A crash course on the use of social media for artists
Social media can be a strange beast. Navigating its intricacies requires a little knowledge of how each platform works and how to find the best approach. There are a few tricks of the trade that we think work best for artists building their brand and audience online. Whether you’re new to social media or looking for some best practices, we’ve got our guide to social media outlined below. Let us begin.
find your voice
All social networks—Instagram and Facebook especially, thrive on personality-based content, allowing users to adapt to their real lives online. Instagram in particular is very visual, which is a great asset for artists. Posting behind the scenes and studio shots (#BTS) offers a glimpse into their daily process, humanizing their work. Noted thinker and art critic John Berger preached the notion that the true value of art is inextricably linked to the artist’s activity, the moments in which an idea is transformed into a physical object. In other words, show us your studio!
Posting high-quality photos of your workspace allows viewers to track the evolution of a job from start to finish and present it in a new light. Collectors will enjoy the opportunity to learn and see more about his process, establishing a connection to a work from the very beginning of its creation.
Instagram supports videos up to one minute long, which you can upload directly from your phone’s library. If you have an iPhone, use the camera’s built-in time-lapse feature to better illustrate the details of a job in action. You can also use free apps like hyperlapse to better optimize your time-lapse video for Instagram. For more impromptu content, use Instagram Stories (accessed via the little camera icon in the top left of your feed) to showcase quick photos or videos of you working or just living your life. These stories are highly visible at the top of your followers feed and disappear after 24 hours, so perfection is not a concern.
While the priority on platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest should be the image, the caption is also key. Let your voice shine, allowing users to connect with your quirks and sense of humor. Subheadings are also important for visibility, and the inclusion of certain keywords can make a big difference in establishing visibility. On Instagram and Twitter, use relevant hashtags that are discoverable but not too crowded, like #fotodeestudio either #studywall. Pinterest users use the search bar as they would a search engine, so use granular descriptions of your work (think: “blue expressionist painting”). Whenever possible, point to a link where users can buy or view more of your work (your portfolio on Saatchi Art, perhaps). On Instagram, place this link in your bio and indicate it in the title of each post.
build your audience
Be attractive! Follow the accounts of other artists and find a community. Think about who your target audience is and where they might be. What other interests do they have? What other accounts do you follow? Dig and search through hashtags and geotagged posts from galleries and museums. Follow users and like their posts, but don’t overwhelm them with overzealous levels – think gentle nudge instead of full-fire. Be an active user, not an eager user, we always say.
Because platforms and algorithms are constantly changing and evolving, it’s important to foster quality engagement with real people/accounts. When Instagram made the switch from chronological to algorithmic feed, the accounts and brands you are most engaged with began to filter higher in a user’s feed. Instagram’s transition echoes essentially every other algorithmically-powered medium, including Twitter and Facebook. This means that you will have to work harder to capture the interest of your followers and keep it. Keep a consistent posting schedule, a few times throughout the week, and definitely don’t bombard or clog a feed with too many posts.
—Claire Desjardins (@clairedj) March 11, 2017
Need a more detailed breakdown of social media? Check out this guide, which will walk you through setting up accounts and post 101.
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