Things I Learned as an Oil Painter: Thing #16

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Oops..the things appear to be getting less frequent.  Fear not: I still have plenty on my list...

Thing #16 goes a little like this:

Use social media - it is your friend!

But you knew that already, right?  I mean you're using social media right now (dA).  

Over the last little while I've been looking into how to promote myself online as an artist without spending any money. The possibilities are quite abundant, and have resulted in sales with a modest amount of effort. But here's the thing: a social media presence can get your stuff in front of a wider audience. Once it's there (in front of the audience) it still has to sell itself. The trick is to experiment with different sites to find out how they work and how well they work.  So I've done just that and this is what I've found (your results may vary).

Thinglet 16a: Nothing can take the place of quality content (hopefully you're thinking this is quality content). It's pretty much the way the entire internet works - people are just not interested in your stuff if your stuff isn't interesting (go figure).

Thinglet 16b: Keep posting. The life of an individual post is a few short days. If you have a lot of stuff to post (like a list of "things") drip feed it to maintain interest. Don't bombard your poor audience with a bunch of stuff all at once then nothing for months. Building an audience can feel literally like building: layering post upon post, each one drawing new people in.

Thinglet 16c: Figure out who you want to attract. DeviantArt is a great place to post things about art to artists, but to really build an audience you need to convert the indifferent into fans. The biggest pool of the indifferent has to be Facebook. I created a fan page a while back ( www.facebook.com/MontrealArtis… ) and most of my fans (at the time of posting this there were 222 of them) are not artists. I don't even think many of them would consider themselves to be specifically "art lovers".  

Thinglet 16d: Engage your audience. To draw people in you need to get them to actively think about your work. The best way of doing that is by either asking them a question or giving them a call to action. So far I have found the best way of promoting a post on FB is by asking the viewer to share your post if they like it. Even if only a handful of people comply, your post will reach an exponentially larger audience.  One of my posts was seen by over 2500 people!

Thinglet 16e: Post it in the right place. Different sites draw in different kinds of audiences. For example, I've tried Reddit and I got a lot of very quick hits. The site seems to a place where people want to skim through a ton of stuff.  My Reddit audience didn't stick around or really engage with me in any way. I tried FineArtAmerica.com and it seems that fan art does really well over there. I don't do fan art (and I ain't about to start!).

Thinglet 16f: Be respectful. My sales have all been buyer-initiated. They came to me and asked for either commissions or existing pieces. I didn't bang on about how you have to buy now while you can still afford it because I'm so awesome blah blah blah....

Thinglet 16g: Sadly, don't expect to retire from it. My experience tells me that I'm a long way from having social media replace my more traditional methods of selling artwork. A very long way.

Thing #1: maccski.deviantart.com/journal…
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Thing #15: maccski.deviantart.com/journal…

Why am I posting this stuff? maccski.deviantart.com/journal…

Take a look at my Facebook page...if you like it, please "Like" it! www.facebook.com/MontrealArtis…
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© 2013 - 2021 maccski
Comments13
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KevinBurris's avatar
OOPS! says that there is no FB PAGE... when I go there via your link
maccski's avatar
Thanks for pointing that out (even though you gave me a heart attack...I thought my page had been closed down). But all is well...it was just a typo. Here's the real link (also updated in the post) [link] . If you like what you see, please "like" my page!
KevinBurris's avatar
Liked the page for sure, and likewise if you like what you see, I started a Facebook page [link] as well.
maccski's avatar
Kevin, your work is awesome. It has a powerful graphic nature to it. I'm your 50th FB fan!
KevinBurris's avatar
I don't know what to say, those are kind words coming from one of my favorite artist's. Thanks.
KevinBurris's avatar
Ok. I'm hooked... gotta go backwards from Thinglet sixteen, Thanks
maccski's avatar
Glad you like 'em!
TomOliverArt's avatar
I like the idea of asking you audience to share the art. That's great.
maccski's avatar
Thanks Tom! It seems if I ask for likes I generally don't get as many as when I ask for shares. There's something interesting about human nature buried in that somewhere.
S-NOBLE's avatar
A great post! I recently launched a 'like my page and share this link' competition to win a teeny original by me. It cost me nothing to make (seriously, a 20x20 canvas board and leftover oil from the days 'real' painting, in fact it's costing me more to post it to the winner). It got me a bunch of new likes from across the globe and around 8,000 people got to see my work. I sold a number of prints and had inquiries from people I've never heard of. Completely worth it and so easy to do, ill be running another one in 6 months time I think!
maccski's avatar
That's awesome, Stef. I've not quite got to the giveaways and contests level yet, but I'll definitely give it a go soon...
Penultimate-Pen's avatar
These are really great tips. I've been reading all of them, and I've found them all to be really useful ideas. Thanks a lot for this!
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