Social Media for Artists (Part 4): Marketing Strategy Starter Kit

This is the last of our four part series on social media marketing for artists.  If you want to start from the beginning, it’s here.  In this article we’ll cover a basic starter strategy for marketing yourself as an artist through social media.

Artist businesses need to be on Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and have their own blog.  Each channel has a separate role to meet with the client on their terms.  These social media channels are essential client follow-up:

1. Your website

If you don’t have a website, stop now and get one.  They can be set up at VERY reasonable prices through hosts like GoDaddy or Moonfruit.  Your website is where you direct people back to from other social media sites.  It’s where you have your portfolio, your show dates, it’s where people are going when they are looking for you and your work.

2. Blogging

Blogging on your own website is the most important tool in your toolkit after the website itself.  Blogging, done well, drives website traffic since fans and prospects will find you based on Google searches and blog post syndication.  Ideally you should be blogging twice a week.  Google checks your site to see if it’s been updated regularly and if you’ve let it lag for a few weeks, Google drops it down the chain of its search results.  Blog like the wind!  (If you can’t bear to do your own blogging, and you can’t afford a company like BlogPudding, maybe you have a friend who will blog for you in exchange for some of your work? The barter system is your friend.)

3. Social Networks

Pinterest and Instagram help to reach the crowd who’s searching and engaged with the ‘visual’.  Imagine hash-tagging your Philadelphia-themed painting with #Philadelphia #art and then having someone inquire about purchasing it.  Yes, it happens!

Facebook is a great venue to build your social community.  However, due to Facebook’s paid distribution model, only 5-15% of your FB messaging gets out to your followers unless you are willing to pay Facebook for more distribution[link].  This limited distribution cannot be counted on to drive your business or messaging.

Google+.  Start using Google+ the way you would use Facebook.  Make sure it’s linked to your website so you’re getting the feedback from it.  G+ is the secret weapon for getting search engines to send people your way, so use it regularly.

Twitter lets you connect with influencers, who will let others know about your work and shows.  Twitter also lets you have a great conversation with followers and non-followers.  Alas, Twitter can eat up a lot of your time, and possibly large parts of your brain (the research isn’t fully in on that yet, but I am convinced), so set limits for usage!

Bonus Section!

For those of you who made it to the end of this series and still want to hear more, here’s a bonus section of tricks and treats that will really amp up your social media game.

Use hashtags.  When a fan takes a picture of your artwork, don’t freak out – encourage them to use the hashtag for your show.  In other words, let them do your marketing for you!

Use On-Site Social CallOuts.  Have a QR code – set it up to attach to the people who attended that event for a special offer.

Ask about the event’s marketing strategy.  Are they using Foursquare?  Are people checking in to the show?  Can you incentivize that?  Piggybacking off of others’ marketing strategies is a great tool!

Be creative!  What other platforms can you use to let people know about your work?  Snapchat is most famous for being used for sexting, yes, but would your followers sign up for a daily ephemeral art blast?  I know I would.  What are some creative ways you can us social media to work for you?

Turning your art into a business can be hard work, but the time you spend now can lead to years of success in the art world.

If you missed the first three parts of our series, here you go:

Social Media for Artists (Part 1): How to Communicate as an Artist Brand
Social Media for Artists (Part 2): Effective Social Media
Social Media for Artists (Part 3): How to Create an Artistic Niche for Yourself

Megan J WilsonMegan J. Wilson is a professional ghostblogger, commercial freelance writer and social marketing consultant.  She also blogs at Dirt Totem Productions, where she is an avid cheerleader for social media marketing for independent films.