Interview with CraftBoston Artist Ryan Kelley On Artists Using Social Media

Social media is a great way to reach a broader audience, but navigating multiple platforms can be overwhelming for all of us. We reached out to our own very awesome CraftBoston artist Ryan Kelley to give us an idea of how he uses social media to promote his own work. Follow him at @wirebyryan on Instagram and Facebook to see how he brings his practice to life, and read on below as he answers our questions about his process and his relationship with social media. Thanks Ryan!

A little introduction on who you are and what work you make.

Hey! My name is Ryan Kelley and I am a self taught award winning wire sculptor from Byfield MA. I primarily make wire trees on stone bases, but work with copper, steel, and other materials to create works both indoor and outdoor.

How long have you been doing CraftBoston?

I have been involved with CraftBoston for over two years now. I started with CraftBoston Spring, then did Spring and Holiday last year!

As a newer artist, how do you think you see the show differently?

Seeing the show as a new artist was definitely a learning curve. There were many business/professional artist requirements and show necessities that I needed to learn about and complete. Being able to ask and learn from the other more experienced artists made the process much easier and less scary!

You are active on social media. How do you use social media to connect with collectors?

Social media is the single biggest marketing tool that exists today. There are many platforms for many types of artists, and it all comes down to your audience and who you want to connect with. I use Facebook and Instagram along with my website. Everything is linked and posting consistently on them makes for a more powerful and targeted message. Sharing my passion in a professional and genuine way attracts the right people to my business. It's an everyday priority and job to post and share, and it's a marathon not a sprint.

How does CraftBoston impact your social media?

Cross promotion is key to social media success. Having posts that can be tagged and shared by CraftBoston not only increases my perceived value, but it adds to my appreciation and relationship with CraftBoston and the staff. Artists are family! 

To someone just starting their business, what advice would you give them for using social media?

Start with a name and a brand, then be consistent to that on social media. Always be professional when posting and interacting, your presence is your business and your brand. Take good clear photos and videos, bad quality photos exhibit bad quality value and work. Share real updates and progress, people love seeing passionate people in action!

Are there certain platforms you recommend?

This all depends on the artist. Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram, etc all have their strengths and weaknesses. I'm assuming most artists involved with CraftBoston should be using Facebook and Instagram. This is on top of a professional website as well. Linking social with a website helps with Google, helps with orders, and allows curious customers to find you in multiple ways. Again, looking and functioning precessional goes a long way in this competitive field.

You have a variety of photos (studio shots, action shots at shows, workshops). Why is this important?

Same with most of the reasoning from the last question, the reason is professionalism. I sell work, but I also teach classes, and visit schools to teach and give talks. I need to have content on all of the avenues of my business so that I can post and market to them. Seeing an artists work is great, but seeing the artist in action and knowing more about them professionally deepens the connection with their collectors and fans. 

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