Do you want to promote your art for free? Of course, we all do, and that’s why you have to use social media. So I compiled a shortlist of the 5 best social media for artists that are free to use, plus I found a new one that could be exciting.
You know you have to network, showcase, and gain leads. The problem is, the choice is overwhelming. Where do you start?
Let’s go over the pros and cons of each one so you can form a balanced idea.
Instagram – The Visual Social Media For Artists
With the increasing commercialization of the platform, the appeal of Instagram may be declining but it remains one of the most important platforms for visual artists. It’s a must for most creatives and it’s still possible to grow your traffic organically if you’re willing to put in the time and effort.
It is the perfect social media for artists because the reach is broad. Not only can you network with other creatives, but you can also reach your potential customers too. Double whammy.
If you learn how to target your hashtags properly you can expand your reach easily.
And that’s the joy. The platform is easy to learn and understand.
You must post very regularly to gain traction so the platform can suck your time. As with Facebook, which owns Instagram, your post will vanish in the feed in no time. You have seconds to grab the viewer.
I met a professional Instagrammer, and she showed me her method. She followed people, waited for return follows, and then unfollowed the non-returners. She did it all day, every day. It was hard to have a conversation with her.
It put me off. I tried but I blew out. I’ll try again at some point but not that way.
Further Reading: Creative Burnout – What It Is and How to Deal With It
I know it does work because I followed some video tutorials from one artist and went on to pay him for 6 months on Patreon.
Scheduling makes posting in advance a more viable option. Do not underestimate the value of the infrastructure supporting Instagram. Posting your artwork via third-party sites saves you so much time. It’s the only option to avoid living on the platform or paying for ads.
The big advantage of Instagram?
- You can market yourself to your peers if you intend to offer services,
- You can reach your buyers if you’re looking for sales and commission work,
- You can find students if you wish to offer art tutorials.
Three very different audiences.
Pinterest – A Search Engine For Artists
For some, Pinterest is a game-changer. It has the potential to skyrocket your blog traffic.
I say potentially because it’s so complicated you will need to buy a course to figure it out, and even then it’s not easy to succeed.
Strictly speaking, Pinterest is a search engine and bookmarking site. It’s not really social media for artists. Few people bother to communicate directly. Just as well because believe me, Pinterest can eat your life.
You are expected to publish new ‘pins’, daily and en-mass. There are plenty of free tools to help you but it all takes so much time, it’s insane.
And if that wasn’t bad enough, Pinterest changes their algorithm on an almost monthly basis. It is so infuriating. Just when you are getting somewhere they knock you back. You are continually having to update and relearn best practices.
It’s brilliant for saving ideas and finding inspiration, but the trick is getting someone to go beyond just saving your pins to actually visiting your website. That’s a hard thing to do.
Further Reading: Does Selling Art Online Work? (What No One Wants to Tell You)
Even with the help of third-party tools, making and scheduling pins can take hours upon hours, and like google rankings, you won’t discover if you’ve got it right for many months ahead. The rankings are slow.
Is it practical for artists? Some artists and marketers get most of their traffic via Pinterest. but others get almost nothing. You have to give it 6 months to really know if it’s for you.
I suspect successful pinners subcontract the pinning when they get to a high volume. I don’t know how you would have the time otherwise.
One very notable point of interest, with Pinterest, is the customer demographic. It is a platform overwhelmingly used by women. That doesn’t mean that it’s pointless for men but it does mean the male-oriented subjects are not going to get so much traction.
Facebook – The Social Media For Artists That Keeps On Taking
Facebook has its uses but it’s a law of diminishing returns. The platform is restricting your organic reach with every new update.
As a social media for artists, there are still good some points. It integrates with other platforms so you can repurpose your content easily, you can post links to your blogs, and showcase your portfolio.
But here’s the rub. For you to maintain the reach you already have, you must engage with your followers constantly. You must answer every comment, make comments, and post everyday.
Not easily done, and don’t they know it. That’s deliberate. They want you to pay extra to reach your own audience.
And as anyone knows as they filter through the endless clutter, your post disappears in the blink of an eye, never to be seen again.
Perhaps the most useful aspect of Facebook, at least for me, is joining groups. I can find like-minded people and network. Few groups allow hard and fast self-promotion but it is possible to be so useful to others that they seek you out.
Facebook is time-consuming if you want to use it for free. It comes into its own via paid advertising. If you want to target your exact buyers there is no more powerful tool on the web. But beware, get it wrong and it will cost you.
Youtube – Promotes The Real You – Yikes!
Youtube is the 2nd biggest search engine after Google and much easier to rank for search terms.
Another platform that isn’t strictly social but it does encourage comments and the more you get the higher you will rank.
You shouldn’t ignore Youtube. I’m saying that because I know it’s the search platform of the moment. Video is king.
That makes me full of crap because I’m not using it. I am procrastinating because I’m daunted.
That’s the issue with Youtube, it’s very exposed. I don’t think I’m alone in being intimidated. I admit to being on the shy side. In my experience, most artists are quite introverted.
It’s so easy to sit alone at your computer or easel, you’re hidden away, nice and safe.
Not so on Youtube. You are there for all the world to see and that has two sides. There is a ‘Twitter’ element only too happy to criticize, and on the flip side, thousands of potential fans eager to connect in a much more personal way.
Let’s face it, people want to see the artist at work. They want to ask questions, see the process and learn how to do things. In that sense, making videos is a no brainer. We should all be doing it.
And what’s more, the earning potential is huge. Ads, affiliate links, digital sales, print sales, and blog traffic. Successful videos make money.
At the time of writing, and the on the back of Tiktok shaking up the other platforms, Youtube are trying to compete directly with ‘Youtube Shorts’
These are 60-second videos in a vertical format that have no algorithm as yet to limit your potential audience. It is possible to go viral very quickly. They don’t have the direct links available with standard videos but they can still drive a lot of traffic your way.
Linkedin – Social Media Strictly For Art Business
This is the social media for artists that always gets ignored. I’ve ignored Linkedin myself until recently when a friend showed me how she was finding clients on the platform.
The key to using the site lies in writing useful content or repurposing your blog articles. My friend started with one comprehensive article about her main topic and sent it out to her small list of leads. That was followed by daily tips and insights sent to her audience.
In that sense, it acts as a shareable newsletter.
In less than one month her strategy has gained her 659 new leads! Not bad if you want to find potential customers. Think commissions and coaching.
And the best bit is re-using old content. If you blog, you have a wealth of material at hand. I’m still learning but I guess that you will have to re-write your posts to avoid duplicate content appearing on Google, but that’s easily done.
The point is your new followers will be in the loop, word will spread, and you will gain more followers.
Regular tips and hacks will remind them of you and that awareness is what it’s all about. If anyone wants work to be done, they are more likely to remember you. It’s advertising, building authority, and brand awareness. Just like any other business.
Linkedin is far better than Facebook for organically reaching your target audience. It’s a work-focused and curated forum designed to encourage sharing content.
The algorithm is not designed to limit your reach the way Facebook does.
And lastly a bonus site worth checking out.
Dayflash – Social Media That Promotes Art The Way Instagram Did
Is this the new social media for artists? The one we’ve been waiting for? I hadn’t heard of this one until recently. Dayflash is a photo and video sharing app available on Apple. (Not Android at the time of writing).
They allow full screen, hi-definition images with no algorithm preventing you from finding and keeping your audience.
There are no hashtags on each picture, instead, you create them on your account once. People can find you and follow you and your images will appear chronologically in their feed. They will see you. Sounds very appealing.
It is set up to work like Instagram used to. Your work will be seen by your friends and followers.
I’ve been reading reviews and artists are finding that the engagement is deeper and more genuine than on Instagram. They love the hi-res images, and as I am someone who curses that my photo-realism never looks good on-screen, that’s a big bonus.
When it’s on Android, Dayflash might take off.
There you have an overview of the top 5 social platforms plus a newbie. Choose one and give it at least 3 months of concerted effort.
Don’t do all of them at once, you will burnout. If I was starting out now, what platform would I choose? Probably Youtube. It has more potential than the rest.
Video is the future and the market is far from saturated.
How-to videos. Watch this space.
Now take a look at these articles:
- How to Write an Artist Bio That People Want to Read
- Limited Edition Prints, Everything You Need to Know
- How Do You Price Your Art? (And Increase Your Profits)
- Art Commissions – How to Get Them Quickly? (It’s Easy But Scary)
- How to Sell More Art Prints Using This Classic Retail Trick
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