5 Reasons why Artists use Social Media

Social media is huge. Facebook has 2 billion monthly active users and Twitter 330 million monthly users. And so social media enters every niche and almost every interest. Although traditional art is not always at the forefront of tech innovations, social media is no longer the new kid on the block and part of many people’s lives. Many artists enjoy their social media experience and yet many are still reluctant and unsure what it is good for.

I am a very active social media user and have accounts with Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram and Youtube.  I asked my fellow artists on Facebook how social media ‘works’ for them. Many gave similar answers to my own thoughts.

One reason is definitely NOT a good reason to join social media: the fear of missing out, of missing the boat, of not staying up to date. These reasons are the worst reasons to join any social media platform. If you are not on social media you are not missing the boat, you are not out of touch. And; you could easily still stay hopelessly out of touch if you ARE on social media. After all, it all depends on how you use it. And signing up for a Facebook account is surely not going to make you ‘catch the boat’ of modernity as if by a miracle.

There are, on the other hand, good reasons for artists to join social media 

5 Reasons to Join Social Media

Show it to the World!

You can show your art to the world. You can show what you create, how you create it and what inspires you. You can keep the connection with your fans open and alive.

 

Keep it Real

You can become the ‘real person’ behind the static website, or the white wall gallery. Social media lets you share real life updates straight from the studio. People can comment and interact and they will get an answer from you. There is less of a glass wall, or a high threshold, and you become more accessible, more real, and therefore more professional. You can show them you are the real deal.

 

Art Community

Social media can become your art community. Many artists, including myself, answered my question on how social media works for them with the answer of community and support. There are already many, many artists active on social media. And they are all on your side. Many artists spend most of their working lives alone in the studio. What better way to connect to likeminded people than via social media?

At the end of the day there is always someone there who can support you in your disappointments, cheer you on when you do well, answer your question about colour mixing and cracked paint and give you inspiration when they share their own art. Many friendships have been formed online and many continued as friendships in the ‘real world’.

For many social media is the only art community they have, and yet it is the biggest art community in the world.  You can learn from fellow artists who are a continent away; you can teach other artists just a city away. It has no boundaries.

artists meeting in real life after social media friendship
I regularly meet fellow artists that I know via social media first. Many of my artists friends I ‘met’ online first. Left to right: Ilaria Rosselli Del Turco, Sophie Ploeg, Olha Pryymak at the BP Portrait Award 2013, National Portrait Gallery, London

Potential Sales

Social media can bring you sales, commissions and gallery representation. Although I do think most artists have followers that are artists too, there are also galleries and dealers on social media who are on the lookout for fresh work. Many artists have found gallery representation via social media. Many find out about exhibition opportunities, competitions, videos, magazines and other publications via social media, making their chance of success bigger all the time.  Clients and collectors are on social media too and you might just meet and it might just click.

 

You mean Business

A social media presence often works as a validation for potential buyers. They might see one of your works in a gallery or on your website, and they will google your name. Having a social media profile as well as a website will only enforce the impression that you are an artist that means business.

Some further articles on the topic:

Carlota Zimmerman in the Huffington Post on why artists should be on social media

Why do Artists resist social media? Great article on CyberPRmusic.com

First in a 3-part series on how to build a website for artists on this blog

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