By Nina Berman on August 9th, 2021
Social Media Content Ideas for Artists: What to Post
For artists and arts organizations, posting on social media is important. Social media, whichever platform(s) you choose, will help you raise awareness about your work, keep your audience engaged with you between performances or other big events, let you connect more deeply to your creative community, and ultimately drive sales and fundraising donations. A successful social media strategy requires regular posting, which leads to a big question for many artists. What to post?
Fractured Atlas understands that artists are often required to do plenty of work in support of your creative goals, but that might not be the most natural for you to do. In addition to creating art, we know that you are building budgets, managing teams, applying for grants, and working as your own marketing team. We want to give you the knowledge and tools to manage these aspects of your work so that you can concentrate most fully on your creative practice.
To that end, if you know that you want and need to post on social media more frequently but are stuck on what exactly you should be posting, we’ve got you covered.
We’ve got suggestions for different kinds of content you could consider posting. We hope that you take what is useful, develop a mix of different kinds of posts that works well for you, and that you achieve the goals you have for your social media presence!
News, Events, or Updates
When you have something of note going on, you have to let people know about it! You might have an upcoming performance or gallery show or a new member of your creative team. Whatever is new and notable on your end, you should absolutely be sharing this information on social media.
Tag any and all relevant accounts related to your news, including performers, collaborators, donors, or venues in your update posts. This makes it easy for these people to share your updates with their channels if they so choose. It also shows your audience that you have a robust creative community.
If the news has a connected action you’d like your audience to take, like buying a ticket to an event for example, be sure to make it easy for people to take that action from your social media post.
This means including a link in your post on platforms that easily let you add a clickable link (Twitter and Facebook). It’s a bit trickier with Instagram which only lets you swipe up to links in stories if you have a follower count of 10,000. You can, however, add links in your bio. If you need to add multiple links in your Instagram bio, consider using something like Linktree to consolidate all your necessary links.
Don’t be afraid to post about events more than once. We’re all busy people who are living through several apocalypses at once, which means that it can be hard to remember every cool event that comes across our feed. We usually need reminders.
Like any other kind of news that you might want to share, if you’re fundraising, you should let people know about it. This is especially true because you want people who see your social posts to donate to that fundraiser. They can’t donate to a fundraiser that they don’t know about!
Give people the relevant information that they should know about your fundraiser, including how much you are looking to raise, what you plan to do with the funds you receive, what the deadline to donate is, and (of course) where they can go to give you their financial support. Tell them what makes you and your work special and how their help can get you to where you want and need to be going.
Like any other kind of announcement, you will have to tell people about your fundraiser more than once. People might want to donate from their computer instead of their phone or once they’ve had a bit longer to look more deeply into your project to learn more about it. Reminding your audience about your fundraiser can help keep it on their mind when a lot of other things are competing for their attention.
If you’re worried about annoying your audience by posting too much about your fundraiser, pick a few specific touchpoints in advance when you will reach out. For example, post when you launch your fundraiser, when you raise your first $100, once you’ve hit half of your goal, when you receive your first donation of over $200, when you have a week left in your fundraiser, or when you have just $500 left to go. Having some set moments when you will plan to reach out to your audience about your fundraiser will help you share your fundraiser more confidently. It will ensure that you aren’t just reposting the same content over and over again because you’ll be able to tell your audience something exciting about how your fundraising efforts are going.
Regardless of what kind of creative work you make, you should definitely be sharing content about your completed work on your social media accounts. This will look different depending on what kind of work you make. For example, I share photos of my finished ceramic pieces once they come out of the kiln or while they are in use in my home or in the homes of people who have purchased them. My colleague Sophia shares photos of galleries full of art she has curated. You can also share stills from performances, music videos, or clips from a film.
People who are engaged with your work want to see what it looks like when it’s done!
For best results, take photos and videos in nice lighting and when everyone knows that they are being filmed for social media. If you’re documenting a physical object, experiment with using video to get a 360 view or to show it off from different angles!
Works In Progress
People are curious. We love to see behind the curtain to see how the proverbial sausage gets made (even if we don’t necessarily want to see how literal sausage gets made). That’s why we recommend that artists share behind the scenes content about their works in process. Sharing a look behind the scenes lets your audience feel more connected to you, shows that your art takes work and practice, and shows the human side behind polished creations.
Consider showing photos of yourself in the editing booth, recording backing vocals, rehearsing with your cast, painting, or just hanging out in your studio.
This kind of content requires less staging than documenting your finished projects so just snap a few pictures or take a few videos while you’re working every few days. But, you still want to make sure that whatever you’re posting is aesthetically pleasing (especially for visual platforms like Instagram).
Art by Your Peers
You might think it’s a bit counter-intuitive to share other people’s artwork on your social media accounts. After all, aren’t you supposed to use your social media accounts to market yourself? But actually, it’s good to share work made by your peers!
If you are generously sharing your peer’s work with your audience, you can demonstrate that you are dedicated to supporting fellow artists in your scene, which audiences like to see. You also increase the chances that your peers will share your work out of a fellow feeling.
As an artist, you know that it can be hard to grow your audience. Sharing other people’s work with your audience can help them out and can encourage them to help you out later on. A collegial, open working environment is best for all artists.
And, not for nothing, it’s great to share content you don’t have to create! You can just re-post content by your peers and your community.
Be sure to link to the page or profile of whoever it is you’re boosting so that your audience can find them easily and so your peers know that you’re hyping them up.
It’s a nice idea to pepper in posts on social media to highlight what’s inspiring you these days. It could be your peers or your community or it could be famous artists working today or who were creating further back in history. You could also share inspiration that you find in nature or in the scenes that you walk past in your daily life.
Like process-related content, it helps to give your audience a peek into your inner world and into the way your creative gears turn.
It can also help your audience understand you better and can perhaps introduce them to other artists whose work they will be interested in in addition to yours.
Social media is a great place to let people see the real you. Or, at least, a place for you to be as real as you feel comfortable being.
You can use social media to articulate challenges that you are facing in your creative practice. Maybe it’s writer’s block or a bout of imposter syndrome. Maybe you’re feeling weighed down by the layers of trauma we’re all experiencing together. It’s okay to be human and to remind people that you aren’t just an art factory.
But it is worth noting that you should perhaps be sparing with this kind of content. If your ultimate goal with your social media is to get people to be excited about your work, you want to give people reasons to be excited. You want to be honest but not steer so hard into the skid of sharing your challenges that your social media channels become a laundry list of problems, however valid they might be.
Social and Political Issues
Don’t be afraid to use your social platform to talk about issues that are important to you or to share what’s on your mind about the art industry or the world at large.
It might feel like you should only use your social media accounts to speak about your art, but if you feel compelled to talk about more explicit political or social issues, we encourage you to do so. Once, of course, you’ve done enough research and soul-searching to feel like you have a strong opinion rooted in education and reflection!
As an artist, you have a platform. You can and should use that platform to share issues that matter to you and your community.
Finding the Right Social Media Content for You
Hopefully these content ideas will get some gears turning for you, to help you determine what kind of information you can and should be posting on social media. Not all of these ideas will be applicable for every kind of artist or arts organization, nor will they all make sense for every phase of creation and promotion, but they’re good to keep in your head for when you feel stuck.
As you’re determining what kind of content you should be posting, go for what feels natural to you and what you think is interesting to your audience.
Social media is a necessity for artists these days. It can help you achieve your goals, whether those goals are related to selling your work or tickets to a performance, or finding new collaborators in your city.
However you decide to do your social media strategy, make sure that it’s in service of your overarching goals as an artist.
About Nina Berman
Nina Berman is an arts industry worker and ceramicist based in New York City, currently working as Associate Director, Communications and Content at Fractured Atlas. She holds an MA in English from Loyola University Chicago. At Fractured Atlas, she shares tips and strategies for navigating the art world, interviews artists, and writes about creating a more equitable arts ecosystem. Before joining Fractured Atlas, she covered the book publishing industry for an audience of publishers at NetGalley. When she's not writing, she's making ceramics at Centerpoint Ceramics in Brooklyn.