate with behind-the-scenes posts on Instagram. In fact, Sam Burton (interview above) said that some of his behind-the-scenes posts get 2-3x MORE engagement than the final rendered results. Some examples of behind-the-scenes shares include:
  • After Effects Project Files
  • Procreate Timelapses
  • Layer Breakdowns
Sarah Beth Morgan frequently shares great behind the scenes breakdowns of her Illustration work.
In addition to posting on your main feed, it is vital for you to post in your stories as well. Let people know what you are working on or share your latest inspiration source.  Stories are the best way to showcase your humanity on Instagram. They don’t have to take more than 5 minutes to create, but they can make a big impact on your audience.

3. Post at Least Once a Day

On Instagram or YouTube for that matter, consistency is key. There are a lot of studies out there that basically say you should try to post 2 posts a day to your main feed. Now, of course, posting 2 fully rendered projects to your feed every day is going to be an impossibility for most people. But try to at least post one piece of content a day. Over time daily posting will add up. Ever heard of a motion designer named Beeple?
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A post shared by beeple (@beeple_crap) on

Over the last 13 years, Mike Winkelmann (Beeple’s real name) has consistently created daily content and it has led him to collaborate with some of the biggest artists in the world. His consistent artwork has even led to a Louis Vuitton fashion line

4. Use Hashtags

Unlike Facebook or Twitter, it is unlikely that an Instagram audience will share your motion design project with their friends. Instead, Instagram relies heavily on hashtags to place your content in front of people who are interested in a specific topic.
This was the first video that popped up under the #motiongraphics feed… 16K views! There’s a lot to be said about using hashtags on Instagram, but in general, you should try to use around 30 hashtags in your caption or first comment to give your post the best chance of being seen. Some Motion Designers on Instagram use less, but it is entirely a matter of preference. General Hashtags In every post, you should include general hashtags that are relevant to your content. If you can’t think of any hashtags there’s a free hashtag generation tool over on Daily Purposes. Some Good General Hashtags for Motion Design: Branded Hashtags In addition to general hashtags, there are a lot of branded hashtags out there in the motion design community that can be used to get your content seen and shared by large MoGraph audiences. Just note that when you use a branded hashtag, you are giving brand permission to share your work. Here are some of our favorite branded hashtags:

5. Engage Every Day

The goal of having a great Instagram account isn’t to simply share your work and move on to the next project, it’s to create an engaged online community! The motion design industry is full of some of the kindest people on earth. As such, you should take some time each day to engage with other great Motion Design projects that you see on Instagram.
Despite his wild success, Markus Magnusson still engages with his community. Be vocal and compliment your fellow artists. This is an act of goodwill that can open many doors for you as an aspiring artist.

6. Brand Yourself

One of the bigger mistakes that I see new motion designers make is not branding themselves with a specific style. I totally understand that in the early days of learning Motion Design you probably don’t know what you want your style to be like. However, over time you will learn to hone-in on a specific aesthetic style. Your Instagram account should tell a coherent story. For example, if you look at Ash Thorp’s Instagram account he is telling a story of a futuristic, Tokyo inspired world.
Burnt Toast on the other hand features a quirky (and sometimes adult) 2D illustration aesthetic.
This focus on a specific design style can make it easier for you to stand out in the heads of your audience. What style do you resonate with?

7. Bring Out Your Personality

It’s been said time and time again, but when you are sharing stuff on Instagram, just be yourself. Don’t try to become someone else. People can tell when you are being inauthentic and it’s gross. Instead, bring out your personality and have fun with your audience. If you like telling jokes, tell jokes. If you’re political, be political. Use your stories and captions to share your
Designer Abbie Bacilla is a great example of a Motion Designer using personality to drive her branding. Sure, it’s cool to just post a video and have lots of people like it, but by simply including a personal story or two, you will create a lasting connection with your audience.

8. Send People to Your Portfolio

In addition to being a great place to chat with the community, your Instagram should be used to send people to your portfolio site. Don’t have one? Create one. It only takes a few minutes with modern tools like Squarespace or Wix.
Once you have a portfolio site up, you should include a link in your Instagram bio. Some folks like to use services like to curate their links and that is totally fine as well. The goal is simply to make it as easy as possible for someone to find your work and potentially hire you for a project. If you sell an online product you can also use this as an opportunity to link to your store or product page. On that note, if you’ve ever wanted to launch your own online product I recommend checking out the Curious Millionaire program from my friend Caleb Ward.

9. Create Content for Communities with Big Followings

Did you know that Anime is more popular than Jesus? It’s true. In the digital age, just about any community can develop a massive following online. In addition to your love of Motion Design, you probably have other interests that fall outside of After Effects or Cinema 4D. Why not become the go-to Motion Designer in that large niche? What is it for you? Baking? Action Movies? Architecture? World History?
Luis Miranda uses his love of Theme Parks and horror films to draw inspiration for his feed. As a motion designer you have a communication superpower that other people only dream of possessing; use this to your advantage. Create short explainer videos, give homage to a hero in your niche, or do volunteer animation work for major industry sites or YouTube channels. By focusing on a niche, you can very quickly become THE motion designer for a large online audience. You should be far more afraid of becoming too general, than specific.

10. Bring Out Emotions

Instagram is a platform that prioritizes engagements over likes. So in the eyes of Instagram it is far more valuable for someone to comment on something, than simply like it. If a post is seeing a lot of comments, saves, or shares it will rise through the algorithm faster. But how do you increase engagement on Instagram? There are two main ways to bring out emotion in your work:
  1. Be Funny – Create something hilarious and silly.
  2. Be Controversial – Take a hard stance on something that is controversial.
Buck continually posts hilarious artwork on their feed. If you can make something funny and controversial at the same time, even better.

11. Press Into Pop Culture & Holidays

Not sure what content to create? The calendar is one of your best friends. There is an obscure holiday for basically every day of the year. Plan your holiday-themed artwork a few days in advance and share it with the world. Here’s a link to a calendar of funny holidays. Another great place to look is simply anything trending in pop culture. Whether it’s a musician, movie, tv show, meme, event, or anything in-between. If you satirize current events, you are very likely going to see a huge uptick in traffic.
Sam Burton used pop culture phenomenons like Stranger Things and Game of Thrones to grow his following.

12. Use Carousels

Carousels are the little ‘sliders’ that allow you to include multiple images or videos in a single post. They do incredibly well on Instagram and I always recommend trying to figure out a way to turn an ordinary post into a carousel.
One easy thing to do is to simply show various stages of your project. Show a screenshot of your After Effects comps and include any pre-vis or inspiration sources. The sky’s the limit!
DeeKay is one of our favorite MoGraph slider creators.

13. Compete in Challenges

One of the easiest ways to get your work seen by a lot of people is to compete in online challenges. Challenges and contests can be a fun way to participate in community events and grow a following for your account in the early days. A few challenges include:
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Ampersand by @garabatfire with @belrtarducci

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Learn More About Growing an Instagram Following

Want to learn more about growing an Instagram following? Here are a few helpful links from around the web:

Want to create a clear system for getting consistent clients?

Freelancing is scary and can have a lot of ups and downs. Work can dry up and you might struggle to manage your time and reach out to clients especially when you’re busy. Our Client Quest course offers you a framework to create your own system for finding your ideal clients. Helping you turn clients into raving fans that hire you again and again and refer you to more awesome clients like themselves.

Go Get Social

I hope you’ve enjoyed this article. Again, the goal is not to simply grow a following, it’s to tell a story in your own unique voice. If you ever post something awesome on Instagram use the hashtag #MotionHatchling and we might just share it out on the Motion Hatch Instagram channel. Cheers!