How to Build an Online Presence to Effectively Market Art

Online presence is the new marketing trend for creatives. Visual artists are to be diving into this new trend to develop their portfolios. An active online presence is both a cost-effective and efficient means to reach an audience.

The Covid19 pandemic has brought great turbulence to our livelihoods. We’re unable to enjoy even the trivial of activities we had as much as before. Everything seems to be shaken out of place and life as we know it has changed.  

Although we may miss our old ways, some of these changes brought by COVID19 have taught us lessons we should cherish.  For one, the creative industry has been amongst the most affected by this ordeal. Creatives are forced to seek other means to sell their craft or supplement their income.

The content world has moved to digital tools for survival. It is undeniably a digital era. Perhaps, this is an exciting time for the arts too. A good opportunity to build an online presence that will effectively market their work. Gaining a following and getting people to buy art online may seem hard at first but with a bit of nudging & dedication, it is highly doable.

Hopefully, the following nuggets can assist artists willing to shift from traditional art marketing strategies and gain access to where their greater market is, online.  

Create an online persona

Likewise, to stay relevant and fed in these changing times, visual artists are to shape up to this change. An online presence will go a long way in creating an effective artist portfolio and in meeting the current demands.   Presence has to do less with creating an account and forgetting about it but it has a lot to do with substance. Artists must achieve an online visibility status.

Above and beyond, a good portfolio is not enough; any dedicated artist goes above board to prove themselves by creating an impressionable persona. Art that sells and does so unsparing has a lot to do with charisma or a charming texture that excites an audience. An online persona brings that extra stuff that sells the art.  If your online engagement does not excite the audience, chances are that they will probably not buy the art, no matter how good of an artist you are. No one likes dry, bland, or boring.

By creating an exciting online persona, the artist accentuates that X-factor that we all insatiably yearn for in content. It captures the audience and keeps them coming back for more. Fairly said, you cannot separate the art from the artist. Presence has to do with pizzazz. It has to do with an endearing personality and what the youth would term ‘that thing’…It separates a starving artist from a wealth-generating one. An online presence is a convenient way to put up your art out there in the rankings, or appear in searches and be seen by prospective art buyers. So, when it comes to online presence, strive to become a force to reckon with.

Online availability breeds desire

Presence does not elude availability. An available artist regularly shares a great deal of content, answers queries on the site or page, and respond to commentary and feedback. Availability builds trust and familiarity because the artist appears to be relatable. In a digital market, people need a widely known somebody who will ease their bias. Availability can be that difference in getting a five-star rating and recommendation that sets your brand from the ground and to the right investors or getting a poor rating.

Your audience wants to consume relatable content that lures them to buy quality artworks. Loyal people need to know that you actually care. Availability shows care and the best way to show this availability is to through rigorous interaction and consistency.

Understand your audience & Online Platforms

Understanding your audience’s platform usage puts you at the forefront. A good tip is to study the algorithms and stats for better interactions. The graphs and numbers will give you a better feel for understanding your audience’s engagement. Understanding usage will help you know the product or post mostly interacted with, peak times, demographics, alternative newsfeed interactions, etc. You will also be able to analyze gaps better and identify areas of improvement.

Build an online presence suitable for visual arts through virtual platforms like Instagram and Pinterest. These are perfect forums for displaying art because they best cater to imagery and eye-catching photography. You may use Twitter and Facebook for main announcements and exciting campaigns.  Setting up the different social media pages ensures that there is variation. Variation slots content according to its appropriateness for the different audiences.  

Advertising through your social media page is simply your online presence on steroids. Run an ad or two on social media for an organic reach, alternatively, use light campaigns or paid advertising. The key is communication. You want as many people as to be aware of your online presence, so understand your audience and the platform and use effective ways to reach out to them.  Surveys and polls are a good way to get your audience involved. Create dialogues and ask questions to get fresh ideas, suggestions, and shape your content in line with the audience’s preferences.  

The world is moving away from brick & mortar galleries and is fast sprinting towards the dotcom interface. Although advisable as it may be for every artist to have a social media page, broad thinkers utilize supplementary online marketing platforms to intensify their online presence. These long-term strategists opt for online presence optimization through profile diversification in case of algorithm shift.

Artify Botswana is an art marketing agency that promotes local arts and provides artists with added-value services to grow their craft. Find us at and get connected to our social media pages and is an open platform best suited for Batswana visual artists to market their artworks and reach international markets.

If that’s you then your online presence is likely to generate a steady-to-large following.  Following often means influence. Sales and gigs are easily won through influence. Making money through your craft is a perpetual snowball process achieved by a strong online presence. Take note, an artist cannot be considered available when they hardly post their work or are slow to pick up their phones for a gig. People value availability and because of information overload, they value time. Availability can be that bridge between a starving artist and a wealth-creating one, use it unsparingly.

Tell Your Story

An adage is that people do not necessarily buy your products/services but they are after buying the experience. The more your audience feels in touch with you and your inner world, the more likable they find you. The likeability factor sets your online presence prospects high. When online presence increases then the more likely they are to buy your art.

Tell your truth & tell your story; give exciting insider information about the artist behind the art.  Impersonal will not cut it, especially in the world of art, where emotions govern everything.

The artist’s online profile should give insight & snippets into their true self. A soft inflicted touch of sensitivity reveals the things the artist cares for and how they may motivate their artwork.  You won’t have to delve deeper into your personal affairs but general insights into the artist’s life, whether, quotes, books fancied, a seminar you’re attending, places visited, fascinating art findings, etc are a good way to mentally connect with an audience. Remember, it is a good idea to share so that you boost your online presence.

Who would not want to be associated with value right? Commercialized art creators are to fill up that need for value creation.

Nowadays, everything is about branding, people generally need an exciting fresh brand that they can connect to and feel a part of by way of consumption. There is power in association and belonging. Making your audience a part of the process through sharing your story creates a fiery online presence that may differentiate your artist brand from others

The artist is part of the art. Human beings are simply interesting. Aspects of the artist’s personality subconsciously linger with thumbnails and art. So whilst it is important to tell your story and tell it in your own unique way, it is also important to bring other people into the story. People with similar interests to your page will be attracted to you. These people often attract and hold an arbitrary conviction that can render them valuable customers for your brand.  

Good photography

People are attracted to quality. Good lighting, picture quality, visibility, and consistency show the artist’s seriousness for their craft. Part of online presence is the overall presentation and outlook of your art.

Quality pictures displayed on the page or website communicates the caliber of artist you are. Pictures are attractive so do not hold back. Inarguably, ‘Google-worthy’ pictures of your art will take your online presence out of the stratosphere.

In digital marketing, pictures are indicative of how far you will go in your craft, the effort simply counts and impressions do count. In fact, impressions are the best form of marketing. Although photography is another form of visual art that can be explored to diversify an artist’s portfolio, you won’t have to take a photography course and buy all those expensive materials just to take a decent picture of your art. Using a good camera quality phone will do the trick.

The detail is King…

On presentation, your work must include all the details needed to close a sale. A good online presence lists the art sale detail in brevity. Short details on price, delivery, etc are essential. Ever heard of the phrase, ‘time is money?’ It is advisable to publicly display all the necessary details because it saves clients’ time on making enquiries on the missing item.

Besides, it is a hassle and inconvenience for your clients to have to privately ask for a missing Meta description. For one, the response may take a while and by that time, the potential buyer may have run out of patience and decided otherwise. You also do not have time for queries you could just list with the art picture, spending that time refining your craft instead. It also appears shady and from the support local notion we are all trying to promote.

Allow people to have a natural gravitation towards your art by getting it out there in the best way possible and avoid long and pitiful sales pitches. Instead, use the ‘show, don’t tell’ approach to marketing your art. That sort of marketing creates an added value experience. People are interested in quality work that can meet their needs and not in sales pitches, just don’t be that guy!

The truth is, if your artwork is that good and your online presence is effective, they’ll find you! 

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