Thursday, August 30, 2018

How to Market Your Art on Social Media

Artists: How to Market Your Art on Social Media
 Being a professional artist is two jobs in one. The first job is expressing yourself through your painting or photography. And the other is marketing the finished product to the audience that will buy it. Each half of the equation depends on the other.

One easy way to market your art is through social media. It’s a free, fast way to build an audience, show them what makes your art different, and eventually make sales. Here are some tips to get started.

Create a Page
First thing’s first, create a separate profile for your art. Playwright and Social Media Expert Carlotta Zimmerman calls it “announcing yourself to the world.” It sets your intention as a serious artist, and filters out the content on your personal page – memes, pet photos, political content– that could distract from your professional brand and turn followers off.

Let People Know Who You Are
Your bio section is a great place to tell people what you’re about and draw them to you. Think of it as an elevator pitch. In a few sentences, tell newcomers to your page why they should follow you. Don’t be afraid to sprinkle in some interesting facts to help you stand out. Did you spend a year teaching art abroad? Was your work in the background of a popular TV show? Did you create a series of art using only pencil shavings, or inspired completely by characters from ‘70s sit-coms? By all means, include it. Your bio is a place to tease readers with a few nuggets that will leave them wanting more, in the hopes they’ll follow you.

Choose a Brand Voice
When you think of a brand, you probably imagine huge companies with recognizable logos and catchy jingles. But if you’re selling something, you have a brand too. And everything you write on social media should reflect that brand and the audience who buys it. The tone of your writing should match your art and the people who buy it, while still sounding like you. If you’re painting peaceful watercolors usually purchased by retirees, for example, you’ll want to avoid stuffing your posts full of the latest slang. It won’t reflect you or the audience you hope to engage.

Keep it Consistent
Make it easy for followers to find you across social media platforms by sticking to one brand name. Claim your professional name, such as “Michael Smith Art” across as many sites as possible before another Michael Smith grabs it out from underneath you. You may not use Snap Chat, Instagram, or Twitter regularly, but you never know when they might come in handy. So, it’s best to claim them while they’re still available.

Focus In
Now that you have a presence on all social media platforms, use them wisely. You don’t have unlimited time to update your pages constantly, so play to each platform’s strengths. Showing examples of your latest work? Instagram and Facebook are great for sharing visuals. Inviting people to an event? Facebook and Twitter let you reach wide audiences. Doing a demonstration or time-lapse video of your art? Try a Facebook Live or upload a video to YouTube and link to it across your accounts, like we do for visiting artists and framing demos. Sharing brief, witty observations about art? That has “Twitter” written all over it. 
Use the 80/20 Rule

The end goal of marketing is to sell your art. So it may seem counterintuitive to post anything that’s not sales-driven. But your followers want to be entertained  ̶  not sold to. So shoot for 80 percent entertaining content, and 20 percent sales content. Share photos of your latest painting with an interesting story about what inspired it. Add tips you’ve learned throughout your career, candid shots of you working in your studio, and how-to videos about your techniques. If you give your viewers content they like, they’ll be warmed up and more apt to engage with sales, promotions, and offers.

It’s called social media for a reason. It’s meant to be a two-way connection between you and your audience. So, if someone leaves a compliment about your work or asks a question about your process, respond to them just like you would if they had spoken to you in person. Engaging fans on social media is a chance to solidify relationships that could turn into connections or even sales. And steer clear of canned responses. If a follower can see you’re copying and pasting a scripted message to everyone who comments, they’ll feel like they wasted their time writing to you. So craft a short, heartfelt response to anyone who comments on your content.
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