The term “influencer marketing” is one that is probably met with a few sighs and the occasional eye-roll. It’s a bit of a misused term that people are often sceptical about, but this marketing process has fully taken off over the past few years. What’s more, inbound marketing for art galleries in particular has become more reliant on influencers than ever before.
It’s who you know
I’ll start off by defining exactly what influencer marketing is. Influencer marketing involves your brand working with an individual who is well-known in a specific sector or within a particular audience demographic. This individual markets your brand to their existing followers, giving you reach to a whole new audience.
Now, let’s look at what influencer marketing isn’t. I guess you could say that Kim Kardashian is an influencer, but she would arguably have limited impact when it came to art gallery marketing. Why? First, have a look at her audience - it’s not exactly specific. Yes, she’s got 120 million followers, and a very small section of that audience may be relevant to you, but she’s more of a celebrity endorser than an influencer. Sure, she’s influential, but she probably doesn’t care about your gallery, and chances are, neither will her followers.
To really nail influencer marketing, you need to find someone whose representation of your brand won’t look suspect or manufactured. For example, if you’re in charge of inbound marketing for art galleries, interior designers are the ideal influencers you should be chatting to - their entire career revolves around creative design. Celebrity chefs are much less likely to be a suitable influence, unless of course they just so happen to have a clear love of art and a growing collection of their own.
Set out your goals
When it comes to inbound marketing for art galleries, or any other sector for that matter, it's essential you consider your goals. So, why should you want to use influencers? What will you gain from them?
If you’re looking for brand exposure and awareness, influencer marketing is a great channel - so long as you use it correctly. When you start looking for influencers, make sure you research them properly. Believe it or not, some people fake it.
Here’s one tip. Engagement is a much important metric than the total number of followers. If someone has a ton of followers and very low engagement, chances are they’ve probably bought their followers, and some poor brand is already paying them lots of money and getting very little in return.
If you work for an art gallery and want to dip your toe into influencer marketing, you should also do a little research into your most engaged organic followers. As well as considering them as potential influencers, you can also look at who they follow and engage with.
With influencer marketing, a “one size fits all” approach does not work. Don’t just copy and paste the same email out to all your potential influencers, because they’ll see straight through it. Use your brain and research your influencers. Find out what makes them tick. Take a look at what channels they use the most, and engage with them on their preferred platform. Approach them with content they will genuinely be interested in, and tailor your offering to the individual.
Sure, you’ll have to do a lot of this manually, but if you want to get something out of influencer marketing, you’ve got to graft. A totally automated approach probably isn’t your best wingman right now.
Use what you’ve got
Do you have some cool artists exhibiting at your art gallery? Shout about them! Artists want to get their work out there as much as possible, and chances are they’ll probably share the content you’ve posted about them with their own audience.
Take a look at the people who engage with an artist’s personal social accounts. You could approach these individuals with an invite to your gallery launch or latest exhibition, which may feature some of their favoured artist’s latest works. This outreach helps you get in touch with the people you need to be talking to, and creates more of a buzz around your gallery.
Take yourself offline
After you’ve researched who your influencers could be, reach out and invite them to your VIP events. Not only will this help them to create organic content, but they’ll get to know your gallery better and see what you’re all about. Contrary to popular belief, influencer marketing doesn’t have to be solely online.
Once you’ve found an influencer who wants to work with your art gallery, give them some room to breath. Don’t control every aspect of the work they do for you. The content they put out there needs to be genuine, not forced. Give influencers leeway to put their own personality behind your gallery.
Too many restrictions will make the influencer marketing look fake. This will not only damage your brand, but scare away the influencers too. The last thing you want to do is write the content your chosen influencer puts out, a botched copy and paste job is pretty much every brand's worst nightmare.
Learn more about inbound marketing for art galleries
We’re Six & Flow, an inbound marketing agency and diamond tier HubSpot partner based in Manchester. We know a thing or two about marketing in the art market, so why not give us a call?