One thing is clear—social media is redefining how the art world does business. In the past year, over 80 percent of all Generation Y art buyers bought fine art online, with almost half of online buyers using Instagram for art-related purposes, revealed Gotham Magazine.

So, how exactly is social media weaving its way through the art world? From making sales easier to sidestepping galleries, social networking sites are making a big statement.

This is what it means for your art career. You can now:

1. Go Directly to Your Audience

“Never before has an artist had the power to get into a conversation directly with their audience,” cheers artist Stuart Semple in Gotham Magazine. This power comes in the form of Facebook and Instagram, and we don’t think it’ll be changing anytime soon.

Curbing traditional means of communication, social media allows you speak with your followers about who you are and what you are making. Someone can inquire about a piece, and in an instant, it’s sold. And, with one fateful “follow,” the respected eyes in the industry can consider your work on a daily basis.

Take this example from VICE: Emerging artists bp laval and Genieve Figgis were posting their art on Instagram when Richard Prince took notice and went on to help them launch their careers, land exhibitions, and more.

Still not convinced? One minute artist Dan Lam was teaching at a community college, and the next minute she was sending a piece to Miley Cyrus and being featured at Art Basel. Read more about her Instagram success story here.

2. Get Validated Without a Gallery

Guess what? The social media boom means artists no longer have to rely solely on galleries and the art world elite to validate their success. Instead, the masses following your social media accounts are proof enough.

And, a large online presence means your name is being buzzed about, undercutting the need for galleries to spread the word about you. Vogue Magazine explains, “...today artists use Instagram as their own virtual art gallery, playing both dealer and curator while their fans become critics and collectors...” In other words, while gallery representation is still prestigious, it’s no longer necessary to go through this middleman.

3. Dodge Gallery Commissions

Sidestepping galleries and dealers by using social media posts also means that you don’t lose any money on galleries taking commissions. Instead, you can use Instagram or your Artwork Archive Public Profile Page as your gallery and collect the full amount on your art sales.

4. Avoid the Eliteness

Gone are the days when artists were required to hobnob with critics and collectors and make their way into shows before being able to sell a single piece. Satisfied with this aspect of the changing playing field is artist Brad Phillips, who says:

While you still need to get out and talk to potential buyers, you can do so knowing that it is only one aspect of art world, not the entirety of it.

5. Finance Your Art Projects

Finally, artists no longer have to fret when it comes to financing their dream art projects—all thanks to social media. With eager Facebook and Twitter audiences at the ready, an artist is able to share a link to his or her Kickstarter page and instantly receive donations from enthusiastic fans and strangers alike.

Social media gives fundraising a whole new meaning and lets you spread the word like wildfire.

You might have guessed it that there would be some drawbacks. Alongside all the positives, with this new social media landscape you ...

6. Have Less Control

Not all social media impacts are beneficial. For instance, many artists have concerns about the privacy of their images, and for good reason. A screenshot of your work could be passed around so many times that your name (and credit for the work) gets lost in the shuffle.

But don’t let this deter you from all the advantages the social media world has to offer! If this is a big concern of yours, include a watermark to your photos with text-adding apps like Quick or a free design site like Canva.

Another problem? Buyers could get turned off by your social media presence if it is not done well. We suggest that showcasing your personality and professionalism, while following these tips to make sure you aren’t damaging your online art brand.

Now we can’t imagine a world without social media.

The worst thing to do with change is deny that it’s happening and hold on too tightly to the past. Remember: the traditional art world is changing, but it may be for the better! Social media can help your art business, giving you access to wider audiences and easier sales. Embrace this new marketing tool, and experience the wonders it can do for your career.

Want more social media tips? Check out “5 Reasons Why Artists Fail with Social Media (And How to Succeed).