Social media offers innumerable opportunities for artists to get their creativity flowing. It can be used to share your art, promote an upcoming show and even serve as a medium for a creative project.

Designers sometimes find it difficult, though, to get what they want out of social sites. Here are seven ways for artists to successfully use social media.

1. Use the Site That Matches Your Medium

Different forms of art lend themselves better to different social media platforms. That doesn’t necessarily mean you should focus on just one or two sites, but it does mean you should use the sites that are best suited to your work.

Visual sites, like Instagram and Snapchat, for example, are good for visual art. Sites such as Bandcamp and Soundcloud are perfect for musicians. YouTube would be a smart choice for filmmakers.

By choosing the platforms that showcase your art most effectively, you’ll be putting you best foot forward online.

2. Connect With Like-Minded Designers and Art Enthusiasts

Social media can provide you with an opportunity to connect with designers whose work is similar or complementary to yours. It can also introduce you to people who appreciate your art.

Having a community of like-minded people can be extraordinarily helpful for artists. Social media allows you to expand that community beyond geographical boundaries.

The people you connect with on social media can provide you with inspiration, support and encouragement. You may get ideas from fellow designers or maybe receive an invitation to collaborate on a few projects.  Someone who discovers you online may share your work with their friends, growing your base of supporters.

3. Test out Your Ideas

By observing the activity on your social media sites, you can often gain helpful insight into how your ideas are being received.

By watching to see which posts are the most liked, shared and commented on, you can get an idea about what your followers like the most. You might decide to work on more projects similar to your most well-received ones.

Social media can also be a great place to test out new ideas. If there’s something you’re not sure about or want opinions on, post a snippet online and ask for feedback. There’s a good chance you’ll get some — hopefully — constructive feedback.

4. Highlight Your Best Work

Your social accounts can function as an easily accessible online portfolio. By sharing your best work online and a collection of work that represents what you do, you can let people know who you are as a designer and show off your talents.

Sharing your best work online can also create a positive first impression on potential fans. If they stumble upon your profile and are impressed, they may press the follow or like button and engage with you more in the future.

Artists should be careful, though, when posting their work online. In some cases, posting something on social media may cause you to lose the rights for the piece to the site you post it on. This differs from site to site and is one of the biggest potential issues for artists on social media. Make sure you read through the site’s terms before posting something you want the exclusive rights to.

5. Include Some Extra Incentives

Although sharing your best work on social media can be helpful, you also want to create some incentive for people to dig deeper into your work.

Sharing different content on Instagram, Twitter and your website will encourage people to pay attention on all three. If they’re all the same, they may focus on one and tune the rest out.

The right balance between what you share online and what you don’t is still hotly contested. Some designers put up all their work online. Others prefer to share just a snippet to encourage people to buy their work or take another action. Still others don’t share anything online and keep everything private unless it’s purchased.

None of these approaches are wrong. What’s best for you depends on your art, your beliefs and your audience. Whichever route you decide to take, social media can play an integral role.

6. Build Interest

Social media can be a great promotional tool. Social media marketing is huge for many of today’s businesses and can work similarly for artists.

You can build excitement around your work by posting samples from an upcoming project, a trailer for an upcoming installment or live clips to promote a future performance.

By offering ‘sneak previews’ to your social media followers, you encourage them to follow your accounts and build excitement around what you’re working on.

7. Build a Brand

Some artists may balk at the idea of branding their work, but it can be helpful, and social media can be an easy, pain-free and even fun way to do just that.

Posting content that is all in a similar vein and showing off your personality can help give people a consistent idea of who you are. If you present yourself accurately, the people attracted to your social accounts will likely be the people who are interested in your work and in you as an artist.

Make sure to keep your content consistent and relevant, though. Posting things that are unrelated to your work may confuse people and cause them to stop engaging with you on social media.

Social media is full of potential for all types of artists. It can be a great place to showcase your work, build a community around your art and promote your projects. It does, however, come with some risks that artists should be aware of.

If used carefully and correctly, though, social media can be an incredible tool for growing the careers of artists and can even provide inspiration or a fascinating new medium.

Lexie Lu is a freelance web designer and blogger. She keeps up with the latest web design news and always has some coffee nearby. She owns Design Roast and can be followed on Twitter @lexieludesigner

About the Author

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Mirko Humbert

Mirko Humbert is the editor-in-chief and main author of Designer Daily and Typography Daily. He is also a graphic designer and the founder of WP Expert.