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
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
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.
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
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
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.