Develop your artistic side to get noticed online
Back in 2011, I wrote a blog post on another blog of mine, entitled 16 Things You Can Do Today to Get Your Artwork Noticed.
This quickly became the most popular post on the site, with around 80 comments, and hundreds of tweets and likes.
People really liked having practical tips they could put into action immediately, and it seemed some of them were ideas they had never considered before.
Things have changed somewhat in the last few years, so I thought it was about time for a follow-up post, so without further ado, here are another 10 things you can do today to get your artwork noticed:
1. Start a Mailing List
If you don’t already have a mailing list, stop reading this post and go set one up at Mailchimp (it’s free)!
Seriously, a mailing list is the most valuable tool you can have to keep your artwork in people’s minds.
If a visitor lands on your website, and likes your art, but there’s no way for them to subscribe for updates, they may just go away and never find you again.
But if you have a signup form where they can enter their email address, then you have a really effective way of keeping in touch with them so they’ll get notified about every painting you create from then on.
If you haven’t already, you can sign up for my list here to see how it works.
2. Join Paint My Photo
I’ve written about Paint My Photo before. It’s a great online community for photographers and artists, where you can find reference photos to paint from, without having to worry about any copyright issues.
An extra benefit though, is that if you upload your paintings to the site, and link from your painting to the reference, and vice versa (via a comment on the photo), it’s a great way to introduce more artists and photographers to your work.
Every time I upload a painting to Paint My Photo, I get a stream of comments complimenting my work, and if you include a link to your website in the image description, many of them will probably come and check out the rest of your paintings, and sign up to your mailing list (see #1).
3. Get Yourself on Pinterest
There’s no escaping it, social media is a great way to get more eyeballs on your artwork, and Pinterest can be particularly effective if used wisely.
To begin with, you can start pinning your own art to a “My artwork” board, like this one of mine.
Make sure you pin the images from your website (rather than just uploading them from your computer) so that there will be a link back to your site when people click on the images.
But don’t stop there. You should create multiple boards for a variety of topics you’re interested in, and do plenty of pinning and repinning.
If you pin some great content, more people will follow you, and that means every time you pin one of your own images, those followers will see it in their home feed, and just might follow the link back to your website, or repin your image for their followers to see.
4. Embrace the Daily Painting Movement
I’ve been painting almost every day for the last couple of months now, and it’s the most productive I’ve ever been.
Just the fact that I’m producing more paintings, means I have more to share, and so more people are going to see my work.
Read more about it in my post 6 Things I’ve Learnt from Daily Painting.
I know Twitter can be difficult to get into if you’re not that way inclined – I still don’t use it as much as I should – but it’s a great way to build more of a following, and start conversations with other artists.
Try to keep it relevant, with mostly art related tweets, but have fun with it too, and don’t be afraid to tweet off-topic from time to time.
As a general strategy, as well as tweeting your own blog posts, any time you read something that you think your followers would also be interested in, tweet it!
You can use an app called Buffer to add these posts to a queue, so they are tweeted at regular intervals, rather than overwhelming your followers with a ton of tweets all at once.
You can also attach images to your tweets, which makes it great for sharing your artwork too. Apparently, people are much more likely to engage with tweets that feature images, so you’re onto a winner if you tweet your artwork.
And if you run out of things to share, there’s always the trusty ‘retweet’ to fall back on. Rather than just retweeting, it’s often best to use the “Quote tweet” button, which lets you add your own comment, which is more likely to get a response from the original tweeter.
Instagram is the ideal social media platform for artists, because it revolves entirely around images.
You can use it to share your completed paintings of course, but it’s also great for sharing works in progress, collages of your painting process, and even short (15 seconds) videos, giving a snapshot of your life as an artist.
You can’t place a link in an Instagram post, but make sure you place a link to your website in your bio text, and when you post, encourage people to click that link. For example you might post a 15 second video, and then say “click the link in my bio to see the full video,” and post the full length video on your blog.
Make sure you use #hashtags to describe your posts, as this is the main way people will find you (there is no equivalent of the ‘retweet’ in Instagram), and as with all social media, if you interact with people, they are much more likely to follow you, so look for posts related to yours and leave them a nice comment.
Last year, I was struggling to think of ways to get more Instagram followers, and I suddenly realised that while I ‘liked’ a lot of other people’s posts, I hardly ever commented on them.
So I simply searched for a hashtag similar to the last painting I posted, and started leaving comments on some of the pictures I liked. I did this for a few days, and within a week, I had got more new followers than I had in the previous few months.
Being an artist online is like having a conversation, and if it’s just you posting and sharing, then the conversation is very one-sided, and people may lose interest and go and find someone else to talk to.
Ask questions in your blog posts. When people answer, reply to their comment and start a conversation.
The same applies for all social media. If someone comments, reply to them. If someone retweets you, thank them and start a conversation.
Comment on other people’s blog posts, reply to their tweets, join in on forum threads.
Take any opportunity you can to start a conversation. It’s guaranteed to get you more followers.
You may have seen the giveaway I did recently for my Golden Gate Sunrise painting.
I’ve done a couple of these before, and they’re always a great way to attract new followers.
The key is to make sharing your image/post a requirement of entry, so that the more people who enter, the more people will see it.
You could make them tweet about the giveaway, with a unique hashtag so you can track the tweets later.
You could get them to repost one of your images on Instagram, again with a unique hashtag.
Or you could simply require them to subscribe to your mailing list.
Don’t make the entry period too long, the shorter it is, the more urgency people will feel to enter, but make sure there’s enough time to spread the word a bit.
Then sit back and watch the entries roll in.
Just make sure you’re happy with whatever you’re giving away, and you’re not going to resent it later.
9. Join an art Community
I’ve written before about the benefits of joining an online art community, but it bears repeating.
Communities such as WetCanvas, Painters Online, DeviantArt, and many more, are the perfect place to meet new people, learn from other artists, share your artwork, and generally interact (if you didn’t already gather, that’s a good thing!)
Spend some time in your favourite artistic community every week, and you’re sure to expand your circle of online artist friends, many of whom will also become fans of your work.
10. Free your artwork from copyright
I saved this one for last, as I’m sure it will divide the room.
A surefire way to increase your artwork’s potential exposure, is to abandon copyright, and place your work in the public domain.
This is something I’ve done recently, after reading You Share Good, by Gween Seemel.
Having images of your artwork shared on social media, other blogs etc. can only be a good thing for you. Even if you are not credited (which in most cases you will be), your work is still being seen by more people.
So why not encourage this by letting people know that it’s ok to share your artwork, without fear of breaking any copyright laws.
If you’re not convinced, and want to read more about this, check out my post Why I’m Freeing my Artwork, and come to your own conclusion.
Well, that’s all for now, until I think of 10 more things you can do to get your artwork noticed!
I’d love to hear if you have any other suggestions that I may not have mentioned. Leave a comment below and share your ideas.
And while you’re here, why not put some of them into action right now? Tweet this post and start a conversation with me!