1. DETERMINE YOUR GOAL
When you are clear about what your goal is and what you want to achieve through your social media platforms then you can get really intentional and strategic. This takes away the guessing and gives you a clear idea of why and what to post.
2. CHOOSE A PLATFORM THAT SUITS YOUR NEEDS
There are so many really fun and effective platforms out there and it can be tempting to want to be active on all of them. Don't complicate your life. Remember you are an artist and your goal and passion is to make art not spend all your precious time on social media platforms.
These amazing platforms and the devices that you use have been especially designed to keep you on them as long as possible and it will take discipline and planning to not get sucked into this social media trap.
Find two or max. three platforms that you can use and that suits your needs. Each platform is different and has a unique goal and speaks to a specific audience.
3. WHO IS YOUR AUDIENCE
When you have determined your goals and why you are on social media it is imperative to get super clear about who your audience is or who you want to reach. This will determine your posting goal and strategy.
You may have started out using FaceBook to keep friends and family informed about your latest breakfast favourites or your recent birthday bash but this posting strategy is not going to work if you want to use social media to get more eyes on your art.
Of course your friends and family are welcome to follow along and invariably they will be your biggest fans but they are not the potential buyers and collectors you are wanting to reach with your art.
Take time to test the different platforms.
Who do you see engaging with your Instagram posts the most? Check out their profiles. What posts are getting the most engagement on FaceBook? These valuable insights will help you get a better idea of the people that are following you.
You can of course turn it around. First, have a good think about your art and who it is for? Where do you see your art hanging? What client will be interested in your art? Does your art lend itself more for the corporate client or a local art collector or is your art appealing to the online art shopper? What is your price range (low, middle or high) or in what genre are you wanting to sell and promote your art? All these factors will determine your art audience, which will then determine your social posting.
TIP: If you have not done so yet change your social media accounts from regular to a business account. It is free and with a business account you have access to analytics that show you how many people have seen, clicked or have engaged with a post.
4. OFFER VALUE
It is good to bear in mind that the reason you are posting is not only to showcase your great art. You are posting to CONNECT. The social platforms are a great way to connect and converse with potential buyers, collectors or those interested in your art or workshops.
When you post and you have given it some thought, you can start to offer value.
An image, video or words that will inspire and enrich another persons life.
***Don't try and sell your art in each of your posts. This can irritate and become quite tiresome.
Before a potential buyer whips out their creditcard to purchase one of your pieces they first need to have the idea that they know you. When they have more of an idea of who you are and what you do it creates trust and makes selling a whole lot easier.
When you offer value you are building the know, like and trust factor with potential buyers.
By posting just the right content you can build these factors with your audience.
Try and vary your posting content. You can divide your content into 7 major categories.
1. Inspirational - share content that inspires you
2. Educational - share a tip or artist insight
3. Promotional - share details about your art, including, size, medium, price and where people can purchase it
4. Personal - share a personal detail about your life, an interesting detail about the village where you live, a childhood memory, something from your bucket list or a big outrageous goal you may have. **A word of caution. There is a difference between private and personal.
It is good to be authentic, real and transparent but it is not wise to share private details about your life. Make posting personal without crossing over into your private space.
5. Informational - share information about your latest show or workshop. If you are collaborating with other artists you can share information about their work.
6. Entertainment - followers don't only want to bombarded with details about your art they want to be entertained. This is a big reason people are on social media. They want to laugh, they want to smile. Find ways to create posts that are fun to read.
7. Re-posting - all your posting does not need to be only your own content. You can re-post and share posts that inspire or touch you. This will keep your social platforms interesting and active without having to do the work yourself.
5. BE CONSISTENT
If you are wanting to build a following it is important to post consistently. Rather post once a week and do it consistently than impulsively post 5 x a day for a week and then give up. You are building a sustainable art career and are in this posting game for the long run! Social Media is not going anywhere in the future so find a posting routine that will work for your lifestyle and work routine.
Build up an archive of photo's, quotes and inspiration that you can use in future posts. Make this a habit and then over time your posting will become second nature.
6. DON'T FIXATE ABOUT THE NUMBERS
When it comes to building an online audience through your social media platforms you need to focus on the quality not the quantity. Don't waste your time counting your like, comments or post and definitely don't let the numbers be a gauge how you value yourself or your art.
If you post consistently, offering value and inspiration your following will grow...guaranteed. It may take some time but if you don't give up it will pay off and you will start to see results.
***Sometimes social media can be far from social and people feel they are entitled to write whatever springs to mind. Learn to grow a think yet loving skin and ignore comments or reactions that may be hurtful or offensive. Focus on the positive and choose the battles that are worth your time and energy.
No amount of public affection will ever heal your private rejection.
7. ENGAGE, ENGAGE, ENGAGE
I see many artists just posting into the universe. They offer great value and post good content but they don't engage with their audience. When you are posting you need to keep that laptop open and your mobile on. Before you are ready to post, actively start to like, comment and share content that inspires you. Once your post is online, stay active, so that you can comment on reactions and engage with those people that are online at that moment.
Ask questions, share your idea's, offer advice, keep the conversation going. Followers will be be so happy and surprised that you have taken the time to respond to their posts or comments. They will not quickly forget you.
Instagram Stories is a great tool to use if you want to engage with your audience. The stickers, hashtags, locations and mentions gives you the possibilities to get really specific and relational. The post stay active for 24 hours and if you don't add them to your highlight reel they will disappear from the web which is especially handy if you are having a bad hair day!!!!
Find out more about Instagram Stories and how you can use it to sell and promote your art in this FREE RESOURCE.
7. USE IMAGES THAT SPEAK
You are an artist and you communicate through images. Your profession makes posting on social media extra interesting, exciting and effective.
As an artist you have a lifestyle that is inspiring and out of the ordinary. This can be a breathe of fresh air to many people who do not have these opportunities. As an artist you can really share your work, your life and your personality by using the right images.
Build up a library of images that show case your art, your lifestyle and your personality.
Invest in a professional photoshoot even if you have to save for it! Make a deal with a local photographer and take shots of you painting, teaching and working in your studio. These images offer immense value for your website and on your social media platforms.
In your studio
Office - behind the scenes
Outside of your Studio/Office
**Not all your images need to be neatly manicured. We are not going for perfectionism, showing a perfect life, in a perfect studio but go for a real, authentic (sometimes aspirational) representation. Celebrate progress not perfection. Don't let the need to be perfect keep you from actively using and engaging on Social Media.
**** If you are taking photo's in a group or workshop make sure that you notify people that you will be taking photo's and posting images on your social media. I find that in general nobody really minds but it is just good manners to ask as some people just don't want to appear all over your insta feed.
8. USE WORDS THAT WORK
Besides using the right, carefully curated images, finding the right words for your posts can add or distract from the effectiveness of your posting.
Write clear, concise and inspiring profile descriptions. Make it personal, insightful and engaging. Search for profiles descriptions you like and use this as inspiration for your own profile. You can choose to use emoji's to illustrate a point and to attract more attention. Remember people glance, they don't read. Finding and using the right words will go a long way.
When you add a description to your social posts always start your sentence with a hook. A few words to draw in the reader. Don't just say....Painting on easel...make the words that you use enticing..helping people read further.
Each word needs to trigger the reader to want to read the next word. You don't need to be a New York Times bestselling author to do this. Just be aware of the words that you use. If you come across other posts and interesting sentences/words in a book or online, then jot them down in a Google Doc or Notes on your smartphone.
Write short sentences and add spaces between each sentence. The visitors of your social platforms will not have the patience or time to read every detail you post. People scan they don't read. If you add a space they will get the first few words of each paragraph. So even if they are not reading they are getting the gist of your story or post.
It is getting more acceptable to post longer descriptions. If you have an engaged audience and you are offering them value, they will likely read it. You can use your description as a mini blog, giving the reader fresh insights and inspiration right there in your post.
These little words are powerful filters that will help specific followers find you and your art. In Instagram for example you can use up to 30 hashtags per post on your feed. Do some research to find hashtags that will help you reach your target audience. Go to their profiles and find out what hashtags are they using. Find hashtags that are have under 10,000 (preferably lower) hits otherwise you will not be found in the huge amount of content out there.
Always use the location option. You never know when somebody local is searching for a workshop or for art and then happen to stumble across your post.
Use the mention option when you are in collaboration or using an interesting supplier. They will receive a notification and will be grateful and possibly share your post on their feed.
Add tags to people in your pictures. This will alert that person and they can share the post on their platforms.
9. USE THE DM OPTIONS
I always loved getting letters in the mail but getting letters or postcards is more and more rare these days. Just this Christmas I counted a total of 3 cards I received the rest of the best wishes were all digital, through What's App, Messenger and DM on Instagram.
Using these DM options is extremely valuable and effective if you want to connect with your followers. Just copy paste a link of a landing page or special event page in the DM and send it directly to your followers.
On Instagram there are 3 ways you can add active links:
1. On your Insta profle,
2. In your IGTV (Instagram TV) description,
3. In your DM.
If you are offering workshop or you have an new show coming up you can add the link to the event on these three places.
10. GO LIVE
The LIVE options on the different social media platforms are powerful ways to get and keep the attention from your audience.
Platforms like Facebook/ Instagram reward LIVE broadcasters and your post is likely to be seen by more people.
It may take some getting use too but embrace LIVE posting and start to connect with your audience like never before.
You can hit that LIVE button when you are working on an artwork, visiting your a new exhibition, or just walking down the road and you feel the nudge to share something. It takes some practise speaking to your smartphone or computer camera but once you get the hang of it you are going to love it.
ARTISTS AND EVENTS MENTIONED
Banele Khoza, was born in Swaziland and now lives and works in South Africa. Banele, obtained a B-Tech in Fine Res and has won two prestigious art awards which opened the doors for him to study in Paris, France. Banele has used social media to grow his audience and to give viewers a better understand about who he is and what his art is all about.
Cape Town Art Fair
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