By Christina Loff
Have you decided which social media platforms are right for you and your artist brand?
Now comes the fun part—creating great content. The blogging and social media landscapes have changed quite a bit in recent years. Blogs were once the home of content. Today, the lines between blogs and social networks have blurred a bit as social networks have increasingly become home to content, albeit short-form content. Blogs still play an important role in hosting your longer-form content, but it’s more important than ever to invest time and energy into building your artist brand on sites like Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, and Facebook.
Here are six tips for creating compelling social posts that will keep your followers hitting the “like” button and sharing your content with their friends.
Christine Joy shares beautifully composed behind-the-scenes social posts, and she uses search-friendly hashtags.
1. Understand and Connect With Your Audience
Knowing what makes your audience tick is perhaps the most important continual “research” you’ll do to inform your content-creation process. To understand your fans, follow some of the people who follow you, spend time looking at what they share and the other artists and brands they follow.
Another great way to learn about your audience is to pay attention to what they respond to. For example, if you post a photo of your latest painting in progress, and it gets more likes than anything else you’ve posted, that’s a good indication that your audience is hungry for behind-the-scenes work-in-progress shots, so give them what they want. Your followers are telling you what kind of content they love every time they like, share, and comment, so pay attention, and let those clues inform your content strategy.
Don’t be afraid to like and comment on your followers’ posts. Chances are, they’ll be flattered you took the time to check them out, too. You want to establish a genuine connection with your followers, which means you’re also paying attention to what they’re posting and you aren’t just there to grow your numbers.
Carly Reed includes a strong call to action in this timely Facebook post along with a well-styled photo.
2. Track Your Results and Set Goals
There are many tools available to help you understand your audience, track your results, and monitor engagement. Some of these tools are free, and there are many complex tools you can use for a monthly fee.
These tools are free and easy to use:
- Iconosquare for Instagram
- Tweetdeck and Socialbro for Twitter
- Pinterest offers their own analytics if you have a business account with them.
- Facebook Page Insights provide valuable metrics and is the best place to see how your posts are performing.
Hungry to learn more? There are also a number of blogs to keep you up to date on the ever-changing social media landscape; Social Media Examiner, Hubspot, Simply Measured, and Buffer are all solid resources worth reading.
It’s important to set goals around how often you will post, how many new followers you will try to gain each week or month, how much traffic you want to drive back to your Minted Artist Store or website, or how many clicks you’d like to see on the links you post. Bit.ly is a great free tool that helps you create shorter, unique URLs that are trackable so you can see how many people click on each link that you share.
@MogleaMeg Instagram fans loved the post about proprietor Meg Gleason’s daughter.
3. Showcase Your Original Aesthetic
Show the world who you really are. The content you post should reflect what’s unique and interesting about your artistic style. While it’s easy to take inspiration from other artists you follow on social media, remind yourself what sets you apart and focus on that. Your social media posts should feel like an authentic snapshot into your life, your work, and your inspiration. Lean more toward personal or editorial images, and shy away from anything that feels too much like an advertisement.
What content can you share that no one else would think to post? Do you live in the countryside surrounded by goats and horses? Share photos of your environment that will surprise and delight your audience. Are you a mom who doesn’t start designing until the kids are in bed? What does that look like? How many cups of coffee do you consume while creating? What rituals do you do to get inspired and motivated? Chances are, your processes are different from other artists, and your fans might get a kick out of learning that you need to listen to Barry Manilow to get into your painting groove.
Once you figure out what makes you uniquely you, it’s important to take great photos that will grab people’s attention. Read “10 Tips for Taking Great Photos for Your Artist Store,” for advice that doubles for shooting your creative process and styled product shots for social media. And don’t be afraid to post differentiated variations of your content on your chosen social media platforms, to maximize mileage. You can also cross-post between networks (for example, linking to Instagram content from Facebook) to help your followers on one social network find you on another social network.
GENERAL GUIDELINES FOR SOCIAL MEDIA POSTING
Pinterest: It’s good to spend at least an hour a day pinning and aim for 10 or more pins per day. Make sure that your pin descriptions include important keywords like colors and product categories, for example, “blue watercolor art print.” This will help Pinterest searchers find your pins. About half of your pins should be content other than your own—repin from other pinners or pin from content you find on other websites. Mix your products and content in with others so your boards are not overly self-promotional. To make your daily pinning easier, add the Pin It button to your own browser. If you want people to pin your artwork from your website, make sure to add a “pin it” button on your website for your visitors to use. Think of yourself as a curator on Pinterest and use this platform as another way to showcase your aesthetic.
Instagram: We recommend posting no more than two times a day, but posting just one solid photo once a day is totally acceptable on this platform. Instagram is about quality over quantity.
Facebook: Because of Facebook’s algorithms for brands that have Facebook Pages, it’s a bit harder to get your content seen on this platform unless you boost your posts or pay for sponsored posts. You can also post from your personal account, but, depending on your privacy settings, your posts will only be seen by your Facebook friends. If you have a brand Page, we recommend posting about once per day on this platform.
Twitter: Tweets have a short lifespan (about 15 to 30 minutes), so chances are most of your followers won’t see your tweets unless they happen to be looking at Twitter the exact moment you tweet. For this reason, it’s OK to post more often on Twitter. As many as five to ten tweets a day is acceptable. But remember what works best on Twitter is being a part of conversations, so reply to other people’s tweets and retweet often.
Descriptive captions are one of the most important elements of Pinterest pins. To help fellow Pinterest users find your pins, use keywords such as product type descriptors and colors (example: “brown fall wedding invitation”). Shown here: Erika Firm’s Pinterest.
5. Be Timely
Acknowledging what’s going on in the world helps define your voice as an artist, and chances are, your followers will want to engage with you. Is there something relevant happening in the world that relates to what you do or what you know matters to your followers? For example, did a new museum open in your city, or is a big event happening? Share an article, photo, or thought about relevant current events.
@Minted shared this beautiful artwork by Kiana Mosely on the day the Supreme Court legalized gay marriage. This is Minted’s top Instagram post of all time.
6. Give Something Back
It’s important to remember to not always talk about yourself on social media. What can you give your followers that will inform or entertain them? Sometimes this could be a contest or giveaway of one of your prints. It could also mean you regram the work of one of your super fans, they will appreciate that you took the time to notice their work and are helping to grow their audience, too. Do you have any great tips on how to take a great photo? Do you have easy recipes you can share around the holidays? Maybe you discovered an amazing new band—tell your followers.
People who are active on social media like being in the know, so give them something they can use and share with their own friends and followers. Maybe it’s a cool gif, or a link to a great story that will make them look informed. You could deliver your readers a shot of beauty in their day, and sometimes you can share information that they can’t find anywhere else. Be useful to your followers.
Christina Loff is an Artist Relations Manager at Minted, focusing on outreach and onboarding. She relishes every opportunity to collaborate with creative people and brings communities together around original products and ideas. She’s been lucky enough to work with the talented and innovative teams at ReadyMade magazine (RIP), Creativebug, Hello!Lucky, and Chronicle Books, where she worked as a publicist and marketer for six years developing and promoting their lifestyle and craft category. Christina has also written for various websites and magazines including CraftStylish and SFist. Follow Christina on Instagram @tweetsweet.
This is the fourth article in our 2015 Minted Holiday Playbook for Artist Stores, a one-month program designed to teach artists how to better merchandise, market, and sell their work. Stay tuned to the Community>Resources section of Julep for more.
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Published October 13, 2015 • Learn how to become a Minted artist here.