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How to: promote your art on social media

By in How To, Resources


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Self Promoting On Social Media

Handling self-promotion on social media and keeping up with the constant changes sucks. Just when you think you have everything figured out, some new app or update will come along and set you back at square one.

Just recently, Instagram made changes which made the app more like Tik-Tok and users were NOT happy. It took tons of users, including Kylie Jenner, to convince the company to roll back the changes.

We don’t always have celebrities on our side though, so how do we navigate?

 

Why Self-Promote?

There are so many ways to self promote now, but there is only so much time in the day and hopefully most of it should go to actually making art instead of slogging through social media, fighting for a like.


If you’re like most artists, you want to focus more on making art, and less on having to sell to the world. Buyers should come to you if it’s good right?

Well… if only it were that simple.

It took YEARS for Van Gough to be recognized for his talent. So long, in fact, that was no longer alive to realize his success.

While some may not care, I think most artists would like to have other people appreciate (and buy) their work before they… ahem… expire.

People can’t appreciate what they don’t see, and not everyone appreciates the same things. The more people that see your work, the more chances you have of:  A. people seeing your work, B. the right people seeing your work.

So how do we find the right people?

Knowing your audience

Whatever your art style or medium, knowing your audience is critical for building a following. Asking the question: what kind of person do I think is most likely to like my art?

That doesn’t mean this is the only type of person who will like your art, but it does narrow things down a bit so you can focus on promoting where your target audience is most likely to be.

For the same reason, it doesn’t really make sense for a cartoonist to try to get into an abstract art gallery, it doesn’t make sense for you to spend your time promoting your art to the wrong audience.

Understanding who your audience is one important narrows down where to go looking for your audience. Do you have video based content that young people would like? Tik-tok! Is your art a bit more traditional? Your audience might be a bit older then, so Facebook, Instagram & Pinterest are better options for you.

It doesn’t stop just yet though.

Finding the communities within the app that fit your niche is going to help you grow your presence the fastest. Finding artists with similar styles as yours and following them and their followers narrows things down even more from the whole sea of whichever social media on, to your specific corner of the art community.

Understanding your medium

Knowing your audience is one key step of promoting your own artwork, but it’s not the only step.

Knowing yourself and your art is just as important. You’ve got to understand where your art fits in the world and know what skills you bring to the table. Figuring out your unique venn diagram is pivotal to figuring out the best way to promote your art.

Is your art highly visual and are you pretty handy with a camera? Pictures and video of your process can really help your audience connect with what you do to create your art. Simply recording yourself while you work and doing some simple video editing like Cole Newman does in his video is an excellent example of someone doing this well.

Are you a good writer, able to write about the story behind your own art, and other art well? Well maybe it makes sense to focus your skills on writing about art, and reposting on twitter.

Ask yourself two questions. What are the ways my audience would like to see my art? Which of those ways can I be good at? And you should have your answer as to the medium you should choose.

Scaling your work

Once you’ve decided on your medium, there are some simple tricks to stretching a little content a looonngggg way.

When you make content, make content that you can use multiple times.

For example, if you are making videos about your process or how-to’s, start off with a youtube video, then you can chop it up into multiple videos that you can share on tik-tok and instagram.

Instead of recording and posting one place, or recording three videos for three different services, you’ve taken one video and some editing, to three different apps!

You can apply this concept to other mediums as well. If you like writing, creating a blog post, then sending it out with a newsletter, and tweet-storming chunks of it on twitter uses the same strategy of stretching your content across multiple mediums.

Keeping up with the times

Keeping up with the constantly changing world of apps and fads is hard. It’s a full time job for me, and it’s still hard.

The trick I use to keep up with what is going on is actually pretty simple though- find communities trying to do the same thing as you and talk to them. Share notes.

I, personally, love online forums like reddit. Places like /r/artistlounge and /r/instagram helped me from losing my confidence this year. I realized other people were having the same problems as me. I wasn’t alone. My posts didn’t suck. Instagram just changed its algorithm.

Connecting with local and online art communities keeps you plugged into the world and learn from what others are seeing.


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