Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Social Media for Artists - 19 Tips to Help Artists Accomplish Art Marketing Goals (Part 1)

Social networking websites (Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Google+) can be great ways to spread the word about an artist's artwork. As with any communication model, though, one has to know how to use it in order to get where you want to go. Facebook is no panacea and just because you sign on doesn't automatically mean your art world profile is destined for success. The following list of do's,  recommendations and suggestions is designed to help artists accomplish  art-related goals with maximal benefits.

The Do's of social media.
1.Treat other people as you would in real life. Just because you can't see them and they can't see you is no reason to conduct yourself in a manner other than how you would conduct yourself if you were speaking to them in person.

2. Update regularly. Very few people will return to a page that's updated once a month or less. If they return at all, guess how often they'll return? About as often as you update... if that.

3. Decide why you're on Facebook and focus on that. What do you want people to know about you and your art? Why are you here? What are your goals and expectations? The better you understand and maintain focus on your motivations and intentions, the better others will understand them as well.

4. Decide how public or private you want to be. If you are on Facebook for public reasons, especially to advance the cause of your art, then make your profile and postings as public as you feel comfortable doing. The more private you make yourself and the less accessible you are, the more difficulty people will have trying to communicate with you. Plus if everything's private, then you give the impression that you don't want to communicate anyway.

5.For easy cross-posting and cross-referencing, make sure that your username is identical on all social networking sites that you use. And the best name to use is the one you sign your art with.

6. Be consistent in the content of your postings. Unified posts on similar topics or with similar purposes make it easier for people to understand who you are and where you're coming from.

7. Make it interesting. Develop a story line or a theme or a plotline or a position or an opinion or whatever; make people want to return repeatedly to your page for the next exciting episode. Facebook is kind of like a blog in real time-- and an interactive one at that. The possibilities to actively involve others in your drama are limitless.

8. Give people a good reason to visit (and revisit) your page. Offer something; tangible or intangible makes no difference... as long as it's something. For example, talk candidly about your art or your day-to-day life as an artist-- your challenges, triumphs, inspirations, perspectives, and more. Make it more than simply about you. Make it something that others can be part of, learn from, gain insight from, relate to, share or participate in, comment on, or respond to.

9. If you want people to see your art, give them a good reason. A good reason is more than "look at my art." A good reason includes the viewer and at least intimates some benefit for them. Post about your time in the studio, sourcing ideas, the progress of particular works, your process, your goals, the purpose of your art, your broader mission as an artist, and so on.

10. If you want particular gallery owners, dealers or anyone else in the art community to look at your art or your website, or you want to know whether they can help you in any way or even give you a show, make sure IN ADVANCE that they're involved in some way with art that's similar to yours, and represent or assist artists whose credentials or career experiences are comparable to yours. Because you're an artist and they're a gallery is NOT an adequate reason to make contact.

11. Participate in other people's postings, especially those who you'd like to know better. The best way to show people you care is to contribute or respond to their postings. Being generous and taking the time to focus on others is appreciated as much on Facebook as it is anywhere else.

12. Get to know people gradually-- just like in real life. Friendships evolve over time. Respond to their posts, "like" their posts, "like" their art and maybe-- very occasionally at first-- send them a short supportive or complimentary email.

13. If you're looking for feedback or input about your art, offer feedback or input on the work of other artists or art people who you respect or appreciate-- assuming their posts invite those kinds of responses.

14. Use chat functions sparingly, especially with people you hardly know or don't know at all. If you must, then have a really good reason for starting a conversation, and ask first whether the other person is busy or whether they have a moment to speak with you... before getting into your agenda. Initiating a Facebook chat is no different than walking up to someone at an art opening or anywhere else and starting a conversation.

15. Think about who you want to friend and why. If someone you want to friend doesn't know you, briefly explain why you are friending them. This is especially important if most or all of your personal information is private and the person you're friending doesn't know who you are.

16. Review a potential friend's publicly available information on Facebook AND elsewhere before friending them. That way, you'll be better able to explain yourself in case they ask who you are. Better yet, explain yourself in advance. Nothing complicated is necessary here; a well-worded sentence or two will do just fine.

17. If someone requests your friendship, review their available information on Facebook AND elsewhere before friending them. If you're not sure why they are friending you, ask. Make sure that you have at least some form of connection or commonality with everyone who asks to be your friend-- especially with respect to your art. The purpose of Facebook is not to pile up friends for no reason other than to have piles of friends. All that does is distract you from your efforts. The purpose of Facebook is to initiate and hopefully establish mutually beneficial relationships.

18. When you post images of your art to your page, choose examples with thumbnails that resolve clearly and entice people to want to click over to the full-sized images. Images of your art may look great in full size, but if you can't get people to click over to view them, then what good are they?

19. Caption all images of your art. This is essential-- especially for people who are viewing it for the first time. Provide enough background information or explanatory about it so that people who are not that familiar with you or your art will have a better understanding of your work and a sense of who you are as an artist. One to three sentences will be adequate in most cases.
Alan Bamberger


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