BUSINESS TIPS FOR ARTISTS: Making it Social in the Art Business
Marketing Art with Social Media and on Handheld Devices
By Margaret Danielak (c) 2016
Marketing art with social media and on handheld devices was unheard of when I wrote A Gallery without Walls (ArtNetwork Press 2005), an artist handbook about selling art in alternative venues. A few weeks after the book's publication, I heard stories about artists who were loading their artwork onto MySpace and showing art on their laptops. At the time, I was intrigued but not convinced that the “social media thing" and showing art on smaller computers would make an impact marketing art. (Boy, was I wrong!)
Since then, connecting with clients utilizing social media and showing artwork on hand held devices has revolutionized the way we work in the art business. Now artists and dealers are routinely using social media sites like Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter to connect with each other and the art buying public. In addition, they are creating content on IPhones and IPADS to promote their art and make sales.
To illustrate, eight years ago I gave a talk on art marketing and during the break one of the artists in attendance, figurative painter Julie Snyder, showed me her entire portfolio on her Smart Phone. I had never before seen an artist use a Smart Phone to promote their work. Julie was able to blow up certain images so I could see fine detail. I could see that she was a terrific painter and asked to visit her studio. I signed her shortly thereafter.
SOCIAL MEDIA AND HARDWARE – WHAT DO I USE?
Currently, I prefer to show artwork on my IPAD. Most of my clients are over 40 and have over-40 eyesight. It is easier for them to see the images by showing them artwork on my IPAD as opposed to my IPHONE. Specifically, I have shown art to clients on the IPAD (think portable gallery) which I then sold utilizing Square. I also create short movies with IMOVIE featuring art and artists. Last year I created a short personalized I MOVIE featuring artist Marian Fortunati talking about one of her lovely landscapes. I embedded the movie into an email that I sent to one of her collectors who then bought the piece.
With respect to social media, I use Facebook to promote all of my art exhibitions. For each new exhibition that I curate, I create a link on the first page of my website that directs potential buyers to a specific gallery page on Facebook. I keep track of a lot of inventory this way, and don’t have to pay my webmaster to constantly update my website every time I want to add content. The Facebook gallery has each image loaded with the artist’s name, size, title and price. I send those images around the web, directing people to the gallery online. When a piece sells, I congratulate the artist by posting the image with the word “SOLD!” on their Facebook page. This process informs the artist’s fans about our art sale and often leads to other sales.
KEEPING UP – WHAT SHOULD ARTISTS DO?
Marketing art via social media and with hand held devices has revolutionized the pace of marketing art and artists who do not understand this are, quite frankly, at a disadvantage. Eleven years ago, it took some time to send clients images – to send a postcard or embed images into emails. Now it takes seconds as artists and dealers are making every piece of their marketing "social." What does this mean? It means that links to social media outlets and their icons are embedded into artist's blogs, newsletters, and websites to make it fast and easy to hop from one social media outlet to another. Artists now expect that by utilizing social media they will add to their contacts and fan base by making their marketing both integrated and social, and that the positive comments posted onto their social sites will lead to greater exposure and sales.
I am still a firm believer in follow-up, however, and do not rely on social media only. I have a regular schedule of daily, weekly and monthly activities (i.e. newsletter) to keep the work I represent in front of the art buying public. Mainly, I keep up with my mailing list. I believe that artists and dealers who connect to those who visit their sites, nurture their mailing list and contact collectors regularly through a variety of outlets will be successful.
I also highly recommend to all artists that they invest in an IPAD (tablet) and/or IPHONE in order to show artwork to potential collectors any time, any place and anywhere.
"I'll Wear the Red One" Oil by Julie Snyder
Sold via facebook
"Point Lobos Poetry" Oil by Marian Fortunati
Sold via IMOVIE embedded into email
Margaret Danielak is the author of artist handbook A Gallery without Walls: Selling Art in Alternative Venues (ArtNetwork Press 2005) which was a featured selection of North Light Book Club. (Sold out first edition.) With artist Julie Snyder, she conducts THE ART OF SELLING ART WORKSHOPS, and also provides private consultation services to artists, collectors and galleries. Her website is http://www.danielakart.com.