Guest post by Nathan March of Follow Magazine
Marketing is crucial to your creative process.
The best way to get inside your customer’s head is through marketing.
If you’ve found your way here to Arts Row I assume it’s because you’re interested in creative work. Whether you create film, visual art, craft, music or any other sort of artistic work you are probably interested in other people seeing your products. The process of getting your work to market is called marketing.
Traditionally, marketing has been all about communicating the benefit of your product to its intended audience. Marketing in the creative industries is valuable to the artist for another reason. Feedback.
Some art forms have intrinsic mechanisms for immediate feedback. Think about the audience in a theatre or customers at a maker’s fair. The actors know if a joke works because the audience (hopefully) laughs. The craft worker knows if a new design is working because customers aren’t very subtle. My wife occasionally sells her ceramics at markets and I’ve had conversations with people about what shape or color would work better for a particular teacup or bowl. Customers don’t hold back!
In the age of online sales we are often insulated from our audience. This can have the obvious benefit of not having to deal with malicious criticism or abuse. But it also means we don’t get the positive feedback. We don’t get the benefit of a concrete connection with the very people who are going to be our biggest champions.
There are three main ways to get feedback via your marketing: likes, sharing and conversation.
I consider anything you post to your art brand’s social media platforms as marketing. It all contributes to the public’s perception of who you are and what sort of art you produce. As an artist, your brand will almost always be an extension of you as a person. Your social media persona will not be your creative product, but it will reflect your taste and style.
You can use your social media marketing to test tone and theme, or even design and color. Put two posts out there that are similar but have one thing that is significantly different from each other and then measure the response. (You might have heard of that as A/B testing.)
It’s worth keeping an eye on how many likes you get on any particular post. Then you can analyze your posts to work out why. My Follow Magazine Instagram account champions the value of art to society. It is primarily made up of quotes about art. My most popular posts are almost always the most inspiring quotes. But I’ve also noticed that people are particularly drawn to golden light. This is my most popular post to date…
It’s a winning combination of golden light and a philosophical but practical quote. I only know that it’s popular because I pay attention to the likes.
People share your posts for a number of reasons but a key one is because they see value in it. Instagram isn’t so good for sharing but Twitter is all about the retweet. Having said that, my most popular retweets are actually Instagram posts that I’ve shared to my Twitter feed. This is my biggest tweet…
This tweet received 9 retweets, 798 impressions, 3 profile clicks and a 3.3% engagement rate. Without retweets a typical tweet for this account receives about 200 impressions, 0 profile clicks and a .5% engagement rate.
Once again, golden light and interesting quote wins the day. I can use that information to feed back into both my marketing and my creative work. As a filmmaker and magazine publisher I now know that people respond warmly to these images. It’s not rocket science but it’s good to be reminded.
The final feedback mechanism that is so important to creatives is conversation. Whether it’s on Facebook, Tumblr, Instagram or any other social platform/marketing medium, online conversations with your customers will give you amazing insight into what they do and don’t like and what they are more likely to respond to in the future. Something as simple as a comment on Facebook lets me know that this article is of interest to at least one subscriber…
To recap, marketing is about more than selling. Use the likes, shares and conversations on your social media feeds to give you valuable insight about what your audience responds to. You can then decide whether or not you want to incorporate that into your art practice.
We’d love to hear what your marketing experience has been. Screenshot or link to your most popular social media post in the comments and let us know what you’ve learnt from your audience.
Nathan March is a filmmaker at Quadro Collective and a publisher and blogger at Follow Magazine. He is a culture vulture who has spent his whole life working in the creative industries. Nathan knows that art enriches life and, for the sake of the artist and the audience, he wants creatives to spread their work far and wide (that’s right, marketing!). If your marketing needs inspiration or even just tweaking, read tips, tricks and secrets from other artists – followmagazine.online