Social Media for Creatives
After spending almost fifteen years in corporate marketing, I decided to start my own creative services business—offering content creation, copywriting, and campaign management and execution to small business owners all over the country. I’ve recently had the honor of working with a number of clients in the arts to include galleries, writers, illustrators, and designers, and have learned a lot about how marketing is different for creatives in this space than many other industries. Art can be a hard sell because it’s so subjective. But it doesn’t have to be, as long as you know which tools are needed in today’s digital world to connect with your buyers.
Social media, without a doubt, is an essential tool in marketing—especially when it comes to selling artwork. But it can be overwhelming to say the least. Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, Reddit … the list goes on, and is not stopping anytime soon. Each day it seems like there is a new app or functionality that you must keep up with in order to stay ahead. Trying to figure out which platforms you should be utilizing as an artist and how to best optimize your content for each channel can be a challenge.
The good news is, there are really only a handful of key social media platforms you need to maintain in order to engage with prospective clients and art buyers, because they are such a targeted niche group. In this post, I’ll cover which social media platforms you should be using and why.
This is really a no-brainer. If you don’t have a Facebook page, you should stop reading this post right now and create one. For solopreneurs, it can take some time building a strong Facebook presence; but with over 2 billion active users on the platform, having a page set up for your business here is a must. Hootsuite has reported that Facebook outranks all other social media platforms by the hundreds of millions. That’s huge.
Using Facebook ads, you can reach people across the world through targeted campaigns. But you don’t have to spend money to use Facebook to build your brand as an artist. There are many other ways to engage customers and prospects on social media, either organically through contests and polls, or in concert with email marketing campaigns, asking your customers to follow and like your page or write a product review. The opportunities are really endless here; you just need to be a little creative and invest a little time into it.
LinkedIn is the hidden gem of social media platforms. While it doesn't top the list of social platforms in terms of the number of active users, it's still incredibly powerful especially if you're trying to reach commercial clients. LinkedIn originally began as an online networking platform for professionals to connect with colleagues and those in the same field, then expanded as a place for companies to have their own pages, post jobs, and recruit employees.
Today, it has become a powerful platform for marketing. LinkedIn offers the capability to publish articles, post content to various groups, and conduct targeted advertising, which can help artists and creative entrepreneurs build brand awareness and generate leads.
The platform also offers teams and groups where you can connect with other entrepreneurs and post content on their pages to spread the word about your art. Take a good look at other entrepreneurs in your area or niche that are on LinkedIn—you may be surprised at what connections and partnerships can be made by reaching out to connections there.
Instagram is the most powerful visual social media platform available today. Creatives have built their careers off the platform as they showcase their most beautiful work, teach courses, and offer tips to other creatives interested in learning new skills. It's a highly engaging way to connect with customers and get an idea of what they are interested in. You can do so by analyzing how many likes or comments one product may have versus another. You can also conduct polls on Instagram, and reach broader audiences using the right hashtags.
Instagram now has functionality to tag items in a feed so other users can directly click through to products they want to purchase. Instagram has become famous for its use of influencers to market products and services. This is another platform that's constantly coming out with new functionalities, so it will be exciting to see what's in store for the future of Instagram.
Pinterest is essentially a visual search engine that began as a platform where users could create "boards" of products, items, artwork, and other content that they can go back to time and again for inspiration. When a user pins something to their board, there is the potential for it to get "repinned" several times, creating the viral effect that every business is looking for. Many have underestimated the value of Pinterest for marketing, but according to Hootsuite, 93% of Pinterest users make purchases on the platform.
Pinterest offers both a traditional consumer account as well as a business account. You'll want to setup a business account so you can have access to the analytics on the content you post. With a business account, you can gain insights into analytics such as number of impressions a pin has received, repins, and conversions or click-throughs.
Like Instagram, Pinterest is a great way to see how consumers react to the products or content you post because you gain insights into whether or not it has been repinned, liked, or saved. In addition to posting your own content, you can create boards that showcase other related products that may be appealing to your target buyers.
As mentioned at the beginning of this post, social media can be overwhelming, but it doesn't have to be. Pick three or four platforms that you believe are best for yourself as an artist and optimize them accordingly.