What’s in Your Creative Business Toolbox? Social Media


Social media can be a great tool in your marketing arsenal. It can also take a bit of time to feature how best to use it for your creative business. Which channels should you use? How often should you post? What should you post? Are there any tools that you can use to make things easier. I asked four creative business experts to share how they use social media for their businesses and what best practices they recommend for artists and creatives.

Carolyn Edlund

Artsy Shark
Website: http://artsyshark.com

Like most bloggers, I use social media on a daily basis. This is mainly in the interest of promoting artists who are featured on my site three times each week. So, my tweets, posts and shares almost always include images of artwork from these artists. I don’t use online tools to post simultaneously on different social media platforms, because I want to craft each one individually, rather than allow them to look “generic”. This involves a bit more work, but I think it’s worth it. I post on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Google+, Instagram and StumbleUpon each morning, and use more than one image of each artist’s work with different messages to each audience. My favorite platform is Twitter.

There are a few other reasons to use social media:

Build your mailing list. I have links to email sign-up on several social media platforms, and also share links that lead to blog posts, each of which has a sign-up form at the bottom.

Expand your network. The main function of my networking is to share the artwork and links of people that I know or want to connect with. I frequently “partner up” with other bloggers, organizations or artists to cross-promote. Anyone can do this, and it really helps to spread your links as well as creating goodwill and opportunities for you.

Cultivate publicity. The more you get out there, the bigger the chance you will be seen by someone you will want to know. This works both ways – I’ve found an amazing number of resources on Twitter, because I’m always looking for websites where artists can sell online. These help me stay current and update my directory 250+ Places Artists Can Sell Online. It’s the biggest on the internet, and it’s free to use.

Add credibility. When you are seen over and over, you become known and memorable to your audience, and they know you are for real, and you are in this business long-term. I’ve seen a number of artists who are real experts at sharing their work in progress, lots of generous help and links. Are you doing that? Then please connect with me on social media, and I’ll help you share!

I only use a few online tools for social media purposes, which includes BufferApp, bit.ly to shorten links, and PicMonkey to create images or collages, and Facebook boosts from time to time. I also use Constant Contact as an email service provider, and connect that with social media to gain subscribers, and sometimes use BuzzSumo to find good links to topics of my choice.

I also use the social media platform Steller on occasion, which is a phenomenal way to tell compelling stories about your art through text, images and video. It takes some effort, but I would recommend this to any artist.

Connect with me on social media here:

When you are seen over and over, you become known and memorable to your audience via @ArtsyShark Click To Tweet

Sharon Fain

Academy of Handmade
Website: http://academyofhandmade.com

Academy of Handmade (AHAS) is a community for makers. Membership is open to makers and businesses that support makers. We have in-person chapters, but a growing online community.

This means my business social media is focused on community building most of the time. When membership is open and when we have our nominations open for our awards our social media switches focus to promoting that.

I am going to be honest with you– much of how I run my social media for Academy of Handmade does not look like much any kind of plan or grand organization. Now that we have multiple chapters (Seattle, LA, San Francisco, Orange County and San Diego) and need more coordination around local events, I am seriously considering some kind of social media help. I am just not sure what that looks like yet.

That said, I have settled into a groove that works for me. It’s based on an “Instagram First” strategy because I think that is the primary social media I look to grow and push out my main communication to. I’ve also focused on Instagram a lot because it’s a place where I could really push our growth and since we work with sponsors for our awards show, that was important.

Here’s what I use:

  1. I Buffer my Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. I know there are snazzier programs for Pinterest (Tailwind, Boardbooster, etc.), but I really like just having everything in one app.

  2. I IFTTT all of my IG posts to Twitter and Facebook because I like that it shows the photo whereas selecting those posting options in IG does not give you that.

  3. I do a photoshoot about once a month to get my photos out of the way so that I’m not scrambling to get photos– even then sometimes I feel like I am missing the “just right” photo.

  4. I plan out my launch social, but other than that I am largely winging it and talking about stuff that I think is relevant or that I’m seeing out there.

  5. I use Canva to make all of my Pinterest graphics and I upload the photos from my photoshoots there.

  6. When I want to write a message, I have been using Word Swag, but lately have been using Canva.

  7. I’m still looking for more clever ways to use Periscope.

If you’re looking to keep up with us on social media, I recommend our Instagram @academyofhandmade or sign up for our newsletter to make sure you don’t miss out on events and blog posts (plus get access to our resources vault!)

I do a photoshoot about once a month to get my photos out of the way so that I'm not scrambling to get photos… Click To Tweet

Arianne Foulks

Website: http://aeolidia.com

Whether she loves social media or hates it, a smart business owner is going to set up the accounts that make the most sense, and balance time spent versus effectiveness on each platform.

I am all about keeping it simple (and enjoyable), and so I focus most of my marketing efforts on my blog and newsletter. The nice thing about this is that creating content for the blog gives me a ton of graphics and text to pull from and adjust to re-use for social media. Instead of having to reinvent the wheel each time I post, I just need to adjust a bit and share the same info again in another way.

Having a schedule and a strategy make this completely do-able, and keeps it from sucking up too much of my time. I don’t recommend spreading yourself too thin, or trying to be amazing in eight different places all at once without any help.

For any business, I would recommend that you look at the major platforms out there, and see which make the most sense for your business. If there are any that you can set up once and then keep up with in a low-key fashion, go ahead and set them up. That way, you can be in touch with the people on that platform.

When you find a social media platform (or two) that you enjoy using and where your customers are hanging out, throw yourself wholeheartedly into it for a while! Learn the lingo, see what posting times work best, and what kind of content people respond to. Once you have a decent idea of what works and what doesn’t, plan your posting out more specifically, set a schedule, and keep up the good work.

I have written a post on my blog today that lists out all the social media platforms I use, and the big list of software that lets me get the most done with the least hassle. Head over to my blog to learn more and think about how you might plan an easy and effective strategy for yourself:

13 Smart Social Media Tools

When you find a social media platform that you enjoy, throw yourself wholeheartedly into it for a while! via… Click To Tweet

Danielle Spurge

Merriweather Council
Website: http://merriweathercouncil.com

I love social media and I know it has connected me to the most engaged parts of my audience! I use Instagram the most and have two primary accounts there. One is my regular business account, @merriweatherc, the other is a feature account I curate, @creativelife_happylife. I love using hashtags, so creating my own was the impetus to @creativelife_happylife, and it is so fun to see all that is shared on the #creativelifehappylife feed! For the feature account I plan posts using Trello.

I do have a a strict pattern in place on that account so planning is crucial and Trello makes it very easy to organize images and text and also to rearrange things as needed. On my other account I pretty much just wing it and do not plan posts unless I have a promotion or launch going on. My next favorite platform is Pinterest which I optimize specifically for my blog. All of my blog posts have pin friendly images – verticals with text – and I encourage pinning of my posts on my blog with a “Pin It” hover. I find that using relevant group boards is helpful on Pinterest as well.

I don’t use too many tools in general for social media but I do love the ease of use of Buffer for Twitter especially, I like to have things auto-post to twitter because I know it moves to quickly.

I think Instagram could be the best thing ever! It’s a visual platform which is of course, perfect for artists. I would encourage people to post frequently, and consistently and share finished pieces as well as works in progress and behind the scenes snaps. Sometimes my least completed projects get the best engagement on IG because people love process and sneak peeks. I also LOVE to watch time-lapse creative videos on Instagram. I think the calligraphers have really taken to this and it’s just fascinating to me. There are so many ways to use social media, but being intentional and consistent I think is key!

I love social media and I know it has connected me to the most engaged parts of my audience! via @MerriweatherC Click To Tweet


The consensus among our experts is to try a variety of different social media channels to see which works best for you…then to focus on the ones that give you the most benefit. Try using this strategy for your own social media and see where it takes you!

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