Social Media For Artists
If you’re looking for exposure, don’t underestimate the power of social media for artists, it’s an essential part of the artists armoury and now fully integrated into modern business marketing. Every day, hundreds of thousands of people log onto Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, looking for inspirational quotes and stunning pictures …let’s give them the chance to experience your art!
If you are new to social media or just starting to take it more seriously then I hope to share with you some essentials of social media for artists.
Social media platforms are built for images. Virtual galleries such as Pinterest and Instagram offer visual artists a great opportunity to promote their art and themselves – giving people the chance to view, comment on and share your work.
You can also employ social media to promote your gallery opening, latest blog post or up-coming classes and art demonstrations. Creating an event and inviting your followers and friends (and their friends, and their friends) is a great, free and effective way to gain exposure.
It’s good practice not to use your personal page to promote your art, however – instead, create a separate, professional account or page and invest the time to write a good compelling bio with a portfolio of your best works for your artists profile. Try and keep your information to the point, there’s rarely a need to include a 500 word artists statement across all of your social media accounts, better to save that for your website and galleries. If your art needs some explantation or you have an interesting story to accompany it, then why not add an excerpt and include a ‘read more’ link to allow the reader to investigate further. This also has the added benefit of you being able to channel your followers to where you sell your art from!
Well, this really all depends on what you are trying to achieve, do you want more website traffic? Comments and feedback on your art? Be a part of a bigger artists community? Or want to try and entice more buyers to your galleries? etc.
Some platforms are better suited than others for a particular need and it’s a big subject (perhaps for a later blog post). But having spoken to many artists, the feedback is that they do better concentrating on one or two platforms and doing them well, rather than spreading themselves too thinly in the hope of getting seen more widely – quality over quantity (of course websites like Artistsuncovered can take care of both for you!). It can’t be stressed enough that fully understanding your chosen platform, from it’s own rules and etiquette to simple images dimensions, can really benefit you and help speed things up in the long run, so do invest the time to learn the ins and outs to begin with.
Most of us are familiar with Facebook and Twitter, they are popular and effective tools for showing and sharing art and info. There are artists who sell really well through either one or the other (rarely both) but as with all social media they need to be used effectively and consistently to produce a decent following and subsequent sales.
Instagram is very popular amongst artists and some have very, very big followings. So the potential is definitely there and it can be a case of experimenting to see which ones suite your brand, style and personality.
Generally, artists are less than enamoured with the term ‘branding’, but branding doesn’t have to be all about corporate logos and marketing strategies (more of which later..) For the individual artist, it’s about creating a brand persona and discovering which values are important to you and your work and then integrating those into your brand.
It’s these shared values that will resonate with your audience and over time, will turn previously unknown art lovers into a wonderful, supportive and loyal following!
Keeping your branding consistent across your chosen social media is important. Try and use the same avatars and background images on your profiles so followers can easily identify you at a glance and make sure your images are of a high quality. Even beautifully made art will look poor in a badly lit or composed photo. Don’t forget to add links to where you sell from in your bio (Facebook have recently introduced a ‘buy now’ button), make it as easy for your followers to get to where you sell from as possible, the less clicks the better!
So who are your market? Well, that can be a tricky question to answer. Knowing your target audience may seem simple (everyone likes art right?) but focussing on the market specifically for your art can take time to figure out. A combination or trial and error and closely observed analytics can throw up some surprising results, especially when using lesser known platforms (Reddit, Delicious, Stumble Upon) – don’t be afraid to experiment! You may notice traffic and activity coming from places you did’t expect, so do take the time to learn about these platforms (who’s using them? how do they work? what the etiquette is etc.) and think about how to utilise these to your best advantage.
Ultimately your target market will be those that share your values and you need to attract them with good quality, engaging content. A common mistake is deciding what you hope the market will be or one that is based on an artists wants or needs.
There are some really good paid and free tools like Hootsuite which allow you to schedule your tweets and posts in advance. This enables you to target a particular time of day if you know when your peak traffic times will be for each platform. As you can imagine, this can be a really useful part of your scheduling and will free you up for more exciting things like creating your art! The most important part is to do something everyday, or at least regularly, even if it’s only 5 minutes. Consistency is king.
The thought of pouring over social media analytics probably leaves a lot of artists cold, admittedly to start with it can be a bit intimidating and confusing. But all this data is telling you directly what your lovely followers (potential buyers) are doing with your posts and content. Over time, patterns start to emerge and clues can give you enough information to make informed decisions over what and when to post, or even target advertising for maximum exposure. Find what works for you and repeat it, keep an eye on the stats and keep going!
If social media for artists is such a wonderful resource, how come so many artists struggle with it? Well, many artists will be tempted to post and tweet about subjects that have little to do with their art, which can be off putting for those followers that only want to see some of the latests works, not cat pictures or what you’re having for lunch tomorrow! On the other hand, focusing only on selling your new painting or gallery opening can portray you as self-focused and preoccupied with sales and might cost you a myriad of followers. Balance is key.
Good behaviour and being pleasant are amongst the most essential practices, when it comes to using social media as an artist. Don’t post rude comments and try not to be negative in your interactions. Instead, to keep your followers – and help them multiply – comment on other artists’ works. Be positive and encouraging, share their content and promote them – chances are they’ll do the same thing for you!
Be sure to add your social media to you business cards and any promotional flyers etc.
When it comes to using social media for artists, you’ll find it an increasingly competitive and ever changing environment. So as artists we need to play to our strengths and keep creative with our posts and promotions. Forming a solid brand persona and building on the values you share with your followers is a great place to start. As you learn to recognise what makes your audience tick you can begin to tailor your content to the positive responses and engagement based on those values. Of course this will be different for everyone, but keep going, analyse, tweak and keep growing your audience!
Best of luck 🙂
We’d love to hear how you use social media for your art promotion, what has worked for you? So why not comment and join the conversation?