Do art and social media go together? The answer is as close as your Twitter feed. Media-savvy artists have been finding that Facebook, Twitter, and other platforms offer them an avenue for marketing that doesn’t exist in anywhere else. A quick survey of a broad range of standard trade publications for artists reveals multiple articles over the past six months about the why and how of using social media for self-marketing.
“Definitely have your own website! Having your own domain is important and I recommend just using your name… I’ve found that most people who find my art on the internet find it by searching on my name,” said fiber artist Zoe Williams during a recent interview. She doesn’t draw the line at keeping up her website, though.
“As far as social media goes, right now I prefer Twitter and Instagram. The Instagram community is fantastic and I think it’s particularly good for art. I have a small group of followers who seem to enjoy seeing my process photos and I love getting a peek at what other artists are doing day to day. I use Pinterest as well: I have a board full of reference photos for my latest project, and also a board full of other artists whose work I admire. I am also on Facebook, G+, Flickr and Tumblr.”
This is not an uncommon position among artists. Clayton Lord, Director of Communications and Audience Development at Theatre Bay Area believes in the power of social media to expand the arts community and involve new audiences.
To ensure that his organization and other arts groups got the most bang for their limited bucks, he commissioned an audit of social media use in the arts last year.
“This research, one of the most comprehensive surveys of social media use in arts organizations ever conducted, is fascinating in that it provides a valuable snapshot of how the arts and cultural center is using social media to engage artsgoing audiences across the country,” Lord stated.
The study also bears out the value of Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, and of forming a smaller number of deeper connections over time.
Magic panacea? Probably not.
“These results also reiterate to me the role of social media – it is simply not a direct line to further income. It’s not really a way to directly sell tickets. It’s a way to engage, to have conversations, to make people remember your organization,” writes Lord.
Whether your world is rooted in the arts, fast food, or couture, there is a channel for you and your audience. And there are clearly lessons to be learned in this evolving world.