Social media has changed the game for many industries, especially for visual artists. These days, some artists are using social media to sell their works even before the paint is dry.
"How is that possible?" You ask.
Well, it's all about getting engaged followers.
Tend Social Media, Reap the Rewards
Building a social media account to the point where you have a significant number of followers is key. The more engaged followers, the more popular and sought-after your art is going to be. So, if you want to know how to grow and make money through social media, read our article below.
1. Establish Your Brand
Before you start building up your social media accounts with posts, think about what you want your name/brand to represent. Deciding this early on allows you to not only establish your brand but also keep your art and posts consistent.
According to Diana Marin, having a cohesive visual aesthetic Improves engagement increases brand recognition, and builds trust and connection in your brand.
Example of Goopmassta Branding on Instagram
People are going to follow your brand because it resonates with the visual aesthetic they're looking for. The last thing you'd want is to post off-brand random stuff which makes your brand seem more like a hobby rather than a serious art venture.
When thinking about your brand, think about the style you want to project. Are you going for light and natural? Traditional and rustic? Modern and chic? Whatever you choose, your brand will help more engaged followers to find and buy, your art.
2. Consistency is Key
As a budding social media presence, you have to consistently keep posting on your social media accounts. You'll have to keep this consistent pace at least until you reach certain milestones (like getting to 1 million followers or subscribers) before you can dial it down.
It will be taxing on your creativity and time to constantly be working on something (new or WIP) to post, but keep at it and you'll eventually find yourself becoming the next big thing on Instagram, YouTube, etc.
To quickly gain followers on Instagram, social media experts recommend posting at least once a day and not more than 3 times a day (more on this in the next section).
For more specific social media platforms, check out this article from Louise Myers on how often to post on social media.
3. Focus on Your Art
As we've mentioned earlier, you need to post at least once a day but not more than 3 times a day.
Because any more than that will cause the quality of your work to suffer. Attracting more social media followers is like walking a tightrope between quantity and quality. Going too far on either side can spell disaster for your social media presence.
So, try and strike a balance with your social media posts and consistently post high-quality art. Speaking of high quality…
4. Optimize Your Images
As a visual artist, your art has to look as good as it can to attract engaged followers. This means two things: you'll need to take great-looking photos/videos and learn a bit of design.
Example of Goopmassta optimized professional photos
Sharing stunning photos/videos of your work ensures that each viewer sees exactly what you want them to. As such, it's important to find the highest quality camera (your smartphone should be fine if you're just starting out and on a budget) and best lighting for the job. So many terrific pieces of art nowadays get overlooked because of bad image quality.
Likewise, setting your art in front of a badly-designed backdrop may make it seem tacky.
Try having a clean background with natural light (such as from an open window). Also, make sure your camera is in focus.
5. Capture them with Captions
Sometimes, showing an image of your masterpiece is enough to evoke the viewer's imagination. Other times, a simple image may just seem a bit lacking. This is where your captions come in.
Just like an item on the menu of a fine dining restaurant, adding captions to your images gives the viewer hints that your work is more than meets the eye.
Whether you talk about your inspiration, the creation process, or suggestions on where it would look best, a short story accompanying the piece and ending with a line like "I'm curious where this piece finds its new home" hooks the viewer emotionally and converts them from viewer to buyer.
6. Hashtag Wisely
They may seem insignificant but hashtags are actually very important on social media (especially Instagram and Facebook). They act as beacons showing other users where to go after searching for particular keywords. Having the wrong hashtags makes your posts confusing, seem less professional, and get less traffic.
Finding the right hashtags for your posts takes some trial and error. You can hashtag #WIP when posting a still-life painting you're working on but not for photos of your art studio. Eventually, you will get a hang of what hashtags you can use.
You can also check out posts made by bigger artist accounts. Look for posts similar to yours and see what hashtags they're using. This way you can get a good idea early on.
7. Select Sponsors Carefully
If you get your account big enough, you may eventually attract the eye of sponsors. These sponsors will offer to send you free materials and tools, like paint and brushes, to test out and promote on your account.
Some companies may also offer affiliate partnerships which can help you earn a few bucks for each purchase made after clicking a special link they provide. Our company, Nova Color, actually offers talented artists a place in our affiliate program through a simple signing-up process that you can check out here: Nova Color Affiliate Program.
If you accept a sponsorship, make sure you actually use and like their products as followers can often tell when you're being disingenuous.
8. Mind Your Bio (Instagram)
Instagram is one of the most popular social media platforms for artists today. If you're new to this platform, you'll notice that you can't put an active link anywhere on your account except for your bio.
Don't underestimate the power of this link as some artists have used it to drive significant amounts of traffic to their blog, portfolio site, or YouTube channel.
Make sure to give your bio a concise description that matches your brand's tone to round out your IG account.
9. Consider Making Tutorials (YouTube and Facebook)
People go to the internet for information. If you can provide the information they're looking for, you'll soon find yourself swimming in engaged followers intently waiting on your next post.
This is why it's often a great idea to pair your IG account with a Facebook account and YouTube channel. Make an engaging video tutorial on how to do a certain technique or how to achieve a certain effect then post and link it to your Facebook and Instagram accounts to gain traffic for all three accounts.
10. Grow Your Sphere
As a growing social media presence, it's important to connect with people, especially other artists, on the platform.
Useful comments and a collaboration or two can drive traffic to your account/channel surprisingly fast. Never underestimate the influence of bigger accounts/channels and the power of teamwork.