PROMOTE YOUR EVENT
SPECIAL THANKS TO JOHN KRAFT, KEY CONTRIBUTOR
ArtSpan provides tremendous support for your promotion: the website, the printed guide, bus posters, social media, print mail, events, and press... but getting people to YOUR studio is going to depend on YOUR efforts. Promotion does not have to be costly, but a little time and imagination will pay off! Pick up a few of these tips and start a buzz about your Open Studio!
USE MATERIALS FROM ARTSPAN
- Consider taking out an ad in the guide, either as an individual or with other artists from your studio or neighborhood. A clear sample ad with a nice visual will help make you stand out. Include contact information, your dates and times, and location.
- Put up posters and postcards provided by ArtSpan to advertise your event. Good places include office bulletin boards, common spaces in your condo or apartment building, community centers, and neighborhood spots like coffee shops, laundromats, and businesses.
- Pick up as many ArtSpan Guides as you can distribute and leave them in as many venues as you can get them including restaurants, markets, hair salons, etc. When you're done, come back for more! Getting them out is key for your attendance and for follow up sales!
BRANDING (CREATING A RECOGNIZABLE LOOK AND FEEL)
- Pick one or two images and be consistent using them in all marketing materials for the show: the guide, in your emails, your postcards, on Facebook, etc.
- Pick a font or two and stick to them.
- If you don't have a logo, be consistent with the presentation of your name and studio name.
- Make it easy for people to link your name to your work.
CREATE YOUR OWN POSTCARD
Everyone is inundated with emails. It is easy to overlook them. Postcards can end up displayed somewhere as a reminder or posted on a wall with the potential for others to see it. It can be exciting to receive an actual piece of mail. Particularly if it is attractive!
- There are several great printing services in the area and online. Check out the Resources Page for a list or ask for advice on our Facebook Resource Page.
- Print out extra to give out, have at Open Studios, and at the ArtSpan Exhibition.
- Clean, easy to read with one image on the card, ideally the one you are using for all your Open Studios promotion.
- Include your name, link to your website, and phone number.
- Include the date and time of the show.
- Include the address of your studio!
- Your return address (important so when cards get returned, you can update your mailing list).
- Pay attention to postal guidelines. Keep key content away from the bottom 5/8 inch of postcards, front and back, or it may get buried under a barcode! Here is an example of USPS guidelines.
- Design them and have them printed well in advance and especially in time for the ArtLaunch!
- Mail cards so they arrive about two weeks - ten days before the show.
- Add a handwritten note to your best collectors and fans.
- Make sure to use the correct postage! Postcards larger than 6x 41/4 require full first-class postage!
- Send them to your entire list. Sending the postcard is valuable promotion, even if people can't come.
- Keep them in your purse, in your car, with you at all times so you can hand them out.
Use your social media network
- Promote your SF Open Studios on your personal and business Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other social media accounts
Here is some suggested text, hashtags etc.:
I am proud to announce that I am participating in SF Open Studios during Weekend ___ of the five-weekend event. Please add my studio at_______ to your art route during Oct./Nov. __ to __, 11am-5pm! Please go to my (enter your website or ArtSpan public profile page) for more details!
*Note to artist: make sure to keep your ArtSpan profile updated! We promote your profile pages first, so they need to be updated with your current work please.
Join me for SF Open Studios! Find me @____ on Oct./Nov. __& __
@artspansf #artspan #sfopenstudios #SFOS #SFOS2023 #sanfrancisco #artlover #artcollecting #(yourname)
SOCIAL MEDIA QUICK TIPS
- If you have an established Facebook Business Page, make use of both this and your Profile page to spread the word about your participation in SF Open Studios. If you currently don't have a Business page, you will be better off focusing on use of your Profile page rather than starting a new Business page.
- If you are showing out of your studio/home and not associated with a group of artists, consider creating a dedicated Facebook Event and use the event page for communications around your Open Studio. If however, you are part of a group studio, you are better served to coordinate use of a single event page with other artists.
- Make full use of the Facebook Events that are created by ArtSpan and any other Group Studio Facebook Events in which your are participating.
Instagram is all about the image, so it’s a perfect social media platform for visual artists. While the focus is on the image, you can still include basic text as shown in the examples earlier in this toolkit. One word of caution, it is best not to repeat hashtags over and over with no variation as this can potentially lead to what some have called the Instagram Shadowban. What this means is while we encourage artists to make regular use of core hashtags like #SFOS, #SFOS2023, #artspan etc., you should keep other hashtags fresh and associated with the image you’re sharing. Instagram considers constant and repeated repetition of the exact same set of hashtags as “spammy”. If you are subject to a Shadowban you will see limited or no reach of your posts outside of your core followers.
ADDITIONAL SOCIAL MEDIA PLATFORMS
- Twitter: ArtSpan actively uses Twitter during SF Open Studios and use of the hashtag #SFOS and ArtSpan handle can increase visibility and reach of your Tweets and by connection awareness of and traffic to your Open Studios event.
- LinkedIn: Often overlooked, but LinkedIn has become more and more powerful as a means of reaching additional connections to drive awareness of your participation in SF Open Studios.
Note: In general, plan to make use of the social media platforms where you already have an established presence. Keep your content fresh and connected to your preparation for open studios. Tell your story!
KEEP YOUR PAGES UPDATED
In the lead up to SF Open Studios and across all social platforms, share the story of your preparation, your process, and your work. Always remember that while Open Studios is a fixed point in time, it is a great opportunity for connecting with new fans/collectors and can yield benefits for months and years to come.
Tip: Fresh content goes a long way to adding legitimacy to your image.
CREATING & DISTRIBUTING YOUR EMAIL ANNOUNCEMENTS
Focus on building your email list whenever possible as direct email communication is still the most reliable means of reaching those that have connected with your work. This has become increasingly important since Facebook now only reveals your posts to a fraction of your total connections (both on Profile and Business Pages).
Consider personal emails to a subset or core group within your email list. Consider setting aside the time to write personal email invitations, especially to those that have collected your work in the past.
- Name recognition and branding.
- Creates a buzz about your work, which generates shows and sales.
- Shows you are serious and promotes a sense of professionalism.
- Brings more visitors to your studio.
- If the recipient can't attend the show, you are reminding them about you, your work, and they can contact you or keep you in mind in the future.
- They can forward the e-mail to a friend.
- Using a service allows you to send your message to a large number of people without being constrained by the limits of your personal email. It also allows you to track the success of your mailing, record bounces, and they help keep your mailings out of the spam box. See Resources Page.
- If using your own email, be SURE to make recipients invisible to each other by putting them in the "bcc" field, not the "cc" or the "to" field. Paying attention to email privacy and best practices will help retain readers.
CONTENT OF THE EMAIL
- Clear subject header with dates.
- Keep emails concise.
- Include your weekend number (1, 2, 3, or 4).
- Include the date and time of the show. (Bonus style points! Decide on your date/time format and be consistent throughout your material.)
- Include the address and a link to a map showing the location/directions.
- If there is free parking or any specific parking/transportation information such as which Muni stop you are near etc.
- If you are in a group site: include this information and/or link to the other studios/artists around you.
- Link to ArtSpan website. Including ArtSpan Open Studios graphics will help people associate your event with the bigger program.
- Include your name, link to your website, phone number, and other important contact information, and other social media links.
- Make sure to spell check. Don't count on the computer to do it. It won't catch there/their and other horrifying mix-ups.
TIMELINE TO SEND EMAILS AND POST ON SOCIAL MEDIA
- When ArtSpan announces the weekend, send a Save the Date email and post on Facebook and other social media.
- If you send other announcements for other events in the months leading up to Open Studios, you can also have a link at the bottom for Open Studios.
- Send your main email announcement and post on Facebook about three weeks before the show. Follow up with another the week before the show.
- The day before the show, send a reminder email with "Reminder" in the subject header and also post on Facebook.
- Saturday morning post on Facebook and other social media.
- Sunday morning post on Facebook and other social media.
- If you have a piece in the ArtSpan Exhibition, send a separate email announcing the exhibition and also include the information promoting your Open Studios date.
- Posting photos of your event when it is happening in real time just might intrigue someone to seek out your Open Studio in the next two days!