There are an alarming number of artists who are dragging their feet when it comes to joining in on the conversation through social media; does this sound like you? Perhaps you want the world to see your work, but you are struggling to understand how to use Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest and Facebook to your advantage. Maybe you have a fear of becoming a social media zombie, or you’re afraid to leave your comfort zone of simply blogging or having a website for people to view your work. Being able to interact with other artists and art lovers might seem intimidating, but it is detrimental to the growth of your personal brand. Social media isn’t going to disappear, so if you choose to be a laggard on adopting this medium you’re only going to slow yourself down. Here are three concerns most artists have about entering the social media stratosphere, and solutions on how to overcome such obstacles.
Copyright infringement; manufacturers stealing original designs and mass producing them; fraudulent downloading and printing of original material
-Register for Pixsy. You can synch your original photos and Pixsy will scan the internet for replicas, even “checking under the couch.” This is especially helpful for photographers. This is currently in private beta mode, so pre-register now in anticipation of when the site goes live.
-It never hurts to conduct a Google search using keywords that would describe your items every now and again to monitor the results.
-Watermark your photos close to the center to avoid being cropped out, and upload smaller, more compressed files. Watermarks are annoying and ugly, but a necessity for photographers. Document work at an angle instead of straight on to make it harder to copy.
The original “Olympia” is considered public domain today, but if Manet had internet in 1863 he might have watermarked his image like so (This is actually a “master copy” I painted in art school)
Challenge- which Apps to use
Figuring out which social media platforms to use or bypass; updating on a regular basis; making timely and relevant updates
-Instagram and a Facebook page are a must for artists. Check out my previous blog post on how to rock Instagram here. Posting your work on Pinterest is great for weavers, ceramicists and craftspeople. Twitter is perfect if you’re involved in a lot of art shows and events. Plus, Yoko Ono is on Twitter and she’s really fun to follow.
-Set up a HootSuite account for your social media accounts. This allows you to schedule in advance, and saves the trouble of posting similar updates on different SM platforms. With the free version, you can link up to 3 accounts at once to HootSuite. You can also schedule reoccurring material if there is something important that should be shared more than once.
-You can also use ScheduGram or other apps that are designed to schedule specifically for Instagram instead of bombarding your viewers with a ton of photos at once. For instance, I made the decision to unfollow Ai Weiwei after my Instagram feed was taken over with his “leg as a gun” campaign for weeks on end–the frequent posts became too much. Your followers will become bored or annoyed, and may decide to unfollow or tune you out if you overdo it.
Challenge: fear of using Hashtags
How to use them; what’s appropriate; what not to hashtag
-Hint: There is no need to hashtag your own name. You are searchable by your name and username on Twitter and Instagram.
-Find and follow artists and peers whom you respect and admire before you post to see how others are talking about the same subject as you.
-If you can find specific hashtags that are popular or trending amongst your community, use them when it is appropriate. For instance, I used #pancakeart and #discgolf for this Instagram post:
This lead to the post going slightly viral by the time I woke up on Monday morning. Not only did I receive a shout out from master Pancake Artist Kevin Blankenship, but my disc golf pancake was also featured as the cover image in a “best of Instagram” blog on All Things Disc Golf. Instagram gets very exciting once people you don’t know start liking your posts and following you.
Conclusion: Unless your name is Lisa Yuskavage and you’re selling your work for millions of dollars in a New York gallery, you’ll want to get online so that people can discover you. Though there are risks and challenges, it is also a very fun and rewarding medium that you should get to know and embrace.
Want to keep learning more about harnessing the power of social media as an artist? Follow my blog! http://www.sarahrado.wordpress.com