Advice & Guidance

How to use Social Media to Showcase your Paintings with Alison C. Board

14th May 2021 Estimated reading time: 4 mins

Good morning everyone, I hope you enjoyed yesterday’s blog where I started us off on the DAW adventure? If you are searching for it, it’s called ‘Planning for an event’ and gives you a short description of a few of the things I had kicking about in my brain before taking on an exhibition of this size.
Today I thought I would share my thoughts on how social media can help you out with advertising. I realise that social media isn’t everyone’s cup of tea but I can promise you it does work, you just have to work hard at it.

One of the first hurdles to overcome is trying to find out where your potential audience lies – is it Facebook, is it Instagram? Don’t think that this doesn’t necessarily apply to you, it’s not only something that professionals have to navigate, it applies to everyone now, particularly after the year we have just had, and technology is being relied on more than ever. Advertising is changing dramatically, it doesn’t always have to happen on paper, it could work really well for you virtually if you can try to understand who your audience are and where they lurk online.
I know that wrestling social media can seem like a daunting task, it isn’t something that I have been able to understand overnight, but one of the best pieces of advice that was ever given to me was to do your homework. Pick a few artists whose work you think sits alongside yours, they could be professional, doing it to raise funds for charity, trying to cover their costs or a mixture of all levels, and see what they do. What platforms do they use (i.e. which social media outlets) and how do they construct their posts? Do they post every day? Which of their posts had lots of engagement (comments or likes) and can you work out what it was about that particular post that worked?

I have found, after a few years of trial and error, that Facebook works best for me as it seems to have the majority of my demographic (the type of person that wants to interact with me) but I do work with Instagram too.

My own personal distinction between them is that Facebook is for those people that are both interested in what I paint and how I paint it, Instagram is much more about me as a professional artist and interacting with galleries or potential buyers and Twitter is for talking to fellow professionals.

When you have found out a little more about where to post things, now comes the slightly more tricky aspect of what to post (write about/share) and I’ll cut to the chase on this bit – don’t give away too much in one post, break it into manageable chunks. For example, don’t describe from start to finish what your inspiration was, what materials you used, how you painted it and what price you are asking for it all in one post as that’s enough content for a week! Here are a couple of examples of the sort of things I might post on Facebook:

I will also write about my inspiration, non arty things that I get up to, my menagerie of animals or any wildlife I encounter…anything that I might be interested in if I was reading someone else’s social media.

This blog post regarding social media is merely the tip of the iceberg, there are lots of other things that I could cover but we would be here for a week. My only other piece of advice to round things off is to take decent photographs and by that I don’t mean you need to be a pro, I mean take an interesting shot. Make it something that catches the eye or includes a part of your process not often seen and be mindful that if you are photographing things from your desk, bank statements can be read (folk WILL zoom in to a shot), reflections can be seen and make sure you move your dirty washing from the front of the machine before taking photographs in your studio…not that that’s ever happened to me you understand.

I hope that this blog has helped you a little bit today, there is lots of information out there regarding how to make it work for you, I’ve simply found that trial and error works best as your audience isn’t going to be identical to the next artist. The SAA have a professional level of membership if you were thinking of joining and I have always found them to be very keen to support anyone wanting to drive their passion forward a little more. Not a member yet? Then take advantage of a lovely gift that they have kindly allowed me to share with you (see the graphic below) and I will look forward to seeing what you post online, don’t forget to let me know and I’ll give you a follow if you think that might help, Ali

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