The Business of Art: How to get the most out of social media as an artist

As artists we all do "the glance" right? 

The glance you do when you initially put something on social media and you're waiting for that first "like" to come in. You need one outside person to validate your work and after that, it's a bit easier to breath.  

Looking for outside validation (of which I'm am always guilty) is a totally different conversation BUT wanting your social media presence to work for you is just plain smart.  

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Here are some things I've learned from my experience working as a non profit communications director and overall social media nerd. 

First- Post. Now, not later.  

I know this sounds ridiculously elementary, but, if you're like lots of artists, (myself included) you're hardly ever satisfied with your work. That is, you know that there's always something better or more exciting within you. And that's okay. But in order to get people excited about you and your work, it's best to share now so that they can see your growth and be even more excited later.  

Second- Respond back. 

In the previous Business of Art post I mentioned how likes encourage more like and comments encourage more comments. This is also true for your responses. The Facebook robots "see" your response as interaction as a reason to get more eyes on your post. I'll explain with an example. 

If someone comments, "Great work!" you have three options. 1- Do nothing and be satisfied with the compliment. 2- Press the "like" button under their comment letting them know you've seen and appreciate their encouragement. 3- Press the "like" button under their comment and then reply to their comment with a "Thank you!" 

Always do #3. 

I've seen time and again how taking the time to respond has encouraged other responses, which consistently encourages more engagement. This has proved especially true on Facebook. 

Bonus points for having a conversation via replies. Example: If a friend says, "I'd love to start making art," encourage him on local classes and resources. Adding goodness to people's lives is how social media magic happens. 

Third- Use hashtags on Instagram. 

Some people find hashtags annoying or as if they are "trying too hard" . If you're in that camp nothing I say here will change your mind. 

However, I've seen how people find me,  appreciate my work, and eventually follow me because I add hashtags that they follow.  

If you're interested more about hashtags, let me know on Instagram and I'd be happy to chat more about them. 

Fourth- Don't always make it about you. 

That's the weird thing about self-promotion right? You feel like you're always singing a really annoying song that goes something like, "Look at me! Look at me! Don't you think I'm great! Please tell me I'm great!! Oh oh - look at me!!" (To the tune of: Your least favorite music ever.)

Constant self promotion seems annoying because it is. So don't always make it about you.

Switch out, "Check out my latest work" with, "Happy Friday!" and a picture of your latest work.

Know of a cool garden party that's happening? Share the link of it with your latest Plein air painting of a garden. 

Love a local interior designers style? Share she work, tag her, give her a reason to check you out.

Share opportunities for other artists (shows, galleries, workshops). People love generous people and will be more willing to share with you next time. 

As an artist and an art lover,

I fully admit that I don't go on social media to interact with my favorite artists. The times I'm most thankful for social media are when I come away having learned something or got a shot of positivity thrown into an otherwise bleak feed. Do either of those things for your followers and fans and they will start to seek you out.