Is Being Social the Key to Art Business Success?

Artwork Archive | October 14, 2016 (Updated April 12, 2021)

When we say the words “be social,” it can make some artists cringe.

That’s understandable. To many artists, the studio is their comfort zone.  Leaving it to go speak about yourself or your work can make anxiety levels skyrocket.

But in the art world, being social is something you can’t afford to avoid. Gallerists and potential buyers need to hear you explain your art and what makes it worth paying attention to. The more connections you make, the more opportunities you will learn about. This means more sales will come your way. Plus, the only way to get better at telling your art’s story is through good, old-fashioned practice.

That’s why it’s essential to be social as part of your art business strategy. Start by trying these six activities that will help you build relationships and advance your art career:

1. Go to Gallery Events

The best way to make important connections is by attending events and integrating yourself into your local artist community. And, don’t just stick to your own gallery openings! Put yourself out there, support other artists, and feel free to take a close friend if you are an introvert.

Show a genuine interest in what other artists are making, meet new people, and be prepared to talk about your artwork. You never know what new connection you might make for your own art business. We can’t tell you how many times we have heard about an upcoming juried show or an interested gallerist, that we wouldn’t have known about without making an effort to socialize.

2. Attend Art Fairs

We can’t talk about being social, of course, without including art fairs. Hundreds of people come to interact with your art, and it’s a prime opportunity for closing sales. Why? Because visitors have the chance to see the passion in your eyes and hear firsthand about your unique creative process.

There are different types of fairs for all types of artwork. Find the one that fits your aesthetic and goals. And be prepared to make a good first impression. With one chance to impress the person in front of you, you must nail what you say and more. Take a look at “13 Art Fair Do’s and Don’ts to Help You Stand Out.

3. Try Art Workshops

Another great way to make important connections for your art business is by attending artist workshops. Workshops can be taught for beginners to professionals, so it’s a great place to meet other similar artists, all while learning a new skill.

Or, try teaching your own workshop! This is another fantastic opportunity to gain exposure for your art business and beef up your contact list. If you’re nervous about teaching, get all your questions answered in our guide on how to teach your first artist workshop.

4. Connect Online

There are so many ways to be social online these days. Use these opportunities to both have fun and grow your business!

Posting about events, artworks you have for sale, or business tips you’ve discovered in LinkedIn or Facebook groups can help you meet hundreds of potential contacts. Responding to comments on Facebook, Twitter, or your blog posts gives potential buyers a glimpse into your personality. And, an exciting newsletter keeps those connections up to date on what you are up to in the studio.

Let’s be clear—being social online is a smart aspect of any art marketing strategy, but it can’t replace socialization altogether. Don’t forget that making a real-life connection with a potential buyer is irreplaceable.

5. Join an Artist Association

Artist associations and networking go hand-in-hand. So, make use of everything these organizations have to offer—volunteer, attend events, join the Facebook group, and enjoy yourself! The more involved you are, the more people you will meet. And, you never know who can help take your art career to the next level.

Want to find the perfect organization? Check out “How to Choose the Right Artist Association for You.

6. Meet Non-Artists, Too!

All of your socializing doesn’t have to be strictly with the artist community. It’s just as important to get out, meet your neighbors, and have friends with all different interests.

These are people who can help support you, pass along your name to an interested friend, or become a potential buyer themselves. And, it’s just  another chance to practice telling your story, this time to a different audience!

Make socializing a part of your art business plan.

While many artists would choose their art studio over the hustle and bustle of social events, networking can truly be the game-changer in your art career. By speaking with others, you learn how to make a sale, what improvements your art might need, or who you need to talk with to get a step ahead. So, get out of your comfort zone, meet new people, and you will be surprised at how much good can come from it.

Want more ways to connect with fellow artists? Check out “How to Connect with Other Artists and Boost Your Art Business.”

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