Will Social Media Help You As An Artist?
Do artists need to be on social media? The answer is both yes and no depending on your answer to a big question. Allow me to ask you, what is your point to it all?
There are often more complications and problems which surround social media than anyone ever anticipates. Allow me to rephrase, there are specific dangers to avoid concerning your brand and process.
Artists see social media as a fast way to grow an audience. What artists need is an audience which give real returns not vain metrics.
Knowing where the best place to sell art is can be a problem early on. Allow me to explain the core problems of social media while attempting to offer some basic solutions.
Social Media Cannot Help Sell Artwork
To end this debate quickly, look at what major branded companies do with social media. They typically use it as a branding resource.
New products or community based information is what it is geared for. There is more to learning how to make money with art than using social media.
Add to this corporations also spend a fortune to achieve their goals. Can you compete with this? I know I cannot.
There really is the rub as to your effectiveness. It is less a matter of, can it work?… Rather it is a matter of can you afford to make it work?
There are exceptions to this rule. Facebook has typically been among the better places for ad marketing. So I would not rule every option out.
Twitter is among the worst platforms for attempting to promote anything with little proven ROI. Instagram is not much better. Why is this the case?
It comes down to two key aspects of social media. These are the algorithms they use, and the lifespan of a media post. In other words its takes money to keep the gears turning, or a lot a manpower and posts.
Unfortunately too many artists are using social media to only give away far more than it gives back. Detailing your process within art video tutorials will only hurt the artist.
As artists we need to use the most effective tools in order to maintain balance. Our balance must include our artwork, art marketing, and still live a life.
Why Artwork And Social Media Algorithms Do Not Mix
If you are going to dedicate your time to a platform for art and the purpose of self promotion, then it needs to be in a system that supports you.
The algorithms of social media are not designed for this. If you have 100k followers how many will actually see your new post?
The algorithm will test your post against a percentage to see if it is worth its time to push it in front of others. It is a quick pass or fail. Near all fail to move forward, or ever go viral.
With this, the first issue is that not every follower will have the opportunity to see what you have done. Unless each and every post you make catches fire then you are essentially wasting your time.
With artwork you need saturation. In other words you need a lot of people seeing your art. Yes I know everyone says this, but few other products actually need it.
Lifespan Of A Social Media Post Hurts Art Promotion
This aspect is actually also related to the issue of the algorithm. With artwork you need a sustained presence. This is called “evergreen” content.
Evergreen content within social media does not exist. It is the wrong platform for it.
The longest post lifespan you can get out of any post may be with Facebook at a couple of days. Twitter lasts merely a few minutes when reaching beyond a follower base.
If you are trying to let your artwork reach the masses, why stay with a platform that gives you mere minutes to hours of exposure?
If a self representing artist markets art competing against corporate brands you will need serious firepower.
Artists And Selling Art Has Not Changed Despite Social Media
The problem people have today is no different from any other period of history. The only real difference today is the volume at which we are inundated by so many voices.
Selling artwork has always been difficult. Oddly enough for most artists, some of the old ways of accomplishing this can be better than the new.
Technology is a tool, not a solution. Yet too many artists treat their toolbox as if it only has one tool within it.
You are better off taking more online art courses to further your skill than being a hamster on a wheel. Do not abandon your art for seeking popularity.
Indeed the artistic life is difficult. Yet many of the pitfalls which come with technology and social media are rabbit holes no real artist should go down.
So… How Should Artists Use Social Media?
It is a communication portal. Use it for communication. It is an easy way to reach and talk to people about real life networking, helping clients, and even branding.
Stop giving away your tips and tricks before you lose all of your trade secrets to a competitor.
I literally was once condemned by an artist for not doing this… I thought they had lost their mind.
Stop chasing vanity! It really does not matter how many likes or shares you get. Those are the wrong metrics to measure. It will never pay you.
Use social media as a plug into a bigger and better tool. Instead of putting your phone number on a website or blog, place your social media contact. It protects you.
Speaking of which…. Get a blog or website. In case you are wondering what it will do for you, here are the advantages to having an online gallery. Using WordPress is too easy and can be learned by beginners.
Why A Website Or Blog Wins Over Social Media With Art
Allow me to list a few conditions. If… you buy a domain name, then set up an art website, then promote this via SEO and a little social media, then you can begin to benefit.
Why? A website is evergreen. It is always there 24/7, all year long. The problem everyone has is how they are never seen.
Once a new site is set up it feels like you are in a black hole. Well, you are, and visitors simply do not show up.
Artists can define their business model and policies for conducting that business. Working out issues such as an art return policy can become very clean cut and to the point.
So… if no one is seeing your art via socials, and no one is showing up to your new site… how does this actually help you?
It goes back to the algorithm and presence.
Artwork On A Website And Algorithm’s That Harness It
Let’s get back to the visibility issue. The algorithm of Google, Bing, Yahoo, and others, take time. Let me rephrase that, they take A LOT of time.
Yet once you are ranking you are forever there. A website literally gives back what you put into it.
Here is what I find really crazy…
People will put into social media for it gives an instant fix, almost like a high from a drug. Yet people will leave a website sitting there doing nothing when that is the real long term solution.
In fact, if people put as much effort into their website as they did social media, then their artwork would gain more visibility than they could imagine.
The reason why many artists do not go about this properly is because putting the same effort into a website has zero gratification for nearly a year. Sometimes it takes longer.
Having an art website will take A LOT of work. Yet if you are reading this you most likely have already been pounding the social media keys.
While this article is not how to achieve success with the website, it is your choice in how to use it. Either it will be a glorified business card, or your platform.
If you put the same effort of content creation into your site that you do on social media, the search algorithms will love you. Over time, they always keep showing the love.
How Serious Are You About Your Artwork?
It really comes down to this. How serious are you about your artwork? If it is a hobby then social media is fine. No harm done.
If you really want it to be something beyond this, then you need another vehicle. This means learning marketing as an artist. For things like a website this includes evergreen SEO strategies.
How many art blogs do you see talking about SEO or a company like ahref’s? They don’t. That stuff is for nerds right?
Artists are behind the times. The world is changing and if these past years have not shown this then I do not know what will prod artists into action.
What About Selling Art On Etsy, Amazon, Or ArtPal?
Allow me to say, there are strategies for places like Etsy. If an artist is new to this whole thing then it is an okay place to get started.
I would also say it may be a good place to sell art prints to cultivate some branding. Nevertheless, get your original art out of there as fast as possible.
To put this plainly, why would I promote my name on someone else’s brand? Why would I make their brand stronger?
To make matters worse… why would I promote their brand when I do not own my shop or store and they can shut me down for any number of reasons?
Yet again to make matters worse… why would I allow them to decide business decisions like forcing me to give free shipping? Then, if I do not agree I am punished in their algorithm… no thanks.
There are a multitude of problems with Etsy and others like them. While the three above are serious issues, there are bigger fish to fry.
Among those bigger fish is the complete lack of SEO to organically build traffic. On the other hand it is nice for a website to work in compliment with engines. They bring you visibility rather than you constantly fighting for it.
The upside to having your art website is that it is your world, your rules, you own it.
So… How Do You Get Your Artwork Seen By The World Without Social Media?
You go old school. Like the saying goes, there is no school like the old school. Yet you use modern tools to help you. Unless you are locked into something like NFT Art you have may options at your disposal.
Get involved within your local community. Go to a few art shows and learn from others. Make friends and network naturally. Volunteer in an art class to help underprivileged kids. Be genuine.
Use your time to make a real impact on people around you and your real world community. Stop devoting your life to the fake communities of social media.
Doing this will give you two great lessons. You will discover how amazing some people are that surround you. Likewise you will be exposed to the harsh realities of the art community.
In the meantime build your site, your brand, your name, blog, and have fun. Selling art online will ultimately reflect your real world actions.
If you take this advice, it will shock you how it will help your little no name website grow into something that is recognized. Why? Real people get involved.
That is and always has been the key.
What About Me? The Introvert Artist Who Hates Social Media
Indeed I am introverted. I am so introverted, and at times antisocial, that I cannot stand to be around myself. We fight way too often… I’m joking about that part.
I have a few unique tools which I use that not all artists have. As these are unique I cannot suggest that all artists use them.
Unless you are a writer, and are very technologically inclined, the path I am on is a difficult one to follow. How technologically inclined am I? I built and programmed my own cnc mill within Linux.
So… for me handling a website, it is child’s play. These same personal tools will not hold true for everyone. Yet this combined with me loving writing as much as I love art, it is a natural fit.
Yet this should also be a lesson for any artist. You need to find your natural fit. If you are an introvert as I am, it does indeed make things much harder.
Yet harder does not mean impossible. The greater point is to find your strengths, and then grow from there outward.