You’ve heard it before, but it bears repeating: social
media is here to stay! It is changing the way the art world works and how
people are buying art.
Perhaps you’re aware of the opportunity, and you’re giving
it your best effort. You log into Facebook and share your latest work. You
tweet every other day. But, it hasn’t been giving you the results you expected.
You get discouraged. You do even less with social media. Does this sound
Here are some common reasons that artists struggle with
social media and how to overcome them:
1. “I Don’t Know What to Write”
You probably think authors and poets have it easy when it
comes to social media. They always know what to say, right? That may be true,
but visual artists actually have the advantage. In recent years, led by the
popularity of Pinterest, social media has been trending away from words towards
images. According to new Twitter data, tweets with images are 35% more likely
to be shared than text-only tweets. And Pinterest and Instagram were designed
to be visual platforms.
So, don’t worry about what you say. Instead, give fans and
consumers a glimpse into your world. Share a work in progress or a picture of
you in your studio. Snap a shot of your new supplies, or simply share an image
that inspires you. It may seem trite, but your fans will enjoy getting a peek
into your creative process.
2. “I Don’t Have Time”
We understand that you’d rather be creating than worrying about posting on social media at certain times of day. Luckily, there are a number of free and easy-to-use tools out there that make this task much simpler. Buffer and Hootsuite are both popular options, allowing you to auto-schedule posts and shorten links. That way you can take care of an entire week of posts (across all your social media platforms) in one sitting.
If you’re looking for a way to fill your feed with
interesting articles and inspiration from other artists, try out Feedly.
This platform lets you subscribe to your favorite blogs and magazines (Art Biz
Blog, ARTnews, Artist Daily, etc.), read all their most recent posts in one
spot, and easily share articles on your Twitter and Facebook feeds right from
3. “I Don’t See Returns”
When you first build a social presence, it’s likely going to be small. It’s easy to be discouraged by those small numbers and feel that you’re not making an impact, or that your effort is not seeing rewards. Don’t give up just yet! When it comes to social media, quality is more important than quantity. It’s okay if you only have 50 Facebook page likes on your Facebook page if those 50 people are actively engaged and sharing your content. In fact, that’s better than having 500 people who ignore your posts! Focus on the followers you do have and give them content they will enjoy. When they share your work, it’s not just those 50 people seeing your talent; it’s their friends, and the friends of their friends.
Over time, if growth just isn’t happening, it isn’t you.
Your target audience might not hang out on the social media platform that
you’re currently using. Take some time to think about who you are trying to
reach, and then dig around to find out where these people hang out online.
Design your social media strategy backwards with your audience and goal in
mind, and select the right platform based on that goal.
4. “I’ll Just Post and Be Done with It”
Social media is called “social” for a reason. If you just
throw up a post and never engage with your users or the post again, it’s like
walking into a party and standing alone in the corner. What’s the point? Think
of it this way; social media is a way to have a conversation with your
customers and fans. If you aren’t participating in conversations or reaching
out to other people, you’re not doing it right!
Here are a few strategies: If someone posts a comment on
your blog or Facebook, make sure you reply within 24 hours. Even a simple
“Thanks!” will go a long way in terms of engagement, because it makes people
feel good to know that you’re reading their posts and that there is a real
person behind the page. A great way to spark a conversation is to pose a
question on Facebook. Ask people to name a new piece of art that you created or
ask what they think of a show at a local gallery or museum.
5. “I Don’t Understand It”
Do you ever feel like there’s a new social network to learn
every few months when you haven’t gotten a handle on the first one? Social
media can be frustrating and ineffective if you don’t know what you should be
doing on that platform. Know that you aren’t alone in this! Don’t be afraid to
ask for help. Ask a friend or first-born child if they can show you around a
Facebook page. Chances are they’ll know enough to make you comfortable and
maybe even show you a trick or two. If you’ve exhausted your personal network
and still feel unsure of what you’re doing, there’s plenty of great content out
there to guide you through it. Here are a few places to start:
Ultimately know that you aren’t going to do anything with
one post that will ruin your entire career. This is a low-stakes, high-reward
activity that can be career-changing!
You don’t have to do it all, either!
Develop a strong social strategy by checking out “Which Social Media
Channel is Right for Your Art Business?”