Using Social Media to Sell Art

Contrary to what you may have heard or thought, social media is NOT where you will sell your art. A Facebook or Instagram feed are not storefronts… and it’s kind of a rule that you shouldn’t be salesy in social media posts. While you probably could make some sales directly from social media, your long-term, steady and higher-dollar art sales will derive from the relationships you establish.  So, you may be asking “why should I focus my marketing efforts so much on social media”?

Why Artists Should Focus on Social Media Marketing

Social media — Facebook, LinkedIN, Instagram — has opened a world of possibilities for us to forge new relationships, connect with others and build relationships with people who have common interests.  By participating in online groups, hashtag conversations, direct messaging and online events, we are able to connect and interact globally.   Social media has made the world much smaller by connecting us like we’ve never imagined before.   This is a wonderful opportunity for entrepreneurial artists!  We are able to amplify our brands to a much wider audience… regardless of niche.  A smart social media strategy can change your art business and allow you to do what you love – create, all while earning a living and thriving.

The secret to selling using Social Media is to connect with others and build relationships with people who have common interests..   Notice I said selling “using” social media.  Social media is where we form those relationships. The transactions usually happen down-the-road, once you’ve had an opportunity to bond with people.  In any industry, people typically buy from those they know, like and trust.
When that time comes, you will likely make art sales online… on your website, Etsy shop or on-demand art store; or you’ll make the sale in person!

How to Connect and Build Relationships with Buyers

In any industry, people typically buy from those they know, like and trust.  But how do you get people to know, like and trust you online?  Social media is where you connect… it’s then your job to build your own audience. Your audience is any group of people who follow you.

You can build an audience by getting more followers on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIN, and other networks… and I recommend you build your following on social media as an ongoing effort. However, what makes me nervous about these platforms is that you don’t own them.  They are controlled by the platform. The company behind the channel can control your “reach” to the audience.

For example, a few years back we were able to post on our Facebook pages and all our page followers would see our posts.   Now, Facebook… in their effort to provide “meaningful” content to people’s feeds started massively throttling how much of our posts show up in our follower’s feeds. Now in order to gain traction on Facebook, you need invest in their advertising.  And that audience you built there, is not really “your” audience.  With this said, it is still essential to build a following on Facebook… just do what you can to also capture their attention on a platform for which you have control.

 

Platforms to Build an Audience

There are two main platforms that I recommend using to build your following… your own website/blog and a mailing list. You own and control each of these.  Then, your social media strategy becomes using social media to drive traffic to your website and to build your email list.

A blog is a platform where you can share latest works, events and anything else going on in your art business.  Individuals can subscribe to your blog and receive emails when new information is added.

An email list is probably the most powerful selling tool for online marketing. I typically recommend Mailchimp or Constant Contact.  Mailchimp is free for up to 2,000 subscribers, so it’s one many artists start with.  I never recommend over sending to your list, but it is a great way to stay in touch on a monthly basis or as news in your business develops.

 

How Do I Find Potential Collectors and Buyers for My Art in Social Media?

Social media is where most of your marketing activity will occur. By keeping an updated art page, interacting in groups, posting regularly to your chosen social media platforms, and even advertising, you will steadily build a following on social media.  You will want to encourage them to visit your website and join your mailing list whenever possible.

 

Make Connections and Initiate Relationships

  • Connect with others around your art medium
    Artist follow other artists and can serve as loyal fans, potential buyers and creative support
  • Connect with others around a specific niche
    If your art (or series of art) caters to a specific niche, connect with others with an interest in that niche. For example… if you paint old cars… join groups and follow/interact relating to that niche.
  • Connect with others around a geographic community
    Connect with members of your communities: religious, hobby, interest, schools, etc.

So far, I’ve covered where and how to build your audience, as a key strategy for “using” social media to sell art.  Now, I want to cover some basic strategies that should be considered in all your social media activities.

 

Brand Strategy

The first strategy is to build recognition by creating a brand for your art business.  A logo is highly recommended and can be as simple as just text…. Just make sure you use the same text and color scheme always for your logo.

A few posts/videos on logo design and creation.

Aside from your logo, which should be prominent on all your social media channels, website, newsletter, etc., consistent use of colors and fonts are effective in establishing a brand.

Your brand can also convey personality and emotion. These are intangible brand elements and can be very effective in connecting with your intended audience.

 

Content Strategy

Any successful social media marketing plan evolves around content marketing. As artists, we have a lot of visual content to use. It should be formatted for posting, meaning it should be cropped to appropriate sizes, branded with your logo (whenever possible) and be something that will appeal to your target audience.

Creating a posting calendar will help you determine exactly how much content you need to create, as well as what kind.  You should plan to mix up your content by posting images of your art, videos. You should plan out what you want to post where. For example on Instagram, your feed content plan and strategy may be different from your Instagram story strategy.

 

Consistency

On all social media channels, consistency is essential.  Posting consistently keeps you in your followers feed and helps continuously grow your following.  The recommended frequency in which you post depends on several factors such as which channel you are using, how quickly you can cultivate content and insights you gather as you grow.

 

 

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