How to Get Collectors To Follow You on Social Media

Over the last few posts, and throughout the comments on those posts, we’ve seen that, while it may not be easy, artists are selling art through social media. Through careful curation of their posts, and active engagement with their followers, these artists have built business on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest and other social media platforms.

Beyond the difficulties that come in managing a social media account, one of the most common challenges I heard while researching these posts was “How do I get collectors to follow me on social media?” Additionally, I heard a lot of you say that it’s challenging to get anyone other than artists to follow your social media accounts.

Now, let me be clear, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with having artists follow you on social media. Artists can very easily become customers, but, equally important, you will benefit from the network effect by having as many followers as possible.

But, I do understand the desire to have well-qualified potential art collectors following your social media account as well. Not only can this lead directly to sales, social media can also be a great way to create deeper relationships with buyers and keep you on their radar.

So how can you get them to follow you?

First, let me say that it’s not going to be easy. Some of your potential clients aren’t even on social media, although this is pretty rare now. The Pew Research Center finds that nearly eight in ten Americans are on Facebook (http://www.pewinternet.org/2016/11/11/social-media-update-2016/). That’s an incredible level of participation, and it means that almost all of your current and future clients are on at least one social media platform. Just because they are on social media, however, doesn’t mean they are active users, and it also doesn’t mean they are going to accept a friend request or follow your page.

They key to building a successful social media following, it seems, is not to rely on everyone who buys or sees your work following you, rather, it’s to consistently give them all the opportunity to do so.

When I asked artist Faith Rumm, from Mariposa, California how she gets social media followers, she replied

I would like to say a lifetime of being nice to people, but also I spent about a year posting art on fb hiking forums, as my work is about wilderness back-country. People have friended me after seeing my art on the forums. (I haven’t posted on the forums for at least a year.) Also, when I have events at my studio I collect info from visitors and friend them.

There are two important keys here. The first is in the last sentence. Just as it is important to collect email addresses at live events, taking the next step and “friending” those contacts or inviting them to follow your social media pages is a vital way to build a following. This means that you have to have a good system in place to collect contact information, and that you need to be 100% consistent in inviting your contacts to become social media followers.

Not everyone you invite is going to become a follower, but some percentage will. It’s your persistence and consistency in inviting that will lead to a strong follower base.

The other key that Faith mentions is creating other online activity that leads to your social media pages. Faith posted in forums, which can be a great way to reach people with similar interests. In my podcast interview with Robert MacGinnis last week, he also mentioned this as a good way to attract followers.

MacGinnis also mentioned another way to get followers that I feel is brilliant, and that is through your interactions with your current followers. Robert said, for example, that he always posts birthday wishes to his followers, and when he does so he includes an image of a painting and tags the follower. MacGinnis is always careful to make sure that his birthday wishes are sincere and thoughtful. The follower’s friends, who are also wishing their friend a happy birthday, are likely to see Robert’s post, and may then click over to Robert’s profile and also become followers.

You’ll want to be careful not to overdo this kind of cross-posting on any one follower’s account, but by posting to followers you can take advantage of the powerful network effect of social media.

Another key to obtaining qualified followers is to use social media advertising, but I’m going to address this aspect of social media marketing in another post.

What Have You Done to Encourage Art Collectors to Follow You on Social Media?

How have you obtained qualified followers? What would you advise other artist who want to build a social media following to try? Share both what has worked, and what hasn’t, and what you’ve learned along the way in the comments below.

Starving to Successful

StSBookSHave you always wondered what it takes to show your work in galleries? Is your work being seen by qualified collectors?

In his Amazon.com best-selling book, Xanadu Gallery owner Jason Horejs shares insights gained over a life-time in the art business.

Learn more and order today.

2015-01-07 14_43_10-CSS Button Generator

About the Author: Jason Horejs

Jason Horejs is the Owner of Xanadu Gallery, author of Dad was an Artist | A Survivor's Story and best selling books "Starving" to Successful & How to Sell Art , publisher of reddotblog.com, and founder of ARTsala. Jason has helped thousands of artists prepare themselves to more effectively market their work, build relationships with galleries and collectors, and turn their artistic passion into a viable business. Connect with Jason on Facebook

14 Comments

  1. Always enjoy your posts and words of wisdom! Once we can travel again, I hope to visit your gallery. I really enjoyed your post of your father speaking about his paintings. Keep up the good work that you do!!

  2. I’m going to voice what may be an unpopular opinion here, and discourage the cross-posting you mention. It can really alienate other artists who use their (personal) pages for business purposes and don’t want their brand diluted by other artists posting their images. I have also had artists friend me and then go through my entire friends list and basically pirate it for their own benefit, without asking if that was ok to do – and have had complaints from people about it. I now keep my friends list private for that reason. The social media thing is still relatively new and we are all learning the ins and outs of etiquette on those platforms. So i’d suggest that those considering cross-posting, with the possible exception of birthday wishes, check in with the person on whose page they intend to do that to make sure they are not stepping on toes.

  3. I am currently taking a course by David Emmons that gives specific, actionable ways to find collectors on Facebook. In addition to the self-paced, in-depth course, he has a private FB group and monthly live calls. I’m impressed with the depth of the course and his generosity. BTW, I don’t benefit from this post in any way other than to help others.

  4. I have a question about social media. I have a great following because of the way I approach my marketing. My problem is facebook only allows 5,000 followers. Which I have. Of course not all follow every day but many check in. So I have the problem of trying to decide who I might delete to make room for new followers. One never knows where the next sale will come from. Is it the one I just deleted or the new guy I am friending?

    1. The professional FB page does not have that limit of 5000 I believe. I maintain both personal and professional. But the professional seams more trouble than it’s worth. I wonder if the professional page on FB is just not good for artists anymore.

    2. I don’t have an answer to your question, unfortunately, but what did you mean by “the way I approach my marketing”? Can you elaborate on what you do or have done to obtain such a great following? Thanks.

  5. Faith Rumm had it right when she said, “. . . a lifetime of being nice to people.”

    Social media platforms will morph over time – once you develop a “strategy” it will soon become outdated at best or off putting at worst. Sincerity and kindness, however, will always be in fashion. Be truly empathetic while being yourself – that, and make your very best art.

  6. During the pandemic, I have tried to bone up on more social media courses to learn more so I’m not banging my head against a wall. As an art gallery owner, we only get a few of our many followers to like or comment on our posts. I learned that Facebook only allows about 1.6-2% of your followers to be reached through an organic post. Of course, the more engagement a post gets, the better but that’s not always possible.

    Facebook wants paid advertising. One of the webinars instructed on how best to create an ad to get the biggest bang for your buck. I think I spent about $10 for an ad to run for a week, and it did help a lot. Still very challenging.

    I think the thing that’s been most rewarding as we slowly re-open is how many people took note of us on social media while we were closed. Maybe they didn’t comment or like, but they did see and knew we were very active. Those are measurements we don’t always see.

  7. I thinks artist make a mistake to have the idea that their are ‘collectors’ out there and to believe that they need to find the key to the access to a secret society. Yes wealthy art collectors exist and it’s great when we come across them. To me best is to see every person we interact with as a potential buyer. I just sold a painting to a facebook friend. We’ve been connecting for 5 years. Selling art requires a long term vision. I like what Faith said in your article. Years of being nice to people pays off!

  8. I paint a lot of technical subjects aircraft and motorsports but in an impressionistic manner. I became disillusioned with Facebook, having paid to advertise when I stopped the hits to my site dropped to a fraction of what they were before I started advertising. In my day job I have an extensive network of technical people on LinkedIn and get great engagement there – frequently hitting views in the 000’s for no advertising spend and with great engagement and some good commission enquiries. So for me I guess it’s about understanding your market and showing the real you. Interestingly this also played well when I changed job and received positive endorsement from my new employer.

  9. Hashtags are important for new exposure. The last sale I made was to a buyer who said that they found my work through the hashtag of our city followed by “artist.” Example: #seattleartist. On Instagram, you can see how many posts are made with each hashtag using search, so be sure to check as there could be more followed variations in your local area (#seattleart, #seattlearts, etc). I’ve discussed with other artists that hashtags with over 1M posts are less likely to be seen but hashtags between about 20K and 500K posts are a sweet spot.

  10. Thinking about my loyal collectors that have either been my suppliers when I was an art director or just dear friends over the years and also some church members…I have been most grateful for all of them showing up on Facebook to see what I am doing currently. Recently a Facebook friend and collector purchased a large pastel piece that in essence covered the monthly expenses, it was his second pastel purchase. I use Facebook to evaluate how my work is touching my friends and collectors. I always reply to most comments and usually At the What’s On Your Mind entry will thank my basic crowd for commenting on my work and being interested. Never know where the next sale shows up but I keep in touch with 3 lists: People who show up at my open studio or library shows, those on my extensive e-mail list and my Facebook crowd. I’m basically interested in what I’m doing and love to share that with basically anyone. Thank you Jason for all you do and I get a lot from those who comment as well…the best to us all in these times.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *