Internet forums (also known as discussion or message boards) are one of the oldest methods of networking on the web. They are places where people come together and speak about things based on the topic of the message board. With social networking seemingly taking over the web, forums do not appear to be as popular as they once were. But, there are still some very active ones, and forums (if used properly) can be an effective method of art promotion.
This article is meant as an introduction to art forums, and will also include some useful tips for proper practice when promoting or trying to sell art using forums. In the next article, I will share some popular art forums on the web.
Also read: 5 Best Articles about Selling Art
Tips for using Art Forums for Selling Art and Promotion
Use forums for discussion, not direct promotion
Art forums generally have guidelines which do not permit the use of advertising within posts. Sometimes links are not even allowed. Be sure to read the “Forum Rules” before even posting. Forums can be used as an indirect method of selling art, by including your website or blog link in your signature. Interested people may visit to subscribe to your newsletter and/or blog.
Fill out your profile
Upload an avatar - the same one you use elsewhere on the web. This will help some to readily recognize you.
Fill out your profile completely, giving some background information about yourself and your art, which will add to your credibility.
If the forum allows images, add some artwork to your profile.
The signature appears at the end of every message you post. A signature can be a favorite art quote or saying, or a link to your website. Please realize that certain forums do not even allow links in signatures, so it would be advisable to read an signature posting rules before creating your signature. If the message board does allow a link, it may be limited to one link. In some instances there may also be restrictions in signature length and font. If including a link, try to make it blend in, as anything else could make it appear spammy.
Introduce yourself to the community
Most forums have a particular board designated for newcomers. These have the purpose of introducing yourself to the forum community. Look for headings such as “Introduce Yourself”, “Newcomers”, “New Members”, or something similar. Simply say something about yourself and why you joined. Don’t include any links here, as you could get banned.
Spend some time reading before posting
Find out about the artists who regularly post and the type of topics. Read the most popular topics to get a sense of particular issue dealt with on that message board. Is it casual, day to day language or intellectual speak? This will give you an idea of the atmosphere of the community, so your posts can fit in with the rest.
Be a Helpful Contributor
Look for people asking questions where you can give intelligent answers. Over time, people will perceive you as an expert, and may even want to learn more about you. This is where a link in the forum signature comes in handy. Only include links in post content if they are allowed, and are relevant to the issue discussed.
Get your art critiqued
Many art forums have a critiquing section whereby artists can post original art, and people can post responses, whether positive or negative. Always be prepared for negative feedback, and always thank the person for taking the time to give a comment. Never be on the defensive, as on a forum this always makes the defender look bad.
After spending some time at a forum and posting a lot, there may come a time when you may want to make a special announcement about an upcoming show or mention an art giveaway. In some cases, there may be a special board for this purpose. If there isn’t, contact the forum administrator first to get special permission for a specific offer or promotion.
These are some general guidelines and tips for art forums for selling art and promotion. If you have anything to add, please mention it in the comment section.
Find more online sites to promote art here: 10 Places to Promote Art Online
In the next post in this series, I will list a few good art forums. In the meantime, if you want to tell me about a particular one I should include, please do so below.