Artists on social media are an amalgamation of several different tropes — encompassing the roles of influencer, personal brand, business, thought leaders, content creator, and creative. In order to be a successful artist on Instagram and other social media platforms, artists need to develop a personal brand. Artists participate from all sides of the influencer ecosystem. Here’s how to harness the power of influencer marketing for artists, including how artists can grow by functioning as both the influencer and the brand partner.
An artist can spread awareness for their work by growing their following and building their branding on social media. Social media profiles should be treated as an extension of your brand (sorry to all the artists who are rethinking their cat memes right now). Artists need to grow their following so that they can share their artwork with their target audience. These followers can eventually become their customers, collectors, and biggest supporters if given the right content marketing to sell them on the artist’s personal brand.
Your voice and branding are how you present yourself to the world. Artists need to consider all the different ways of building a personal brand so that they can find a voice that fits their personality and their marketing goals.
Personal branding and digital marketing go hand in hand, with a person’s brand guiding their digital marketing. Building a personal brand should include refining your aesthetic, finding a personable way of communicating with your target customers, and even some style that helps you stand out from the crowd. Salvador Dali was known for his mustache, Picasso is easily identified by his cubist style, and Van Gogh used vivid colors with chunky application. These are all parts of their personal brand that helped them differentiate themselves from other artists of the time.
A successful personal brand allows fans to get to know you and to have a connection to your life and work that feels personal. On your social platform, this could be sharing a mix of personal posts with your artwork, or it could be as simple as showing pictures of you working on your artwork. Remember, sell yourself as the artist, rather than trying to just sell the art.
Your Instagram bio is the perfect place to showcase this personal brand and voice. Share a little about yourself in the tone that you’ve established for your personal brand. Let your personality shine through! This is a chance for visitors to get to know you in about one sentence.
Each piece of content you post should align with your personal brand and your marketing goals. You’ll also want to ask yourself what balance you want between art sharing and personal sharing. Will you post a behind-the-scenes picture? Will you share pictures of your family? Maybe you only want to share your artwork, maybe you want to share more, but setting the proper mix can help you create content with ease.
You’ll also want to start experimenting with what type of sales messaging works best for your brand. You might try posting a CTA in captions, or advertising artwork for sale in your Stories. See what your audience enjoys most and see what content converts best.
Your personal brand marketing plan needs to include the tools to make your life easier. No artist should have to sacrifice creative time in order to work on their marketing. Personal branding and marketing may require an initial investment in order to create the infrastructure you need to effectively share your artwork.
Here’s some tools you may need:
Social media marketing for a personal brand can feel like a full-time job. You’re commenting, engaging with your audience, and sharing on top of all the other things you have to do. Instead of letting social media bleed your time, a scheduler can help you work on your social media in batches.
Programs like Later or Hootsuite are good options for scheduling your social media.
Repeat after me: Data is your friend! Converting your Instagram personal account to a business account can help you unlock additional insights so that you know more about your audience.
Instagram business accounts can also help you with auto-publishing. Tools like Later require a business account so that they can publish automatically to Instagram. Otherwise, you’ll get a push notification to publish your content.
First and foremost, building your personal brand needs to be relational. You need to be able to work with others to spread the word and you’ll need partners along the way to grow your following and get you to the next step.
Influencer marketing may be a successful growth strategy for artists, but it won’t be the typical influencer/brand relationship. Instead, you should relate to them as a fellow influencer, even when you are trying to promote your artwork or products. You are an artist, so you should partner with them as an artist.
Try hosting a giveaway with influencers or having them shout out your Instagram handle. You can also do a custom piece of artwork for the influencer so that they can share the final product on their platform. Try a few different types of promotion to see what works best or your target audience.
Start by following all the Instagram artists that you really love. In previous influencer marketing articles, we’ve discouraged you from working with potential competitors, but art is the exception to the rule. Artists are so unique that you can afford to work with and build up other artists without hurting your own brand from the competition.
You can follow these Instagram accounts to glean information about what is working for them and to see how you can adapt your content approach. These influencers may also be good candidates for partnerships in the future as you continue to grow.
Whenever you are sharing artwork, it’s an opportunity to get the attention of art brands and other influencers. If you were inspired by an influencer’s work, then tag them in the photo and thank them for the inspiration in the caption. For the art supplies you used to create your photo, tag the brand’s Instagram account. Who knows, you might be able to partner with these brands in the future for paid collaborations! Either way, you’ll start to build a relationship with these brands and influencers through your consistent tagging.
Brands typically have a following on social media and are also working on building brand awareness (just like you!). As an artist, you are probably using supplies to create your work. Tag the brand in artwork photos that use their supplies, and you can reach out to see if they’d like to collaborate.
They may be able to provide products at no cost, or they may even pay for the promotion on your own channel. This may seem like it doesn’t benefit your growth or your artwork, but it’s all in how you partner with brands. Request that the brand shares your content to their own platform and tags you so that you can get a new audience to see your work.
How can influencers help each other? Your friends on Instagram can help you spread the word about your brand, but you need to make the arrangement mutually beneficial. This may be through reciprocating and posting to your own feed, or by providing them something of value.
The friendships you make online can help you create loop giveaways, co-branded products, or other promotions. Remember, be relational. You’ll want to be commenting and supporting their own content, as well as working with them to promote your own.
A strong personal brand is essential to your success as an artist and to your digital marketing strategy. Influencer marketing for artists whittles down to creating relationships with other influencers, brands, and artists to help each other and build each other up. Determining your goals for marketing and then working with other influencers and brands can help you grow your own platform and get your artwork seen by the world!