The Power & Rules of Social Media

Hey you creatives!

We all have this love/hate relationship with social media. Even though it can drive us crazy, we cannot deny it is an essential tool in our daily lives. So here’s something to think about: We tend to have a personal Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat account etc. But what about your art business? Are you using social media venues to promote your business? Is your brand out there on social media? Do you have a brand? How is your business represented on social media?

The social media world is not something to fear. Treat it like one of those friends that is great at networking and sharing information. Social media channels can propel your artistic business offering the attention and website traffic that you desire. Often, new connections will follow an Instagram account before they visit a website. It is undeniable, people love to follow each other on social media and it’s time to harness that power! Become one of those shining social media stars (that you are secretly jealous of) and take your business to another level.

Yes, it’s a time commitment. Treat your ‘social media time’ as a job. It is one of those little jobs that you acquired, because let's face it, having one job is so over.

Take time out of your day (yes, every day) to engage social media. I am not saying be one of those people in a group who’s always on their phone. I am saying: Take twenty minutes out of your day to promote your brand through social media. Trust me, you will see a difference in your followers instantly.

Here are Glass Elevator’s six simple social media rules:

1. Post every day It is all about being memorable! If posting every day is overwhelming, chose a specific time to stop and post something each day. 11 am - 12:45 pm is a great time to stop and post. The 9-5’ers will be on their lunch break and will likely see your post in their feed.

2. Only use relevant channels Don’t worry about using every social media channel. Stick to the places you have an audience and only start a new channel if you have an audience there. Once you have established accounts, share them between channels.

3. Engage other people’s social media The goal is to be known. Chose people or pages you like and comment, like or share their content. This will boost your presence and their content can freshen up your feed.

4. Constantly take photos During the day take photos of your work; the process, your studio, selfies in your studio, your neighborhood, food and art supplies. Get creative and be memorable!

5. Strategize Develop a social media plan of action. Spend some time creating a plan of how you are going to tackle social media. Evaluate your past posts to see if it encompasses your body of work? How do you want to represent yourself online?

6. Use Hashtags! Hashtags can be thought of as search terms. Use them to “tag” your posts so someone can find them if they search for your terms.

I hear you asking, is this really necessary? Yes! Don’t be afraid, become an internet superstar! If you are wondering how to take your business to the next level, social media can help. It’s 2017 and reality is that people meet artists and then want to follow them on Instagram. Social media can take you from a local artist, to an international artist! Make people around the world into potential clients. Do not limit your business to just the community you are in. Social media provides global exposure for you and your brand.

Stop wasting time and make the leap. Put your artistic career into gear and utilize the powers of social media. Make a plan, schedule the social media time into your daily routine, and don’t forget about those hashtags!

If you are looking for support, or more tips and goodies on social media, Glass Elevator is here for you. Glass Elevator can help you with your social media plan, scheduling and provide the support you need to ramp up your social media game. We know social media can be a job in itself, so let us help you!

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Do Artists Need Galleries?

Or do galleries need artists?

I recently listened to a podcast called "Do Artists Need Galleries?" by Artists Helping Artists. In this episode, hosts Leslie Saeta and Margaret Sheldon discuss the pros and cons of gallery representation. Margaret speaks with galleries to gain their perspective while Leslie responds with an artist's perspective. They raise some interesting questions; I'm going to focus on three. I'll sum up their points, then offer some of my own thoughts.

Why should you sell your art in galleries?

Margaret argued that representation by a good gallery can improve your own reputation. Throughout the episode they explain that the gallery must be a good fit for you and you must maintain a strong healthy relationship. Otherwise you'll just have another gallery horror story.

I was pleased that the hosts recognized that buying and selling art has changed. The business of art is in a new era. You can buy a piece without ever seeing it in person. You can sell your art without gallery representation. Which begs the question: Are galleries the best option for selling your work? While it's true that a gallery can boost your reputation, you're not guaranteed to immediately start selling your work. Whether you're selling art yourself or through a gallery, it's a process and it takes time.

GEAC's advice: If you find success selling on your own, great! Keep it up. Don't feel like gallery representation is your only option or the main goal. Not everyone wants to find and purchase original art from a gallery. Explore your options before putting all your energy toward gallery representation.

If you feel a gallery is a good match and can help increase your revenue stream, great! But if you're struggling to sell on your own, there may be options to consider before hitching your wagon to a gallery. Keep in mind a gallery is not going to be the "silver bullet," you still have to put in a lot of time, work, and effort.

Margaret says, "After talking to galleries, I'm going to say yes." Margaret took a look into what it takes to run a business which includes paying rent for the storefront or gallery space, storage of excess art, staff for planning, setting up and general administration. Plus, the cost of marketing shows, specific artists and courting potential buyers.

Later in the episode, Margaret mentions one gallery that took a more proactive approach to supporting artists. They helped them write grants, and other professional development support. Their reason was: "We don't want those artists to struggle, we want them to paint!"

My hope is that galleries begin to take this approach seriously.

Galleries could not and would not exsist without artists and should behave as such.

Artists need support if we're going to build entire systems like galleries on their art. This is why I started Glass Elevator Arts. I want artists to succeed and thrive, not struggle through life.

GEAC's Advice: Paying a gallery half of what a piece is worth is a double edged sword. It's true, they have a business to run and might need funds as much as the artist. But galleries should be supporting artists, not the other way around. Finding ways to sell art with less overhead can be a better solution.

Margaret's best answer comes back to relationships. After speaking with galleries, she felt if you have a good relationship, and they're working hard on your behalf, then they are entitled to their cut.

GEAC's advice: If you sell your artwork, not the gallery, I beleive you are entitlted to that revenue. Again, the gallery should be supporting the artist, not the other way around.

You can nip this in the bud by thoroughly reading your contract and negotiating a mutually beneficial agreement.

One Final note

If you are dead set on getting gallery representation, this podcast had the best advice I've heard to date: The best way to get into a gallery is to be recommended by another artist who's represented in the gallery.

If you need help deciding whether a gallery is a good fit for you, or if you need help negotiating a contract, let Glass Elevator help! We're here for you!

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Blog Launch!

Hello and welcome to Glass Elevator Arts Consulting's blog!

From here on out, you'll find interesting blog posts from Glass Elevator's founder, Alleson Buchanan as well as guest bloggers like our intern Jessica Cattle.

Jessica is currently working on a post about managing your social media as an artist.

Let us know if you think of something we should cover!

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