Social media for artists is much the same as any business. Except artists are notoriously underpaid and can’t afford to pay for advertising the way corporations can. Artists need to use any means of free marketing they can get. Using social media in an informed and purposeful way is a great start.
Why Social Media?
So why is social media so important? For one, it makes you more findable. If someone hears about you or sees your show and wants to know more they should be able to find and follow you. Once they have, they will see you and therefore think of you more often. The more posts they see, the more they feel like they know you and your style intimately. This helps turn them into loyal followers who will keep coming to your shows and tell all their friends. The best resource you can have is a voluntary ambassador.
Social media is also useful for networking. Keeping contacts within your medium will provide you with a way to connect, and keep you in the know. You should always be keeping up with the latest events, auditions, news, styles, etc. The more you know the more you can use that knowledge to leverage your game.
Do some research into the best platforms for your medium. The obvious places to maintain profiles are Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. There is also Vimeo and Youtube for films, dance, comedy, etc. There’s Pinterest, DeviantArt and Tumblr for comics, art, and design. You can find a subreddit for pretty much any subject and share your work. You should be anywhere and everywhere that people are gathering to see, share, and discuss your medium. If there is little presence of your kind of art on a particular platform, don’t waste your time. For example, LinkedIn isn’t a great place to share dance videos.
Keeping up with posting new and interesting content is really hard. You have to be on social media everyday sharing new content, responding to comments, and managing trolls. Luckily there are tools to make your life a little easier. I have mentioned before that I use Hootsuite to schedule all of my content for the week. This lets me put in a few solid hours writing copy and setting it up to publish at the right time in the right place. Then I can rest until the next Monday. I plan my weekly topics a month in advance with an Editorial Calendar.
I can look ahead to see which holidays and events are coming up to create content around them. This allows you to have a month-long lead up to an event — it’s all planned and scheduled, you just have to follow the calendar. However, do leave some room to react to current events and trending news. This helps keep your content relevant to your followers.
When prepping content you will first need to find your brand voice, and stick to it. Creating a brand filter will help you define what kind of voice you want to use; will it be casual or formal? Edgy or straight? Confident but not arrogant? Gentle but not apologetic? Use the audience you want to reach, as well as the image you want to put into the world, to help you answer these questions and craft a consistent message.
Down to Business
Remember: Your business page is not your personal profile. Use the voice you crafted to appeal to your audience, not your own. Your friends might be interested in what you ate for breakfast, but your followers aren’t. Keep a page for followers specifically and show them what they want to see — new work, events, books, jokes, etc. If you get tons of reactions from posting cat memes about art keep posting them! If your art is political post about the issues that mean the most to you, and how you are uplifting or undermining them with your work. Keep your work profile all about the business, and keep your personal profile for your friends.
A note on paid advertising on social media for artists:
Social platforms allow for very specific targeting of ads, and can be beneficial if you target the right audience with the right ad. Advertising an event like Art Battle to people who are interested in painting and live close-by might get you a good return on your investment. However, since artists are notoriously underpaid I suggest sticking to content marketing as much as possible.