Unless you have been living in a cave you have heard of the social networking site Facebook which now boasts over 600 Million users. Facebook can be a great tool for artists to build their brand while letting customers and prospects keep up with what you are doing. I amazes me how many artists and creative professionals that I meet who do not have a Facebook presence. I find that most of the reasons that they give for not being on Facebook are not really that solid.
Personal or Business Presence?
One of the decisions you will have to make is to decide on developing and using your Facebook presence in a personal or business manner or both. Take some time before you make your decision. My general strategy is to separate you personal Facebook presence from you business brand. Your business identity on Facebook should be professional – keep that in mind.
Personal Presence – Individual Profile
- You have “Friends”
- Your personal friends and acquaintances are your Facebook ”Friends”
- You talk about your personal and business life
- Businesses are not allowed to create an individual profile page
- The number of friends you can have is limited to 5000
- You can ask anyone to be your friend
Business Presence – Business Page
- You have “Fans” or people who “Like” your business
- Your customers, prospects and business acquaintances are prospective Business Page Fans
- You tell your brand story and talk about your business
- You showcase your business and your work
- You talk about things that your fans will find of interest and are relevant to your business and brand
- Use your business page to highlight projects you are working on and show your progress
- You let your audience know about upcoming events or shows
- Use Facebook to target and make friends with people and organizations who can help grow your brand (prospects, customers, galleries, distributors, media, influencers)
- People who like your page become fans of or “Like” your page
- The number of fans or people who like your page is unlimited
- You can “Suggest” your page only to friends that you have in your Individual Profile (This is where you Individual Profile can come in handy)
- Use your advertising and other social media efforts to invite others to “Like” your page.
Your profile is the first place your friends will make an opinion of you and your art business brand. Take care to make sure that the picture you paint will work for you and not against you. Here are some tips on developing your profile:
- Keep it professional and suitable for your audience
- Use a “great” profile picture. This could be just of you, your work or both. Remember that your profile picture can be more than just a photo – you can add other elements such as text, website addresses and even a QR code!
- In the “About Me” section write a succinct description about you, your work and past accomplishments. Think of this section as an extended “elevator speech” or shortened “My Story”
- I would skip the personal information such as your birthday and “Interested In”
- If you have an educational or work background that is relevant to your brand be sure to include this information
- In the “Philosophy” section think real hard about including your religion or political views unless they a relevant to your brand – you should be on Facebook to make friends.
- If you have artists that you are particularly fond of or have had a big influence on you then you may want to include them in the “Arts and Entertainment” section. Remember you are here to promote your brand and not someone else’s.
- Don’t forget your contact information! Be careful how much information you provide but don’t forget to list your website and blog if you have one.
Business or “Like Page”
- Choose the proper selection under “Category”. Most likely this will be “Companies and Organizations”
- If you have a retail location or publically accessed studio then provide this information on your physical address.
- In the “About” section write a short description of your company and what you do.
- In the “Company Overview” section you have more space to tell your story.
- One of the most important sections of the “Like Page” is the area called “Products”. In essence these make up the keywords which other Facebook users can find you. Use words that describe what you do, your products, your services and any other term that you would like to be found by searching on.
- And lastly don’t forget to list your website, blog and any other online presence you may have.
Interacting With Your Friends, Customers, Prospects and Influentials
Whether you use an Individual Profile or Business Page don’t forget that you should be on Facebook to interact with your friends or fans – not to give them endless sales pitches. Talk about yourself but make sure you comment on what others are doing. Don’t be surprised if you online Facebook friends or fans turn into real “face to face” contacts. This is the real power of social networking!
- Here are a few ideas to keep in mind when posting your own comments or responding to others on Facebook:
- Keep it nice – remember you are here to make friends and fans
- Think before you post a comment and review your post before you press the [Enter] key
- Don’t be controversial unless it supports your brand
- Keep your posts short and to the point
- Include links and multimedia where appropriate
- Build a Facebook presence where others “want” to find out what is happening in your world
Posting Your work
When you are an artist or other creative professional you will probably have samples of your work to show your friends and fans. Facebook provides an excellent opportunity to showcase your work. Here are a few things to keep in mind when posting your work:
- Show only your best work
- Show work that is of interest or relevant to your audience
- Ask for feedback only if you have a “thick skin”
- Before you upload your images or other media be sure to rename the files with a name that identifies you and/or your company in addition to the piece name. For example: Bill Smith Studio Winter Scene 1.jpg. This will help you if you image gets indexed by search engines.
- Apply a watermark and a link to your website on the images so that people will know how to contact you.
- Don’t forget to put a copyright notice on your images and other content.
A Final Note
Facebook can be a great way to build your brand and your art business. Take some time to develop a strategy for your reasons for being on Facebook. A successful Facebook campaign will take some time to build so don’t give up. If you do it right, Facebook and other social media sites can become an important part of developing and growing your art business.
Changes are being made to Facebook on a continual basis. Be sure to keep abreast of what is happening in the Facebook world – there a many resources out there to help you out. If you like, you can friend me on Facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/neil.mckenzie