Create an natural path to your shop for your customers.
Social media is not always about sales, but as artists, we still want to turn fans into proud customers if we can–ideally, without breaking the look and feel of our feeds. We’re going to help you figure out how to do that by focusing in on best practices that apply to all social platforms. In this article, we’ll cover setting goals, pointing your followers in the right direction and making sure you’re discoverable.
Two very simple reasons why every every artist should be active on social media:
- Fans can engage with you and your artwork (and vice versa)
- Loyal fans often become customers
1 | Set goals & track them
Whether you’re trying to increase your followers or improve engagement (likes/comments), track the following as frequently as possible. It may seem like a pain, but part of your success will be influenced by your social reach. This doesn’t mean you get wrapped up in social media. These means you set very specific objectives and then achieve them.
Goals worth tracking:
- Follower growth (across all platforms)
- Increase in engagement (likes, comments, click-throughs)
- Increase in sales and traffic generated through social media
- Performance by post type (artwork, work in progress, promotional, video, article, etc)
PRO TIP #1: Use a URL shortener service like bit.ly or tinyurl.com to track click-throughs. Not only will it help you identify the number of click-throughs, it’ll show you spikes in click-throughs based on the types of content you post. As you identify what content drives traffic to your shop, you’ll know what types of content to focus on!
PRO TIP #2: Most social sites have have analytics tools that you can use to track growth. Pay attention to them. If you get familiar with some really basic data, your ability to make business-growing decisions will be easier.
Here’s where you can find analytics on Facebook and Twitter, for example:
2 | Engage with fans regularly on your preferred platform
Until you can afford an intern or dedicated social media person, you’ll want to focus your efforts on the place where you and your customers are most socially active. Being “social” on social media is the whole point, right? For example, if you’ve built a solid Instagram following w/ active commenters, foster the growth of that marketing channel by continuing to engage your fans there.
PRO TIP: Mix up the types of content you post. If you just post a link to an interview you did with an online mag, post a photo next, then a quick timelapse. Then post an article again. Facebook, for example, serves your customers content based on what their likes are. Because your customers digest different types of content in different ways, by posting a variety of types of content, you have the best chance of being seen by everyone.
3 | Create an account on every artist-friendly platform, then drive traffic to your preferred platform
Casting a wide net is important. You want to be discoverable across any platform where a customer MIGHT search for or stumble across your work. Keep your handle or URL consistent across every platform and keep your profiles up to date with the same profile name, picture and basic contact info. That way, it’s easier for customers to move from platform to platform and know they’re still looking at the same artist.
Where to link to from your various social platforms:
- If you’re aggressive about sales, make sure you’re linking to your Society6 shop on every social platform.
- If you’re aggressive about building community, make sure you’re linking to your preferred social platform from everywhere.
- If you’re great at keeping your website up to date, send traffic to your website to give a comprehensive overview of your body of work.
None of the above are wrong and some blend is likely going to your answer. Going back to #1–set your goals and then start making decisions from there. With a specific goal in mind, figuring out your path forward becomes a whole lot easier.
4 | Drive traffic to your Society6 shop from your preferred platform
You’ve focused your customer’s attention to engage with you where you’re most social. You’re building a loyal fan base with every comment, question answered and engagement with your fans. From there, give them a link to your shop where they can purchase your work. It’s a non-invasive, organic path for a fan to become a customer in this fashion. You’re giving information that your fans are likely seeking out. Why not make it easy on them?
5 | A little thick skin goes a long way
As an artist, it’s your job to throw yourself to the wolves. You take your most honest work and let fans pick it apart publicly. Not exactly the easiest thing to do so here’s some words of encouragement…
For as wonderful as the online world can be, and all the doors it can open, it can be the worst place for criticisms and elicit the worst self doubt. Everyone becomes an art critic online. You WILL be told things that will discourage you and make you doubt your path (It’s no secret the bullies come out when they have keyboards to hide behind).
Above all the hate, remember why you started. Stay true to your artistic direction. If art is the soul’s countenance then do not let others dictate your message! And remember–potatoes gonna potate. –Kit King
6 | Be active and create content that is valuable to your fans
If you can educate, empower or excite your customers on a regular basis, you’re giving them reason to follow along. The goal isn’t just getting fans so you can sell to them, it’s about building authentic relationships so fans are invested in your success.
Share, share, share–and try to be universal. Don’t make it only you, you, you. Try to make it about you and your connection to the bigger picture…to the rest of the world. When I talk about my daughter in my artwork, I try to relate it to parenting in general, or about LIFE in general. Finding a connection with other people online is what I enjoy the most, as I’m quite awkward (but friendly!) in person. –Mica Angela, aka busymockingbird
I dreamt I tattooed Myla all down her back and neck with a sort of “tribal story”–and afterward, was so horrified and miserable about marking her for life. Doesn’t take a genius to guess it’s the fear of permanently messing up in motherhood and damaging your child for the future… #happymothersday 😱😱😭😂
With so many platforms out there, it’s best to focus your energy on one or a few platforms that work really well for you. Setup profiles on every artist-friendly platform you can. Drive traffic to your preferred platform. Create valuable content for your customers and engage with them when they ask questions. As you build a loyal and excited community around your artwork, you should start to see an organic uptick in sales. The best part? You did it in your voice, your way.
Featured Artwork by Davide Bonazzi