Posted on Thu 02 Nov 2017
First up, I want to run through some of the acronyms I’ll be using here and were used in my articles in The Artist magazine.
SEO: Search Engine Optimisation is designed to make sure that your website appears high in the rankings of the correct search terms.
Hashtags: Words proceeded with the ‘#’ symbol that identify messages on a specific topic on social media platforms
Tag/Tagging: Tagging is a way of creating a direct link to a person, business or location that is relevant to your post.
Crossposting: Crossposting is the act of posting a message or post to different social media accounts, keeping a link back to the original producer.
SMMs: Social Media Management Platforms are a way of managing all your social media accounts in one place, enabling you to post to all platforms in one go.
Why Use Social Media to Promote Your Art?
My gallery online sales soared from 23% to 35% in 2016-17, so I’m living proof digital sales are increasing, like it or loathe it. You should first have a web sales platform set up (website, ArtRehome/Etsy/ArtFiner account) so you can make the most of your posts, so when that’s ready, you need to promote it.
Social media platforms are phenomenal for this but you need to be consistent and committed. Posting something just once a week or posting irregularly won’t cut the ice. Once you decide to go for it, only Consistent Committed posting will bring dividends. So here’s a beginner’s guide to a few I use and how how to optimise the use of them.
With nearly 1 billion users, it would be crazy not to set up a business Facebook (FB) account as soon as your sales platform is ready.
You need a personal account to have a business one, but I highly recommend you don’t use a personal one for business, as there are strict rules that could see your account closed, losing everything you’ve built.
Creating a FB business page only takes a few minutes and all you need is a regular FB profile and an image to use for your business page. A logo or a pic of you works well for this and needs to be fairly small but don’t worry about exact measurements, Facebook will kindly resize it for you.
The nice thing about Facebook is that you may already be familiar with some of the lingo. You can’t be in cyberspace for long without noticing the like and recommend boxes.
A like of your page (different to a post like) means that someone has asked to see your updates to them in their newsfeed: the start of hopefully a long and beautiful relationship.
Encouraging likes is often a primary goal but there are many other strategies to help you actually grow you bottom line instead and I’ll take about those here.
Your business page works similarly to your personal profile. You can post updates about the artworks you’re working on, receive questions from your followers, links to various helpful items you’ve found online or pictures, videos and events/milestones in your professional life (try to avoid too many personal thoughts here unless your confident they won’t offend.)
Growing Your Likes
When your page is new, you will have no likes. We all start somewhere, so don’t worry. Growth takes time but there are a few steps you can take to get yourself started.
Share your page with friends and family, then encourage them to share your posts, at least in the beginning. That will find you new followers and fans.
Next, do some Facebook research. Head off and find other artists and like their page. (You can Like something as a page rather than as a person, just make sure to toggle this option on in the Edit Page section at the top.)
Liking another artist? That’s barking, right…? Not at all… it is social media after all. Many of my artists crosspost other artist’s work. There’s a lot of love in the art community and the more we share, the more we all benefit: A rising tide lifts all boats!
Liking others will not only make others aware of your page, but it helps populate your news feed so you have ready access to articles, posts and pictures to share with your growing audience. Every time your share a post from your news feed, the owner of that post is flagged.
If you consistently share other businesses and organisations’ content, you begin to develop relationships on Facebook that can be very lucrative for your business, too. So like, share and get stuck in!
Click here to read Mark's guide to setting up your own Facebook page.
Why Use Instagram?
Not only is it the most visual platform out there with little emphasis on copy, but 60% of people say they find new products on Instagram… pretty heady numbers, so why not be part of that find?
You cannot post to Instagram on a laptop or computer, only mobile device, but there are ways round that using SMMs like Hootsuite (albeit cumbersome at present).
First up, download Instagram to your mobile device from the Apple Store or Google Play (they’re both free). You’ll need to sign up, which means using your email and a password. After that, you’ll be prompted to fill out your profile.
Username and biography
Where possible your username on Instagram should match the username of your other social media profiles. This helps with discoverability and continuity.
The only other information that appears on your public profile is your short biography and a live website link (a URL). As mentioned in my article for The Artist, you can change that url to promote campaigns or new pieces of content at any time so you always have a live link to a specific product.
Your Profile Photo
Your profile photo should probably be a pic of you, a logo or one of your favourite paintings. Again, having it match your other social media profile photos will help with discoverability and continuity, since people who follow you on Twitter or Facebook will instantly recognise you when looking for you on other platforms.
Your Instagram picture will be cropped into a circle on the app, so make sure you choose an image that will look good in that shape and although your profile picture will only be 110 pixels in diameter on the mobile app, choose a larger image as it will appear larger on the laptop and computer versions.
Click here to read more on using Instagram from Mark.
Like Facebook & Instagram, it’s best to post regularly. Leave it days or be inconsistent and you’ll find the hard work you’ve done wasted or worse, very slow to achieve followers.
Unlike Instagram, this is a word-based platform, but images (which no longer take up any of you your 160 character count) will be welcome for any twitterer as a break from the norm.
How to get started
As with all your social media accounts, it’s crucial to use your real business name and if possible, the same one you’ve used for all the rest of your social media accounts for continuity. Hyphens and underscores are something to avoid where possible, not just in Twitter usernames but also in domain names – it looks unprofessional and they’re cumbersome to type.
Once signed up you’re invited to put in a “bio”. Although you’re limited to 160 characters, it’s important to not skim this part, as users with bios and a link have shown to have more followers than those without and you always want to lead customers back to your selling portal.
To edit your bio, move your cursor up towards the top menu of your Twitter account -> Click on the “headshot” icon -> Click on “Settings” -> Then Click on “Profile”. In this area you can edit your bio in the “Bio” text area.
Your profile picture should be the same as your other platforms, a mugshot, logo or your fav artwork and do not use the provided default Twitter pic. It’s unprofessional and people can’t then identify with your brand.
Tweets are simply status updates, and they are the bread and butter of Twitter. As an artist, you want to tweet about your work and maybe others’, too. Also, by tweeting valuable links, quotes or facts, you’re more likely to get retweets, which will help spread your account awareness. The people who will be following you are people who are interested in your art and what you have to say, so make sure the tweets are relevant.
Keep your links short. Since you can only tweet 140 characters at a time, sometimes it’s beneficial to shorten your links and use accepted abbreviations. Although it’s always best to use your full link where possible, you can shorten URL’s (links) so as to use less characters. For example, a direct link to my website would be http://www.theharbourgallery.co.uk (34 characters) but by using link shortening websites like bitly or Google’s URL shortener, I can make that link http://bit.ly/2twX5S4, which is just 21 characters. Additionally, as it’s a dedicated on-off link, I can see exactly how many people have used that click-through as opposed to the standard link.
Click here to read more on using Twitter from Mark.