• Why The Art World Should be on the App Snapchat

    Why The Art World Should be on the App Snapchat

    See related article, “Online Reputation Management and Social Media for Art Galleries.”

    Snapchat is the New Way to Sell Art

    Social media reached the art world, initially reluctantly perhaps, but art dealers, collectors and auction houses have (finally) looked online, turning to a few social media platforms.  Most have chosen the image-centric app Instagram as a top way of viewing art (and buying it) recently. A compelling case, however, can be made for a new one–the app Snapchat.


    Snapchat, really?  I know what you are thinking–either, “It’s is for teens, not art,” or, “What is Snapchat and why do I have to learn another social media thing?”

    There several reasons why the app will become a major way to view and buy art now or very soon.  The main ones are the compelling way the app shares work and how messages can be sent to one person, making it feel more personal. Essentially, Snapchat is like being whispered to in a private club: it’s discreet, quick, and if used correctly, potent yet seductive.

    What could be better for the art world?

    So now could be time to jump to Snapchat. I think it’s right on the edge of being the top social media app for the art world–right where Instagram was until recently.  

    Unique Images That Disappear

    The difference from other social media platforms become apparent quickly when using Snapchat.  Here,  messages are ephemeral, disappearing once looked at.  This seemingly contradictory feature makes the message compelling and urgent. It means you have one chance or at most 24 hours (depending on how it’s posted) to see the video or image until it’s gone.  After that, there is no other way to see it, making the post “unique”. Users see a timer ticking away at the top, which makes them want to take immediate action. Since it “self destructs” after viewed, it cuts through the glut and clutter of everything else–unlike Instagram where images could get lost among many others

    Essentially, Snapchat is like being whispered to in a private club: it’s discreet, quick, and if used correctly, potent yet seductive.

    Also, admittedly, Snapchat is not as simple for users to find follow others. Instead, followers must find and follow you, which is less easy than Instagram or Twitter, for example. But once they do, they become very loyal.  This makes it feel like being inducted into a super secret exclusive club.   

    Finally, you can pin-point messages to one person, and this feels special. Instead of broadcasting to everyone on your list, you can easily direct an image, video or text message to one user. This powerful feature makes it feel unique and connected. In a way, Snapchat is like a very limited edition message.

    Why the Art World Should Use Snapchat

    Collectors, dealers or curators are much more likely to look at your image in Snapchat than in Instagram.  Unique content that is time sensitive and made just for you is more compelling than just scrolling through many dozens or hundreds (or more) images. Nothing beats an in person viewing and handshake, of course, but with the app, a message is much, more likely to get seen compared to any other social media platform.

    How the Art World Should Use Snapchat

    1. Dealer Offering Work

    Let’s say I have piece that I’d like to offer, but I only want to show it to a few specific collectors. The app could be perfect: it’s quick, get’s their attention, can not be forwarded, and feels more special than an email.

    2. Artist Showcasing New Art

    An artist could use the app to showcase new work in progress, or use it to explore new approaches to pieces that might not be not ready to broadcast to everyone.

    3. Galleries Sharing Behind-the-Scenes and Invites

    Galleries should take behind-the-scenes or installation shots as work is being hung, installed, shipped or delivered. A personal image with invite to a gallery opening or offering them a particular piece, feels much more personal.

    4. Museums Collection Highlights

    A museum using the app should highlight pieces in the collection, including facts about it, or as LACMA does, be more playful in an attempt to draw more diverse visitors.

    5. Auction House Sales

    Auction house could share photos or videos highlighting a piece that might be of interest to specific collectors or share shots of the auction taking place.

    Using the analogy of editions, Instagram posts seem like an unlimited edition–any post can be added anytime (and means you have to scroll through many other posts to find it).  With the app, each post is unique–one of a kind–fostering the idea of rarity, making it more compelling to look at before it disappears. I think now is the time for the art world to start using Snapchat


    If you’ve questions about about social media apps, feel free to reach out to me at Recover Reputation.  I can also help set up accounts, get your started, or offer advice.

    See Related Article: Each Negative Link or Review Loses Thirty Customers or $30,000

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