Blog / 2022 / How Social Media Misleads Us (In a Marketing Sense)

December 7, 2022

Talk to any business coach today and they’ll tell you to get on your social media game. They’ll say you need to overcome your fear of sharing your work and really put yourself out there. And they couldn’t be more wrong.

The best way to sell your work isn’t to post obsessively about it yourself. It’s to get others to do the talking for you.

It’s true that, if you want other people to go on and on about what you do, you’ll probably need to do some talking too. But where the coaches go wrong—and where social media misleads us—is in making us think that sharing on our own platforms is the pinnacle of promotion.

Whenever you talk about your art in a marketing setting—ie whenever you discuss your art except in the most intimate interactions with close friends—your goal should be to get other people to want to talk about it with the people they know. And, if you want to grow your audience exponentially, the people you want to have be discussing your work are those with the biggest networks and platforms: journalists for large media outlets.

laughing woman painting by Lambertville artist Gwenn Seemel
painting process

I’m not saying that you shouldn’t have a social media profile or your own website with mailing list. Those are obviously important as a place for new audience members to learn more about your work.

Rather, you can’t just post on socials and feel like you’ve done all the marketing you need to do. It’s essential to send press releases to arts writers and reporters who show an interest in stories about creativity.

librarian extraordinaire from Lambertville, acrylic painted portrait, created by Lambertville artist Gwenn Seemel
Gwenn Seemel
acrylic on paper
7 x 5 inches

There’s plenty of info about how to write a good release online so I won’t get too into it here. Suffice it to say that the two most vital parts of your release will be:

  1. The subject line.
  2. After all, for a press release to be effective, you need the reporter be interested enough to open your email.

    To give you a quick example, the last press release I sent out for Friend Request, which is the series that Hannah’s portrait is a part of, was entitled “Artist declares social media dead.”

  3. The quotes.
  4. Since your release should read like a short article, it must come complete with things that you and others have said about your work.

    For the press release about social media being dead, I pulled quotes from this blog post, starting off by citing myself about a topic that’s very much in the news these days and that also relates directly to the topic of the exhibition:

    “Right now, Elon Musk is in the headlines every day with his blunder-ful takeover of Twitter, but social media died a long while back,” says the Lambertville artist Gwenn Seemel, who would date Instagram, Twitter, et al’s passing to 2016.

videographer Andre Malok and Lambertville artist Gwenn Seemel
photos by Gwenn Seemel and Andre Malok

I’m not saying that my press release is the whole reason why a videographer from came to Lambertville to film me and my work, but it’s definitely true that Andre Malok would never have known I was interested in sharing this story more widely if I hadn’t contacted him.

See what Andre made of Friend Request here, or check out the series in person in the window Winifred Weiss’ studio on Church Street.

Winifred’s studio window
17 Church Street
(at the intersection with George)
Lambertville, NJ 08530

Open: through December 12th
Hours: whenever (you can look in from the street)

Maybe this post made you think of something you want to share with me? Or perhaps you have a question about my art? I’d love to hear from you!


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