Social Media for Artists
Artists have a unique advantage in using social media in that they can show examples of their work and many people are intrigued by the creative process and the artist lifestyle. But just being an artist is probably not enough to get you noticed on today’s exploding social networks – you need to work at it and do it right.To use an art analogy, you need to use social media to “paint” a picture of you and your brand that meshes with the audience you are connecting with. Think of social media as a blank canvas on which you can create an experience that people find interesting and makes them want to find out more about you and your art.
Tips for Effective Social Media
Here are some tips to help you with your social media efforts…
- Have a purpose in mind. This may sound simple and obvious but far too many people have no idea why they are engaging in social media other than it is the thing to do. Your purpose could be to position yourself as an authority, drive traffic to your website or blog, help others, promote a cause or just have a better social life. Decide on your purpose and stick to it.
- Target your audience or market. Think of social media in the same light as your other marketing efforts – who is your target customer? What are their likes and dislikes? What are their demographics? How can I reach them? And most importantly what are their social media habits and which social media platforms do they use? Once you have defined your target audience you are ready to start to connect with them.
- Choose the social media platforms that are appropriate for you and your target audience. The idea here is to match up social media efforts on the right platform with the right messages. You may have different customer groups who have substantially different social media habits – do some research and find out!
- Look at some of the social media platforms that are more visual in nature such as Pinterest and Instagram. Artists have a lot of content that is visual and is well suited to these types of sites. Don’t just think of these sites as a place to show your work but a place to show how you create. Many artists have been quite effective in engaging their audience by showing the steps they take in their creative process.
- Develop your profile. Take some time to plan and write your profile. Your profile should portray you as unique, authentic and someone worth connecting with. People will judge you after reading a few sentences or looking at your profile picture. Look at your profile like an electronic version of your 60 Second Commercial or Elevator Speech.
- Tailor your profile to match your purpose and target audience. A person reading your profile should say, “I want to get to know that person better!” If you are on several social networking sites make sure that your profiles have some common threads.
- Choose your friends or the people you follow carefully. A mistake many people make is to have as many friends or followers as possible. Your goal should be to have good friends not just a lot of friends. If you do it right, sooner or later you will have a lot of good friends.
- Engage, interact and develop relationships. This is what the whole idea behind social media! You don’t need to report on every detail in your life. You don’t need to endlessly pitch your product, service or yourself. If all you have to say is “buy my product, buy my product, buy my product…” you will run out your welcome very quickly.
- Be genuine, authentic, helpful and all of those other things they taught you in Boy or Girl Scouts – they will position you as someone worthy of following.
- Get a great image for your profile picture. Your image should reinforce your profile and the interactions you have with others in your social networking world. When people I have met in the online world meet me in person for the first time more often than not they ask, “Where is your hat?”
Being effective in the social media world has a lot to do with common sense and basic marketing principles. There is no secret formula. Here are a couple of powerful marketing quotes which are also appropriate in the world of social media:
You Can’t Put 10 Pounds of Stuff in a 5 Pound Bag
You Can’t Bore People into Buying From You
OK, those were some tips on how to get started in social media. It takes a lot of effort to build your network and figure out what will work best for you. The sooner you get started, the sooner you will be able to put social media to work for you and your art business. If you need some more help or know an artist that could use some assistance, check out the free webinar below.
Free Webinar – Introduction to Social Media for Artists and Creative Professionals
Create MSU Denver a virtual incubator for artists and creative professionals at the Center for Innovation at Metropolitan State University of Denver along with Neil McKenzie and Jimmy Sellars are hosting a free webinar designed to give artists and creative professionals a basic understanding of how they can use social media to build their brand and grow their art business.
You can view a recording of the webinar here:
Neil McKenzie is the author of The Artist’s Business and Marketing ToolBox – How to Start, Run and Market a Successful Arts or Creative Business available in softcover from Barnes & Noble and Amazon and as an eBook from iTunes, Amazon and Barnes & Noble. He has developed and teaches the course “Artrepreneurship” at the Center for Innovation at Metropolitan State University of Denver, and is also a visiting professor at University College at the University of Denver.
Neil has over 30 years’ experience as a management consultant and marketing executive, working with some of the world’s top brands. Neil is a frequent lecturer to artists and arts organizations, a guest columnist for Colorado Biz Magazine, where he covers the creative sector of the economy, and the author of several articles for Americans for the Arts, a national arts organization. Follow Neil on Twitter: @neilmckenzphoto