I believe Instagram has the potential to be a great platform for artists. Why? Instagram was designed to work with images, a perfect match for an artist. I have just opened an instagram account for my paintings and will report results. I am not disclosing the user name now, in order not to skew results. Thus far, in just a couple of days, I have uploaded 7 images and have 5 followers. I belive these are high quality followers because I did not go find them. They found me and without prompting have decided to follow me.
Instagram was designed for use with Mobile phones. It doesn’t have full functionality on a desk top or lap to, yet, so I recommend you stick to your phone. Instagram is owned by facebook. It’s up to you if you integrate it with your facebook account or not. For now, I have chosen to open an account completely separate from facebook to see how it performs all on it’s own.
Setting up an account
1. Download the instagram application to your phone. 2. Register with either an email address or your facebook account. 3. Set your privacy setting to “public” so anyone can see your art and begin to follow you. 4. Write a short description about yourself or what you intend to post. The more specific you are the better. If you have a website or blog, add the URL here. This is the only place a live link is allowed in Instagram.
2. Begin to add images. You can do this by taking a photo of your work or downloading a photo to your phone and then adding.
3. How do artists find followers, collectors, and fans on Instagram? You do this by tagging a photo you upload with relevant hashtags. For example, you painted a portrait of Marilyn Monroe. In this case you may think about adding the following hashtags #MarilynMonroe #painting #portrait #vintage #oilpainting , #art etc. People are continually looking for subject matter that is of interest. The hash tags helps people interested in your subject matter find you.
I would suggest adding an interesting description, caption, or commentary. If people are interested in your piece of art, they’ll want to know a little bit more.
To my disappointment, Google advertising, adwords, is not a good solution for most artists. After hearing an “art coach” tout the merits of adwords, a friend and I decided to give it a whirl. The advertising is very expensive. Unless you are selling an expensive piece, you’ll lose money.
Here is what we found:
Google adwods staff is excellent, helpful, and free. You don’t need to hire someone to set up google advertising for you .
Google advertising is expensive. We found that most clicks cost us .60 to .75 cents and one click cost as much a $1.87 before we found out we could put a cap on the cost per click. You can also set a daily budget.
Many people pin and not so many buy. We found a direct correlation between the time the ads were running and the notifications we were getting from pinterest that people were pinning our images.
We ran our experiment for about a month and made 7-8 modifications to the ads in an effort to improve results and cut down costs. While it is possible to set the cost per click as low as a few cents, that doesn’t mean it will be shown by google. Your ad competes with other ads for space. We tested 10 cents, 20 cents, 30 cents, 40 cents, 50 cents, 60 cents and got 0 impressions.
Your ad can show as a text ad or as an image. Image ads which google refers to as “display” ads are more expensive than text ads. Since you are selling ads, it makes sense to buy the image ads. We found that we got more clicks per views on the image ads over the text ads.
We were primarily interested in selling posters. Right now our art is on Fine Art America. Given the cost of the ads, Google advertising is not cost effective for artists and photographers selling posters and art prints. You may make $20 or $30 per poster but you can quickly spend that and only get a handful of views.
Based on my conversation with the google staff, I found out that most artists who advertise spend several hundred dollars a month.
If any of you have tried google adwords we’d love to hear your experience.
Val tells us about her journey as an artist selling art online. It’s genuine. It’s simple. It’s a story any of us may have. The best part about Val’s videos is that it is testament that any artist is capable of making such a video and building a large community. This is a home made video. It’s not professional. Val is simple honest, approacable, and relatable. She’s also consistent. I hope you find her story inspiring. At the time of this writing, Val had over 44,000 Facebook Friends. Link to Val’s Art Diary
I’ve found this Ted Talk to be inspiring, insightful and funny. I just keep coming back to it. I was recently invited to speak to a small group. I just winged it and just did not do a good job, a missed opportunity. Hence, I’ve committed to get better at speaking and looking for what other creative people speak about. Has this ever happened to you? and are there talks you find inspiring?
I’ve found this Ted Talk incredibly inspiring and liberating. I’m taking the principles here and using it to re-write my artist bio. The video touches on that which makes you unique, on that which will attract people to you.
The following thoughts on Networking come from Chris Yeh in Adventures in Capitalism. I thought this write up was completely relevant to art. Imagine going to a gallery opening or being in a room with collectors.
I recently went to an event where I was an outsider; the people there were potential customers, but definitely didn’t want to be sold anything. If you can build relationships under those conditions, then you do have a valuable skill.
Don’t wait until it’s make or break; as with anything you do, networking is a skill that improves with practice. Seek out challenging situations so that when the time comes where you have to go into such a situation and get results, you’ll be ready.
ON MASTERING RAPPORT
Do your homework in advance. Whenever I attend an event, I prepare a mini-dossier of key people and facts. I even include their Twitter or LinkedIn profile photo so I can identify them from across the room, rather than having to rely on badges.
The key though, is not to seem creepy. It’s not a college test where you need to show your work. My two tactics are either to ask leading questions that will surface the facts I know I want to discuss, or to play Columbo. “Hey, I’ve got a vague recollection of hearing about X. Was that you?” That sounds a lot better than, “I was looking at pictures of you last night in my hotel room.”
Cozy up to the staff. Show sincere appreciation to the stressed-out organizers, and they will generally want to help you with intros, VIP passes, and other helpful goodies. This includes the assistants and tech people, who will really appreciate the rare attendee who reaches out to them.
Participate. At any event, there are opportunities to participate, such as volunteering to come up on stage, or asking questions during Q&A. My secret is to always be ready to go. No one ever wants to be the first volunteer or ask the first question, leaving you a massive opening to exploit. You have to be good, of course, but you can help yourself out by thinking of questions throughout the presentation then loading your best one on the tip of your tongue.
Don’t get too greedy though; people who hog the airtime look like assholes. That’s why volunteering when no one else dares is so effective–people are grateful you fell on the grenade for them.
People will write about you and not tell you. A google alert, will let you know if your name is mentioned in a write up anywhere on the web. If you don’t set up an alert, you won’t know. More importatnly, you won’t be able to thank the writer.
So, What exactly is a google alert?
In Google’s own words:
Google Alerts are email updates of the latest relevant Google results (web, news, etc.) based on your queries.
Enter a search query you wish to monitor. You will see a preview of the type of results you’ll receive. Some handy uses of Google Alerts include: