The controversies we saw in last few years with social media regarding privacy, fake news, and censorship have resulted in stagnant growth in user adoption of some platforms and the emergence of new ones as a result. 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 reassess your social media strategy in light of peoples cautious views of companies on social media.
Here, I want to provide your art gallery with the right strategic steps to take toward a successful social media strategy, so your presence online aligns with the interests of your collectors and enhances the overall value your gallery provides them.
Here let’s look at six steps to create a winning art gallery social media marketing strategy for your art gallery business.
Setting Achievable Social Media Goals
Goal setting is critical. Social media as a marketing tool is an opportunity for 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 goals that an art gallery might have 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
Creating clarity about your strategy and goals will be valuable when it comes to 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 must define which parameters are most important to your goals, 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 be the driving force behind how your gallery’s posts get ranked in your followers feeds.
Looking beyond the numbers to see how they are associated with your gallery’s overall goals is where you will get the most clarity on how to move your art gallery’s social media strategy forward.
Use the Insights feature of each platform to track page views, reach, engagement, and clicks. Also, keep an eye on the level of referral traffic to your gallery website is receiving from social media platforms and vice versa in Google Analytics.
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, or are they just sexy images? 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? If you still have Google + listed, remove it as they no longer exist.
- Connections – Are you taking advantage of connection features for each platform to allow fans to signup 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 top of 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 need to ensure your message speaks to their needs to get attention.
Plan to post a healthy mix of different content formats, such as:
- Blog posts
- Community news
- Shares from your artist’s social pages
It is predicted that stories and video will most common type of post on social platforms in 2020 and beyond since that is what statistics show is getting 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 will be making stickers more interactive for brands to increase engagement. 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 mind that an artist’s work is worthy of collecting.
According to recent survey’s of social followers of luxury products, such as art, users are fatigued from the Instagram lifestyle perfections portrayed by brands and crave more realistic brand perceptions on social media. Survey results also show a trend with fans favoring socially conscious brands and those that emphasize localization. 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, particularly for promoting exhibitions and introducing new artists.
An editorial calendar will give you a bird’s eye view of message consistency you send out throughout the year. Your schedule will enable you to determine what content you will want from others, such as your artists, a graphic designer, gallery staff member, or video expert.
Keep it simple — no need for fancy tech. I recommend using a spreadsheet or social scheduler services, such as Edgar, Social Sprout 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.
Next fill in non-event related 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 that you plan on sharing 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 for you and allows you to track variety.
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 so you can track ad effectiveness. You also need to 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 also a good idea. The code will help you target your ads better and budget wisely. Start small. You don’t need to advertise everywhere.
You also want to 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 that has high engagement, such as a video. The more engagement, the more the social network wants to show your ad.
Lastly, track your results, and adjust. Post views are great, but clicks (engagement) are better. A 2-5% click ratio is considered performing well.
Selling Gallery Art on Social Media
The 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 certainly Instagram. Once you develop an engaged following, consider opening a shop on Instagram.
There are no rules and single best way to design your store. You could use it as tool to put more emphasis on your exhibitions or to draw greater attention to your artists that will not be showing in the gallery in the current year. You could even use it as a platform to curate Instagram-only exhibitions or you could put your gallery’s complete inventory in the store.
If you would with designers and corporate clients, LinkedIn is the place to do more one-to-one sales connections.
To the Point
Without proper planning of your social media strategy, it can cost you both time, money, and frustration in the long run. In the beginning, the planning process may seem to be time-consuming, but given a chance, your efforts will be rewarding. It’s a good idea to plan social media and exhibition calendars in tandem. Try to prepare for the whole year as much as possible or at a minimum quarterly. 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. 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 share a gallery event.
Get your team involved and even your artists to help with implementation. After all, you are all working towards the same goals to increase exposure to art and sales.
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