Art Marketing: Why Word-of-mouth Trumps Social Media and Strafrangers

 Modern Art Marketing: A Blessing and a Curse

Visual artists have the blessing of easy access to the most powerful set of art marketing tools every developed for solo practices and small businesses. They come in the form of free or affordable websites, blogs, e-commerce, email blast software, social media platforms, online press releases and more.

Google+ Races to 90 Million Users

There is an unending stream of new social media outlets. Google+ has just broken the 90 million mark in what surely is record time to reach that many users. Pinterest is still in the invitation stage, and appears to be gaining awareness and interest in its photo and image sharing platform. It is an addictive, fun, and potential time suck. 

Putney Week at Scottsdale Artists’ School

When talking about this last Saturday to group of artists assembled for Putney Painters Week at the Scottsdale Artists’ School,  I was asked which social media is best for artists. I replied it is not practical for a visual artist, who is handling their own marketing, to robustly and effectively participate in more than two social media outlets at one time.

The Guide to Art-related Careers
Learn about art-related Careers.

Nearly Any Social Media Platform Can Produce Results…

Moreover, I believe there is no clear social media winner. In my opinion, any of them will work if you take the time to study how to get value from them and then diligently apply your new found knowledge to create positive results. I went on further to say if one blocks out a day and seriously assesses all available time for everything, including sleeping, eating and relaxing, it becomes obvious there are precious few hours in a week to work on marketing.  

Don’t get me wrong. I like and use social media, but admit to not coming close to meeting the potential from it. That is mostly due to looking at my own blocked schedule. Mine starts with a full-time day job, so I compress writing this blog, updating and writing new books, and working on presentations such as the one for the Scottsdale Artists’ School.

What Is the True Value of a Strafranger?

The more I think about it, when it comes to how visual artists find new buyers, I believe developing a referral and word-of-mouth program will be far more productive for time spent that whiling away on social media. With that approach, Facebook can truly be a friend connection instead of a “strafranger” connection. Strafranger is a new word I coined to describe all those anonymous new friends you have on your social media platforms who offer hard-to-measure quality as potential customers.

Word-of-Mouth Trumps Social Media

I contend the value of one recommended friend is worth the value of 100 social media friends, or followers. That ratio is an admitted wild ass guess, but it supports my contention that word-of-mouth (WOM) trumps social media. If you believe I’m right, I recommend to dial back the time you spend on social media and look for ways to build your WOM marketing. 

Here are some useful links to help you get started on your own WOM marketng program:

The Guide to Art-related Careers
Learn about art-related Careers.

WOM Is About Referrals

Do you have a formalized referral program? Do you routinely and politely ask for referrals? Do you try to help others in your local community or larger community by offering their services to others who might need them?

The world’s largest business network is BNI, it has thousands of local chapters of small businesses working to help build the members’ businesses. It’s motto is simple, “Give to Get.” Start working on helping others, and watch who reciprocates, and how your results improve.


The Guide to Art-related Careers
Learn about art-related Careers.


You may also like

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked

  1. Once again, your blog is a treasure trove of advice, Barney! I love this reminder that while social media is a valuable — and free — tool,it can also suck time away from even more valuable face-to-face time.People hardly look up from their smart phones any more to notice the people in the same room with them. I am much more conscientious now to keep my computer time down so I have more time to actually create my art. Keeping involved in just a couple social media formats is excellent advice.
    Your 4 WOM links are great! I especially enjoyed your Six Degrees blog, since the presentation you mention at DAS was where I first met you. Your blog has been an invaluable source of inspiration for me all these years, especially at the times when I was certain I was ready to throw in the towel on selling my art as a business.
    Keep up the great work, Barney!

{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}

Subscribe to Receive Tools Artists Use Download!

Search This Site