photographing graffiti

Be a social creative – what artists should be doing on social media

Every artist knows that being visible is the most fundamental factor of your practice. But does that mean you should ‘pimp out’ your work to every social media site going?

Social media has become a prominent fixture in our lives; a place to shout, engage, discover and share funny cat videos. But with all this social noise it can be a daunting task to understand how to promote your work, or even know where to start.

In Gina Fairley’s article ‘How artists use social media effectively’ she points out that…

The pressure for artists to be present on social media is immense. But Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, even Twitter, are hungry beasts, never satisfied. Some artists spend more time tweaking their online image than producing art.

Artists need to balance the call of digital marketing so they are not just sucked into a time-sink that is more about vanity than professional practice.

inst
Artist Sharon Louden’s Instagram page

Of course, she is right: social media is beastly and likely to consume us if we don’t recognise the signs of over-indulgence. As an artist you should be a sponsor for yourself, but there needs to be a balance. Don’t self-deprecate but don’t over publicise your work either.

And not every social platform is going to be the right fit. You need to question and ask yourself whether it’s an important or relevant digital landscape to place your work in. Personally, I have many personal social media accounts, but little ‘artist’ accounts. The two invariably cross-over, but I don’t always like to have every single piece of creative information I own to be displayed online. For copyright issues, yes, but I also don’t feel or seek the need to publicise everything I do. Social media is a platform for engagement and conversation, and that’s what I try and use it for. But it is also the gateway to your most important asset – your website.

Lottie jackson-eeles instagram page
My Instagram page

We are over saturated by visual content from artists everyday, so it’s imperative to think like a digital marketer and be strategic. Utilising social media as a marketing tool and platform to promote your website is essential, but so is engaging with your followers and your community with relevant, compelling content. Here are some Top Tips from artists who use social media and manage these platforms correctly to publicise their work.

As a social media marketer (and artist), I would always recommend using visual content to ‘spread the word’, and with so much of it readily available to you, it couldn’t be easier! Now let’s take a look at the social platforms available and what’s the optimum site for your practice:

Facebook

  • Great for businesses and communities. Would recommend if you have an ecommerce site for your art, so you can share offers and updates to your community. Using Facebook Ads can’t hurt either! It’s fairly easy to set a CTA to either gain more likes on the page or send audiences to your website, and the results are easily trackable.

Twitter

  • This is an ‘all rounder’ for me, and what being social online is about. Posting, retweeting and liking on this real-time platform will promote your online presence, and give your followers up-to-date news on your practice, your thoughts and opinions on current and relevant topics, and show that you are active and engaged online. This will demonstrate thought leadership, and give value to your followers that you should be a part of the conversation.

Instagram

  • Fantastic for taking arty pics, but not to be overdone. We all love a filter, but as an artist, this site should be used to promote your work and the activity that surrounds it. Whether that’s exhibitions you visit, private views you attend or even hanging out at the studio – these are all great ways to promote your work without having to heavily show every piece of artwork you create.

Tumblr/Pinterest

  • These sites are densely populated with visual content, and are great to engage and share the stuff that you like, what interests and influences you. Both are great in sharing your work, but keep in mind to not over publicise, and hold back some of your most significant work exclusively for your website.

In conclusion

A clue is in the title; social media is about being social. It’s about conversation and building relationships, so that people can discuss and share your work as well. It’s not simply about selling (although, that is the dream for most artists), it’s about using these digital marketing tools at your disposal to your advantage, and providing valuable content to an engaged and interested audience.

 

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