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 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

17 Comments

  1. They key with collectors on social media that I’ve found is to stay consistent, in both style and frequency. Serious art collectors are almost always investors. They look for investment pieces. If you make one piece a year, they aren’t gonna buy your art. If you make art all the time and have a style that’s recognizable, they might.

  2. Thanks again Jason for your thoughts on an important topic. I can definitely use these ideas!

    One small and sadly negative comment: I really dislike being wished happy birthday by someone who is neither a friend or family member! I get birthday wishes from insurance agents, restaurants, even car dealers! I find it offensive – these gestures seem to be bare-faced marketing ploys and are insincere and offensive. They make my future business far less likely.

    1. Ditto. We’re not children to need recognition. Businesses and advertisers’s goal is to curry favor so you will buy from them again … it takes more than a Happy Birthday.

    2. I’m with you on that. FB birthday wishes are annoying and insincere. It’s basically spamming. If you’re not family, or very close friends, you won’t get a phony birthday wish from me.

  3. Interesting topic, what you say makes sense. Being consistent, placing artwork on a regular basis certainly helps to improve the chance of more followers and hopefully art collectors. What do you think about people who offer to promote you on social media, i’ve Had a few messages.

  4. On my professional Facebook page (where I post all my art related activities), I follow up on nearly every comment made about one of my posts. If it’s a simple “love it” comment, I might just “like” their comment in return. But if they say anything of substance, I use it as a chance to start a conversation with them. For instance, a follower might say that my painting reminds me of a place they used to visit as a child — and I’ll ask them about that memory. Or if they comment about my style, I’ll tell them more about it. Often I’ll encourage them to learn more about similar paintings in my portfolio by posting an active link to my web site.

    1. I totally agree with this practice. I do have a question regarded to Inviting Friends. I hesitate to invite just anyone to be a FB Friend, and my Professional FB Page doesn’t offer this option. I can only Invite people to “Like” my Professional Page, which in turns provides them with my posts. Those of you that are inviting people to be “Friends”, is this on your personal page?

  5. I’ve gained a follower here and there because a follower/collector has shared posts of my work. I’d like to leverage that concept, perhaps by ending a post with “Feel free to share.” Does that feel pushy? If so, is there other language that’s both polite and powerful?

  6. I have several collectors who follow me on social media. Like Helen, everyone who comments on my post gets at least a like with more in depth comments to those who say more. When my collectors, comment I slways engage more even if they were brief in their comment.
    I recently had a great interaction with a potential customer who desperately wanted a painting. After afew days of responding to questions and her discussing with her husband she decided the painting was too large for their space. I asked if she’d like to join my art newsletter to be sble to see new work as it happens, which she did. My newsletters all have links to follow my social media accounts.

  7. When I have an exhibition on in my gallery I prepare a brief and interesting post to send to my followers and pay for a boost that will go to friends of friends and also my target geographic area. I have found it to be an effective way to reach a wider audience and also relatively low cost. I include my web address in the message and my email to encourage follow up inquiries. Over time I have improved my headlines to ensure they have the “call to action” that is critical to marketing anything. My online reach has extended significantly in the past three years, combined with writing short pieces for Linked-In and posting images from the show catalogs to Instagram. I estimate it has increased my sales each show by at least 25% so definitely worth doing in my opinion.

  8. Speaking of Linked-In, my email became a dumping ground of associations that overwhelmed me. I finally opted out because of sheer volume … out of hundreds of links nothing came from the professionals I knew in various industries. That was repeated in down-line associations; it became too splintered, and the premise of Linked-In didn’t promote my needs at all.
    Curious … anyone else have success with Linked-In?

    1. Jackie, I feel the same as you about Linked-In. I have found it to be of no use in my art marketing efforts.I link my blog to my FB page and that seems to garner the most interest, feedback and occasionally sales.

  9. I’ve been creating art for 68 years with no formal training. Just recently I found out what kind of artist I am, and according to what the industry says, I’m a “Bas-Relief Duende” artist. I’ve tried all kinds of different approaches on social media, none of which has captured the attention of any collectors. From my understanding my form of art is very rare and I would of thought my approaches would of sparked some interest. However, recently I decided to keep my Facebook page specifically geared toward my type of art.

  10. Great article once again. When somebody likes or coments on a post that I do not know, I reply with something nice. Then I invite them to like my page. Sometimes I will write them a message asking for their email and if they would like to be added to my mailing list. It’s a building process. I like social media for my art because I reach more people and new potential buyers. Friends of friends buy my work because they have posted what they bought. It’s just tough to keep up with all of it. Thanks!

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