Social Media for galleries
Are you still satisfied with the number of people visiting your gallery? Or are your visitors becoming fewer and fewer? In this case, you are not alone. A survey from Invaluable, an online art specialist, makes it clear: more and more people no longer view art in galleries or museums but on social media channels such as Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter. Almost a quarter of adults (22.7 %) discover art through these channels. Only 15.9% visit galleries to view art. What can you do to reach these people? In this article we offer you some tips on how to get even more attention for your gallery by using social media.
Develop new strategies
Only those who are visible can be successful. Digitalisation doesn’t stop at galleries. You will need new strategies to reach and expand your audience.
Go to where your audience is!
The first step for more visibility is to expand your gallery space online. This opens up many possibilities. A gallery website is the key element of your presence online. By designing your website in a way that offers information on your artists and their exhibitions while enabling your customers to interact, you will have taken a huge step forward. This comprises the following:
- Contact information and imprint
- Prominent placement of email and newsletter registration on your contact page
- A button, which allows visitors to your website to find information on a specific work
- And most importantly: connecting your website with your social media channels
Like your website, social networks such as Facebook or Instagram are digital extensions of your gallery. By connecting your website to your Facebook account or other networks, your gallery will gain publicity. Additionally, you may connect to collectors, curators, and other prominent figures within the art industry, informing them of events, art fairs, or exhibitions. You will simultaneously be increasing the range of your gallery – online and thereby consequently offline.
Social Media offers enormous potential
Being active on social networks and sharing your content on social media with those interested enables greater outreach. It also brings another positive effect: most people still use these channels privately, following profiles from friends, acquaintances, and their favoured brands / companies. If they view your gallery’s shared content on their friends’ news feed, it seems a lot less like promotion, compared to coming directly from your gallery page or other companies’ profiles. This stirs interest and inspires trust in your gallery and helps you gain even more supporters and customers.
Today, you may also find a number of potential collectors on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Co. About 57% of art collectors prefer Instagram for searching and discovering new art and artists (HISCOX). First buyers in particular tend to purchase art online, informing themselves of artists and their works online.
Of course it is impossible to reach all social network users. Facebook, however, offers you the possibility of addressing and choosing your target group according to age, region, and interest (in contemporary art etc.). In this way, you can address new international collectors and win them over for your artists and for yourself.
Artists and collectors have caught on the trend
Artists no longer use social media solely as a platform to present their art but are increasingly using Instagram as a sales tool. Collectors have long caught on to this trend and are checking Instagram for new and upcoming artists. Instead of visiting galleries, more and more collectors (already 51.5%) inform themselves of an artist’s new works by using this platform.
“Collecting art is an addiction and Instagram is the dealer and pusher that enables it.” (@karenrobinovitz, Co-founder of digital brand architects)
The explanation for this is simple: globalisation and digitalisation are responsible for a growing number of artists and galleries entering the market and becoming visible to a large audience. On top of this, global art fairs, exhibitions, and openings are constantly taking place. Who has the time nowadays to view them all in person? A Smartphone or a laptop, however, are always close at hand. Searching for artists while traveling on a train or in a plane, viewing recent exhibition images, or discovering new works of favorite artists – a common picture in 2016.
Which platform is good for what?
“How shall I begin?” you might wonder. Don’t be too hasty when you begin your social media activities. It’s better to concentrate on a single platform at first. Facebook and Instagram are networks with the greatest outreach and are both used most by galleries. Which one you choose is entirely up to your preferences and objectives. Each network can be used for different strategies and must be maintained individually.
(Preferred Social Media Channels by art collectors; Hiscox)
On Facebook you may share different kinds of content:
- Images, videos, articles, events, links from other pages or from your own site, etc.
- Create your own events and select guests to invite
- Connect your article with your artists’ or collectors’ pages by mentioning them in a post
- Create ads for a specified audience
- And much more
The more your content is shared by fans the higher you are ranked by Facebook, meaning you will be prominently featured in your fans’ newsfeed and will gain visibility. Ask your co-workers and acquaintances/friends to share your content on their private profiles. Your posts should offer your fans useful information (exhibition announcements, art fairs, etc.) as well as “personal” insights behind the scenes of your daily work at the gallery through images enabling glimpses of work flow. This allows customers to familiarize with you and to build trust.
Pictures are the centre of each posting on Instagram. This platform is good for presenting images of your exhibitions, installation views, or artists’ art works. The focus lies on photographs, which should be of good quality and high resolution to present art works or scenes in the best possible way. Images showing people are especially popular, generating many likes. It is best to experiment with different images to see what works best for you.
No matter which network you choose, the same rule applies to all: be active! Like and comment on articles of interest to you, or on posts you are tagged in. Post your own articles regularly and experiment with different possibilities (images, videos, text only, etc.). You will learn from the reaction of your fans what your audience likes and which strategy works best for you.
How do I start?
To help you decide on a platform, ask yourself the following questions:
- What do I want to achieve with my social media presence: Do I want to inform regular customers? Gain new customers? Sell art?
- Who do I want to reach: Collectors, curators, art lovers?
- How can I portray my gallery’s image best and what is the most suitable platform?
- What are my resources for maintaining social media channels: How much time can I invest? How many employees are tending to it?
It doesn’t matter whether you are only just beginning to use social media or are already actively twittering, posting, liking, and sharing: always keep your audience in mind, offering them highly informational content. Stay active! This inspires trust and will generate new customers for you.