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, but 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.

The 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 what has worked, what hasn’t, and what you’ve learned along the way in the comments below.

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 the Art Business Academy. 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.

5 Comments

  1. Robert MacGinnis’s podcast was fantastic! He represents SO many artists with his introverted personality – yet has great success selling his artwork on social media.

    2 questions – does he have art galleries that his sales compete with? And, I see his painting sizes are small with very reasonable (low) price points. Is that what you were recommend for FB/social media marketing?

  2. I wish I could say something helpful here, but unfortunately I can only reiterate that recently I joined Instagram and all the followers I’ve gathered are other artists. It’s great to see what others are doing–and I’ve found the quality of art to be generally pretty darn good, so it’s a pleasure to see. It’s also useful to see where other artists are exhibiting, and then follow those galleries. Museums use Insta, too, so I can stay current with museum shows. Who knows? Maybe my posts will eventually lead somewhere. I’m posting the name and contact info for my current gallery shows–directing folks to the gallery, as well as my website. @mskfineart on Instagram. Thanks for all the good info, Jason!

  3. I am so grateful for all this information I’ve been an artist all my life but I’m just now reaching out to social media and I’m on about six different sites I currently am involved with pixels or fine art America print on demand and it’s really something that I’m finding that you have to be present and determined to get things done everyone is shopping on line now so I have to add all of this to to one resource that will branch out to all the sites I’m involved with so when I post a photo every site gets it Now my regular regiment is to check in any comments or messages that I might have to respond to the mediately and I asked friends and clients 2 share share if you like it share perhaps they can visualize my work and are home or their office or they mom’s home but their friends home so I’m finding yes I would love to have a large following a large clientele I’ve been a hairstylist all my life and building a clientele it’s not genius it’s just sincerity and trust and being kind two people everyone needs to be acknowledged everyone deserves that little piece right there this is for you my friend thank you for responding thank you for coming to my site I’m so grateful to these people I’m Overjoyed when I see a a message it makes me feel appreciated people that appreciate my work my tenant my exceptionally creative nature . I thank everybody for their comment and it’s very genuine I appreciate you and look forward to putting this into action. Jason many thanks for your post I will leave you with my website kyhdesigns
    https://karen-hamby.pixels.com

  4. I have been active on social media for 3 years, have thousands of the wrong kind of followers and have not made one single sale. Only two or three visitors click through to my web page per month and none leave a message or sign up for my newsletter. I live in a small, non-artsy town, there are very few live events so personal contacts are not an option. I plan to try Jason’s suggestion to start following groups that would be potential collectors … that would be lawyers, doctors, small business people, accountants. Anyone else have the same problem? … and how did you solve it? Thanks Jody

  5. During the summer weekends I set up a wooden trailer on our village waterfront. I display my carvings and have done quite well. A lady mentioned to me that I should be on Instagram. She added that the secret is to tell a story that people will follow. People want to get to know you (it’s called ‘social media’), how you carve or paint and see examples of your art. You have to post regularly. I also readily handout business cards with my FB and Instagram addresses prominently displayed..

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