Thank you to everyone who wrote questions after the first social media for the emerging artist post! It was fun to begin this little journey and see so many enthusiastic people excited about my blog.
(And as a point to becoming social media savvy: It’s very smart to engage with other artists. These five people are now permanently in my mind).
Nicole: I have a ton of questions. I love your work. I will start with one question. When it comes to instagram, did you search for tags or just go tag crazy. Do people get bothered by tags? Anyway thanks for sharing, and excited for your growth as an artist!
With instagram, I started by hash-tagging my work with common descriptive words about my piece or myself. Ex. #art #artist #paint #painting #realism. From there, I would wander around the community created by those tags. Through research, I connected with similar artists and found other tags used for work similar to mine. It’s not only an organic way to find what will work with your posts but it encourages using social media as a tool to develop and be part of a community. Being an engaged member of the art community is so beyond beneficial. Be a fan first… it’ll lead you to a lot of answers.
I think people do get bothered by tags… especially a poor use of them/too many of them. This is why I keep my caption simple with one or two tags at most. I then comment under my post with the other tags I’d like to use. This will also keep them off of twitter and facebook (for those that have their photos go immediately to other sites). While I don’t mind hashtags all over instagram, it drives me nuts on Facebook. This helps solve most annoyances .
Scott: How the hell did you gather almost 15,000 followers on instagram, my friend? Do you hash tag the hell out of your posts?
The 15,000 (now just shy of 17k) happened organically. As stated above, I use hashtags that are descriptors of my post/what I’m doing (and let a funny one or created tag creep in here and there). I then search. I do what I want others to do. Example: I like realistic painting so I will click on my hashtag #realism and see who I am sharing that collective page with. I go into that little community and find artists I like. I engage with them because, well, I like art and other artists. Eventually people started doing that to me too.
The main key is to remain active and post regularly. This will help people begin to recognize your work and become interested in what you’re doing. Appropriate hashtags will not only help you find other artists but help artists find you.
Kim: How do you centralize all your social media so you do not spend your time hopping from one place to the other to do it all? Trying to be time efficient. Thanks for doing this, Maria!
I find it obvious when sites use tools to mass post the same information to all sites. It feels like advertisement and not the authentic content I want from an artist.
How I do it:
-I stick to the sites I know I will keep up with. This is why I’ve stayed off of tumblr, reddit, etc. I currently do not have time for them. Maybe one day.
-I try to post unique content to both instagram and facebook.
-Instagram gets tons of work in progress photos. I take those on the spot during studio breaks.
-Facebook gets a post every day to every other day. It is usually to talk about a piece I have in the works, an exhibition coming or a blog post going out. I do these both during studio time and on my lunch breaks from work (where I’m writing this post now).
-Twitter is more sporadic and I often allow my facebook fanpage and instagram account to spill over into it. I use twitter mostly to post up articles or connect with people directly.
Getting into a routine takes time and effort. It’s an extension of being an artist right now. Keep making content and posting it. Don’t sign up for social media sites you aren’t going to be active in.
Ida: Do you think I should post on social media sites separately as opposed to posting to multiple sites via Instagram? Do you think posting on Instagram at different times during the day makes a difference? I’m excited to read your blog.
Yes. For the most part, you should post separately. It is a way to insure people to follow you on multiple sites. There have been many times I have looked up an artist I liked on Facebook (found from instagram) and noticed it’s the same as their IG account. I don’t want the same content everywhere I log-in. Make it interesting for your audience.
Posting on instagram during different times of the day can be key. Think about staying away from times when people are most likely sleeping and eating. It’s a good way to start. Posting around the same time each day is also helpful. When I was posting at 11pm-2am during grad school I gained a ton of followers and fans from Cali to Australia. It was great! It expanded my reach beyond the east coast. While this is great for an artist who wants to exhibit everywhere, this may be terrible for a photographer looking to gain local business. Think about your target audience and the times they may be checking their personal accounts. Post in those sweet spots.
Lidia: 1) What social medias have you found most helpful when spreading your artwork and getting noticed? 2) I’m trying to start a website to sell prints/stickers/ and other goodies with my art on it, is there any tips or suggestions you might have for someone who is just getting started? I feel like no one would like my stuff or ill just be ignored. -thank you, I’m a big fan of yours!!
For anything visual use Instagram. There’s no contest for me. It’s been a blessing and beyond. As stated with all of the answers above, it’s a great way to connect and not have to say too much. It’s a platform that allows the art to speak for itself.
I don’t sell much merchandise with my work on it so unfortunately I don’t have too much sound advice for the second question. I think the best way to start thinking about sales is to first find your fanbase and get your work out there. The sales will follow (sometimes, it’s tough). If you’re looking to build a website I 100% suggest working with wordpress and a professional looking theme. They have tons of information on their website. (www.wordpress.org)
I built this baby from the ground up. Not only was it incredibly rewarding but I now know it like the back of my hand. I never have to ask anyone to update it for me. My blog, CV and work stay current consistently. Give it a go!
Have your own questions about social media? Comment here or write to me at email@example.com for the next round of Q&As.
Maria Teicher is the co-founder and art director at The Art Is Not Dead. She is a painter, photographer, and teaches artists how to use social media to strengthen their online presence in a professional manner.