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Marketing Your Art Using Social Media


artist taking a photo artwork selfie


There is a huge variety of social media platforms to choose from and this can be overwhelming for artists that want to embark upon successfully marketing their work. To make matters more confusing, platforms are constantly changing. It can be tricky to keep up with the mysterious hidden rules of algorithms, latest marketing trends, hashtag methods and general best practice. Online advice is very quickly made obsolete so remember to use up-to-date information when making your assessments.

 

Due to the ever-changing policies, this social media marketing overview will avoid anything too technical as that is best found on specific tech and company support sites. Instead I will focus on reviewing the sites for the benefits they have and the methods I like to use. 

 

When deciding on what platforms to use, consider first what you want to achieve, your target audience, how you want to engage with social media and the amount of time and money you want to invest in channels. 

 

Some of the key benefits to marketing via social media include:

 

●      Worldwide reach

●      Gaining inspiration

●      Community building

●      Audience engagement

●      Direct sales

 

The true cost effectiveness of running social media channels is debatable. Many now require you to pay for advertising or 'boosts' to reach new audiences and to be considered favorably in algorithms. If you were to add up the hours required to get a channel working in a meaningful way (quality content creation, gaining followers, research, engagement) versus the useful reach you achieve and the conversion into financial gain, the numbers wouldn’t balance favorably for many artists. For this reason, it is important to find a platform that you enjoy using and find your flow so you can keep it running consistently.

 

Having worked through this checklist myself these are the platforms I chose to use and why they work for me:


Meta: Instagram and Facebook


Probably my favorite platform for sharing my art and life as an artist is Instagram. This is because it is predominantly visual with few words. I often use stories and posts to give a glimpse into my studio life and new creative pursuits. It is a quick and easy method to stay connected to my followers without needing to invest too much time. 

 

Facebook’s business pages allow you to share news and events with followers, sell your art and create albums of your work that can present as portfolios. Facebook also allows you to connect with art communities through groups.

 

Both Meta platforms undergo constant changes. Both used to be very good at supporting organic growth of small businesses and independents. However, at present the methods that you could previously use have dwindled, for example on Instagram hashtags have recently been changed so they no longer offer the same level of exposure to those that are not Top Posts – they want you to pay for advertising. As you may have realized over the last few years, advertising has swamped the platform. Similarly, with Facebook business pages, unless you pay there is very little visibility and exposure for new channels. 

 

My advice is to build upon partnerships to gain exposure – a post mutually shared via stories from a gallery, a collective or other related profile with a related target audience, can be very beneficial.

 

Join me on Instagram and Facebook


LinkedIn


This is a professional platform that allows you to build a network within a specific industry. I use this to connect to gallerists, curators and other creative professionals. It is also a great tool for researching key figures that may be on a judging panel or put a name to a face to help you pick out the right people at your next networking event.

 

The profile page is the perfect location to list your artist CV, bio, a link to your website and portfolio. I also use the blog function to engage professionally with my network. Make sure you remember that this is not a one-way street, people will engage with you if you take an interest in their posts too, so give a little time to reading and responding to discussions on the platform.

 

Join me on LinkedIn


X / Twitter


As with Instagram and Facebook, X is constantly undergoing changes so building an organic following on a new account with no initial reach or budget is tricky. You have to put a lot of work in. I personally don’t know how useful it is for artists promoting their work, however it is a good tool for seeking opportunities. Galleries, museums and art media sites are always posting opportunities such as open calls for residencies, shows and art related jobs. It is also a good way to quickly skim through the latest art news and announcements.

 


TikTok


If you prefer short, fun, quick-fire posts then TikTok is an obvious choice. It is more informal than the other platforms and works especially well for engagement and participation in live events and conversations. It will expand your network but it can also drive you crazy.

 


Pinterest


I don’t use it to promote my work and boost my career but I do use it for my own inspiration. The function to create mood and ideas boards can be a great way to kick start a new project.


YouTube


Video sharing platforms are a way for creative professionals to share their artistic process, behind the scenes snippets, footage from events, documentation of performances, moving image works and art tutorials. YouTube also offers the opportunity to gain financially and is sharer friendly though blogs, websites and across social media.


There are many other options to consider: Tumblr, ArtStation, Behance, DeviantArt, Vimeo, Discord, Twitch…the list goes on.  


I started my Youtube channel not long ago and mostly posting shorts as of now:


Let me know what social media platforms work for you in the comments below.


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