How to Sell Your Art on Social Media [CASE STUDIES]

By Maria Peagler

Sep 13

Forget the myth of the starving artist . . . 

. . . today, you'll learn how you can do what you love and sell it using social media marketing.

In fact, you're going to want to bookmark this post.  It's a long one, full of actionable marketing & sales tactics you'll want to return to later.

Go ahead and bookmark the post . . . I'll wait. ????

You're back? Awesome.  Ok, think of social media as a dynamic gallery for your work that can reach buyers, potential students, and collectors. How? Here are a few ideas:

  • give an exclusive behind-the-scenes video tour of your studio
  • share in-progress photos of your current piece, along with the inspiration behind it
  • offer a sneak peek into a series (#30paintingsin30days, #dailypainters, etc)
  • . . . and these are just a few ideas to get you started.

My one piece of advice?  Just. Get. Started. Don't worry about how much time it's going to take. In this post, I'm sharing shortcuts I use to post my own art to social media in just seconds.

Here are nine ways to sell more art using social media marketing, including case studies and how-to guides. Read the post in full or select a topic from the table of contents to jump to it . . .

1. Meet Maria Peagler, Watercolor Artist

If you've been reading this blog for a while, you know I'm the founder of Socialmediaonlineclasses.com and author of a book on color for quilters.  What you may not know is that I'm also a watercolor artist.

Here are a few of my latest works:

golden isles bound, maria peagler watercolor painting
crisha, huntsville, maria peagler watercolor painting
woodbridge water tower, maria peagler watercolor painting

Like many artists, I have a business (or a day job) from which I derive my main income.  However, I also wanted to be able to offer my paintings for sale.

I didn't have time to write another blog and do significant marketing for my watercolors.

Sound familiar?

Instead, I developed quick ways to use social media and blogging to market my art.  I'll be sharing those with you in this post, along with case studies of other artists who successfully sell their work on social media platforms.

Let's get started . . . 

2. Rachel Derstine Sells $4,000 Art Quilt on Facebook

Rachel Derstine is an art quilter I met when I presented workshops on social media marketing to the Quilt Professionals Network.  Her work is gorgeous, but even more impressive to me was how smart Rachel was at her marketing.

rachel derstine designs art quilt

During my workshop, Rachel shared with me that she had used Facebook to sell a $4,000 art quilt.

Without an ad.

In one day.

With a four-word Facebook post:

rachel derstine designs art quilt

Notice the post wasn't a hard sell? Rachel simply showed up on Facebook sharing a photo of her latest work,  saying "it's done!"

You know you need to show up at the canvas (painters), the studio (quilters, sculptors), or the laptop (writers).  No matter what your art, you need to put yourself in the place of most potential.

To sell your work, the place of most potential is social media.

[LEARN MORE HOW TO SELL YOUR ART ON SOCIAL MEDIA WHEN YOU BECOME A MEMBER]

3. Mavis Stevens Gets Largest Retail Art Sale in 40 Years

SMOC member Mavis Stevens has been making a full-time living with her art since her teen years:

Mavis Stevens and Maria Peagler

I met Mavis when I took a workshop from her in my hometown back in 2011:

Mavis Stevens and Maria Peagler

We stayed in touch, and years later Mavis became a member to promote her folk art.  She is a dedicated student has been quite successful with her marketing, as you can see from these excited emails:

Mavis got her largest retail order in over 40 years (when she was 15)!

Turns out that Mavis loves social media and wants to help other artists promote their work. She's turned her love of art, her creative skills and her SMOC membership into additional income by managing social media for other artists.

Mavis ran a contest on Facebook to create a buzz around her client's retail store grand opening. This single post got massive engagement (Mavis is an admin for this retail store's Facebook account): 

how to run a facebook contest for a retail store grand opening

Mavis ran a contest on a brand new Facebook page for her client. It was a huge success!

Mavis is selling more of her own art than ever before, plus she's created an entirely new business successfully promoting other artists on social media.

Now that you know it's truly possible to sell your art using social media, let's look at some techniques you'll use.

4.  How to Quickly Blog About Your Art

This is the shortcut I developed when I wanted to promote my watercolors but didn't want to spend a lot of time doing it.

I created a method allowing me to create a blog post about my watercolors in less than 60 seconds.

That's not a typo, nor is it an exaggeration.  I literally can create a blog post in less than one minute that promotes my art. Here's an example from my artist blog:

mariapeagler art blog

I created this blog post with one click on my smartphone.

Get the full tutorial for how you can do the same here: https://socialmediaonlineclasses.com/tutorial-the-one-click-blog-post-for-people-who-hate-to-blog

Note: why am I mentioning a blog before social media marketing? Because your blog, and your website, are the only two online marketing platforms you own.  You set the rules, you can post what you want, and done correctly, you can get free traffic to your site using easy SEO techniques.

5.  How to Use Video Marketing to Sell Your Art

The key to using any online platform to sell your art is . . . 

. . . not to sell your art.

Instead, create a relationship with your audience. Video is an excellent way to do that, and here are two examples:

mavis stevens art marketing video Socialmediaonlineclasses.com

Mavis asked a friend to record a quick video on her smartphone. Result? Mavis' largest retail order in 40 years!

This is Mavis Stevens' first-ever Facebook video. Done with zero budget: she was at a friend's house and asked her to record a quick video on her smartphone. All Mavis does in this video is show her new word pillows and talk about them.

Note: click on the video image above or here to watch Mavis' video in Facebook.

Pastel artist Karen Margulis uses her YouTube channel to introduce herself and her art to the public. Her most popular video is a 24-minute long pastel demo:

I attended a plein air workshop taught by Karen last week, and overheard more than one student comment they felt they already knew Karen, and even her pets, from watching her videos.  

You're definitely more likely to sign up for a workshop from an artist you can watch on YouTube to see their teaching style, aren't you?

6.  How to Look Like a Social Media Pro

Posting consistently to social media is the most important step for any artist who wants more exposure.

Take your posts one step further by modifying them for each social network. It's not difficult and makes you look like a real professional:

sm post 8 different ways Socialmediaonlineclasses.com

This tutorial shows you how to take the same content and post it to eight different social networks, making the post look unique on each.

7.  How to Make Art Content Marketing Simple

Social media marketing can be high maintenance: after all, you're never done.

You're going to need another post for tomorrow, aren't you?

Get a sneak peek of my favorite content marketing shortcuts in this brief webinar excerpt:

This webinar tutorial shows you how to generate a lot of content easily using free and low-cost tools.  You get to watch over my shoulder as I demonstrate how I do it.

8.  How to Extend the Life of Your Art Marketing Content

Do you want your art marketing content to last 18 minutes or 2 years?

What determines the difference? The social media platforms you use to promote your art.

In this infographic, I share how you can get more life from every piece of content you create:

infographic content marketing strategy 21 ways to extend your content

You can read the full post that accompanies this infographic here.

9.  How to Get More Art Sales from Your Current Website

The technical side of business can be hell for artists.

A website shopping cart is what my own nightmares are made of: they're complex, require multiple tools, and can be an enormous hassle.

I've learned much over the years about how to make sales online, and I guarantee you it's not what you think: a beautiful website doesn't necessarily sell product.  

Here's an excerpt of our members-only webinar that teaches you how to sell, easily, from the website you've already got:

Summary

Yes, you can be a thriving artist instead of a starving one.

Use these techniques to consistently promote yourself and your art.  Pick the tactic that's easiest for you to start with and share it with your audience (and me - I'd love to see your work).

If you need help, I'm here for you.  I'd be honored to have you join Socialmediaonlineclasses.com, and help you to achieve success in your art career.

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About the Author

Founder of Socialmediaonlineclasses.com, Benjamin Franklin award-winner for independent publishing, award winning author of eight books, wife, mom, quilter and watercolor artist.