Social Media Marketing Basics for Artists
How many times have you seen a post on Instagram of a beautiful piece of art, let’s say a painting, wondered what it would look like in your home, and then noticed that the post was “sponsored”? I used to think that was weird. I’d think “no one is going to buy something off of Instagram or Facebook!”. That was before I became a Social Media Manager. Now, all I see are endless opportunities for artists, designers, creators, you name it, to have easy access to potential clients through the beauty and ease of social media. Never before have humans been so connected, which makes your job as a product provider that much easier. Before you wonder if you need to be an expert at social media to be able to sell art on there, the answer is (absolutely) not! It can be overwhelming when it seems like there’s a new app or feature coming out every day, but the first step is to start small and build your way up. It’s never too late to start – social media is not going anywhere! As they say, “the best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago, but the second-best time is today.” And on that note, here are some easy tips on social media marketing for artists:
The first, which is also the simplest and shortest tip is to start with one platform, master it, and then move on to the next. With Instagram’s visual allure and “Shop” feature, it may be best to start there.
The second tip is to only focus on the finished product when posting about your work. Bring your audience with you on your creative journey and let them see what goes into making of the final product! Content like behind-the-scenes videos, works in progress photos, walkthrough videos of your studio, how-to videos (and more!) are a great way to give them a look into your life as an artist. Keep in mind that the point of social media is to create connections, so you need to also share the work of other artists. You can do that by sharing content by your favorite artist(s), industry-related news, or exhibitions local to your area. “I’ve discovered so many new artists who inspire me every day just from their social media posts.” – illustrator and Marvel Comic artist Jen Bartel
Last, but certainly not least, is engagement. The biggest factor when it comes to any platform is engagement and showing up for your audience. Engage with your followers, with other artists you admire and with your ideal audience. Engaging doesn’t mean simply liking a photo and dropping an emoji in the comments. As mentioned above, social media is about creating meaningful connections so only leave a comment when you have something valuable to say – a genuine compliment, a question, a reply to another user’s question, on stories as well. You can optimize your engagement by switching your Instagram settings to a business account, that way you’ll have access to basic analytics for each of your posts as well as finding your ideal time to post when your followers are most active.
“Our best-selling exhibitions have without fail been those where the artist has a decent social media following, posts regularly, and engages in an authentic way with their followers. The exhibitions that have sold the least have been those where the artist isn’t on social media or is but didn’t use it to promote their show. This has become important enough that I now take an artist’s social media presence into consideration when deciding whose work I will show — something I didn’t do when I first started the gallery.” – Kelly Heylen, Curator.
The most important thing to keep in mind when marketing on social media is to maintain your authenticity, and that means remaining true to your tone of voice, to your brand and to your purpose – the rest will fall into place with practice. The future is digital so the sooner you’re familiar with social media for your business, the easier it will become with time.