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Six Degrees To Making an Art Sale On Instagram

Social media has taken over our lives. If you are not on social media, you do not exist. However, having thousands of followers is not necessary. Trying to obtain a huge number of followers becomes an obsessive behavior or full-time job.

Speaking of full-time jobs, this is one of the new fields springing up everywhere. If you do not want to be hired as a social media expert but have a brick and mortar type job where you need to make sales or you don’t have time to obsess over who is not following you and racking your brain as to what you could have done to turn them away, then here are the six mandatory followers every artist should have.

Colleagues

Who do you work with which does similar work to what you do? For artists, it is another artist in the same field they are working in. For example, let’s say you are a figurative artist, then you should have another figurative artist following you. It is fine to have students following you but they are not your colleagues.

Galleries

If you are an artist, do you have a gallery following you? Follow galleries you have an interest in exhibiting with. Check out their website for information if they are taking on new artists for representation. If they are not check for upcoming calls.

Publishers

Publishers such as PoetsArtists, Beautiful Bizarre, Fine Art Connoisseur, and American Art Collector validate your work and get it into the hands of art collectors who are shopping for established and new artists. Beautiful Bizarre Magazine for example has close to 500, 000 followers. If they post your work on their social media, chances are you will receive new followers.

Use hashtags to get noticed by them such as #beautifulbizarre, #fineartconnoisseur #poetsartists #americanartcollector.

Writers

If you are following publications find out who their writers are. They are looking for content to write about. You may be their next art review. Check and see if they use a specific tag for their articles and start using it on your posts if it is relevant.

Museums and Institutions

Museums from time to time have special hashtags to use when they are promoting a show. Tate for example recently had a show titled ALL TOO HUMAN. They posted on their Instagram to use the tag #alltoohumaninspired. Another tag they like to us is #heytate.

The Zhou B Art Center hosts a new show every third Friday. Their intention is to build a community and hosts events. Their tags are #zhoub #zhoubartcenter.

The Brookyn Museum uses #mybkm.

Collectors

We love art collectors. If you are lucky to have an art collector following your Instagram, that does not mean that you are bound to make a sale. It is more complex than that. It could mean several things from them being interested in your work or just being curious. Keep in mind that they are looking at your artwork. Don’t use Instagram for anything else than to keep your collectors interested in your art. Avoid posting photos of your lunch, pet, or political views. Keep them amused by posting photos of your exhibitions and studio. Be careful about posting works-in-progress. Always tag your artwork with your name. For example if your name is Leonardo Smith, use #leonardosmith. It will make it easier for art collectors to find your artwork on Instagram especially if you are on their radar.

Collectors may be following your name tag and not your actual Instagram. Please remember that tags are how you are found through Instagram. Alternate your tags depending on what you are posting. Depending on the collection, your tags should be specific for the artwork.

Do your homework and find a collection you think your work would fit and see what tags may be of interest to them.

Most collectors have thousands of followers yet in return they follow very few. Your chances are good if you are one of those few.

Influencers

Influencers consist of all of the above and then some. Their job is to get the artwork they are promoting into the right viewers. They know what their collectors are interested in, which artists are on the radar, and the price range the collectors are in the market for. Some influencers are also art dealers, agents, run a tribe, and have exhibitions.


Once you have the six followers above, then work on multiplying your followers from there. Be prepared to answer questions in the comments or by direct inquiries. Interact with your followers.

Have an online invoice system in place if a sale should take place. There are several ways to prepare an invoice if you are working solo. If you are working with a gallery, always direct the buyer to your gallery. If your work is available from an online site such as Artsy or Artnet, place the link to it on your Instagram bio. Advise the collector of the link if they missed it. Keep your website up to date if they need to see any other works.

Make sure to check direct messages on your Instagram daily. Sometimes you may not be alerted if the message is coming from someone who you are not following. Quick responses are of great importance. Be professional and always honor your gallery, art dealer, or agent. If not, then the degrees of your followers will alter and it will create a domino effect which will not be in your favor.

If a sale takes place don’t think your work is done. Follow-up with the collector after the work has been delivered. Keep them informed of future artwork. Add them to your followers and comment on their posts. Most art collectors like to hear from their artists.

Continue to work on your social skills by setting time aside each day to post or comment. Check who your followers are. Check on new tags to use. Edit your existing posts as necessary with updated tags.

Find a tribe to belong to and follow the artists who belong to it. Ask your tribe for help whenever you feel you need it.

A strong and growing tribe usually will consist of artists, art dealers, gallery directors, writers, podcasters, publishers, and art collectors.

You are not alone when you have the support of a community. Continue to prosper and always, no matter what, always be professional and prepared if all your social media skills pay off in a big way.


Didi Menendez is a publisher, writer, curator, and runs a tribe. Find out more at www.poetsandartists.com