Skip to main content

Creating a Mobile Independent Artist Business - Part 4: Social and Marketing Software Plus Your Website

Now that you have all your Art Equipment (Part 1), Business Software (Part 2) and Creative Software (Part 3) organised you're going to need a way to get your artwork online and seen by potential buyers. Selling your work over the internet is my main focus because this can be done from anywhere at any time.

If you're producing traditional, hand made art (physical works such as a painting) and have always wanted to see your creations in real world galleries, by all means explore that option too. We'll look at this in more detail in a later post.



Note that, although all that follows is about websites, I've referred to them as 'software' because each site is more like an online application for reaching and managing an audience of fans or followers.

Social Sharing Sites


Many artists start out posting their work to Social Sharing sites, not necessarily to sell but just to show people what they've created and get feedback. In doing so, they build up and audience where, invariably someone will ask where they can buy your work or maybe they'll inquire about a commission.

Social Sharing sites are a great way to start and build an audience for your work. It's genuinely fun to share your art and it doesn't feel too much like work.

Most social sites let you post text, images and even video so make use of all three. Post images of your art both finished and as work in progress. Tell people about what they can see in those images (this will also help your posts be found in searches). Post videos of you actually creating the work, or talking about it. The key is to keep your posts focused on your art and anything related to its creation.

Be mindful though, that if you are using a social sharing site to promote your work, anything you post will reflect on you and your art. If you're likely to break out into a rant about politics, religion or some other contentious subject not at all related to your art, then you may want to create a separate account for that or your art posts (and never the two shall meet).

Also be careful not to sound too obvious about selling your work. By all means let people know if an artwork is for sale but don't make every single post a sales pitch. Social sites are about sharing and telling your story as well as sharing and learning about other people's lives too.

On that last point, to really be effective on social media, as much as possible, learn about the people following you, particularly those that comment on your posts. Be sure to visit their social media pages and see what they're up to. Comment on their posts etc. The more people feel like they know you the more they're likely to want to buy your work (and trust that you will deliver the work they buy).

You can try having a social presence on every social site you can find but you'll be stretched too thin. You won't be able to maintain every account on a daily basis (if you're not interacting with your social accounts on a daily basis you're doing it wrong).

It's better to focus on a few of the biggest social networks. I recommend, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Linked In.


Facebook


Facebook is arguably the most important social network on the planet. It allows yo to post both short and long form status updates, along with images and video. You can include links to external sites in your posts, such as your website, store, portfolio etc. Facebook supports hashtags (a list of keywords preceded by a hash mark '#' relating to your posts that people may search upon or are trending topic words).

You can use your personal Facebook account if you wish but a nice feature of personal accounts is that you can set up dedicated pages to things that you like and post as that page. This means you can keep all your personal posts private (such as that steady stream of new baby photos) for your family and friends and post all your art posts, publicly on your dedicated page.

It can be a bit of a juggling act, making sure you always post as your page when interacting with your followers on their pages. Just check before you post that you are still set to posting as your page and not your personal account.


Twitter


Twitter is the reason why Facebook is only 'arguably' the most important social network on the planet. Where as Facebook is obsessed with privacy settings, Twitter is all about the public conversation. If it's not written in a direct message then it can be seen by anyone on Twitter (so keep that in mind).

Personally I've found Twitter's 140 character limit, and it's difficult to follow conversations, extremely confusing and disjointed. However, if you focus on just posting your content to begin with, you'll gradually get used to the rest.

Twitter is where hash tags began so be sure to include one or two in your posts for even greater traction. Try to use relevant ones that are already trending.

If you do find Twitter confusing, you can try what I do and link your Facebook page to your Twitter account so that whatever you post to your page also gets the first 140 characters posted to your Twitter feed. Then just login to Twitter every now and then and post something directly to your feed so your Twitter followers know you're present on the network.


Instagram


Instagram has grown from an image sharing site to a real powerhouse in social media marketing. Celebrities, in particular, use it not just to post images of their day but also to promote products and services from their sponsors.

Many people earn a full time living promoting products from their Instagram accounts, becoming internet famous in the process.

For artists, Instagram just makes sense. Share beautiful images of your art with people who are specifically interested in seeing beautiful images. Don't forget to include a story about each photo you post. Two to three sentences is fine but some people write entire articles in their photo descriptions.

Hash Tags are also important here. The more the better (I'm told around 13 per post is ideal).


Linked In


Linked In is one of the world's biggest professional networks. Originally intended to help people advance their careers through the exchange of professional details and job postings the service has grown into a Facebook-like environment.

You can post status updates to your feed, include photos and even write entire articles (formatted specifically to look like an article not a status update), follow people and see what they're posting to their feeds.

It may not sound like the most exciting social network initially but, think about it, the corporate world loves art and has money to spend on it. We're not just talking about investment art either, businesses require artistic services all the time. Illustrations for websites, photography for product shots, animation for videos. Arguably you'd be better off focusing on Linked In over Facebook and Twitter because businesses have more reason to need artists and other creative people.

Attention to detail with your Linked In profile and updates could really earn you some credibility among people who you may otherwise not have much contact with (such as top company CEOs).


Your Website


Starting out with social media is a great way to build an audience for your art but it isn't exactly focused. You're competing with every other interest each of your followers have as they scan their news feeds for items of specific interest to them at any given moment.

Through your own website you can break them away from the noise and start channeling people into your sales funnel. For example say you write a blog about your art's creation and you post a link to your latest blog update on Facebook. Some of your followers will click that link. Now you have them on your website.

On your website you can place a call to action at the end of whatever update your visitors are reading. Something like, "Purchase prints of this and other artworks in my online store" followed by a link to your store (which may be a part of your website). Anyone who clicks on this link is now browsing your store, possibly thinking about buying.

There are many options for getting a website up and running. Most website hosting services have template options that make it as easy as setting up your social media profiles to create a basic, informational style, website.

A popular starting point for artists are blogging sites like Blogger and WordPress. Both are completely free to get started and make it easy to keep an online journal of your art in progress.

A dedicated site (rather than a blogging platform) will make it easier to manage a portfolio of your work or to create an online shop. There are many options for free web hosting, Weebly, Google Sites and Webs are three that I've used in the past.

Free or Paid Web Site?


In the past it was said that free web sites made you look unprofessional. This was largely due to the advertising, placed on your site by the web host, that allowed their service to remain free.

These days people are so used to advertising on websites I doubt they even care. Take a look at any website you frequent and it'll probably be filled with advertising.

I've used free website hosting for most of my own websites over the last twenty years. What people care about is great content. If you provide great content they won't be put off by advertising. That said, the three web site hosts I mentioned above, all include very minimal advertising on your free site - usually they include only a footer on all your pages letting people know that your site is hosted with them.

The real question about free or paid is what kind of site do you want to create? Free sites are great for informational sites and portfolios but if you want more interactive features or want to create an online shop for your work then paid hosting will open up these options for you.

If you're not sure, look at the free web hosting services, see what their paid plans offer that you may want in the future, then start a free site with who looks most promising. When the time is right you can upgrade without having to rebuild from scratch with a new web hosting service.

Domain Name?


A domain name is your web site address (or URL) online. For artists it's recommended to use your own name as part of your domain e.g. www.yourname.com as it's the easiest thing for people to remember.

That's not to say you can't use a pseudonym or something else catchy but if you don't have anything else in mind, your name is a solid foundation to start from.

Most web hosts include domain names as part of their paid plans so if this is all new to you start there to find out more information on how to register a domain.

Alternatively you can register domains with domain name registrars, separate from your web hosting service, like GoDaddy (who also have web hosting options), and then point your domain to your web site.

With a registrar it is possible to register multiple domain names and point them all to one web site (or even your most used social media profile) if you wish. Doing this can be a bit technical. You should consult with your domain name registrar for instructions.

Domain name registration is never free. However the cost is usually a minimal annual fee per registration and is, in my opinion, an essential purchase as part of your branding.

---o ---o--- o---

Now that we've covered the key areas of setting up your business, from the next post I'll begin to look at creating your art, putting it online and what you can do to maximize your art's earning potential.

    Comments

    Popular posts from this blog

    Yukino Yukinoshita Figurine Cartoon Figure Doll Model Desk Ornament Toy Gift - MULTI-A - Product Review

    I must admit I was not familiar with the Anime character Yukino Yukinoshita, from the Japanese book and TV series My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU. I bought this figure because I was browsing for one that looked similar to an Anime avatar my partner used for a time on social media.


    What actually sealed the deal for me to purchase, aside from how similar the character looked, was the little panda (Pan-san) with the black star eye, which I felt gave the whole figurine set a bit of an edgy look.

    When my purchase arrived I was pleasantly surprised by the quality and detail. Having since discovered the Anime TV series the figure is based upon I can say it's a fairly faithful depiction of Yukino.

    Standing (or is that sitting?) at 14.00 x 15.00 x 14.00 cm / 5.51 x 5.91 x 5.51 inches the figure is an ideal size for displaying on a desk or bookshelf without taking up too much room. The 1/8 scale allows for a good level of detail, particularly in the characters clothing which, despite being P…

    BEILEXING Autocycle Style ABS Cartoon Building Brick - 378pcs - COLORMIX - Motorcycle kit Product Review

    The first time I saw the Beilexing Brick Motorcycle Kit I thought it was nothing short of stunning. I'm not even a fan of motorcycles in general but the detail of this set and how much it captured the spirit of a real world motorcycle really impressed me.

    Then I saw the set cost considerably less than a similar sized kit from the Lego Technic range I just couldn't pass it up.

    When the kit arrived it did not disappoint. Made from ABS plastic the bricks are fully compatible with, and are of comparable quality to, official Lego bricks. I did notice that the tires and chain links seemed a little less sturdy than their Lego equivalents but beyond that you'd be hard pressed to say the quality of the parts wasn't almost as good.

    The model is 35.00 x 10.00 x 6.00 cm / 13.78 x 3.94 x 2.36 inches in size and should be no trouble for intermediate to advanced builders to construct with a clear, and easy to follow instruction manual.

    A sheet of decals is included for you to stick …

    Virtual Reality Addiction Meets Online Shopping and Death!

    I'm certainly not the first person to predict the idea of immersive virtual worlds. Movies like Tron (1982) and The Lawnmower Man (1992) are two of the earliest popular culture references to the concept I can think of, off the top of my head. Then of course there is The Matrix (1999) where the VR world idea really hit the mainstream big time.

    However, back in early 2005, the practice of online shopping, with real money, for digital products in virtual worlds like Second Life (which was more cutting edge back then) began to meld in my mind with the idea of corporations controlling that experience through marketing and advertising.

    Robot Uprising: Patrolling Your Home, Garden and Now The Streets!

    Many people think of the inevitable Robot Uprising as a humanoid, Terminator like, robot army, wielding laser guns, hunting us down in some kind of distant future, human Armageddon. What they don't realize is that the robot armies are already taking shape, albeit in a much more passive aggressive form.

    I've previously documented the Roomba as the first wave of mass produced robots surveilling your home under the guise of being a floor vacuum.

    These irritating devices are supposed to quietly work away in the background while you perform Yoga poses in peaceful bliss but are actually noisy enough to attract your attention and... why does the thing keep missing that one spot in the middle of the floor but has cleaned the same corner four times already!

    Halloween - The Door-to-Door Salesperson of Holidays

    Halloween isn't really a thing in Australia but over the years it's been gaining momentum thanks to variety and party hire stores that stock up on all things spooky for the occasion.

    I dread Halloween every year because I never know if this is going to be the year some wide eyed group of costumed up kids is going to knock on the door and yell 'Trick or Treat' at me. A truly scary thought.

    Halloween is a fantastic idea for a holiday, completely ruined by the tradition of going door to door for treats. If you or your family does this, I sincerely hope you never knock on the door of houses that a) You've never met the owner in any capacity and, b) are clearly not participating in the festivities demonstrated by their lack of any Halloween decorations at all.

    If you're like me you probably hate door-to-door salespeople, a practice that has thankfully decreased but is still employed by phone and power companies from time to time. There's nothing worse than peop…

    Super Sonico Cartoon Sitting Girl with Swimsuit Model Toy - RED - Product Review

    I was not familiar with the Anime character Super Sonico created by Tsuji Santa of the Japanese computer and video game software company, Nitroplus, as the mascot for Nitroplus' annual live music festival event "Nitro Super Sonico".

    I was actually looking through the GearBest website for another Anime character and liked the look of this particular display figure enough to add it to my cart. (It also helped that the figure was on sale at a significant email only discount at the time).

    This particular version of the character features Sonico dressed in her Santa Cape and Swim Suit  complete with holiday trimmings. The hood/cape can also be removed and replaced with Sonico's headphone wire and trademark, long pink hair.

    When my purchase arrived I was pleasantly surprised by the quality and detail. Having since discovered the Anime character (and also TV series) the figure is based upon I can say it's a fairly faithful depiction of Super Sonico.

    Standing (or is tha…

    IGTV - Vertical Video Done Right by Instagram

    I am not a huge fan of vertical videos because they are reduced down when played in a standard horizontal format player, so it can be hard to see the detail. Usually vertical videos have black blocks on either side. It feels a lot like your watching the video from a neighbouring dark room through a narrow door frame. Also you don't get as much width in your shots making it hard to frame all of the action.

    Instagram TV (IGTV) basically says 'so what' to all of the above. You can access IGTV through an icon menu item on the Instagram app (or I think you can install it separately).
    You'll be taken directly to the IGTV app where the first video in your stream will automatically start playing (usually with the sound off) after first seeing some old style TV static to give that authentic 'television' like experience.