Today, artists and businesses use social media to get closer to their audiences and meet customers where they are—regardless of geographic location.
Being present on social media allows creatives to express themselves with more liberty, frequency, and intimacy, and eventually promote their work and generate sales.
According to the 2017 social selling index (SSI) 78% of social sellers outsell peers who don't use social media. Users are ready to engage and ready to buy.
So, what tactics can you use to capitalize on this trend and create a buzz around your artwork?
Be personal in your approach
People care as much about the "who" as the "what." Social media research shows that posts written in the first person, with people in the photos get significantly more likes and shares.
When sharing your artwork, it’s important to include more than just your artwork. People want to see the artist behind the work. Share about your artistic journey and the story that went into a work's conception.
Don’t be afraid to include pictures of yourself next to your work or compose posts that get a little personal. The devil—and the sharing—is in the details.
Most of all, don’t forget to use 'I' to make posts even more compelling. Social media is just that—social. Those participating want to create authentic relationships with real people. Even if that means sharing a little bit more about yourself ... go for it! You will be surprised at how your followers will embrace your authentic voice.
Be consistent with your posting
In the social media world, more posts equals more likes and more shares.
It may seem obvious, but it's true. However, if it seems to easy to be the whole truth, you are right. There’s a caveat.
If you start posting awesome photos and videos of your artwork ten times a day, and all of the sudden you take a much-needed vacation and your feed goes blank; your audience will notice. Not only will they notice, but this inconsistency can result in long-term detriments to your total likes and shares. Not to mention, most social algorithms, most notably Facebook, look unfavorably on a lack of consistency.
While each social media platform, and each expert, has their own standards on how often to post, what’s important for you to keep in mind is consistency.
Once you’ve defined your publishing strategy, try and stick to it. It could be one post a day or twenty, just make sure it’s something you can regularly handle.
There are a host of tools and tricks to help you publish while you’re away. These tools help you develop systems that keep your social presence steady. As soon as you’ve entered the social world, staying relevant means sticking around and being consistent!
Be strategic with your content
It’s one thing to post for the sake of posting, it’s another to have a strategy that justifies your content. Before embarking on any social media campaign, ask yourself, ‘Why am I even doing this’?
Is it to generate sales? Is it to gain exposure? Or to connect with your audience? Each of these motives will require different strategies to be successful.
"But, everyone is posting so we should be posting too ... right?” Wrong.
Instead, you should start with your objective. Define your goal and then customize the tactics needed to get to that goal. Tactics come in the form of types of posts, photos, commenting on other accounts, hashtags etc. If your goal is to make your first sale off of Instagram in the next three months, lay out a plan to get yourself there with a handful of tactics. Comment on other accounts and post process photos to generate authentic connections, host a giveaway to boost your follower count, and then offer a flash sale with a clear link to your online store to drive sales.
Being precise in your motives gives you a strong voice that social users appreciate. Once your strategy is clear, it’s okay to communicate that to your audience. They will appreciate the honesty and will probably be excited to help you get there.
Be analytical in your journey
"But, I didn’t become an artist to look at numbers!" That's probably accurate. However, what matters is that analytics can give you huge insights into your social media strategies, and optimize what you’re doing so you can spend less time on social media.
Analytics are built into nearly every social media platform and are relatively easy to use. Plus, social media platforms have worked hard so that non-experts can navigate this information easily.
Examples of analytical insights could include: the time of day people are checking their feed, which countries host the majority of your followers, what languages your audience speaks, and how certain posts perform compared to others. Taking some time out of your day to sift through your analytics dashboards can highlight which artwork and which posts are generating a buzz. Once you’ve highlighted your "super-star" posts, try and find what makes them different. Are they long or short? Is it a picture or a video? These little "aha" moments help you continually improve how you communicate with your audience and generate a buzz with precision.
Be an active listener
Perhaps the greatest advantage to social media is being able to communicate directly with your audience.
Whether it is through comments or retweets, winks or likes, social media gives you a chance to listen to your audience. Use social media to see what your fans are talking about. Is there a hot new trend out there that your audience just can’t get enough of? Maybe a controversial art piece making waves in your sector? Give your two cents about it!
However, listening is by no means limited to the social media space. If there’s a recurring subject in your "real world" social group or a topic that keeps turning up in your media, there’s a good chance your fans have heard about it too. Staying up to date with trending hashtags and google trends is a digital way to get an idea of what’s top of mind for your followers.
With your finger on the pulse of social happenings, you can generate conversations and pertinent content with more ease. Topical posts have a higher preference (among social media algorithms) and share rates than general ones, so don’t hesitate to join the conversation.
In the end...
In the end, it’s not about likes and shares, it’s about sharing your life’s work with the people who will appreciate it. It's about making connections with people who want to share your journey and the beauty that you have created.
That’s why, above all, it’s important to stay authentic.
Be personal, but be yourself. Be analytical, but stay spontaneous. Listen, but don’t be afraid to speak your mind.
When social media is an extension of ourselves, rather than a superficial facade, people can tell. There is no bigger turnoff that people trying to be who they’re not, and internet users can smell it from a mile away. Likewise, there is a huge market for authenticity out there, and as artists and creatives, you can be proud of what you do, and find the people out there who support you.
By using all of these methods while maintaining an authentic version of yourself, you’re sure to create a buzz for both you and your artwork. So be personal, be consistent, be strategic, be analytical, and listen, but above all these things, be true.
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