Social Media

First thing’s first! 

GY*T PR, Marketing

Art websites

Art Business Social Media

Art Business How Not to Succeed

How to Market Yourself part 1

How to Market Yourself part 2

8 Marketing tips

13 Artist Marketing tips

Art Marketing Secrets browse this website

Social Media: Social media has become this wonderful and fantastic for people to find their own tribe outside of their own physicality. Artists it turns out, are amazing at social media. At times I have thought that Facebook and Instagram were created just for artists and art lovers. What else could it be for? Surely not cat videos or 5 minute updates on 2 year olds or hateful politics. The rise of this form of communication has sped up the dissolution of centralized geographical locations as “the art world”, and has removed the gallery as the only intermediary between artists and collectors. Artists no longer need to congregate in cities to create a career. Now, wherever you want to be- in a city or out in the woods, you can still become well known and respected in your given field.

That’s the positive side. The negative side is that now that artists no longer rely so heavily on agents (galleries), the work of marketing falls on the shoulders of the artist. More time away from the studio. The trick is interacting with this in a smart way, and finding a balance between studio life and online life. That is not something that can be taught. The balance is yours to find.

*There is an important thing to remember about social media when using it for your artistic career. Your social media should function as a means to drive people to your website- not the other way around. You want people to find out more about you without requiring them to read a ton unless they want to. Make sure that you keep your content short on social media and if you have more to say, put that on your blog or website and create links on FB etc. People do not love the “read more” line on social media. When you update your website, post about that. Give a teaser of a few new images and link to your website.

Announce your news on these sites. It’s easier than updating website content and is therefore more likely to be seen. More people are on social media than they are watching your website. Social Media has a different Active/ Passive balance than your website.  Social media is easy and fast, going to websites take time and effort. However, Social media force feeds users content very actively, while a website allows users to absorb at their leisure. Both are necessary. Use social media to lead people into the quieter activity of looking at your website alone. If your social media is engaging, people will take the time to click through to your website. Its a really spectacular tool.

If you have any questions about how to set up and use any of these platforms, check out social media today. They have a ton of webinars and really helpful advice for small businesses (which is what you are). Your work is your brand and you are a business if you have any plans whatsoever to try to “make it” as a full time studio artist.

Here are the most used  platforms and some of the ways in which you can use them to benefit your art career.

Facebook: Clearly we all know what this is. You have all probably been using this platform for quite some time to communicate with friends and family. Various artists deal with this in different ways. Your first option for using Facebook to present your work is to integrate posts about your work with your life posts. I know several potters, wood workers and the like that feel that their work and life have no barrier between the two and create as many posts about their dogs, families and politics as they do about their work. This type of activity is fine if a part of your artwork “brand” is really a lot about how art and life are intertwined. There are some risks in this behavior. First, what if someone posts on your timeline something that goes against your brand? What about privacy? This can be a conundrum. If you have your privacy setting set so high that not everyone can access images and information about your work, you are in essence preaching to the choir of the already converted (your friends and family). If you have no privacy settings on the other hand, leaving your work and life out there for the world to see and interact with, there can be some unpleasant circumstances.

If you have any concerns whatsoever about your privacy and personal information being available to the public, I highly suggest creating a separate Facebook page which you can manage from your personal page. I have 4 pages I manage aside from my personal page. I have the Pages Manager app which allows me to move easily from one page to the next, updating content for each. You have a couple options for keeping a Facebook Page  for your artwork. You can either  can keep  an artwork only page which is completely public, while keeping the privacy settings on your personal page as they are. OR- you can do something I see more and more artists do, which is to integrate public/ artist persona with the personal. Many artists just have the one page and part of their brand IS the life they live- from travel to cooking to children to studio disasters. It’s up to you.

Now, how do you use this? Check out this webinar How to get more Attention for your Facebook Posts. *Check out below in the Insights and analytics section below and the creating vs curating content.

Instagram: As I said before, sometimes I think that social media was created for artists. Check out Ayumi Horie’s Guide to Using Instagram for Studio Artists on her blog. This post is a little old- but Ayumi makes a living almost entirely on Instagram so it’s worth a read. Instagram is mostly visual and can be easily linked to your Facebook page. It is unfortunately more difficult to keep separate accounts. You can do it, but that requires that your sign out as one user and sign back in as another. As this platform is so often “in the moment”, that makes keeping separate accounts for life and art a little tough. Instagram is so visual that regardless, you will be showing off your artist’s eye. Instagram is really great for creating networks and getting noticed, it is informal and less personal. I personally think this platform is one of the best ways to get into social media and grow followers. It take almost no time. *See using hashtags below.

Twitter: I have not personally used this platform too much as it is in constant motion and requires a great deal of attention to get any notice. My personal preference as an artist, gallerist and educator is to avoid this platform. The constant attention this requires is exhausting to me. Now, that’s my personal preference. I welcome you to comment about this if you use it! I have seen really great use of this platform by collectives of artists and arts organizations. If your work is at all performative, requires audience interaction or is less object based, Twitter can be put to great use.

Pinterest: This platform is a place where people go to get ideas for their own projects and acts as a sort of “pre-shopping” website. People love Pinterest. It is an open source platform on which businesses, artists, crafters etc can get ideas from one another and promote one another. This is a story telling platform. Check out 6 Ways to use Pinterest to Promote your Brand. This platform requires that you interact. Like Twitter, it also takes a lot of time. But- it also drives traffic to websites like no other platform.

Tumblr, WordPress, and blogs: Read 49 creative Geniuses Who Use Blogging to Promote Their Art and download the Rebel Artist’s Manifesto on that page (it’s free, it’s short and it’s really good advice).  So, blogging. A blog can be a great way to write about your latest news, talk about things that are peripheral to your work (got a new tool you’re excited about? Headed to a new residency? Traveling? Museum visit that really floored you?) You can be a little wordy and a little informal on your blog.  When people buy work, they are more often than not- buying you and your story (your brand) as well as the object. They LOVE to know all about you. It makes them feel connected to you. A blog is a great way to talk about you and your process. Also time consuming- however, you do not need to write on it every day! Blogs exist in the middle space between social media and websites. If you are not ready to have a website, a blog is a great place to start. You can secure your domain name and set up a simple blog first. These platforms are fairly easy to use, and generally offer visually beautiful templates.

Flickr This is an amazing photo storage place. While Flickr is  a photo sharing place, it also allows users to simply store photos and keep setting completely private. Flickr allows up to 1,oooGB of storage for free. This is a great way to back up your photos. Now, I know several photographers and video artists that use flickr as social media. I have little experience with it but I do use it as an extreme measures backup place for all my photos. If I lose my hard drive, and also the external hard drive, all of my photos are there. So, while Flickr is social media, it is also storage without image quality loss.

Insights and Analytics OK, now what? So you have one or several ways in which you promote your work online. I recommend having a website AND use at least one social media platform. Not so many people will visit your website without direction. So how can you tell how many people are engaging with your content? What can you do with that information once you have it? There are several tools out there for your use where you can learn about who is visiting your sites and when, and for social media, ways in which you can learn to shape your content to get more followers.

for your website: Use analytics to find out who is looking, from where and when they are browsing. You can see how long they spent on which page. You can find out whether they are on their mobile device or a computer. AND- this is really important, you can find out if they clicked through another platform to get to your site. You can use this information to boost your visibility based on where your viewers are coming from. If someone clicks through to work website from a link on a friend’s page-  say thank you to that friend for linking to your site, and do the same for them- this reciprocal action is incredibly powerful. If on the other hand, you see that someone clicked through from Facebook, find out when they did that and try to post on Facebook around that time to encourage more people to do this.  Check out google analytics and how to use google analytics.

Facebook: A Facebook page that is administrated from your personal page is set up a little differently than a personal page. You have easy access to your insights. You can use these insights to determine what type of posts people engage with most and gear your posts in that direction (photo posts, written posts, shares, timeline photos etc). You can see when (day of week, time of day) people look at your page the most and schedule your posts to go live at that time. A Beginner’s Guide

Pinterest:Pinterest analytics are similar to Facebook insights and can be used in the same way. how to use pinterest analytics

Instagram: Instagram has an analytics tool IF you convert your page to a business page and it’s only accessible on your phone- not from the computer.  That can be a little tricky but of course, there are ways around the issues. Here are the 5 best tools to use to figure it out. You can also get a sense of this if you link your instagram to your Facebook page and use the insights from there.

Curating vs Creating content: OK- I said a little earlier that reciprocal action is very powerful. There is a different balance of Curating Content vs Creating Content for each type of social media. I highly recommend that your re-gram, re-pin and share. You gain access to the friends and followers of others if you indicate you are interested in someone other than yourself.

“Whether you’re on a first date, meeting new people at a dinner party, or making it rain on Twitter, it’s just not a good idea to go on and on about yourself. It’s just awkward.

Conventional social media marketing wisdom suggests that brands should avoid being overly self-promotional. Thus, brands seek to “be a part of the conversation” by sharing links that are relevant to their followers but often not specifically about their products and services. This act of finding good content and sharing it is known as content curation. Here are two great articles about this: post 1 and post 2.  I KNOW these are old posts (2011) but- the advice is relevant and at this stage everyone knows how to use the platforms and there is less well-written stuff out there about this now. Here’s another from 2016 if you feel that those are just too old.

Hashtags: I cannot stress enough how important it is to use but not overuse the hashtag. Tags are a way that your content can be accessed by people who are looking for other things related to your content. You can create your own hashtag, or you can use an existing tag- regardless, the use of tags also boosts your visibility in google searches. It is fascinating really. Please read how to use hashtags to find out more. Adjacent to the hashtag is the tag (@). Any time you are with someone, think of someone, or see someone’s work- tag them in your posts. This gains you access to their audiences, and helps with that curate vs create equation. It’s also just a nice thing to do.


It is super easy to share anything on Facebook – and the originator of the post will be credited. It is a little trickier to repost on Instagram. I strongly suggest you use a regram app- there are a number of these. Use of these tools will let the originator that you used their post- thereby building upon that relationship.

You can just screenshot and post that way- but be sure to tag the originator so that they are aware that you did so.

Credit where credit is due:

Just like it’s important to give photo credit for your photos, it’s important to give credit where credit is due.

This is also really good for relationship building- which is a building block of social media!

I’m going to go on a little tangent here.

Intellectual Property Rights

All artists need to be careful in protecting the rights to their work. While 2-D and 4D artists have more trouble than sculptors generally in this matter, Take a look at what’s happening to ceramic artist BrettKern Brett’s work has been “appropriated” and is being mass produced in China for resale in places like Ross Dress for Less.

There’s a great amount of information  from the College Art Association(CAA) about this topic. Below is from GY*T (again). The longer article is in the link here.

You should both tag and caption your images. If someone grabs your image off your site, rather than seeing something like IMG34294359 or P2938248, or the like when they see your image in their files, make sure each of your photos is titled in the file. Your name at the very least should be in the title. It is really good to have image captions on your website because people want to know what they’re seeing. And if you have hired a photographer, even if you paid for the service, it goes beyond courtesy to give that photo credit. It is an obligation. Many photographers have a contract in which you agree to give photo credit when using the images.

Anything to Add? Please add your comment!

28 thoughts on “Social Media

  1. I believe there is a way for the photographs to have an invisible watermark that can be programmed into the image code in Lightroom. Is this a good safety net for people stealing work, especially photographs?

    Also, how important is it to integrate real life and art work? Should every few posts in between art works be something personal?

    • The watermark thing really does work. I think you should definitely use them.

      You will find your balance. I think the way social media works is to integrate your life with your work. You life is a part of your brand.

  2. This reading was helpful in distinguishing how each social media format can be properly utilized to promote my brand.

    When creating a second account or art page for Instagram or Facebook, what is the best way to transfer over followers?

    • Use that Invite button on Facebook and invite people. You can’t transfer followers from one account to another.
      The other option is to create a separate personal page, and invite only the people you want there. Then, delete posts you don’t want on your art page and use the original page as your art page- thereby keeping your followers there. you can always re-name your pages. Your social media will evolve as you do- go ahead and delete old stuff if you don’t want it up there anymore.

  3. This reading helped me decide which social media platform is best for me. Instagram seems like the best way to go since a viewer can see something they like, click on my profile and find a link to buy my work in my bio. Easy!

    What kind of camera should I have? Should all posts of my work be professional?

    • Cameras….
      While ideally you should buy a DSLR to shoot your work, new phones are getting better and better and as long as the photo is well lit, composed well etc- phone photos should work. If your phone is older than 3 years old- you should post photos taken with a DSLR and not your phone. There are a bunch of quality, middl of the road cameras. The technology does go out of date pretty fast, but the Canon Rebel is a good buy- and should last you a number of years.

  4. Names of images was not something I thought was particularly important before, but this reading makes a good point. If someone is to save my work from my social media or website I want it to have my name in it or something to redirect them back to me.
    I am still a bit confused on why you list Twitter as an unreliable source to post artwork. I don’t use the platform too often but I do follow a good amount of visual artists there. What exactly makes it more high-maintenance than other sites?

    • This is a good question. My research has led me to understand that unless you are on Twitter constantly, the algorithm won’t work for you. Other social media platforms are better for intermittent posts. You can still grow an audience on Instagram- even if you only post #wip posts every few weeks. Twitter on the other hand, if you are not engaging with the content constantly, intermittent posts are like shouting into the void. Now- I could be wrong here, or perhaps the algorithm has changed since I did my research. Your question leads me to want to investigate further. To me, having to engage with a platform that requires even more of my time is not something I particularly want to do- I’d rather spend that time in my studio frankly. But- I will certainly check it out again. Thanks for the nudge!

  5. I also would like to add to the info about Instagram. If you create a Facebook page, you can link it to your Instagram and from there post the same content to both accounts. This is very helpful when it comes to keeping consistency between both accounts, and also comes into play with advertising, as the two not only give out advertising credits constantly, but they will run your ad on both sites for the same cost.
    Another thing to consider is the layout of your feed. Is it consistent in style? Content? An app I found to help assure the layout looks aesthetically pleasing and consistent is Planoly. There are many “instagram organizers” but this seems to work the best as you can play around with setting up what you want to post, and choose the order. You can also set the time that you want to post the photos, so if you’re not able to post consistently this is a way to keep your followers engaged with only a little bit of time and effort.

  6. Do you think it’s important for us to be on 90% of the platforms or is it ok to pick and choose which ones we use? For example, if I work better with Instagram rather than Facebook, is it ok to just have an Instagram? Or should I figure out a way to also have the Facebook to be in contact with that audience?

  7. I definitely have to focus more on facebook and instagram. I do have accounts for each (I keep my art account separate from my main account on instagram.) I don’t post very often and very rarely use hashtags. I need to start using hashtags and creating a regular posting schedule, especially with rapidly changing algorithims. I should also make a website other than just my etsy account.

  8. I appreciated this reading for the breakdown of what each social media site is good for. I also liked the note that social media should drive people to view your website, I feel like people are sofocusedt on the importance of social media in society they forget that, but maybe not artists as much. I think it’s almost essential for artists to be online in some way or form in today’s world. It is the easiest way to connect to your viewers/consumers and market your work. I always find in surprising when I find artists or work I like at an event or art fair, and am unable to find them later or see more of their work. I think unity across all your platforms is important as well. It’d be too confusing to have multiple different names for yourself on numerous sites, plus your logo/branding doesn’t make as much of an impact.

  9. As someone who has tried to use instagram to promote her artist career I have tried free follower apps, read tips on how to gain followers, and dm instagram pages that share art hoping to magically gain a significant following on instagram. To be honest a lot of it is crap unless you get very lucky, or just unhelpful common sense tips. The only true way to gain followers online is to network in the real world, especially if you are unknown. I found that by going to new places and engaging in new experiences have been the most significant way to gain followers. Only when you market yourself in the real world will a substantial amount of people be committed to follow you online, actually making an impact on your number of followers.
    On a separate note I switched my art account to a business account ( and it is not private) where I am able to see insights on my work. The insights show your number of reach and impressions, despite googling these terms I still have no clue what they actually mean

  10. I think all of this input on platforms is really great and delving deeper into the resources, I have spent most of the weekend updating all of my platforms with the things I have learned. I use my middle name as my last name on facebook to keep people from finding me professionally. This does not always work but if people aren’t looking to hard, they usually do not come across me easily. That being said, I have a page under that account labeled with my art handle which is kwillcox art. It is my website name, my professional Instagram name and the way I sign my work when I can.
    I tailor my content and untag myself from posts I don’t feel are appropriate for my professional image. To be frank, the online sphere is not authentic to begin with so I don’t feel like I am missing out on the social side when I control my content in this way. I have gone through my older accounts and deleted things but not everything, I don’t plan to ignore my past and I hope to get to a volume of posting that promotes my brand that those past posts make it ALL THE WAY to the bottom.

    My question is, Caitlin, If you have any pinterest or twitter specific resources like Horie’s link for Instagram and if you believe that process shots are just as valuable as finished work. I see a lot of professional artists posting work from in studio.

  11. It’s interesting how the level of professionalism and spontaneity shifts from platform to platform, as well as audience and objective. Instagram is nice for showing the studio and promoting the process of art making. It also has a younger audience. This is why Facebook may be a better place to post events or larger sales and updates. The professionalism and content is changed drastically by this fact. Despite this, they all have the same purpose of filtering others to your website. It’s incredible how much it can be to manage. At what point would having someone, specifically paying someone, to manage your social media be beneficial? It seems it’s a balance game of financial viability, willingness to sacrifice full control over your content, and the time it would take to do it yourself?

  12. I have used Instagram as a platform to display my work and share ongoing projects and inspirations do my art, however I’ve never actually used any other social media platforms to share my art. Up until this point I was very uneducated as to the differences of one to the next. Your audience, objective, and level of professionalism can chance from one the the other

  13. I advertize my work through Facebook but I am concerned because I heard that Facebook can take any image and use it. I’m thinking about deleting it and starting an Instagram in addition to my own website.

  14. This is so massively useful, especially to those of us who struggle with maintaining social media. I didn’t realize that Pinterest was so important, and I’ve kind of shied away from Twitter, is it worthwhile to make a new account and try and maintain a presence on multiple social medias, or should I just pick a few to focus on?

  15. i thought the insights and analytics portion was very useful and kind of interesting. i definitely would never have thought of that.
    I currently do not have a blog or a website, does a blog get enough traffic to really be useful?

    • It really depends on how much you want to write/post. If you’re a wrier, and update content regularly, then yes, a blog can function this way. IF not- and you’re more of a visual person- then a blog may not be worth your time.

  16. As someone who is on few social media sites, and only 1 site is used to show my artwork, it was interesting to read about how so many sites can house artwork and be used for promotion. Should these sights all look the same if you are using several to show your work?

  17. I think it’s incredible how social media has changed the marketing environment. I know that a lot of success can be made by self promotion on social media, but how important is it to be on every platform? Can you still go the traditional way of marketing yourself through agents/galleries?

    • I don’t think it’s absolutely necessary to stay up on every platform. that said, it is important to track how the social media landscape is changing. Take the shift from Facebook to Instagram as a case in point. Pay attention to who is using the platform you are most comfortable. There are the influencers, and there are the consumers. Those groups don’t always use the same platforms. There is usually some overlap, and social media is pretty good at allowing you to share from one to another. You can still go the traditional way- but those avenues are few and far between these days. First, because of the financial crisis, and again now in the times of COVID. Traditional galleries are having to adapt also- and it sometimes takes the longer than it will for you as an individual artist.

  18. I didnt realize how social media platforms such as twitter could be used to promote one’s artwork, considering how fast-paced and politically oriented it is. I think it is important to know your way around social media as an artist in this day and age, but I do not know if I would want to have a blog on everyone. Should we? And is it important to address how the algorithms of each site work going into it?

    • You don’t hav to have a blog- depends on how much you want to say with words. It is important to keep track of how algorithms are changing, but this is not something you have to keep daily tabs on. pay attention to your feeds, see what other people are saying. If you see your follow growth slowing, do a little research and see if something changed in how the sites operate. This part of your business practice can be a little more reactive- unless you find that your work IS your social media- in which case, paying careful attention will become more important

  19. I found it very interesting to read about the do’s and don’ts of blending your personal and professional life on social media. I have had a separate Instagram account for my artwork for awhile because I prefer to keep my personal things private but I have also very much enjoyed looking through artists accounts who have everything in one place. It was nice to read about making a separate art page for Facebook because I have wanted to delete my private page for awhile and always thought I should keep it for art, now I can just delete one and make another which I had actually never thought to do.
    I guess I was a little confused with the curating vs creating content section. I have never posted other art I am interested in on my art Instagram, should I? I would with credit of course but I had never thought of my page coming across as me, me, me and that concerns me.

    • The answer is there’s really no right answer. If social media becomes a big part of your practice, you should diversify. Regardless, it’s a good idea to put things in like image sources and inspiration. This helps explain your wok, nad breaks up the endless stream of artowrk images.

Leave a Reply