EBSQ Live Studio – Social Media for Artists

This demonstration was originally presented by Amanda Makpeace on 17 May 2010.

Good evening everyone. Thank you so much for attending Social Media, the Artist and Marketing. I’m going to start things off by defining the term social media. Most often when we hear the word social media the first sites that come to mind are Facebook and Twitter, but social media is any site that allows you to share information and interact with other people via the internet. Sharing and interacting—these are the two main aspects. Yes Facebook and Twitter apply, but so too do Blogs, YouTube, StumbleUpon, LinkedIn, Flickr, Digg and many more.

One of the best things you can do is explore social media sites. Chances are not all of them will work for you, nor do you have the time to utilize each and every one. The following link is a listing of the top 25 social media sites, along with marketing tips for each.

Top 25 Social Media Sites

When I began using social media sites several years ago I tried dozens of different platforms, but now I only use a handful. Here are my tops sites for interaction:



My Blog




Here are some of my recent experiences on Twitter:

Example 1: I love sci-fi/horror movies and books. I began reading Stephen King when I was 13 years old. This isn’t just something I’m interested in, it’s something I know. I follow many aspiring writers and published authors on twitter, and in turn quite a few follow me and they’ve also made purchases from my Etsy shop.

Example 2: Many of you know about my One Pebble Project? Well just last week bestselling author, Kat Richardson (who I follow and she follows me) caught wind of my tweet and went crazy sharing it with all of her friends. We bantered back and forth for a good 15 minutes. Okay yes, this was a lot of fun especially since she is one of my favorite authors, but it also spread my name and ultimately my art to the 1,117 people who follow her tweets.

Example 3: I entered a contest on a blog a few weeks ago and the blogger clicked on my profile to see who I was, and ultimately ended up at my Etsy shop. Within a matter of days she commissioned a painting!

Maybe I’m lucky, but I don’t think so. I think if you want to generate sales from social media marketing you have to interact with people and build relationships.

I’ve seen direct sales from Twitter, so I put most of my time and energy into using my tweets as a marketing tool. Twitter may not be that site for you. Maybe instead Facebook is where you generate the most interest or even YouTube. The key is to find which one works and put your energy into it, instead of spreading yourself to thin.

Here are some good and not so good practices. You can use these rules of thumb, in some form or another, on any social media site.

Good Practices

Give to Get – Successful social media marketing programs involve listening and participation. That participation centers around giving value before expecting anything in return.

Putting in the Time – Yes, social media marketing can be time-consuming, but if you choose the best times to participate you can plan and use your time wisely. There are also tools you can use so you aren’t spending all day on the computer.

You want to facilitate sales, not attempt to make sales directly. – This is probably the most important practice of all. People following you naturally become acquainted with what you do, and as you participate in the conversations and build interconnected followers sales can and do happen.

Think outside your product. – If you have interests outside your own art, and most of us do, share them! 1. You will gain new followers/friends who will then discover your art and 2. It makes you a “real” person who is interesting and not one-sided. Also, seek out people with those interests and follow them!

Bad Practices

Being fake, in any way. – This is self-explanatory. Nobody likes a fake.

Not listening.- If you aren’t listening you may miss opportunities to incorporate your product into a conversation, etc.

Being oblivious to formal & unwritten social rules – It’s good to do a certain amount of lurking to see what is socially accepted for a particular social media site.

Being pushy or overtly sales-y in messaging – If all you do is post links to your product people will ignore you.

Cautionary Practices

Be careful sharing your political and religious views. – Unless they pertain directly to your arts theme/subject. We’ve all seen the discussions that can turn ugly, this would be disastrous to your online image.

Be careful expressing anger or upset over an event/person. – This can work for you or against you. Last year I witnessed author, Alice Hoffman have a complete meltdown on twitter over a bad review. The backlash at her behavior forced her to leave Twitter, but not before her account was suspended.

Tools of the Trade for Twitter and Facebook

Twitterfeed – This site allows you to take any RSS feed and share it on Facebook and Twitter. I use it to share the images I “Stumble” but I could also use it to share new items I list on Etsy too.

Feedburner – You can also use Feedburner to share your latest blog posts on twitter, which means less time you spend on twitter! I like Feedburner for my blog because it has more customizable options.

TweetDeck – The newest version of TweetDeck allows you to simultaneously post to both Twitter and Facebook or separately. TweetDeck works on Windows, Mac and Linux, as well as iPhone and iPad and an Android application in the works.

TweetDeck also allows you to schedule tweets. This comes in handy if you have a busy day ahead of you but don’t want to leave your followers in silence.

Also, artist Lori Mcnee has an excellent article on her blog, Lori Mcnee: Fine Art and Tips, about branding yourself as an artist.

Lastly, I want to say just a few things about blogging. You don’t hear much about blogs as a social media tool, but they do fall into this category. Blog posts can be shared across a myriad of social networking sites with the click of a button. But guess what, nobody is reading your blog because of your art. If you want to know why, this recent post on Gapingvoid.com explains it in an easy to understand way.

And I am going to leave it there. I hope you find the information in this presentation useful. – Amanda Makepeace


TONIGHT is EBSQ Live- Social Media for Artists

hosted by EBSQ Self-Representing Artists and Amanda Makepeace
TONIGHT Monday, June 14th at 9pm Eastern (6pm Pacific)
EBSQ Chat Room 

social media marketing for artists

Facebook, Twitter, YouTube … Social Media is everywhere and everyone from school teachers to big businesses are cashing in on this amazing phenomena—including artists. When utilized correctly Social Media can be a powerful marketing tool. It connects the artist directly with potential buyers not only in their home town but across the world. I’ve been using social media platforms for the last six years. My presentation will reveal my secrets for using social media as an artist’s marketing tool.

About the Presenter: 

Art has been one of the few constants in my life, but early on I was put off by traditional teaching methods. I only returned to study art in 2005 after completing a commission for a book cover. The course revealed I was an artist set in my ways, so I let my muse run free to create on my own terms. Much of my art tells a story, and through it I have explored the beauty at our feet and the expanse of the universe. I live outside Athens, Georgia with my daughter, two cats and a sometimes unhealthy obsession with technology and books.

Artist Guide: Being a Career Artist

by Natasha Wescoat


You could say being an artist is provocative, risque, adventurous and I’d have to agree with you. Those flash in the pan successes, feast or famine moments and a fly by the seat of your pants lifestyle tends to be a part of the whole being an artist thing. One moment, you are experiencing the time of your life, the next moment you wonder if you’re on the street the in the morning. Your job requires that you feel, express yourself, use your imagination and create something that comes from that. Though formal schooling definitely helps propel your talents, it cannot help you imagine. It doesn’t give you passion. It cannot teach you how to ‘be’.

You are, inside, entirely and completely an artist. It’s a part of YOU.

We’re like rebels without a cause. We follow our emotions rather than logic, make heavy decisions based on dreams vs reality.

Having an art career therefore is like a contractiction. Being in this “sexy” vocation and adding the term career to it makes all sorts of complications. You have to logically weigh the pros and cons of your decisions, weigh out financial issues and deal with things outside your creative mindset. Being a career artist isn’t as easy as simply being an artist. Taking your personal gift and monetizing on that is one of the most difficult and harrowing experiences one could have.

[Continue reading ‘Sexy Isn’t Easy: Being a Career Artist’]

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Calling all Art Bloggers (and art blogger wannabes)

This just in from our good friend Alyson Stanfield:

Hi, Artist,

This is just a quick reminder that if your blog is suffering from neglect, indifference, confusion, or identity disorders, we’re here to help.

Cynthia Morris and I are scrubbing in for the Blog Triage class, which begins next Wednesday, August 19. At the end of the procedure, you will:

* Be clear on what your blog is all about

* Have more things to write about than you ever

dreamed possible

* Form a stronger connection with your visitors

* Have confidence to be an expert in your field

* Be proud that your blog is much better looking

* Have a plan to maintain your blog’s health

* Be on your way to becoming famous!

The class is limited to 30 people and just a few seats remain (really!). Grab your spot now if your blog needs some TLC. All of the details are here:http://artbizcoach.com/classes/blogtriage.html

Enjoy your end-of-the-summer weekend,



If you end up doing the triage class with her, let us know what you think!

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Artist Guide: Anyone Selling Anywhere?

The following is a guest post by EBSQ Artist Ron Jumper (aka Tolun) in response to an EBSQ forum thread on the same topic.

Art: internet cafe SOLD by Artist Mike Jones
Internet Cafe by Mike Jones

Unfortunately, it may just be a case of saying to yourself, “this too, shall pass.”

Art is a luxury item, when people are making money they are thinking of ways to spend it, redecorating, collecting and so on. But when money is tight they focus on the basic necessities and put off “I want that” purchases.

There are people buying, but fewer of them and more people trying more desperately to sell to them, so it makes for a more challenging environment.

This is a good time to focus your efforts on what you do best and what sets you apart from the crowd. Think about the kinds of art that sold best in the past and do more of it, focus on technical skills and push forward to improve your best work. Serious collectors develop an eye for the best artists so become one of the best in your field and they will find you.

Marketing-wise, getting your work in front of as many people as possible may not show immediate results, but it gives you the best chance to make a sale. Keep working on blogs and branch out into sites where people who might like your work go. If you do paintings of animals, for example, hang out on pet and animal lover sites and start interacting on the message boards there. Don’t start off saying “go to eBay and buy my stuff!” but just establish a presence, and mention your art if it comes up in conversation or put a link in your signature, if allowed.

Build a mailing list, and keep people updated about your art. If you haven’t done this, you might consider sending an announcement to previous customers but be brief and soft-sell, don’t sound desperate and don’t keep bugging them if they don’t respond. Invite previous customers to check out your website to see new work and/or sign up for a mailing list.

For selling venues, unfortunately, the buyers have to be there to make sales. It’s still mostly about eBay although some sites like Etsy and such are gaining. Spend your money wisely but maintain as much of a presence as you can afford on the sites where there are buyers. You’ll have to spend money to make money, which can be a difficult situation when you don’t have a big budget. But your time would be better spent blogging and seeking out new sites to find collectors rather than setting up items on a free auction site where no one is buying anything. Spend both money and time wisely.

If you don’t want to go with eBay or your funds are critically low, you might have to cut back on art in general and find other work for a while. If you have the money for supplies this is a good time to experiment and develop an inventory of art that you can sell when the economy improves. Even if you aren’t attempting to sell art right now, continue developing your mailing list and blogs etc. so that when you are in a position to sell more art there are people who are already thinking about your work.

Finally, examine the way you sell your art. It’s a good idea to have work available in several price points, as people who can’t afford a large painting for $500 might buy a smaller piece for $100 and people who can’t afford that might buy a print for $25. If you can’t do prints on your own this is a good time to look into low-cost options for getting prints done of your best work.

Remember, this isn’t the first time this has happened, and won’t be the last. The buyers will return, it’s just a matter or riding out the dry spell and positioning yourself to take advantage when things get better.



[Have selling/marketing tips you’d like to share? Drop us a line!]

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Artist Guide: Not Taking Risks Is Foolish

by Natasha Wescoat of NatashaWescoat.com

When you think of risk taking, you can see some person throwing all their money into an idea, losing their job, their family, their “riches” and ending up on the streets. Risk taking shouldn’t equal foolishness. Planning is part of risk taking. Planning and risk taking can work together. I explain how many of us artists make it work in the online world, amidst a struggling economy and evolving web. I explain how NOT taking risks is FOOLISH…

I was watching a video by Gary Vaynerchuk (WineLibrary.tv) about how too many entrepreneurs try to plan out and predict the future and in turn continually lose out. I see business owners base their moves, their actions on what it may or may not do for them. They obsess over whether it will work or not, and miss out on the possibilities their ideas and businesses could bring out.

It reminds me of a topic I’ve wanted to discuss for so long on how an artist/creative business should go about promoting and selling their work.

How do I do it?

I don’t ask questions.
I don’t research for months before I try something.
I don’t wait.
Continue reading “Artist Guide: Not Taking Risks Is Foolish”

From DPS-How to Photograph Your Product

Hello Sunshine Earrings by Vickie Millier
Hello Sunshine Earrings by Vickie Millier

We’ve posted photography tutorials in the past, usually geared toward photographing 2D art. But we couldn’t resist sharing this great tutorial on photographing your 3D work, whether it’s dolls, jewelry, or other objects, found via Digital Photography School.  We know your art is awesome, so why all this fuss over how you photograph it?  Writer Natalie Norton sums up nicely:

I’ve recently spent a lot of time perusing sites like Etsy and other “small market” online vendors.  The other night I spent a considerable amount of time on Etsy searching for something very specific.  As I was sifting through the gazillions of similar products-alas, none of which ended up being exactly what I was looking for- I noticed a trend: If a product had a bad photograph, we’re talking the little thumbnail preview image here, I would not even click through to see the product details.

Natalie’s tips in a nutshell are:

  • Turn of the flash
  • Remove distracting elements
  • Utlize Simple Staging
  • Employ creative depth-of-field to highlight product detail

We strongly recommend your check out the full article at Digital Photography School.  Remember:  in the online environment, the quality of your photographs can make or break your art!

For further reading:

Image is everything: Photographing your art

Live Studio: Photography Basics

Like what you see here?  We hope you’ll consider leaving a comment or subscribing to one of our feeds. Never miss another cool post from EBSQ. Subscribe to EBSQ: Art Meets Blog v2.0 by Email today!