A crash course in using social media for artists
Social media can be a strange beast. Navigating the intricacies requires some knowledge of how each platform works and how to find the best approach. There are a few tricks that we think work best for artists building their brand and audience online. Whether you’re new to social media or looking for best practices, below is our guide to social media. Let’s begin.
Find your voice
All social media—Instagram and Facebook in particular – thrive on personality-based content that allows users to customize their real lives online. Instagram in particular is very visual, which is a huge win for artists. Posting footage from the studio and behind the scenes (#BTS) provides a glimpse into your daily process and makes your work more human. The well-known art thinker and critic John Berger held that the true value of art is inextricably linked to the activity of the artist, the moments when an idea is transformed into a physical object. In other words: show us your studio!
By publishing high-quality photos of your workplace, viewers can follow the development of a work from start to finish and see it in a new light. Collectors will appreciate the opportunity to learn and learn more about your process and to make a connection to a work early in the creation phase.
Instagram supports videos up to one minute long, which you can upload directly from your phone library. If you have an iPhone, use the camera’s built-in time-lapse feature to better capture the details of a work in action. You can also use free apps like hyperlapse to better optimize your time-lapse video for Instagram. For more spontaneous content, use Instagram Stories (accessed via the small camera icon in the top left of your feed) to quickly share photos or videos of you at work or just your life. These stories are highly visible at the top of your followers’ feed and disappear after 24 hours, so perfection isn’t an issue.
While platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest should prioritize the image, the caption is also crucial. Let your voice shine through and allow users to engage with your quirks and sense of humor. Captions are also important for visibility, and including certain keywords can make a big difference in achieving discoverability. On Instagram and Twitter, use relevant hashtags that are discoverable but not too crowded, e.g. B #studioshot or #studiowall. Pinterest users use the search bar like a search engine. Therefore, use detailed descriptions of your work (think “blue expressionist painting”). Whenever possible, always provide a link that allows users to either buy or see more of your work (perhaps your portfolio via Saatchi Art). On Instagram, place this link in your bio and include it in the caption of each post.
Build your audience
Be engaged! Follow other artists’ accounts and find a community. Think about who your target audience is and where they might be. What other interests do you have? What other accounts do they follow? Research and search hashtags and geotagged posts from galleries and museums. Follow users and like their posts, but don’t overwhelm them with overzealous levels – think gentle nudges rather than full throttle. Be an active user, not an avid user, we always say.
As platforms and algorithms are constantly changing and evolving, it is important to encourage quality interactions with real people/accounts. As Instagram switched from the chronological to the algorithmic feed, the accounts and brands you interacted with the most began filtering higher up in a user’s feed. The transition from Instagram essentially mirrors every other medium with an algorithmic feed, including Twitter and Facebook. That means you have to work harder to attract and keep your followers interested. Maintain a consistent publishing schedule, a few times a week, and don’t bombard or clog a feed with too many posts.
— Claire Desjardins (@clairedj) March 11, 2017
Need a more detailed social media breakdown? Check out this guide to walk you through setting up accounts and posting 101.
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