Over the past few months I have looked at tips for artists selling their work. From business strategy to pricing your paintings. In this article I will touch on the topic many artists turn to first. Social media marketing. Often social media looks like the answer to launching a business. An easier and cheaper way to reach millions? Nobody has all the answers, but I will add a few experiences that may be helpful:
Which Social Media Channel?
This question is often top of mind for many, but it is not the place to start. However let us get this out of the way then move on to the more important points. The biggest social media channel is clearly Facebook. The 900 pound gorilla cannot be ignored. But is it the answer to your creative business marketing?
First off you will get some organic likes and appreciation on Facebook. However if you only want to grow your business this way you will be disappointed. Unless you are prepared to use your credit card. Facebook is now a pay-to-play business itself. If you are not paying then you are the market for marketers. It is simply the way it is. Instagram, also owned by Facebook, is heading in the same direction.
You can reach targeted audiences on Facebook, but you will need to budget realistically to make inroads. Plus expect to learn plenty about the marketing system behind this monster. There is a significant learning curve so if technology is not your thing then take a course on the subject to help.
On the bright side if you do have a budget to work with then you can enjoy steady and growing market exposure with Facebook. But be aware that putting your efforts on one platform is risky. Diversify your marketing efforts for more peace of mind. In particular building an email list remains the safest bet over the long term as you will own the list.
Best Value Social Media for Long Term?
The surprise channel for many is Pinterest. I often receive skeptical looks when I mention this, but Pinterest has significant advantages of all the other channels. I wrote about Pinterest a few years ago and I am happy to say that the service has grown as predicted. Another plus is that Pinterest has avoided all the negative fallout other channels have experienced from politics, live stream video and the general mess that social media has become. Why is this?
As mentioned above expecting the social media channel to make your business take off is not the answer. There will always be exceptions and short bursts of attention. But your business is not a fly-by-night operation so you want to keep the long term in mind.
In a word you will need a strategy to succeed. Sounds dull and I know many people are so turned off by this idea that they will not give it a thought. Much more fun to check out the timeline and read a few posts. For those that work out and develop a strategy the future is brighter indeed.
What is Strategy About?
Simply start with the old SWOT analysis. Strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. Make a list and get direction form this.
10 TIPS FOR ALL-ROUND SUCCESS:
1.Figure out who your market is. Where to find them and test your message. Adapt and learn.
2. Grow your email list. Far better to have a real customer and fan list through emails obtained ethically over time.
3. Consider your work and keep your quality on an upward trend.
4. Be consistent and persistent. Not a nuisance, but helpful. Especially in your blogging efforts. This is a long term strategy so make it worthwhile for your readers over time.
5. Learn and assume expertise through your efforts
6. Watch spending and avoid credit traps. Remember that lenders offer you an umbrella when it is sunny and ask for it back when it rains.
7. Include real relationships. Do not rely on digital alone. Add face-to-face interaction where reasonable. People still like to talk, see and touch not just click. If you get my drift.
8. Use mentors. Whether it is successful people you know or celebrities you have to study at a distance. Find out what works and use that information.
9. Save. If you do not squirrel something away each month things can get real scary. The old advice of saving ten percent of whatever you make remains relevant. Scale this up whenever you can. Aim for an emergency fund that will cover six months. Hopefully you will never need this, but look ahead and start this system.
10. Diversify. I know you have your core product. But is there another income stream that you can add that may be related? Brainstorm this and try something out.
Each of these ten points is worth a detailed study, but there are many resources available to dive into. Try my Resources page for a start and find plenty of excellent information. There is also a detailed course on art marketing strategy to try out. The key is to begin.