According to market research firm First Research, there are about 5,000 art dealers and galleries in the U.S. with combined annual revenue of about $6 billion, and Art Market Monitor estimates the size of the overall global art market to be around $15 billion annually. There are also more than 200,000 fine artists working in the U.S., according to recent research by the National Endowment for the Arts.
But while fine art is big business, there is often a wide chasm between the creative process that makes a great artist or a sophisticated gallery owner, and the marketing process that drives branding and sales.
“For the majority of artists, success will ultimately come down to their effectiveness in marketing,” says Darius Himes, Assistant Director of fine art photography gallery Fraenkel Gallery in San Francisco. “Artists need to embrace the fact that both their work, and they themselves as artists, are brands that must be marketed.”
So whether you’re an aspiring artist who wants to build an initial following, or a veteran art dealer looking to expand awareness of your brand, it pays to get savvy to new social marketing techniques to help you achieve your objectives. The following are seven strategies for more effective social marketing.
1. Optimize Your Website
A website is now a cost of doing business, and it’s essential for artists to have at least a minimal web presence. But even established artists and galleries with robust websites should consider a refresh, particularly to ensure that the site is optimized for search and mobile.
Himes notes that Fraenkel Gallery recently undertook a full overhaul of its website to incorporate more social, search and web marketing best practices.
“In addition to making a number of aesthetic and navigational enhancements, we also eliminated all of the Flash-based elements that weren’t searchable and that reduced the mobile functionality,” says Himes. “We also made sure that the new website was scalable to any mobile device, and that all pages had unique web addresses which would be easy to feed into social media.”
2. Get Busy Blogging
Blogging is one of the best ways to get your art or gallery found by the search engines and provides excellent content to fuel your other social marketing activities.
“Blogging is close to necessary at this point when it comes to both SEO and the building of a fan base,” says Greg Heller-LaBelle of web marketing firm DAY Vision Marketing. “The main thing we try to instill in clients is to start thinking of themselves as creators and syndicators of content.”
In addition to posting new work or promoting new shows or openings, your blog can also be a