Know Your Niche: Why Do People Buy Art?

A huge part of social media strategy is knowing exactly WHO you're talking to in the digital sphere, and WHY.


To identify who you're really creating content for, you need to know your niche - that is, the specific audience of people who are most likely to invest in your Art or an Artist you represent.


In this series of blog posts, called 'Know Your Niche' I'll be detailing several ways to identify who your desired audience really is - and how to tailor your content just for them.


In this post I'm going to identify the motivations of the bare minimum niche: People Who Buy Art. I will discuss how by knowing the reasons people make the decision to purchase your art, you can tailor your content in a way that encourages them to get to that decision faster.


(By bare minimum niche I mean the first layer of narrowing down an audience, for artists that would simply be targeting the part of the population that actually buys Art)


So... why do people buy Art? and what can we do with this information?



They Respect or Relate To The Artist

Despite arguments for separating Art from the Artist, collectors have proven time and time again that they invest in Artists they respect or relate to. It goes back to the (somewhat problematic) 'Cult of Artist as Genius', which shaped the likes of all the 'Great Masters' not to mention the more contemporary Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dali and Marcel Duchamp, whose personalities and eccentricities formed the foundation of their brand.


Demonstrating your opinion, your personality and your authentic self can be an important part of driving sales for Artists, and doing so works especially well on social media as a way to increase engagement, because honesty is currency on these platforms.


Any artist can implement this insight into their content strategy - and should - by sharing their opinions, the things they like and brief moments from their lives on social media. Here's a list of ways to immediately integrate authenticity into your brand:


  1. Share posts that you like on your story, with a caption demonstrating your opinion

  2. Create live video Stories where you talk to your audience (about anything!)

  3. Post a picture and a quick commentary on a book you've recently enjoyed or a screenshot of an Article that either conformed to your point of view or challenged it

  4. Use your platform to amplify the voices and messages you care about



They Identify with The Message

Not all Art has pre-meditated meaning, but for Artists whose work is made to challenge, question, insight or expose, their works often hit home with their audience.


Therefore, knowing who resonates with the messages you create is important in narrowing down your niche audience, and creating content specifically for them.


Before doing this, you need to ensure you can articulate these meanings in a concise way, start by identifying some key themes of your work, through mind maps, or lists. Then use those words to describe your work in no less than 70 words.


Next, identify people whose work deals with similar themes - they don't have to be artists, they could be academics, writers, charities etc. and make sure you engage with what they share online.


Finally, think about how you came to create this message in your work - is it related to your own personal history, or is it perhaps part of a larger global movement / way of thinking?


Once you know what your message is, and how you came to create it, you can then create content that attracts those who may identify with it:


  1. Share your story on a highlight

  2. Ensure your captions include the words that were key to describing the message of your works

  3. Post odes to your biggest influences, and the key thinkers that helped you articulate or deliver your message

  4. Caption your images in a way that insights discussion around the themes of your work

  5. Engage with other users that you know support or relate to your message by sharing their work and insights

  6. Use your theme words as hashtags




They Love the Style of the Work

Some collectors shop with a specific space in mind, whether it be for their home or workspace, and thus they may have a certain style that resonates best with them. If you find that your works are particularly pleasing aesthetically to your collectors then giving your audience the opportunity to imaging your work in their space is the best way to drive them to make the decision to purchase.


There are several ways of doing this:


  1. Sharing pictures your collectors have taken of your work in their home (get permission first)

  2. Using online simulators to generate photographs of your work on the wall of certain room styles

  3. Follow and engage with other creators whose style is similar to your own

  4. Follow and engage with interior designers who like works of a similar style to your own

  5. Share 'inspiration' pictures of rooms and spaces designed in a way that would suit your style of work

  6. Go even further with Influencer Marketing and collaborate with an influencer by sending them free prints/works or paying them a fee to share your content with their like-minded followers




They Trust that it will be a Good Investment

Some collectors may be more like investors, whereby they are interested in works of art they believe will increase in value over time and eventually resell for a higher price. Whilst there's usually no way of proving this can happen, you can still create content that panders to these types of collectors.


To do this, your content should INFORM, with facts, stats and insights that help the collector make an informed decision.


You can integrate the following information into your content to attract investor collectors:


  1. Share any media exposure you may get: including articles/interviews, shout-outs by other accounts, and books your work may feature in

  2. Celebrate any notable awards you may have achieved (even past ones that your newer audience may not know about)

  3. Get testimonials from your other collectors, this can include pictures of your works in their home or on their socials, and comments from them on your content

  4. Celebrate and note new sales of your work on your stories or permanent feeds, thanking your 'loyal collectors' indirectly

Investor Collectors also like exclusive insights and experiences of your work, so think about what you can offer them - this may be a patronage programme or exclusive digital content behind a paywall etc. Set something like this up and sell / promote it through your social media channels.



The Art makes them Feel Something

Emotion can often be a first response to Art, and for many collectors this may also sway or guide their decision to buy an artwork.


Therefore, knowing exactly how your art makes people feel, and mimicking it through your content can be a good strategy for delivering the right messaging to your niche audience.


Establishing this feeling through your content, means honing in your brand.


First decipher what the feeling or emotion is, and then write down the ways your art projects this sensation. Is it through colour? subject matter? execution?


Research other ways that people experience that emotion and integrate your findings into your content. This can mean setting your tone of voice to be more excited, or your colour theme to be more sombre or even to include a certain style of music in the background of your videos. Either way, your social feed and content should amplify these feelings, not contrast with them.


In conclusion, Knowing Your Niche means knowing why people buy your Art and moulding your message in a way that speaks to those motivations directly.