Your art gallery’s social media marketing strategy is a big part of how you find new art buyers and stay in touch with your collectors and artists. Now might be a good time to reassess your social media strategy in light of people’s cautious views of companies on social media.
I want to provide your art gallery with the best strategic steps to take toward a successful social media strategy. Hence, your online presence aligns with your collectors’ interests and enhances the overall value your gallery provides them.
Let’s look at steps to create a winning social media marketing strategy for your art gallery business.
Setting Achievable Social Media Goals
Goal setting is critical. Social media as a marketing tool allows you to work towards overcoming some of your business challenges and grow. Therefore, the goals you set should support your gallery’s annual plan for the business.
Here are a few examples of an art gallery’s goals for social media marketing.
- Increase gallery brand and artist awareness
- Attract art buyers
- Generate sales leads
- Increase e-commerce sales
- Drive traffic to gallery events
- Improve marketing ROI
- Encourage engagement with prospects
- Establish authority in your market
- Gain collector referrals
- Nurture client relationships
Creating clarity about your strategy and goals will be valuable when posting content on your social media pages because your efforts will have more focus and a higher purpose for your business.
Establish Success Criteria and Metrics
How will you know your social media efforts are paying off over time? What does success look like for your gallery? Establish clear standards and processes for measuring your social media strategy.
Tracking metrics helps you see specific patterns that tell a more compelling story so you can act strategically. You should define the most critical parameters to your goals and how often they need to be recorded and analyzed.
The primary metrics for social media used to be likes and the number of followers. However, in recent years those numbers have been faked. Metrics for comments, shares, and live events will be weighted more heavily. These will drive how your gallery’s posts get ranked in your followers’ feeds.
You will get the most clarity on moving your art gallery’s social media strategy forward by looking beyond the numbers to see how they are associated with your gallery’s overall goals.
Use the Insights feature of each platform to track page views, reach, engagement, and clicks. Also, keep an eye on the referral traffic your gallery website receives from social media platforms and vice versa in Google Analytics 4.
Optimize Gallery Social Profiles
During the planning stages is a perfect time to look at your current social media profiles and ensure they are optimized. Here are some elements I recommend you review.
- Cover photos – How often do they change, and do they reflect the most important messages? Do cover photos render correctly both on the desktop and mobile screens?
- About section – Do you incorporate keywords? Is the essential information in the first 140 characters, as that is what appears in search engine results?
- Social badges – Are you driving to all your social media pages from your website, email signatures, and newsletters?
- Connections – Are you taking advantage of connection features for each platform to allow fans to sign up for your mailing list, message you from the platform and contact you via email?
Planning the Content for your Art Gallery’s Social Media Marketing Strategy
Think of planning your social media posts like curating a show. You are telling the story of your artists and gallery. You want to keep your prospect’s interests in mind with every post, not just the gallery’s agenda. You understand the value of your artist’s work very well, but as your followers quickly scroll through their feeds, you must ensure your message speaks to their needs to get their attention long enough to read the caption or want to click to learn more.
Plan to post a healthy mix of different content formats, such as:
- Blog posts
- Community news
- Behind-the-scenes images
- Shares from your artist’s social pages
Stories and videos are the types of posts on social platforms that the algorithms love, and favor in user feeds. This is because these posts get the most views and engagement from users. Look to your competitors and other businesses for content inspiration.
All social platforms love it when their tools are used for creating content, such as Facebook Live. Instagram Reels have exploded in popularity, and they introduced Guides to allow for longer-form content on the platform. I encourage you to take advantage of these features, and the platform will likely reward you with better organic reach.
Ensure your pages offer a mix of content from the gallery’s perspective, the artist’s viewpoint, and from third parties, such as collectors or press, to help validate your message in your follower’s minds that an artist’s work is worthy of collecting.
According to recent surveys of social followers of luxury products, such as art, users are exhausted from the Instagram lifestyle perfections portrayed by brands. They crave more realistic brand perceptions on social media. Sharing behind-the-scenes images is a way to show the blood, sweat, and tears required to create a fantastic exhibition. Survey results also show a trend with fans favoring socially conscious brands and those emphasizing localization. Do your shows align with a particular cause or help support your community somehow? How can your gallery show this in your social media content?
Creating a Gallery Editorial Calendar
That’s a lot to think about for content. An essential part of your social media strategy should be to employ an editorial calendar for your posts. Use it to plan and schedule in advance what content you will need to tell the most compelling story of what will be happening in the gallery.
Your calendar will be a fantastic tool for promoting exhibitions and introducing new artists. These are marketing opportunities where repeated messages are often effective, or you may want to tell a story across various platforms with multiple posts. A content calendar helps you ensure the messages are articulated as you intended. An editorial calendar will give you a bird’s eye view of your message consistency throughout the year. Your schedule will enable you to determine what content you want from others, such as your artists, graphic designers, gallery staff members, or video experts.
Keep it simple — no need for fancy tech. I recommend using a spreadsheet or social scheduler services like Edgar, Later, or Hootsuite. Start by filling in your exhibition schedule and then fill in all the social media posts you want to share to support the shows and events. Then schedule your evergreen messages, such as telling the story of your gallery’s brand, mission, and values. As your followers grow, you want to regularly communicate the benefits of your gallery and how it is different.
Next, fill in posts, such as things from gallery staff, behind-the-scenes images, gallery service reminders, holiday greetings, artist quotes, client installation shots, etc. You can simply note those kinds of posts as an overall category you plan to share that month, as they tend to be more spontaneous. Non-event-related posts add variety and entertainment to your page. Including these category posts on your calendar is a helpful reminder and allows you to track the diversity of sales and marketing messages your gallery business puts out there.
Your gallery has plenty of opportunities to post interesting, educational, and entertaining content. Be active. Look at your calendar and try to post 3-5 times a week on each platform you have an audience. To grow your followers, you must be active on the platform.
Social Media Advertising
More and more social networks are becoming ad networks. Organic reach is almost impossible to achieve with any real significance, and unfortunately, that makes advertising a necessary part of a social media strategy.
The first step is setting up goals in Google Analytics (GA4), so you can track ad effectiveness. You should also set up an advertising account on your best social platform. If you haven’t already, installing pixel codes for the social networks you use on your website is a good idea. The code will help you target your ads better and budget wisely. Start small. You don’t need to advertise everywhere.
Spend your ad dollars on posts native to the platform, not via a management tool like Hootsuite. Networks like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn prefer and reward advertisers when they create ads directly on their platform and for posts that keep users on the platform vs. driving to your website.
Choose to promote a post with high engagement or high sales opportunities, such as video or exhibition-related posts. The more engagement, the more the social network wants to show your ad.
Lastly, track your results, and adjust. Post views are tremendous, but clicks (engagement) are better. How do you know if your ad is working? A 2-5% click ratio is considered performing well.
Using Hashtags to Improve Discoverability
Hashtags are an excellent tool to grow your followers. Many people will follow tags that reflect their interests. The hashtags you select should be relevant to the post, such as an artist’s name, medium, or style. You should also incorporate brand hashtags, such as your gallery name, and location tags, such as #londonartgallery, if that is where you are.
Don’t go too crazy with the number of hashtags you include. A recent study by Social Baker found that using more than ten hashtags can reduce engagement by more than 60 percent. Stick with 2-5 hashtags per post and ensure they are relevant. Try to resist the urge to use very broad tags, such as #art or #painting.
Selling Gallery Art on Social Media
Social media platforms have been developing their e-commerce capabilities to make it easy for businesses to sell directly on the platform. For an art gallery, the best platform is undoubtedly Instagram. Once you develop an engaged following, consider opening a shop on Instagram.
There are no rules and a single best way to design your store. You could use it to put more emphasis on your exhibitions or draw greater attention to your artists that will not be included in a show that year. You could even use a store as a platform to curate Instagram-only exhibitions, or you could put your gallery’s complete inventory in the store.
LinkedIn is the place to do more one-to-one sales connections if you would work with designers and corporate clients.
Build and Nurture Relationships with Gallery Clients
Social media provides a great place to build your network. Connecting with clients and qualified prospects is a perfect way to create or strengthen a relationship on social media. Invite these particular people to connect with your personal profile on LinkedIn and other social media platforms. Of course, you only want to do this if you are OK with them seeing what you typically post on your personal profiles, but again it helps bring an authentic human element into play from a digital world.
Connecting on social media through your personal profile page allows you to get to know each other more personally. Personal relationships grow trust and make clients and prospects more comfortable buying from you as an art dealer. They can see from your profiles all the things you may have in common outside of a love of art.
Being connected to gallery clients on social media also gives you an opportunity to communicate more frequently on a more personal level, such as wishing them a happy birthday or congratulating them on a big milestone in their life. Luxury shoppers expect more personalized communications. Social media provides that opportunity.
To the Point
Without proper planning of your social media strategy, it can cost you time, money, and frustration in the long run. Initially, the planning process may seem time-consuming, but given a chance, your efforts will be rewarding. Planning social media and exhibition calendars in tandem is a good idea. Try to prepare for the whole year as much as possible or, at a minimum, quarterly.
Be active on your social media pages by posting various messages and post types several times a week. Remember, quality is more important for your social media presence than quantity.
Engagement remains critical for success these days. It plays a significant role in your organic reach. You can create more influence by connecting with your current client base via personal profiles on platforms like LinkedIn and Facebook.
Look for ways to include a call to action in more of your posts, such as watching a video, answering a question or poll, and RSVP or sharing a gallery event.
Finally, get your team involved and even your artists to help with implementation. After all, you are all working towards the same goal to increase exposure to art and sales.
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