A guest blog by one of our Living from Art members Jane Powell.
Jane Powell is a member of Living from Art and a talented artist, painting landscapes, seascapes and ‘big skies’. Before becoming a full-time artist in 2020, she had a long career in marketing. I am very grateful to Jane for sharing this blog here.
How Social Media Marketing has Helped These Four Very Diverse Artists
I am a firm believer in using Social Media platforms to market and sell art. Used in the right way Social Media can lead to direct sales, collaborations and opportunities that you hadn’t imagined. I started marketing my art on FaceBook and Instagram in May 2020 in the first COVID lockdown. I sold over 55 paintings, was involved in two online exhibitions, one local physical exhibition and approached by two corporate collaborators all in the last 6 months and that was from a standing start!
If you need more persuading, here are some other real-life examples of how 4 artists started using social media to market and sell their art and how it was successful for them. Thank you to Kirstie Page, Kate Bosence, Jenny Wren and Deb Jones for contributing to this article. (For some insights on how to use social media effectively, download my 10 Social Media Marketing Tips for Artists)
A life-long creative, Kirstie amusingly describes her unique, whimsical style as "Art Nouveau meets 70s retro wallpaper". Her intricate artworks not only tell a story but are filled with symbolic meaning. Kirstie’s art is in demand, with her paintings in private collections internationally. She has exhibited her art in numerous galleries around Brisbane, Australia as well as on various online platforms.
Here Kirstie shares her experience of marketing her art on Social Media.
“When I first contemplated sharing my art on social media I must confess to being rather naive. I was completely unaware of the power of social media to promote or achieve sales, I was more concerned with what “others” thought.
I didn’t realise it at the time, but when I look back, focusing more on sharing my art consistently, sharing my stories as to why and what inspired the creation of each piece and genuinely getting to “know” my followers would, in the future, not only translate to creating real-life friendships but achieve many multiple sales and commissions as well.
When I considered why I’ve been successful I believe it comes down to this simple fact: people buy my art primarily because of how it makes them feel. I may not be the best artist in the world. But I have a clear style, a strong voice. They buy because they are connected to it and dare I say it... they like me and want to support my creative exploits.
If they want to commission me, they also know they can trust me with their ideas and that I will translate them into a meaningful piece to the best of my ability. This is demonstrated by my sharing of previously completed commissions (with permission) on my social media accounts. People would get a “feel” for my capacity to deliver by showing and sharing, rather than by “telling”.
A few other tips that I believe have helped me is that I’ve discovered people really enjoy seeing the creative process. I’ve sold half-finished artworks because people have been so engaged by watching the process of me painting or through sharing a partially completed piece.
Clear and well-formatted pictures are a must. I sometimes use the live feature which people also enjoy.
Finally, I also include the statement “Artworks for sale / Commissions available” in my profile. It’s best to be clear.
I’m sure there are many other tips but for me, I feel authentic and very comfortable with how my art is promoted and sold on social media. Because truly, relationships will always come first, sales a welcome second.
I really hope you found this useful. Remember sales are a fluid process, not a factory...”
You can find Kirstie on Instagram at www.instagram.com/kirstie.page.art on Facebook at www.facebook.com/kirstiepageart or on (in Kirstie’s words) her sparkly new website at www.rememberwhenart.com “Come visit me, I’d really love to “meet” you! :)”
Kate is an artist based in Devon, UK who paints beautiful poetic landscapes inspired by nature. Here she shares her experience of using social media in the build-up to an open studios event earlier this year.
“Two years ago everyone said to me to get on Instagram. I did set myself up but felt really uncomfortable about posting and sharing my art and journey. After 2 years of thinking about it and looking at it and making the odd post, I finally started posting in earnest in August 2020. I began posting 2 to 3 posts a day. Using the right words and hashtags. Also letting it automatically post on my FaceBook art page. I realised if people don't want to see it they can unfollow me. I started following more people and gaining a few extra followers back.
Anyway, due to my new sudden regular exposure, I had 2 enquiries within 3 weeks. The link to FaceBook was definitely a good thing. One of the buyers saw it on there and then came onto Instagram to ask about the painting. And after a few emails back and forth both people committed to buying a painting! I normally only make a few sales when I do an open studio so this was really exciting.
Once I realised I can post things like my materials or my workspace or a quote or a flower as well as pictures of my work I found it easier to post regularly. I am enjoying it now that I am not worrying about what people might think of me. I realise it doesn't matter at all, what a breakthrough!”
Jenny creates paintings from her imagination and is inspired by nature and interesting landscapes. She paints in oils and acrylics and has recently been working on a collection called ‘UK in Grey’ which is mainly monochrome with the occasional spot of colour.
“Discovering social media a few years ago, I started an Art Page on FaceBook. Being a complete technophobe, this was totally new territory to me. I found FaceBook Art Page tutorials really helpful. With courage and shaking hands I did my first Art Page post. I sold a painting and a print! I have been selling ever since, in the UK and internationally. It has been the start of an amazing ongoing art journey. Social media has given me the opportunity to showcase my art in ways I could not have imagined. It has changed my world and brought many opportunities my way.”
Jenny’s art can be found on her FaceBook page https://www.facebook.com/jenmacart64
Deb Jones is known by the title The Travelling Artist and she has been sharing her work on Facebook since 2015. Deb is inspired by animals, birds and nature and works in pencils and pastels to create realism and uses these as studies before completing mixed media and free-motion stitching, working with dissolvable fabric, distressed voile and netting as well as creating layers with silky machine embroidery threads.
“I started to use FaceBook adverts in 2018 after directly identifying my target group of people. I had joined various local charities to raise funds for them and to help spread their educational messages. I discovered that through targeting I could narrow my adverts to appeal to a specific age and location, which also indicated their disposable income.
I ran a few free post boosts in the beginning from Facebook but they were too generic and although I had a lot of engagement, there were very few sales. I utilised the FaceBook tutorials and then placed a paid advert, refining my message and using key trigger words to engage and call to action. My most successful advert cost me £10 and ran over 5 days and generated gross sales of £1000. In addition to this it helped me build a network of contacts, future leads and followers. These followers have stayed engaged with me, refer for me and have given me repeat business.
For me it’s important to foster communication and connection, to follow up on engagement and offer really good customer service. I have used adverts for many other reasons since and find it works well for me.
You can connect and collaborate with Deb on her website, via Facebook or Instagram:
So if you needed more reasons to start marketing your art via social media, hopefully, these examples have given you the inspiration to get going!
If you are unsure about where to start with Social Media marketing, I’ve put together a FREE guide of 10 Social Media Marketing Tips for Artists to help you get started. I am also looking for beta testers for a course I am launching in 2021, teaching how to market and sell your art through Instagram and Facebook. In return for your feedback, for a limited time I am offering the course at a substantially discounted founder members’ price.
To get the tips sent to you by email or if you are interested in the course go to my sign up page https://www.janepowellartist.co.uk/digital-marketing-for-artists
Thank you to Jane for sharing her blog here - and to the four artists who contributed to it. Social media is such an important topic for many artists – I know many readers will want to follow up Jane’s links, request her ‘10 tips for social media marketing’ and take advantage of her expertise. I’m sure her course will be very well subscribed! Anna Poulton, Living from Art.