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.

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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

16 Comments

  1. Hi Jason,
    My daughter and I teamed up and created a giveaway on Instagram. She’s a jewelry designer, and gave away a ring she created, and I gave away an art print of one of my paintings…it was really fun, and not only did we get exposure from both our accounts but we picked up followers by who the people tagged ( they had to tag one person they knew). It was a great way to interact with your followers and share the love so many people send our way. It also creates a great way to get something personal (your story) out there. It’s a lot of work to keep up the social media, but it’s worth it!

  2. I read recently about facebook promoting groups now rather than pages. My take from it is that I will be even less visible than before without advertisement. If you have a page, you probably saw a prompt from fb to create a sort of fan group. I have not and am not interested as my fans have better things to do than discuss in yet another group about MY art. Maybe someone can say more about how this change affects them/if it does?

    1. I agree, Facebook is not interested in showing our “pages” without pay. I get no organic traffic. However, some people tell me they do get traffic when they post daily and boost occasionally. The more fans you have the more they show your stuff. The way to get fans is to boost posts. once you have numbers you can boost less.. At least that is my take on it. Facebook is not telling.

      1. An artist that is a new member of my co-op gallery explained it to us this way: make a group that is a broader interest than just yourself, or just the gallery. But have it connected to the gallery. Then get the artists all posting there on the more general topic (creativity, say) AND where they are showing work AND what they are showing in our gallery. And not only post, but tag and invite friends to join. He did something similar with a general topic about the desert because that is the subject of his art, and quickly the group grew to 2000. So we are giving it a try – I like it a lot better than trying to think of content by or about me only… or about the gallery only!

        On another note, the art I have sold from Facebook has all been to friends on my personal page. I have a business page and post the same things there, but it seems the “personal” post of “look, hot off the easel! I don’t even have a title yet!” generates a lot more interest and playful commenting – and inquiries about purchasing – than the post I put on the business page. Not that I have sold a LOT over Facebook – but twice I have sold a piece within an hour of completing it. That’s heady stuff! And I know that, for some friends who are also clients, seeing it on Facebook a couple of times before seeing it in person has encouraged them to think about and be ready to purchase when they see it in person. I don’t know if the comments other people leave also helps their decision, but it can’t hurt.

  3. I live in a region called the Yellowstone Ecosystem A vast region of wild lands surrounding Yellowstone and Grand Teton Natl Parks along with the wildlife found there. It is the subject material I paint. I post daily[EVERY DAY] a photo of some occurance either with wildlife or the landscape along with a brief description of that posted photo. As I finish a painting I will post it too. Over the past few years I have garnered quite a following and it has led to painting sales. That being said-it is maybe 1-2% of those followers. But out of 5000 listed friends that is a sizeable figure. there are many followers who are not listed. My one question might be-Why does facebook cut one off after 5,000 friends. That certainly cuts into ones followers

    1. Hi Gary, I think the idea (by fb) is to make you do a page (or group) if you want unlimited amount of followers. What you have is that 5k friends of your real profile? Unless such profile is strictly meant to be public, that limits you in online activities. I would never mix my personal and art life, therefore I made a public page linked to a private account.

  4. Hello, I really struggle to find followers as I am an abstract artist. I do not have a great niche to tap into like dog portrait artists, or those in a certain landscape region. I’d love to have some direction on how to get my work seen by the right people. I create abstract colored pencil art, which is rather rare since most CP artists are into realism. I have won awards and been featured in some art magazines but I can’t get people to seek me out. I don’t know what I’m doing wrong. Any help would be appreciated.

  5. Occasionally I will run a contest on FB to suggest title for a photograph. If I end up using it I send the winner a print of their choice from my Pixel account. Definitely generates interest and views and some (minimum) sales.

  6. I have access to some private ASU football forums, which has led to a lot of sales when I post my ASU sports related paintings. I also post on certain largely followed ASU football FB pages with my work, it has consistently generated sales, kind of turned into my bread & butter. It has also led to sales of other works of mine that are not sports related.

  7. Oddly enough, I made one of my largest sales using the app LetGo. That’s normally a way of buying cheap stuff from others, but in this case a modern art collector had been browsing for original art for their home. My work isn’t cheap. I try too keep my art across LetGo, OfferUp, and 5-miles and this time it literally paid off!!

  8. By far the best strategy I’ve found to grow a social media account is Gary Vaynerchuck’s $1.80 strategy. He calls it that because the idea is to leave your “2 cents worth” in the comments sections of 90 influencers in your sphere every day. Not only will they see your comment, chances are lots of people who read their comments will too. It’s not easy to execute 90 comments a day consistently, but, even just 15-30 relevant comments a day will grow your social media followings more than someone who isn’t doing that. I tried that on the new-ish blockchain based social media site Steemit, and my account grew from 0 to over 2000 followers fairly quickly, and, I’ve sold art to people on there too.

  9. It was interesting to me to learn about commenting and how that helps. I learned so much from the post and also from reading the comments!!!! Thanks all🙏😍.

  10. Facebook can be difficult because they change their algorithms so frequently that even people who follow you may not see many of your posts. If you create a page for your work (not a group and not just your personal page) you will get more follows and clicks if you post frequently. Our photo club has a page to let non-members know about upcoming meetings and events and the mods get weekly updates about views, clicks, etc.. Also key is to answer any messages to your page within a few hours. However, I don’t have a page for my work so I can’t say whether FB results in sales (I did sell one photo to a friend of a friend, though).
    As for the example of Robert in the above post by Jason, I would not recommend posting your work to someone else’s birthday postings. It may work, but it may also get you unfollowed by the birthday person (I’ve seen that happen a bunch).

  11. Maryann DellaRocco, I am in the same predicament! After reading the other comments, however, I think the key is to try various things and there sure do seem to be a lot of new possibilities besides Fb – and many of these I know nothing about, either.

  12. i have a personal FB page and an instagram account. The IG is basically only art and things pertaining to my art, where FB is that and my personal life, mostly travel and my grandkids. I agree with staying away from hot topics like religion and politics. However, in this day and age I feel compelled to stand up for my beliefs on occasion.
    Recently I started sending an eblast through MailChimp and they created a business FB page where the eblast appears. I’m learning more about that at a very slow pace. I have yet to boost a post on FB or IG. But after reading these comments, maybe I’ll try that.
    I enjoy social media. Though i have so much more to learn or do if I want it to be a tool for selling my work.

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