Does your art gallery count on a revenue boost from holiday sales? In that case, you should be implementing your seasonal marketing strategy to catch the eyes of collectors, both new and old, by late September or early October. In this article, let’s explore how to create an art gallery holiday social media strategy for this critical shopping season.
With a possible recession and rising inflation, it is predicted that shoppers will start early to beat the usual price increases beginning in November. While your prices don’t fluctuate seasonally, your buyers are in the right mindset.
Start with a Plan
An integrated approach to your holiday marketing is always best to ensure your message reaches art lovers regardless of where they’re spending time shopping this season.
The best thing to do is start with a plan that can help give you focus throughout the holiday season. First, establish what your art gallery will offer for the holidays, such as shows (live and virtual), additional items outside of regular inventory, special holiday services and events, etc. Brainstorm about how you can add lots of value with as many little extra touches as you can to make buying and giving art feel special.
Then you can begin planning your social media strategy to get the word out.
During the holidays, your gallery will get festive with marketing in many ways that can help fuel your social media activities, including:
- Your window display to draw in foot traffic
- Video messages from staff and artists
- Paid ads online and in print
- Art gift guides
- Special holiday-themed email campaigns
- Even pop-up stores
Your plan might include creating a single holiday-focused webpage on your gallery’s site to drive traffic from various posts, ads, email campaigns, and platforms. This element of your plan could help streamline your holiday shopping experience. Consider this page the “home base” for your offering during the season. To keep it simple, have your holiday social media marketing link back to that page as the primary call to action.
Integrate your social media messages with email marketing, partnerships, and SEO. Repetition across your holiday marketing initiatives will help your gallery stick in the minds of prospective buyers.
Holiday Gallery Content Calendar from November to January
While sales are often the primary goal, engagement with your followers is also crucial. The holidays present an opportunity to share with your followers the holiday spirit from your gallery staff and artists. Your followers will be turned off and less likely to engage by an all sales, all the time message. Diversity is important to success, as always, but particularly during the holidays.
Here is where a content calendar can be so helpful. If you do not already keep a content calendar to plan your sales and marketing messages across communication channels, I recommend you try it for the holidays from November through January. November is when the shopping really kicks into high gear, and January is when people tend to buy themselves presents.
Some key elements in your content calendar include:
- Post types – images, links to blogs, videos, etc.
- Holiday hashtags
- Number of daily posts by platform
- The advertising strategy that will run on each platform
- Artist content collaborations
- Message diversity
With a plan mapped out on a calendar, you can see if you have a nice balance of sales, marketing, and other types of holiday content to put out during the season. The calendar can include both social media and email newsletters to ensure your important messages have continuity.
Create a few original holiday-themed cover images that can be posted on your social media pages during the season. These images help set the tone of your gallery’s holiday spirit when someone first arrives on your page. Start using these in early November.
Don’t forget to start adding holiday-themed hashtags to improve your gallery’s page discoverability with holiday shoppers. In addition to your regular hashtags, try including some around the busy shopping days, such as Black Friday, Small Biz Saturday, Cyber Monday and even Blue Monday.
Doing this kind of planning in advance helps you see if your social media aligns with your gallery’s holiday goals and your other marketing initiatives. For example, LinkedIn might be the best place to promote gallery rentals for company parties. Facebook and Instagram will meet art sales-focused goals and share your gallery’s holiday spirit.
Your gallery’s content calendar helps ensure that the artists included in exhibitions throughout the season get the coverage they deserve. However, you also want your social media pages to reflect a more diverse inventory to attract a broader audience of art buyers to the gallery. The calendar helps you see any gaps.
Holiday Social Media Marketing with a Soft Sales Approach
Be mindful that while the pressure is on for holiday sales, social media is still intended to be social. To craft your social media message during the holidays, try a soft sales approach that may help you stand out from all the other hard-sales messages that pepper everyone in the shopping season. Focus your message on the value living with original artwork can add to your followers’ lives and what makes your artists’ available pieces unique and memorable gifts.
Help your followers see how they can give art as a gift to loved ones or themselves. For example, can works be shipped or delivered gift-wrapped, or will you install pieces as a holiday offering with a bottle of champagne? Keep your call to action simple regardless of how you make purchasing art during the holidays a little more unique. Don’t confuse things with too many options.
Plan to increase the number of posts on your best social media platforms. September and October are the perfect time to create extra content and schedule to post throughout the season according to your content calendar plan. If you currently post twice daily, try increasing it to four or five times. I realize that sounds like a lot, but remember that algorithms are working overtime, and you need to increase your activity to be seen at all.
Use a scheduling tool to help you accomplish holiday social media marketing if you are not already. Experiment with new times to post as well. If you do decide to create additional posts for the holiday season, you’ll have extra content to test to see if your followers are engaged more or less outside of business hours or weekdays vs. weekends.
Marketing Collaborations with Gallery Artists
Lastly, you want your holiday social media marketing plan to include a strong collaboration with your artists throughout the season. Social media has become a crowded and complicated marketing beast. Working together during this critical sales time can only help.
For a collaboration like this to be successful, clearly define the expectations of each party. The holiday season is vital for both galleries and artists to make sales. Working together makes sense, particularly with the artists you plan to highlight during the season.
You and your artists each have different networks of interested prospects on social media. Cross-promote each other’s holiday activities, and be active on each other’s social media pages, with likes, comments, and shares. You can also create content together.
Obviously, it may not be appropriate (or feasible) to collaborate with all your artists, but narrow down a list of those that make sense to approach and get their feedback and commitment.
To the Point
The holiday season, as you know, has a lot of competition for the shopper’s attention. Marketing through social media can be planned and scheduled in advance, making your life a bit less stressful when the holidays arrive.
A written plan of what, when, and where you will post on social media and integrating that message into other marketing channels is beneficial to see if your plan is comprehensive and keeps you focused during such a busy time. A simple calendar is a great tool to capture that information.
Once you plan what you will offer during the holidays to attract art-loving gift-givers, keep the shopping experience simple. Promote the value buyers receive from working with your gallery and owning works by your gallery’s artists on social media.
Be ready to start an integrated marketing campaign as early as November and plan to follow up into January for those buying for themselves.
Have fun this holiday season and show your social media followers how easy giving art from your gallery can be. (Even self-gifting)
Happy Holidays Everyone!