Social Media For the Artist: A Personal Campaign of Learning or Sharing Tools

Art Journal, Artistic Growth, process, Thoughts

In this age no business can ignore the uses of the internet and social media. I don’t believe artists should either. They would be leaving too much free knowledge on the table. I began using social media for promoting my art work about four years ago, around the same time I decided to get serious about creating and thrusting my work into the world. I’ve had my frustrations and trials with different social media venues and how to make them work for me. There was this grand time when everything was chronological and everyone was happy. Then they started with the bedeviled algorithms. I came into the game after those.

Instagram:

Instagram is the big one for artists. (Your welcome, your friend Captain Obvious). How do you grow your audience without playing the games or joining a pod? (A pod for those of us not in the know is a group of people who get together and pledge to like and comment on each others posts. You can find them somehow on Reddit.) The games I refer to are liking a bunch of accounts hoping some will like you back and then deleting them a few days later. Or the ones who create ghost accounts. Some people have a lot of time. And now you know why your numbers randomly drop. You were followed by ghost accounts and/or accounts that were playing a numbers game. And who knows what other reasons.

What am I doing? I’m not getting thousands of followers. But I am getting genuine engagements and slowly growing my audience. Does this matter?

  • Art Sales: People reach out when they see something they love. The more people I’m reaching the more potential for this to happen.
  • Driving Traffic Back to my website: I’m Building towards this. I want to make it easy for people to find it and go there.
  • Instagram Stories: Many artists use these to effectively show behind the scenes of their work. Artists Brook Shaden and April South-Olson use their stories effectively this way. Lately I’ve been showing vignettes from my travels and things that interest me.

What am I doing?

  • Frequency of posting
    • This does seem to impact engagement…
    • I post every day
    • Friday and Saturday have less engagement, I still post
    • There are apps to assist with scheduling posting, I enjoy putting it out in real time.
  • Using hashtags.
    • Liking other peoples posts that use the same hashtags I’m using. Commenting. Engaging with them. This often results in solid follows and I follow back.
    • Check out other hashtags. People follow hashtags. Explore your options.
    • Create your own hashtag. I used my name. No one has my name. Now all of my posts are searchable under my name. I learned about this from following marketers on LinkedIn. (More about that later).
  • Likes
    • When a new account likes my post I check out their account in return. This organic engagement also results in new follows and follow backs.
    • I continue to make sure I’m supporting my followers by liking and commenting on their posts. Especially artists. These engagements are so important to us and help us reach our audience thanks to the algorithms. Think of the algorithm as a fog, and the engagement as a way of clearing up that fog for our work to be seen.
  • Location
    • I started putting my location in as well because people search by location.
  • Tagging Instagram Photos
    • If you tag them, they’ll show up under another account. Another way to be visible.
    • I just tagged my most recent post with Kitt Peak National Observatory
  • The Facebook Link
    • I have my Instagram linked to my Facebook Page, two for one posting
    • I don’t worry about having different content. They are generally a different audience.
  • Who am I following?
    • Big Galleries
    • Small Galleries
    • Call for art #
    • Gallery #
    • art gallery #
    • Michigan artist #
    • Art Critics
    • Artists
    • Accounts I engage with
    • Friends

Facebook

Love it or hate it our friends and family are there. I set up a separate page for my art at the start. I don’t know if that was for the best or not. I have 400 followers and less than 100 see an average post. This is why engagement matters and means so much. When 6 out of 100 people like that post no one new sees it and FB offers me the chance to pay for people to see it. Do you want to turn to give aways and gimmicks? For now I’m letting it ride.

How do I use Facebook:

  • I engage with everyone who comments. I like their comment and try to comment back.
  • I shamelessly like my own post. I do this on Instagram too. Something I’ve learned from LinkedIn.
  • If I put the location in correctly in Instagram it’ll tag the correct FB page when it posts. More than once I’ve had a reposts from places we’ve been enjoying my photos. Which lead to growing my audience.
  • I also try to support my artist friends on FB. We are all just trying to make our work visible.

LinkedIn:

Undervalued Asset that I am diving into.

How am I using it:

  • LinkedIn is a digital business card: My information is complete and up to date.
  • I post my blogs and other content. I’m still feeling it out, so far I’m learning more from following people than getting engagement back.
  • Follow, connect, engage with professionals.
    • Who? For me I’m interested in people I can learn from:
      • Gallery Owners
      • Artists
      • Art Critics
      • Art Directors
      • Marketers
      • Digital Marketers
      • Brand Strategists
      • Artist Mentors
      • Art Managers
      • Gallery Curators
      • Job Recruiters
      • Kristy Bonner… incredible content for anyone
  • I just recently started feeling out LinkedIn as more of a resource. And there are professionals on there foaming at the mouth to connect with others. Sharing brilliant information. You just have to be willing to block a few shirtless men and bitcoin miners who want to send you private messages.
  • LinkedIn Learning: They also have courses. In whatever interests you. If you are lucky you can nab one for free as they come along. Or, you can do the free month trial. The ones I’ve watched were great.

Pinterest

Pinterest has fallen by the wayside for me. I did enjoy collecting images and ideas. Once they started advertising I stopped visiting. At one time I was inserting images of my art onto my boards to see if they generated any sales on Etsy or lead back to my website. They did make it onto some boards. No sales. Something I experimented with, but wasn’t for me.

Twitter

I do not use twitter for art. I attempted. It went nowhere. I made one artist contact through Twitter. They periodically take commissions amidst their political comments. This works for them. But they also have thousands of followers. I had 22. I have since connected with them on Instagram.

Tik Tok

Word on LinkedIn from the Digital Marketers is this is it right now. Get on board. I don’t know how for a 2-D visual artist…

Blog

The blog is a way to collect my thoughts together in an accountable way I wouldn’t otherwise do.

The blog can be shared on LinkedIn, on Facebook, in different Facebook groups, Instagram, and email.

A blog doesn’t have to be complex. It is whatever you want it to be. But it is your content to share to your social media to bring back to your website. Your original content.

Other

It’s important to continue to test the waters of new platforms. They may not work out. I’m going to tell us all right now sticking with Facebook and Instagram because that’s where everyone is now, is not going to serve us. Artists go to the roads less traveled. They go were the neighborhoods are less hip and make them hip. Why would it be any different for us online?