Photo caption: Since the beginning of recorded history, artists have been society’s influencers. Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay.
One of the most common themes that students in the Milan Art Institute’s Mastery Program hear from instructor and founder Elli Milan is the idea that artists are the influencers of society. For some artists, this may seem like almost a radical idea, because of the way that the arts are viewed today.
Many outside of artistic circles view the arts as unnecessary, which has resulted in the budgets for many arts programs in schools and in other places being drastically cut. And while the phrase “the arts” may conjure up images of staid museums and art exhibits of Old Masters, the arts are much more than this.
Artists are responsible for the movies we watch, the songs we hear and the books we read. When looked at in this way, the role of artists becomes much more apparent, not only as cultural influencers but also as cultural and scientific predictors.
And in terms of making a living as an artist, learning how to influence people as an artist is of primary importance, so much so that it’s a topic we delve into in our Mastery Program.
Given that artists can never know too much about the influence of artists and about art marketing in general, we put together the following list. It gives five reasons why some artists are able to become influencers in the world.
Because art is not always looked at as a business, artists don’t always understand the benefits of having a niche. However, creating a niche, or better said, a brand, allows an artist to connect with would-be collectors.
The artists who are most successful at this know their brand archetype. They create art that appeals to people who embrace that archetype. For example, Elli’s personal archetype is the Magician. As such, she creates art that has a magical quality to it, which appeals to people who want to make their dreams a reality.
Artists who know their niches have a better chance of finding their audience. This allows them to better align themselves with the right collectors. This saves them time, because they’re not trying to sell their art to people who wouldn’t want it.
For example, people who like the art of someone like Thomas Kinkade may be drawn to it because of the nostalgia it conjures up in their hearts. As such, they may not be big fans of more modern artists, like Pablo Picasso. Conversely, those who may love artists like Picasso may not be such big fans of artists like Kinkade.
Neither choice is wrong. In fact, artists who know where they belong in terms of audience are not bothered by the people who don’t collect their work. Knowing their audience allows them to pre-qualify potential customers and to build a list of collectors who want to continue buying their art in the years to come.
Successful influencers create content, preferably shareable content. Influencer artists are no different. While much of their content centers around their artwork, they may also become known for other topics.
For example, an artist who embraces social causes may create content that reflects this. This content can be art, but it can also be blog posts, videos and or podcasts. People who follow them on social media come to expect them to put out content related to these topics.
According to an article on HubSpot, a vast majority of influencers - over 90% - concentrated their efforts on Instagram. They found that they get the most bang for their buck on that platform.
However, that doesn’t mean that Instagram is the only place to post content. For example, some artists who prefer to teach artistic techniques to their followers may find a better home on YouTube.
Whatever social media channel they choose, it should be one that they are comfortable with and can post to regularly. Dimitra Milan, one of MAI’s co-founders, has found great success on Instagram.
Artist influencers build a following by consistently posting content that their followers want to see. Each artist needs to find his or her sweet spot. That is, it’s important for artists to determine how many times a week they need to post in order to keep their audience engaged.
For some artists, this may mean posting once or twice a week. For others, it’s every day. Whatever you choose, make sure it’s a schedule that you can realistically stick to.
For more on this topic, be sure to listen to our podcast on how artists become society’s influencers.
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