Self- Promotion: How not to feel queasy about social media

Self- Promotion: How not to feel queasy about social media

In the run-up to your opening event, concerns about self-promotion will likely play on your mind. You’ve worked so hard to get to this stage already. Your work is now ready to be hung and installed into gallery space. The reality of gaining public exposure is tangibly close. But is there something more you could be doing? Generally speaking, artists of all levels recoil at the thought of self-promotion. Perhaps this is due to the notion that somehow you are going to have to exaggerate yourself to be heard; become an insufferable internet spammer, board the tube with two giant billboards strapped to your body. It’s easy to mistake self-promotion for self-adulation. But it doesn’t have to be egotistical. Your art deserves to be seen and discovered by its own audience. Why wait until your opening night to begin?

To start with, there are various channels to consider. Could you advertise your event online by sharing it to relevant Facebook pages? After creating an event, a quick search should reveal public groups (such as this one) where it’s free to post your own content as long as it adheres to the groups guidelines. This could be a way to identify a more specific audience for your work. For the less digitally inclined, there’s truth in what they say: print isn’t dead. Printed posters, business cards, and flyers may be more integral to your practice if social media isn’t for you. Print media is by

nature, tactile. People still really enjoy collecting flyers, especially if they are attractively designed. An invitation left on the kitchen table will have way more impact than a website tab you closed ages ago. You can read more here on how to effectively distribute your flyers. It might also be worth considering how early you should send out your invitations, what format to opt for and where to get them printed. You could even create handwritten invitations for a personal touch.

As a general rule, your self-promotion should also reflect you as an artist. A maker of furry sculptures would do well to have a set of furry business cards. The more unique your approach to self-promotion, the more memorable you will become. Publicity doesn’t have to feel forced or fake. It can come from a genuine place, and it can be an excellent way to let the world know about your expression.

Of course, there is no better way to self-promote then to have somebody else do it for you. Having your event featured in a publication or even a small-time blog will validate your work in a way you simply cannot by yourself. There are art websites which attract hordes of traffic (here are some tips on how to submit your work to these). However, there is still a chance your post will become lost in a sea of content. It might be better to focus on building that close network of friends and admirers, people who really know you and can give testimonial credit.

Platforms like Instagram allow you to update your admirers on a regular basis. Many artists feel they can speak intimately about their work in a digital space because it feels less formal. Uploading pictures to document your process and to demonstrate a source for your inspiration is effectively like inviting followers into your studio. This gives them the ability to build a relationship with your work, perhaps long before they see it exhibited in the flesh. It goes without saying: potential buyers will also have many more opportunity to fall in love with your work.