How do I grow an online fanbase?

  • Hi, this is my first post on here. I've been drawing for a while and I have a twitter where I post my artwork and I try interacting with other people online and stuff but I cannot for the life of me get any more followers. anyone have tips on things they do to get more people interested in your art?

    I wanna do prints or bigger projects but it's hard when it seems like no one's interested.

    these are some of my pieces

  • @will-m I dont know if you find out tell me,looked at your instagram and followed you .Jake Parker has a video on here How to get your first 10,000 followers there is a lot of good information on it. I think your instagram already looks good so I dont know what else you can do.

  • HI Will and welcome. I would also recommend the course @DOTTYP mentions.

    I haven't worked on my social media game very much so take what I say with a grain of salt.

    One idea would be to participate in popular art challenges or memes. Right now there are a few going around on instagram. "Draw this in your style" and another one where people post a compilation of their character's eyes. People are able to see your work when they search the tags for these challenges. I don't post to Instagram much, but I recently participated in the "Draw this in your style" challenge and chose an art piece from a popular instagrammer to do in my own style. I got 15 new followers off of that one post. That may not seem like a lot, but considering I only had about 200 followers at the time, it's a pretty good increase.

    I will also ask if you are doing anything to improve your art skills and are you seeking critique from people besides your friends and family? I hope I'm not being too harsh, but I want to be honest. I feel there are a few areas you could improve to make your art have more of a visual impact. I also think that you could work on your presentation a bit. Consider showing your artwork as part of a scene, or with your pen or hand in frame. Jake Parker might be a good model to follow. I think showing a few more process videos might also help. If you give people more of an "experience" when they land on your page, they may feel more incentive to follow along.

    Anyway, I hope you are able to figure out something that works for you. Thanks for posting.

  • SVS OG

    I agree you should listen to Jake Parker’s method. I haven’t done Twitter, but on Instagram it’s really easy to interact with and grow your connection to the global art community.
    A few things I remember from what Jake said... Be consistent as much as possible when posting - don’t overload people’s feeds with a ton of posts in one day, but also don’t skip weeks at a time. Participate in challenges. Respond when people comment on your work. Use all the hashtags. Follow other artists and like and comment on their work.
    And, I can’t remember what he said about this, but it’s generally considered bad form to use the comments to try and get other people to come “check out your art too”.
    My experience has been that focus on consistency and just working at growing my craft instead of my numbers, has grown my followers naturally. It’s slow going, but you really do want a more organic following because real followers will support your work.
    There are other ways to boost numbers quickly, but when you do that, the percentage of your followers that actually interact and engage with your art will decline a lot.
    Hope this helps! ☺

  • Ok, I really geek out when it comes to marketing (its my current 9-5), so this post was a lot longer than anticipated, however I think there is a ton of useful info.

    I've actually been speaking to a number of artist friends who have asked me the same question.

    Here is a bunch of things I have found work through my own experience, and also talking to other successful artists.

    Based on what you want to achieve (selling prints), you need to ask yourself "Where are my target audience hanging out and engaging in work similar to mine?"

    Quick overview of the popular methods of promotion online
    To cut to the chase, my experience and through speaking with other artists is that Twitter isn’t the best platform for artists to promote their work. There is too much noise and the people on there aren’t as engaged as they are on other platforms.

    In regards to Facebook, it can be a hit and miss for artists. It depends on your audience, and how they interact with similar art to yours. Often the case, promoting your art on Facebook is a “pay to play” situation.

    I wouldn’t bother with SEO at first until you start to make a name for yourself and people are searching for you online.

    Instagram, in general, is one of the better places for artists to promote their work, and eventually guide people to your website where they can buy stuff. It is orientated to the visually minded, which is what your audience will be. Its based on developing relationships, which is also what helps artists sell a piece.

    There are plenty of other platforms and social media sites out there that could help. But I guess it comes down to which one.

    How to choose
    There are so many options out there. Already you are off to a good start by knowing what you want to do – sell prints online.

    However, you probably don't know where to start. Here's how you can find out no matter what art style you have.

    The next step is to find artists who have similar styles to you and are successful online.

    Once you have found these artists see what they are doing that is working. Look at their overall marketing strategy, and take note of what they are doing in each post. If you do this for a number of successful artists you will start to see patterns that you can take on and try yourself.

    To expand on this, contact the artist directly and ask if you can have a quick chat with them. You can ask them questions about what works, and what you should avoid. Again, you will gain a lot more clarity about what you should do and what should work.

    The mindset you should take on
    After doing the above, you will have a very clear idea what you want to do and how you should go about it. AND you will still have a 100 more questions as a result.

    The trick here is to take on the mindset of experimenting. You are never going to have a marketing plan perfect the first time. I’ve been marketing for 10 years, and I never get a marketing plan perfect the first time (if I do, I wonder what is wrong that I’m not seeing). The key is to experiment.

    For example, let's say you have chosen to promote yourself via instagram. You know this hashtag thing works, but you are not sure which hashtags are best. The solution: choose the top 20-25 you think will work and use them for a set period of time - lets say 2 weeks if you post daily. At the end of those two weeks, look at how you went. Then, change 5 or so of those hashtags, and use that new combination for two weeks. You can compare which combinations of hashtags got better results for you. By continually and systematically experimenting, you will refine the effectiveness of the hashtags you use.

    Another example of experimenting on Instagram: Test different types of content to see what engagement you get. You can try a direct front-on photo of your piece. You might also try a photo of your piece on your desk, surrounded by the mediums you used to create it. You might put up a time lapse of you creating the piece. Try them all and take note of what works, and what doesn’t. Don’t be afraid to include works in progress. It tells a story….which brings me to my next point.

    Its not the art (on its own) that sells, it’s the relationship that the customer has to the piece
    Building relationships with your customers is what sells art. This is why “buying followers” doesn’t work – they are either bots, or not that engaged.

    So how do you build a relationship with your audience? Through stories. Creating a new piece? Take photos as you go, documenting the process and your experience creating it. Have two character designs that you love but can’t pick which one to use? Throw it to your audience and conduct a poll.

    By telling a story and encourage follower interaction, your art becomes something that the audience becomes invested into. In some small way, its their journey too. When it comes time for you to sell this art, they want to have a memento of this journey. They love it more, because it's not just a picture, it’s the hours you put into it, the love and precision. The story behind it. It’s also the input that they may have had in the process too.

    So that should give you a massive amount of insights, and hopefully actions you can take to refine what you should do to get a ton of engaged followers.

    My last point is it takes time. Promoting yourself online, particularly in social, is a marathon, not a sprint. Online marketing is like a heavy fly wheel. At the start it takes a lot of effort to get any movement, however if you are consistant and smart in your effort, the fly wheel will move faster and faster and gain momentum. It will eventually get to a point where to keep up the momentum, the effort involved is minute, however it will take a while to get there.

    I have a ton of more tactical stuff, but as an overall strategy, the above will see you go far.

  • @concept Thank you--- this is helpful for many of us! 🙂

  • @DOTTYP @TessaW @Pamela-Fraley @Concept thank you all of you for responding, I'm just seeing all of this cause I've been busy, but I've got a lot of ideas and a lot of stuff to think about thanks to you guys

  • @will-m @Eli No problem. If you have any more questions about this let me know 🙂

  • Moderator

    i agree with the hashtag thing that @concept mentioned. I had 30ish followers for TWO years, mostly friends and family. I started using hashtags diligently and doubled my following in one month. Then I got crazy and started hashtagging the heck out of my posts and nothing happened. When I pulled back and only hashtagged what was relevant the growth started again. After 4 months I have just over 100. I know that sounds pitiful but I'm proud of that 100+. I got 4 more today! lol!

  • SVS OG

    @burvantill congrats! I also agree with @Concept that it can take some time, so be patient and diligent. I started posting to social media just over a year ago, and recently passed 200 followers on Instagram. As I improve my skills, more people will find me. I'm finding my niche as I go and it's okay if the ball rolls slow at first. Keep drawing and sharing!

    Jake Parker says the nice thing about having fewer followers is you get to engage with them more. Respond to comments, and take a little time to lift up someone else with encouragement. "A rising tide lifts all ships."

  • @WILL M

    I agree with pretty much what everyone else has said, however I would like to add, you should first and foremost make art for YOU. I know that pretty much all of us want to see those follows, and likes and everything associated with it, but if you're truly doing art because you love doing it then social media shouldn't matter. Do it for yourself and be happy with what you're creating before you ask anyone else to like it.

    Which, by the way, you have some good stuff there. Keep it up. 🙂

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