Why and How Should Artists Use Social Media

Every artist, artist rep, and stock agency should be at least taking a look at getting started in social media if you aren’t present already. Here’s why: in March 2011, we conducted a survey, What Buyers Want From Photographers, of 500 creatives and art buyers in conjunction with PhotoShelter; as part of the survey, we asked about their use of social media to find artists.

In response to the question, “Do you search for photographers, or have you discovered new photographers using social media, including Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn,” 33 percent said they currently do. Although this isn’t the majority right now, you can be sure that this number will increase over time. Many buyers commented that they like to use social media to stay in touch with artists they have previously worked with. In general, it is a great avenue to at least stay in touch and further develop relationships.

What Social Media Platforms Are Art Buyers Using?

We also asked what Social Media platforms they are using. 54 percent said LinkedIn, 36 percent said Facebook, and 10 percent said Twitter. As a first step, you may want to consider getting a profile on LinkedIn, as it tailors its social networking to be more business-oriented. LinkedIn also has groups that your target audience is actively participating in. Joining is a great way to learn and start connecting.

One other question asked was if they follow photographer’s blogs at all. 26 percent of overall respondents said yes, but 38 percent in the editorial sector subscribe to photographer’s blogs. The overall number might seem low to you, but again, it will change and grow over time. So if you have a blog, you should include it in your marketing materials if you want your target audience to find you.

How Do I Fit Social Media Into My Schedule?

Based on current and anticipated future buyer behaviors, you should not be ignoring social media. The proof is out there: a number of artists have experienced success with social media. Check out photographers Ken Kaminesky and Jack Hollingsworth, and illustrator Thomas James and see what they have to say about their success with social media.

Here are some things you can do to get going:

  1. Start following relevant industry blogs-ones your target audience reads-and start commenting on relevant posts.
  2. Talk to other artists what they are doing, what works, and what doesn’t work for them. Follow their blogs, follow them on Twitter.
  3. Read What Buyers Want From Photographers for some insight.
  4. Sign up for LinkedIn (#1 place where art buyers and creatives hang out) and set up a profile. Join relevant groups that buyers belong to. Comment on news posts in these groups, ask questions, put yourself out there. If you have a blog, post your blog posts as news items on LinkedIn.
  5. Check out both Twitter and Facebook. Don’t try to use every platform. Commit your limited time and resources to the channel that you are most comfortable with and most likely to bring you the best results. Over time, you can expand your horizons.
  6. Schedule a consistent 30 minutes per day for posting and monitoring your social media presence. Commit to doing it religiously.

As a further and final point, participating in social media platforms and having an active blog will all contribute to your overall web presence and improve your search engine optimization.

Linda Whitehead

Linda Whitehead is a passionate senior marketing professional with over 25 years of marketing, communications and brand-building experience at the executive level. With a diverse and well-rounded background in both B2C and B2B marketing, Linda has a proven track record of devising and deploying profitable and measurable marketing strategies as well as creating effective, inventive solutions to business challenges. Linda now serves as Agency Access' VP of Marketing.

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