by Gary Smith for Imaginet
No longer does the artist have to depend on the vicissitudes of the gallery to sell his or her art. The barriers are down and social media and networks now offer the modern artist a solution to the question; how do I sell art online? But there is one caveat that should be borne in mind – it takes a great deal of work to sell art using social media. One should not assume that merely starting a Twitter or Pinterest account will lead to sales. Interaction and engagement with your followers is needed before you can sell art effectively using social media.
How artists can use social media via Twitter.
Twitter is one of the best ways to get your work known and to draw attention to your website or blog. Twitter also now allows images to be included with your tweets; this is as simple as clicking on the add image icon which allows you to show off your latest work of art. This means that the artist can include an image and information about this image which directs to a website. I have found that this is an excellent way to draw attention to my work and a way of finding fans and buyers – however, like all social networking, one first has to become deeply involved and committed to that network in order to build up the required following interested in your work.
Sell art by building a following
You should try to follow people, galleries and institutions that may be interested in buying art, or those people online who could be an influential factor in bringing buyers to your website. This is the hard part. You will not attract followers unless the content and quality of your tweets are interesting and informative.
When I first started trying to sell my art online I made the mistake of joining anyone remotely associated with art or creativity – only to find that most of the accounts I followed were not interested in buying art and many not even interested in art at all. One should take time to research those whom you decide to follow on Twitter and try to cultivate at least two or three hundred followers who may be potential buyers or interested in following your art. This is a process of following and un-following and finding new leads and prospects. It often takes months of tweeting and following others before you have a decent number of followers to offer your art too. There are many applications that you can help you in the process of finding suitable people to follow – and who will hopefully follow you back . Besides Twitter’s “Explore” function try tweetfind.com as well as the often used www.twellow.com Also have a look at the useful Twitpic at http://twitpic.com/
Interaction is essential
Interaction is essential: after you have established a decent number of followers you should go on to identify your best leads or potential buyers and art galleries and begin to interact with these followers on a daily basis. There are a number of tools that you can help you in the process of identifying influencers and leads among your followers – a good application to try would be commun.it – which provides a fast and easy way of identifying and interacting with influential followers.
Write as an artist about your work
Tweet not only useful information and news that you find about art online but also write about your art and your personal experiences of creating art – also write about the problems and possibilities of marketing your art online. This is a way of developing interest and interaction with others through the sharing of information – which in turn should attract more people to your account and site.
It is also advisable to create a blog to discuss tips and ideas at greater length. A blog is a useful space to expand on your tweets and to direct your followers to if they want to read more on a particular issue, idea or art insight. Remember that Twitter should be used in conjunction with other online media, such as your blog and other social networks that you can combine with your Twitter account – for example, Pinterest. More on this in the next article.
What about time?
All of the above takes a great deal of time and effort – how does the busy artist find time for networking? You can of course make use of social network management service like imagi-social, which I have found to be extremely useful -but if you want to go it alone then there are a number of things you need to know and understand. I will deal with this crucial issue of time and how the artist can use various methods to save time on social networking in the next article in the How Artists Can Use Social Media series.
Gary Bruce Smith is a freelance writer and artist. View his Google Plus profile.