Collecting Art with Social Media: Fad or Foresight?

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Collecting Art with Social Media: Fad or Foresight?

Instagram has been making waves in the art world recently, but are they just temporary blips in the ocean, or should we be looking at social media as a tsunami about to change the world?

Using Facebook, Instagram or Pinterest (to name only a fraction of such sites) to find quality pictures or artwork is pretty commonplace these days, but is it worth the effort for artists? Ten thousand followers and 500 “likes” per day does not help pay the bills – if no one is buying, then should artists really be pouring hours into social media rather than more traditional marketing methods?

Getting Noticed – A Long-Term Sales Strategy?

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There’s no denying that an active social media presence – combined with a good amount of skill and energy – can do wonders for spreading awareness of your brand, product and name. If your objective is to share art with the world, and you can do this without making a full-time living from creating, then social media should be your best friend.

There’s a harsh reality, however, that like everyone else, artists need to make a living. If a hundred potential customers visit your site every week and five of them make an enquiry, that’s better than mass approval from followers who have no intention of opening their wallets.

Or is it?

There are numerous success stories about using Instragram to promote and sell art, but these usually feature astronomical sums of money. What about the lay-artist? There are probably plenty of Instagram users who would purchase their art, but the thought probably doesn’t enter their minds!

Social Media is the Perfect Platform for Collectors

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The benefit of social media is that it can filter content. By liking, following and subscribing to specific channels, you will receive a personalised feed and save yourself hours of research work. This optimisation, done correctly, allows potential collectors to scroll through piece after piece of quality artwork at their leisure – it seems like a no-brainer.

However, there are potential drawbacks. It is somewhat difficult to buy art through social media platforms. Artists aren’t vetted and you may know nothing about them, making it a tricky decision on whether or not to invest. This risk factor again hints that social media sales could be limited to already-successful artists.

Simplicity Is Always King

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For many art collectors, buying is meant to be an enjoyable experience; for some a thrill, for others an exercise in relaxation. It shouldn’t be a trial or, heaven forbid, a stressful time. Social media platforms make it easier than ever before to survey artwork – you don’t even need to leave your home! The pure simplicity of this approach has vast appeal, and mentality of the majority is that technology-facilitated simplicity is a good thing.

Saying that we need to remember that galleries aren’t going anywhere. There’s a prestige that accompanies professional art galleries which won’t be quickly put to bed. It’s very feasible that the two can complement each other, offering an utterly contrasting experience to the delight of dissimilar collectors.

Will the Trend Lead to a Burst Bubble?

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It’s impossible to tell whether or not this popularity will continue to grow. Right now, buying from Instagram (more than other social media platform) is gaining momentum, particularly among successful artists and their exceedingly wealthy buyers.

Will less-experience artists soon get their bite at the apple? Only time will tell. However, in a world where the buying process is leisurely and entry to galleries is exceptionally competitive, doesn’t social media seem like the ideal route for self-made artists? We certainly think so!

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