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Ask an Artist

How can you grow your art business using the Internet and social media?
Author: Asaph Maurer
4 weeks ago
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How can you grow your art business using the Internet and social media?

Building a profitable art business is like most things in life: simple, but not easy. Successful artists and people have a bias towards action. They shoot first and ask questions later because any action is better than no action

In today’s industry, every artist is an entrepreneur. We’re in a time where an art business—or any business for that matter—is nothing without social media. If they can’t find you online, you don’t exist

To that end, my fellow artists and businessfolk, let’s take a look at some ideas of ways to advertise yourself online. Try some of these techniques to get closer to the goal of being able to fully support yourself financially through your art.

First of all, I urge you to use Instagram. Right now, Instagram is the best social media platform to showcase and promote your art. It creates an interactive online album of your art that is chronologically sorted and easily accessible for anyone in the world to see. Do all the social media you can of course, but prioritize the ’Gram. Also, link your Instagram account with your Facebook page and Twitter account, so that a post on one will automatically post everywhere else

What if you’re not happy with the piece of art you’ve made? Post it anyway. People like to see progress and growth towards a goal, not just the perfect final outcome. We relate to people in the process of achievement as much as the end result. Making bad art is better than making none, and you could even use it to your advantage: if you post a work you’re not satisfied with, but are later hit with inspiration to improve it, post both pieces for your online audience to give them some insight to your process

Give art away on the socials. Yes, we get asked for free art or cheap art all the time in exchange for “exposure.” (I like to joke that it would be great if I could pay my rent with a thousand exposures.) However, when you take the initiative to offer art for free it is part of your service to the world. Make art and specifically offer it to a charity auction or other cause. Don’t be so attached to your art that you can’t let it go. Getting it out the door is so important to improving, and it clears the slate for the universe to give fresh inspiration.

When using social media to promote your work, stay engaged. As you do the endless scroll through your social feeds, don’t just consume and read the comments—interact with the commenters. Every comment is an opportunity to build relationships. Respond to questions about the art, and thank people for their praise (or even their criticism). Remember not to engage with the trolls: you don’t want people to see you turning someone’s nasty comment into a full-blown argument. Succeding as an artist is not one big thing, it is 100 small things, repeated. That applies not only to the gradual improvement of one piece of art created after another but to a consistent online presence.

Remember, a key aspect of what we do is service. Our job as artists is to bring beauty into the world, and to give people a moment to think about their lives and connect to our common humanness. Even though posting your work is self-promotion, it is also a gift to those who are viewing it

Final thought: at all costs do not let the art die within you. Your job is to create the art and present it to the world, and in this day and age, that means being online.