Inspire, Connect, Promote Your Art Through Blogging and Twitter

When I went to art school, we were taught that our artist websites should include samples of our work, contact info, a bio, CV, and perhaps a blog. Back in those days, spam comments were rampant so we learned to disable them, reinforcing the fear of allowing the public to connect with us, the creators. Nowadays, the idea of providing blog content that consistently reads like a press release is stuffy and outdated. When it comes to using social media to talk about your art, it’s important to create compelling blog and Twitter posts that energize your readers in order to elevate your brand.

Inspire
show your process. What are you working on?

Be transparent. Share an industry or trade secret. You’re an artist and people are fascinated by you. They also usually have NO IDEA how you do what you do, and sharing that process with your readers is an incredibly intimate peek into who you are. Are you a jewelry maker? Show us how you use resin and original photography to make a necklace. Don’t worry too much about someone stealing your process; you’re an artist because you’ve got talent, and most people will readily admit that they could never do what you do, even if you provide a step by step guide! This may also help them understand your pricing, and why your work is so unique and valuable.

Not to worry! Your fine-tuned photography talents, lighting knowledge, and photo editing abilities will never be reproduced by an iPhone user and a crying baby! [via Pinterestfail.com]

image via [http://craftfail.com/2011/10/epic-stepping-stone-craft-fail/]

Connect
Your fans want to hear from you!

While strong blog content should be the base of your social media tactic, it can be tempting for artists to think of the blog solely as a way to document their art instead of using it as a way of engaging with their readers. Maybe you’re a creator, but not much of a conversationalist. This type of blogging doesn’t encourage a two-way dialogue with your readers, or sharing amongst your readers through other social media outlets. The best way to get connected is to include other industry leaders into your social media tactics. Starring a tweet, mentioning a person back who mentions you in their tweets, following people back who are enthusiastic about your brand are all ways you can generate enthusiasm within your blog and Twitter posts. Some helpful tips: –Reply to your followers when they comment on your blog. This lets them know that you care about what they are saying, even if it’s just a simple “thank you.” It also helps to keep the blog alive for a longer period of time after you initially post it. -When you mention other artists in your blog post, hyperlink their name so that readers can check that person out. -When you tweet the link to your blog, make sure you @ mention the artists you’ve highlighted in your blog and any industry thought leaders to a) grab their attention b) show them that you think they’re awesome. If they love your post, they’ll star, retweet or both, which helps you gain targeted, quality followers (and is also fun and gratifying when they acknowledge you):

retweets

I @ mentioned the artists from my “3 Philly Artists who Rock Instagram” post on Twitter, and all three of them starred and/or retweeted my post to thousands of followers!

Promote

Address your fear of being over-connected, annoying, and spammy Because no one wants to be coined the “look-at-me” generation, some artists have a knee-jerk reaction to sharing about themselves and their work, and may feel discouraged from participating. Stick to the virtues of offering genuine helpfulness, and ensure your posts contain meaningful, interesting, and entertaining content and you’ll have nothing to worry about! Figure out a creative way to link to your storefront as a part of your Call to Action (CTA) as you wrap up your blog post. For instance, in my blog post demystifying the Sell on Etsy app, I highlight my own store for readers to check out–now that I’ve shared the stats from my items for sale, they’re probably wondering what those “Nora Nude Coasters” look like, and they’ll be more inclined to visit the link. I also offer a link for 40 free listings for readers wanting to get started on Etsy, and a $5 coupon for those who love shopping handmade at the bottom of that same article. What’s that called again? Authentic helpfulness! What did I just do? Link you to my original content! *          *          *           *           *             *           *            *            *             *            * This is my final post for my Social Media Marketing class through Southern New Hampshire University. After this, I’m into the wild on my own! I would like to thank my professor, Dr. Jessica Rogers, for an awesome and intriguing semester!

Why Artists Are Afraid to Join Social Media

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.

risk-plagiarism

Copyright infringement; manufacturers stealing original designs and mass producing them; fraudulent downloading and printing of original material

 

Solutions:

-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.

This painting is considered public domain today, but if Manet had internet in 1863 he might want to watermark his image

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

Solutions:

-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

Solutions:

-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