The Cost of Social Media Marketing (+Giveaway!)

Guest blogger: Rebecca Coleman

Other than your computer and Internet connection, the dollar cost of using social media for marketing is zero. What it will cost you is time. Here are the primary social media marketing methods and a sample time investment for each.

Blogging is the greatest time commitment, but it may also be your greatest asset. In order to have success as a blogger, you need to commit to a certain number of posts per week, and you need to interact with the blogging community–commenting and posting on other like-minded blogs. Cost: 2-5 hours per week, 2-5 posts per week

If you haven’t already, you should set up a Facebook fan page for your work. Include the button that links to your Facebook page on your website, blog, or anywhere you have a Web presence. Upload samples of your work, start discussions, and give people the opportunity to interact with you. You can also post ads for your exhibits and events on this page. Cost: 15 minutes/day

Twitter is all about reaching a new audience. Every time you put up a new blog post, Twitter it. Twitter other, interesting articles or blog posts you have read. Respond to your followers’ comments, comment on other’s conversations. Cost: 5 minutes/3 times per day, 15 minutes total. 3-5 Tweets/day

Flickr is a photo-sharing utility where you can upload a gallery of your work. You can link these images to your blog, Facebook, and Twitter. Cost: Initially, this takes several hours. Frequency and time spent here depends upon your output and the amount of work you want to share online.

Create your own YouTube channel! Ask a friend to videotape you talking about your work and your process and also making your art. Upload these videos to YouTube, and link them to your blog, Facebook, and Twitter. Cost: 3-4 hours

Being an artist is tough. Not only do you have to create your work, but, in order to be successful and make a living, you have to market and sell it. I encourage you to integrate social media into your marketing plan. Your investment of time will be well worth it.


Rebecca ColmeanRebecca Coleman is a Vancouver, Canada-based freelance arts publicist. She writes frequently about how artists can become better business people on her blog, The Art of the Business. <August 2017 update: Website no longer available>

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16 thoughts on “The Cost of Social Media Marketing (+Giveaway!)”

  1. I would add that you should begin your foray into social media by choosing your brand. In the case of an artist, that’s probably your name. Use this as your identity across all of the websites you use. Start by making the URL or domain name of your website the same as your chosen identity. My name, Paul Nielsen, is fairly common and I couldn’t get the domain, so I decided on — c being my middle initial. I then applied that to the other websites I frequent:,, and so on.

  2. Nicolette Tallmadge

    Creating a routine is a great way to keep up with your social networking marketing. If you build it into your day, you’re sure to do it on a regular basis and it won’t be such a chore. It’s also a good idea to pick a couple tools, Twitter, Facebook, etc, see how they work out for you and stick with the ones that appear to work best for you.

  3. Here’s my tip, regarding Facebook. Many people join Facebook, and then use it like Twitter, sending out friend requests to everyone and anyone. This defeats one of the key features of Facebook: it’s ability to make a clear distinction between your personal and public live.

    Save your Facebook friend list for your real friends (co-workers, school friends, family), and use your fan page to build your profession network. This lets you easily keep family updated on the latest cute thing the kids did, without pestering your galleries and collectors.

  4. In order to make the most of your time spent on social media marketing, remember to listen, but chose your “guides” carefully. Social media is reciprocal so it’s incredibly important to “listen” on the various venues, as well as get your own work and statements out there. In order to learn the best practices and be the most effective social media marketer, you need to listen/follow/read the best. Choose your social media mentors, hear what they have to say, and engage them in intelligent communication. Not only will you learn valuable insights on social media communication, but you’ll also gain credibility with your larger audience. Just as we are judged by who we associate with in the offline world, potential audiences are going to judge you and your brand on the online company you keep.

  5. That’s a simple and useful list. I would just add that you MUST have to download a software like tweetdeck for Twitter to make sense. Integrated social media multiplies its results, for sure. Thanks for sharing, Rebecca.

  6. Every link that leads to your site contributes to the authority aspect of your Google PageRank. The more sites link to you, the more Google thinks of your site as being authoritative. When someone searches on Google, Google uses your page content plus your site’s authority to determine placement in the search results.

    While you want site to link to you, it’s also a good idea to be generous with your links to others. When you find an artist or site you like, mention them on your blog or in your Twitter or Facebook status updates. Sharing link love will raise your profile in the community, which will drive more traffic and links to your site.

  7. Planning is important. You cannot start blogging, twittering, building a Facebook network, etc. it all at one time. Nor should you.

    Have a plan before you start to determine your priorities. For example, if you plan to drive traffic to your blog in order to build an audience, building a solid blog and getting use to the time needed to maintain it should be your priority.

    Once accustomed to the demands of blogging you might do Twitter next. With your tweets you can drive traffic to your blog.

    Next Facebook – my favorite. Now that you have a blog and are twittering there are ways to post the blog and tweets directly to Facebook which saves tons of time. You will also be writing your Facebook updates that help drive traffic to your blog.

    Warning, two words – digital addiction! You will find yourself spending far more time that you plan when you first start using these tools. Connecting with old friends and making new friends will steal a lot of time away from the studio. But it will be time well spent. The addiction will probably pass in a few months once you get a rhythm going and the newness wears off. But your world will be changed forever.

    For the record: I am a Facebook (3,600+ friends nearly 2,000 fans), Twitter, and Blogging fanatic. I spend about an hour every day maintaining them. Much of it is done from my iPhone while I am taking breaks, eating lunch or walking across campus to a meeting (I work at a university). It is worth every minute of it.

    Have fun!!!

  8. Ah, yes, working in the time to wear all the many hats of a business person not to mention an artist is tough – and then fitting in the time to socialize is my weakness (on and off-line). I am just getting started with my blog and website and something I heard on a podcast recently has helped, and I think Alyson has mentioned it – when you have a block of time sit down and write a bunch of blog post for later – schedule them or come back and finish as you can squeeze it in or when you think of more to say on the subject.

    My life usually produces slots of time I can use for this purpose one week and then my next week is so packed I can barely fit in eating. After this I’m sitting down to do just that – write in my blog some (I’m done eating).

  9. “videotape”? heehee. But seriously, I must do this again. People do seem to really enjoy watching painting videos.

    I’d add podcasting as a possible things too – I stopped doing mine but it was very popular. Funny how just listening to a visual artist seems to grab people’s attention. 😉

  10. The single most powerful time saver I use is now also known as (big mistake changing their name!)..either one will get you there. I only use the FREE components and it’s power is fantastic for Twitter. Set up your twitter accounts and if you have multiple accounts you can see all replies at once, respond to them and best, set up your future tweets for a month or longer if you want by time. You can even save DRAFTS to be used again. So if you have a great link and may want to tweet it a month later, save as draft and after a month when you have many new friends, tweet it again. It does so much to save me a lot of time.
    I still real time tweet but that on other subjects and different level. The ability to get the weeks best links and comments going in a timely way across multiple accounts is a huge timesaver.

  11. Be authentic. People will know when you aren’t authentic with your voice.

    Build a planning calendar of topics/post ideas for your social media. Have topics pre-selected so you’ll stick to your schedule and you’ll have less writer’s block.

    Have someone periodically audit your blog or fan pages and give you honest feedback. This is best when you can find a stranger or someone who’s never visited your site, blog or fan page before. Tweet out and ask for a stranger in your area. Buy them a cup of coffee and have them browse your blog. Have an up-front contract with them that you hope to have 90 min. of their time and you’ll buy them coffee, tea or a meal. Have a list of questions ready about their experience. Be open. Don’t cut them off, let them express what they truly felt. You’ll have a great time, you’ll meet a new person, you’ll have objective feedback in the end – and possibly a new friend or fan.

  12. Use time lapse photography to create videos of the process of creating art.

    My artwork takes hours and hours to create and recently a photographer suggested using timelapse. He has done it to document photoshoots. The end result is a short video clip made with thousands of individual photos. You can cover a tremendous amount of process time in a short amount of real time video. Very entertaining.

    It takes a little bit of time to get all the technical bits initially set up to get your camera to talk to your computer correctly, but it is worth the effort. I haven’t gotten a finished video yet, but the process is great fun to see my work magically come together in seconds is a hoot!

    I’d suggest finding someone who has already done it to give you help with the initial set up. After that it’s pretty straightforward. And don’t forget to set the whole thing to your favorite tune! Any suggestions?

  13. Nicolette Tallmadge

    @Libby Mijanovich
    If you’re going to set your video to a tune, be careful with using copyrighted music…especially if you’re going to post your video to a video sharing site like YouTube. It’s possible to get your video pulled if it contains copyrighted material that you don’t have the license to. Podcast safe or royalty free music is safe bet. Or if you have a musician friend, ask if you can use a clip of their music and give them credit in the video. And it’s also a great idea to post your video on video sharing sites other than YouTube. Viddler, Vimeo,, Daily Motion, and of course Facebook are great places to look at.

  14. Pingback: Social Nettiquette « The Art of the Business

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Your Artist Mailing List: Rethinking + Assessing

Get a transcript of episode 182 of The Art Biz (Rethinking Mailing Lists for Artists) followed by a 3-page worksheet to evaluate the overall health and usage of the 3 types of artist lists.

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You’ll also receive my regular news for your art business.

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