Part 1 - SOCIAL MEDIA AND ON-LINE PROMOTION
Focus on two or three social media platforms. It’s very difficult to manage more than 5 effectively if you are doing it all yourself and finding the time to create work.
The best ones for art are, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. (YouTube for multi-media artists)
Facebook - Is great for building up the story around your work and what it is you are expressing. Images of your work, articles, and any video clips such as an interview or a behind the scenes work very well. You can also pay to advertise affordably to amplify your promotion.
Twitter – Is similar now that it is more visual. You are limited to 140 characters which means you have to be a bit more creative and concise about what you write. If your posting a an image with a link in the copy directing people your online gallery then use a bit.ly link to shorten it. Use a mixture handles (@’s) and hashtags # to communicate directly with people and popular trends that are relevant to your work. For example, @SaatchiGallery, New Exhibition “The Great Unknown”, October 2015, #painting #artexhibition
Instagram – although owned by Facebook the platform is more similar to Twitter. Follow other artists, galleries and general people you find interesting and engage with their work by leaving comments and liking and hashtags. Find profiles with large following which share content and @ and # them.
Don’t be disheartened if you don’t hear back from them, just keep trying and people will start to engage more and more with your profile.
ORGANICALLY GENERATED PROMOTION
This is promotion generated without paying for advertisement.
• Increase followers – So that your content gets seen by more people. The best way to start getting new followers is by inviting all of your friends to Like your page on Facebook or Twitter/Insta profile – remember to re-do this again after a while when you ave acquired more friends. You can even send some personal inbox messages asking them to show their support.
• Increase engagement with your posts - Put out content consistently but not too often – between 3 and 7 times a week on average is good. Think about timings – usually evenings when most users are active at about 7:30pm is going to increase your chances of being seen. Catch on to upcoming trends and special days in the year and use them like brands to your advantage, just think M&S Christmas. Asking questions to your audience can encourage interaction; what do they prefer? Do they know where the location it is.
• Vary types of posts – Images of your work, either finished or if it’s a larger piece you can post stages. It makes people feel involved in what you are doing as they see it develop. Don’t push out the same artwork more than 5 times in a month it looks spammy and Facebook will start to lower it’s impressions – (an impression is every time your image appears on the newsfeed on someone’s screen- desktop or mobile).
• Interact with other professionals - When you are not posting your own work interact with other artists, galleries or people you admire, share their work, comment on it and support each other. The facebook algorithm works by pushing up content which has more engagements to the top of the newsfeed, so if you and someone else are sharing each others work it is more likely to get seen by a wider audience. It costs nothing but a fraction of your time.
• Keep the copy short - More than three lines and people start to scroll straight past. Be informative, and use a call to action when necessary. E.g. Vincent Van Gough, “Self-Portrait” now on show at The Saatchi Gallery. Come and have a look”
• Putting in the price can work very well to encourage sales - Some artists may feel a bit embarrassed to do this but people can feel more embarrassed to ask you directly so tell them and if they like it they will buy it. Regularly upload your artworks. Sometimes adding a call to action can also encourage a viewer to click through to your website like “Check out my new piece, now available from my website - www.... - for £200
PAID ADVERTISING (AVAILABLE FOR FACEBOOK AND TWITTER)
- Try and work with building organically first.
- Start by considering paid advertisement to build your follower/fan base – this will mean your posts get seen by more people. You will be charged per 'like' achieved but you can set a top budget. A greater number of followers can add provenance but remember they also need to be engaging with your posts.
- You can also pay to promote individual posts, this can mean you engage a more specific audience, they like and share it with their own audiences spreading your post further.
- More visually engaging posts are more cost effective as Facebook will charge less. Visually interesting posts are easier for viewers to engage with and therefore more successful.
- Handling Negative Comment: Even if you get negative comments you can use these as a potent force to put across who you are and acquire new fans and followers, by politely turning them around. Respond politely addressing it, perhaps provide further explanation or offer to answer any further questions over email. Anything not productive - swearing etc - just delete or block the person leaving it.
Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there and self promote – it’s never been so easy ( it can be hard to put something you’ve created out to the public and for it to be rejected, but it is harder for your career if don’t – remember all established artists have their critics, from Dali to Tracey Emin and Banksy
Work at it regularly, this does take time and effort but the rewards can definitely be worth it if you get it right. During those times when you are not actually creating anything or waiting around do a few posts, interact with others socially, it only takes a few seconds and you can schedule posts in advance for ease.
The important thing is that they feel connected to you and your work and that they are involved in what you are doing. It is a great way to reach out without having to leave the comfort of your own home.
Alexis Jourrou - Social Media Consultant. Works with Saatchi Gallery Magazine, MTV, Warner Brothers, Canon and various London galleries and artists.
Continued Next Week: How to Promote Yourself: Part 2 - IN PERSON/VERBAL PROMOTION
Oaktree & Tiger Team
Art experts giving advice to emerging artists to build their careers and find success. Organisers of the Ashurst Emerging Artist Prize 2017, artist agent and art consultants.