Not since the Renaissance has there been a better time to be an artist. Parents concerned about their graduates throwing away tuition by trading law books for paint brushes can rest easy knowing that there is a financial future in the arts. The reason for this wave of change? Social Media.
Traditionally artists of all sorts have been at the mercy of big name galleries if they hoped to turn their different strokes into bank notes. However because of movements in the online landscape artisans can now take to social networks to sell their wares and can earn quite the living doing so. Now this may seem like a tight niche topic to use here on this internet marketing blog but it has long served to serve the small and medium business. What could serve as a better example to prove the revenue potential of social media than the struggles of an artist? If you are a creative soul looking to make a buck doing what you love, or a seller of such work, read further to find out how you can sell your offering by tapping into a few very effective social networks.
5 Social Media Sites that Artisans Can Use to Sell Their Work, and How
Crafts, home decor, design, photography, and art are among the most popular categories on Pinterest. This social network not only allows artisans and distributors of their wares to display work in an aesthetically pleasing online format, it does so on a platform that can lead directly to the point of purchase on a website. Giving your work a “home” to link to is essential to using Pinterest successfully so be sure to create a website with eCommerce capabilities so that you can pin each item directly from its landing page where users can access details, and the shopping cart. If you don’t have a website, you can still pin images directly from the likes of eBay or Etsy. The bottom line here, is that you should never post an image of your work without giving Pinterest users the opportunity to buy it. You want to be able to grab their spontaneous urge to add your work to their walls or shelves as swiftly as possible. “Branded” exposure is nice, but not as nice as being able to actually sell your work directly from the news feed of Pinterest. Always be linking.
While Instagram does not have “buy” features on its platform (yet) it has proven to be a successful online tool for artisans looking to sell their goods directly to followers. It all starts with the proper use of hashtags. If you create your Instagram profile today, to feature your work, the only way users (outside of your circles) will find you is via hashtagging. Because Instagram is a visually driven social network in its most basic form, users are actively looking to engage artists that create work applicable to their interests. Currently, there are over 66 million #art hashtag posts and nearly 10 million #painting hashtag posts among countless of variations of each. More importantly, more direct hashtags such as #artforsale (127,970 posts) and #artshow (325,425 posts) are being used to target financial purveyors of the scenes. You need to reach them. Follow these tips to using hashtags to sell your product on Instagram and apply them to your unique offering. Not convinced that this social network can literally bring in sales? Check out how a series of tiki art purchases have proven the success of Instagram in this capacity.
Since the beginning of Facebook artists have embraced the social network, even if it’s no longer considered “cool” according to your local Starbucks barista. Not a soul can argue with these recent statistics evidencing that Facebook is the most powerful social network in the world with tremendous implications for anyone looking to sell their goods on the platform. Facebook over the years has even provided advice within its blog, to help artists build a successful Facebook page. Managing a Facebook page as an artist/gallery is much easier than it is for many other businesses. Users are more likely to show their support for the art community, and these users are easy to find within the multitude of Facebook groups that exist in your locale. Search for art lovers that reside in your target market, join these groups, engage the users within, and let them naturally come to your page to view your work. As with Pinterest you can link posts to your website or eBay/Etsy page. However, within a year you will likely be able to apply Facebook’s new Buy Button to your promoted posts, which will change the game for proactive sellers of art forever.
Tumblr is a social blogging platform where 230 million active users respond extremely well to visuals. Tumblr users want to see art that applies to them and search tags to find it, so be sure to tag your art posts with identifiers that are true to each body of work (abstract, watercolors, etc…). This platform also allows you to manually add links within both the posted image, and within the text that accompanies it. Be sure to take advantage of these referral traffic opportunities and send users directly to the purchase page that proudly displays the work that they just clicked to enlarge. Follow these 7 tips to using Tumblr to market your offering to give your art an extra shot at being found, and purchased, through this network.
Recent studies show that the average LinkedIn member has annual income of $83,000 and has twice the buying power of the average US consumer. A very large number of LinkedIn users earn over $150,000 per year. LinkedIn is jam packed with educated and professional individuals with significant disposable income and a penchant for the finer things in life. These users are purveyors of the arts and yet so few artists are tapping into LinkedIn as a resource to sell their work. This is ALL good news for you. Using a “get there first” mentality, begin building your profile and presence as a professional artist on LinkedIn. Share culturally enriching articles related to visual arts that appeal to your current and impending connections and when the opportunity strikes (e.g. you have a gallery showing, or have been featured in a local periodical) post about your own efforts. High-income supporters of the art scene live to be known as the ones to “discover” up and coming artists before their fellow associates and socialites. Help them discover you.
Social media has presented the artist, the ultimate example of a small business owner, with unprecedented access to qualified collectors, purveyors, and supporters of the arts. Embrace the above five detailed networks and you may soon translate your talent in the studio or workshop into a way to earn a very successful living. For those of you small and medium businesses that have zero knack for the creative, the painting is still on the wall, dripping with implications that you can apply to your offering.