Social Media Tips for Artists

[H]uman technology imitates natural technology on the general level of directivity and purposiveness. – Aristotle on Technology

What are social media tips and how can it help artists market and sell their art? This is the topic that will I will be discussing this week at 2 events so I decided to collect my own resources and references in this one blog post centered around key concepts:

Original Content – Copyright and Fair Use

Artists, for the most part, have an easy time coming up with original content to share. Most artists are concerned with copyrights and watermarks. My general rule is to only upload low resolution, or small size, images. You might also consider only showing detail images or works in progress photos. It’s a good idea to post clearly someplace on your website, or social media about section, how people can use your images. Also, be aware that some use is fare game to other artists once it’t out there in the public eye.

TIP: Get your license from Creative Commons that tells people how you want them to use your images or NOT use your images

TIP: If you don’t have photoshop or are unsure about image resizing here is a website that will crop your image to fit the avatar and banner spaces on most social media profile pages:

Word Of Mouth – Credibility in Social Media

Unlike traditional, in person, word of mouth online can go viral and access people world wide. Having a recommendation from a friend is more meaningful than am anonymous stranger. One key concept for social media is about the users identity. There are 3 basic levels and their value ranges from less credible to most credible.

  1. Anonymous – We don’t know who said it so it’s not very credible.

  2. Username Simi Anonymous – We see who said, like Drugstore, it but only people who know them recognize their username. Less credible because actual identity is hidden.

  3. Real People – We know who these people are. We know of them personally or through recommendations from other people we know personally.

TIP: There are programs out there to help you get to know the people in social media and discover more about their online reputation. Some are free (social mention) and but the better ones are paid (nimble).

Organizing Contacts – Know who you are talking to

You meet people in every day real life and that’s the best way to grow your social media as an artist. The facebook, twitter, pinterest, and instagram are just more place to connect with your exiting contacts or new people you meet. Email is still a good basis for your contacts. Don’t forget to be social and remember it’s a two way street. Comment on something like ‘Hi, I like your image…’ and start a conversation online with people who seem interesting to you. Respond when others comment on your content.

TIP: Make sure you are getting email notifications when people comment on social pages if your not checking them regularly.

Social media sites have tools that allow you to sort your contacts. It’s helpful to know who you are talking to and orient what you say to their interests. Some people might be interested in one type of your art and not another. As an artists, it’s safe to guess that you might be involved with a range of creative activities that might have different audiences.

Organizing Contacts on Facebook


Organizing Contacts in Google Plus Circles


Twitter Lits

TIP: Keep it simple. Add a new type of social media account one at a time and get used to how the online program works. Most social media sites allow you to import existing contacts when you sign up. You don’t need to be everywhere – quality of quantity for art in my book.

“You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you.”– Dale Carnegie

Mapping and planning are good ideas

Posting your own content on social media sites is like publishing your own newspaper. People expect new information on some type of regular basis. Not everything that you post about has to be about you, in fact a wide range in the types of posts you make it a good idea. It saves time and can make your posts more interesting if you plan them in advance. There are TONS of information graphics with strategies and suggestions on social media stuff.

Example schedule for social media

  • Monday – Tweet a Selfie Photo “Find me on Facebook” with Link to my Facebook Page

  • Tuesday – Add pins on Pinterest board “Santa Barbara Landscapes” from new research on local Santa Barbara landscape painters I like

  • Wednesday – Post a video on Facebook from recent lecture at CMA

  • Thursday – Post on LinkedIn about upcoming art show I’m going to – event Link

  • Friday – Post link to newsletter and “teaser” text and photo about new art project

TIP: Services. like Hootsuite, connects to social media accounts and allows you to plan out your social posts on a calendar – all in one place.

Reporting is your friend

Many social media sites, especially the business accounts, offer reporting on the content. It’s a great idea to monitor and analyze this info. It helps you to see what content is most popular and such. This can help when planning out new content.

TIP: Check out the wiki on social media terms

Get your friend involved – and make use of mobile apps

Sometimes it can be hard to find time to focus on your social media. It helps if you can do it with friends – like meet at a coffee shop or invite them over for an afternoon to brainstorm and surf the web together for stuff to share. With cell phone social media apps you can also take advantage of extra time that presents itself to post a photo or checkin and review a place you are visiting. The key is to keep a healthy balance online and offline with social media.

I cannot even imagine where I would be today were it not for that handful of friends who have given me a heart full of joy. Let’s face it, friends make life a lot more fun. Charles R. Swindoll