Do You Know How to Use Social Media for Promotion? An Interview with Susan Mumford

Do You Know How to Use Social Media for Promotion? An Interview with Susan Mumford

“Social media is beneficial across the board. The trick is being innovative and authentic with use of social networking.”

This month our daylong Artist Professional Development Day on Twitter called #ArtistHotline will have some special guests join us for part of the day. On October 19 we are hosting a Guest Chat from 1:30 PM – 3:30 PM with industry experts in the field of “Social Media for Promotion.”

Ahead of the professional development extravaganza, we chatted to one of our guests, Susan Mumford, about her perspective on the topic and her top tips when it comes to the use of social media. As the founder of a non-profit trade network, a social enterprise in the arts, and by being an artist mentor, she has extensive experience in successfully marketing and promoting her endeavors. She shares them with us below.

NYFA: Is there one social media platform artists should be using?

Susan Mumford (SM): There’s no single platform that artists should use, for one advantage of social networking today is that, with a multitude of options, you can choose platforms that work for you. That said, it’s important to identify your target audience/s, ensuring that individuals you want to reach (considering professions and demographics) are using your chosen platform/s, too.

Incidentally, many art world professionals claim that Instagram is currently the most important platform for the industry, and the article How Instagram is Changing the Art World (May 18, 2016) by artist Brad Phillips provides insight and food for thought. Additionally, I recommend that anyone who considers him/herself a professional creates a profile on LinkedIn.

NYFA: What is a big faux-pas that artists and arts professionals should avoid on social media at all cost?

SM: Don’t give yourself a bad name! While I’m sure that NYFA readers are professionals who come across in an appropriate and professional manner, maintaining your brand as a result of the way you behave online cannot be emphasized enough.

Top tip: If tempted to negatively react in a public forum, walk away from the device, get a night’s sleep, and think about next steps in a calm and collected manner the following day. It’s a life-saver, in personal brand terms at least!

NYFA: Is promotion through social media only effective for specific disciplines?

SM: No; social media is beneficial across the board. The trick is being innovative and authentic with use of social networking, creatively and/or professionally.

Consider a selection of ways that artists effectively use social media, to mention but a few:

  • Build a following near and far, growing your mailing list all the while – with peers, potential partners, media and prospective clients;
  • Engage and reconnect with your existing audience, thereby staying connected and in mind;
  • Establish yourself as being a trustworthy, credible professional with advisory posts, regular updates on projects / achievements and sharing of media exposure (including interviews and third-party blogging);
  • Raise attendance figures to events;
  • Sell works of art, in addition to other goods and services;
  • Develop new professional partnerships;
  • Work on projects and share knowledge with trusted “groups” of peers;
  • Pull together visuals for ongoing and future art pieces;
  • Get creative inspiration;
  • Share content, resulting in driving people to your site;
  • Give a ‘virtual’ experience of your studio, gallery, open house, etc;
  • Keep up to date with industry and related news; and
  • Identify opportunities.

Receive more advice like this and ask your own personal questions to get an answer from Susan directly at this month’s #ArtistHotline on October 19. Learn more about how to join the conversation by clicking here.

Susan Mumford


Susan Mumford is a game-changer in the 21st Century art world. She’s an entrepreneur, mentor, speaker and author. While running a gallery in Soho, London, she founded the Association of Women Art Dealers (AWAD), a non-profit trade network with London, New York and Virtual chapters. Several years later, she started a social enterprise called Be Smart About Art, which helps art world professionals thrive in a changing industry. The organization’s motto is: “Art is your life. Make it your living.” In late 2015, her first book was published: Art is your life. Make it your living.

Find Susan tweeting @susanjmumford

Inspired by the NYFA Source Hotline, #ArtistHotline is dedicated to creating an ongoing online conversation around the professional side of artistic practice. #ArtistHotline occurs on the third Wednesday of each month on Twitter. Our goal is to help artists discover the resources needed, online and off, to develop sustainable careers. This initiative is supported by the Emily Hall Tremaine Foundation.

– Interview by Mara Vlatkovic, Digital Communications Officer

Image credits: Susan Mumford

Amy Aronoff
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