How to tell your artist’s story online

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There are plenty of easy online buying decisions that we all make with the tap of a screen. Food, household items, stationery, clothing, and take away  dinners. When it comes to buying art online, however, consumers are looking for more than just ease of purchase.

Studies have shown that sharing stories about your business outperforms hard sell tactics, such as flash sales and discounts. This means that when a collector is purchasing an artwork online, they rely on stories to help them learn about, and to form some kind of connection with that artist as well as the works of art they are interested in, especially ones they might never see in person.

Research suggests that the average distance between a buyer and seller is over 3,000 miles, which means that buyers may never get to see the pieces they buy until they are delivered and hanging on their wall.

While storytelling has always been an important skill for art business owners, today, it is about being an effective online storyteller. Make sure you can engage, educate, and excite potential buyers with your gallery’s digital content. Here are some ways to tell your artists’ stories online.

Record a studio visit with a potential buyer. Studio visits are a time-honoured tradition in the art world. They give collectors the chance to see the artists at work, learn what goes into the production of a piece, and hear about artworks in the words of those who have created them. Seeing the space where you create your work and the materials you use gives a greater insight into your process and a well-executed studio visit will leave the collector with new knowledge and a better understanding of both your art and you the artist.

Since a studio visit is not always possible, as we all know from the Covid-19 lockdowns, when buying online you can bridge the gap between collectors and artists by recording a studio visit, which you can share on your gallery’s Instagram story; an ideal format for this type of content. With features like questions, tags, and highlights, Instagram stories let your audience interact with your content and share it with others. Don’t forget to take some still images during a visit so that you can also post them on your social media feeds.

You need to have all the details to hand about the work you are showcasing. So do be sure to include details about a specific piece in your artist’s stories. Great content will prompt potential buyers to wonder: Will this work fit in my space? Where else has this artist shown their work? Does this suit my budget? So it’s important to have this information on hand.

A useful tip: in your photos it helps to have someone standing by the piece as a size reference. Creating something as simple as a visual clue to a work’s dimensions will go a long way in helping your viewers to make that all-important purchase decision. Using augmented reality by photographing yourself with the artwork or photoshopping it into a room space all helps to make the decision easier for clients. I have had photos sent to me of someone’s home and have photoshopped the painting into their space so that they can see what the finished artwork would look like in their home before deciding to buy it.

Take advantage of what others are saying about your artwork or even what artists are saying about themselves. You can do this by adding a press highlights section to your gallery’s website and also by getting previous happy clients to give you a review or recommendation, which you can also show on your website. You can provide links to articles, reviews, or blog posts that can give your visitors more context about you and your role as an artist.

Additionally, think about linking your Instagram accounts to your website, particularly if you have been actively showing off your activities and your story. You can also keep your gallery’s social-media feed fresh and update your followers by reposting screenshots from a news story or sharing someone else’s post.

Don’t create content in a vacuum. Look at what others are doing to give yourself inspiration. For example, if you see a case of storytelling that you think works, use that idea and make it your own. Content trends are always shifting and evolving, so staying relevant comes with the territory. I would suggest that you select a few social media accounts, newsletters, podcasts, or publications to follow. By keeping this list small, you’ll be able to keep a close eye on what’s gaining traction without overwhelming yourself but also gain ideas for how to present yourself and your work to the world.

Sometimes, the best way to share someone’s story is to have them tell it themselves. If you have access to other artists, consider filming a Q&A or artist talk with an artist whilst they work or as their work is being exhibited in a gallery space. If you are a member of an art group you can video members of the group whilst they are working and share that on your newsfeed.

I run a group called Ginger Cactus Art. We exhibit together throughout the year giving us opportunities not only to support each other but to share each other’s work through our personal media platforms. This kind of generosity can pay dividends by letting your prospective buyers know what kind of person you are to deal with.

Did you know that half of buyers who spend over £100,000 per year on art visit online art platforms multiple times a week, for an average of 10–30 minutes? Don’t miss the opportunity to capture a collector’s attention and make your artwork and you as an artist memorable to others. Get started today.

Lastly, your own personal story. The advice I have always been given is to be open and honest about your life journey and how you came to where you are now. I have found this to be the most difficult element to expose about me the artist and, in turn, this has caused huge upset within my family. There are those who believe that my story is too revealing of them and how they have made me feel.

On one level I agree it must be upsetting to see in print something which is not particularly favourable but it is my truth. Someone told me recently that they thought I was being brave. Brave or foolhardy, it is my story and if and when things change I will change it to reflect where I am at that point. Nothing stands still in life so you have to keep updating and improving on what you do in your artwork and how you present yourself to the world.

If you have enjoyed reading this post, please like and follow me and share it with people who you think might be interested. I am always looking for new artists to feature and if there is a subject you would like me to write about, I will be happy to consider it. Sharing, liking and following my blogs increases the number of people the algorithm shows them to. If you check out my website you can see my class bookings are now online too.
Thank you in advance for supporting me this way.


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