I must admit that when I first heard about Twitter, I didn’t get it… What was I supposed to do with these short 140 character messages and possibly of what value could they be? In the several years that I have been using Twitter it has become my favorite social media platform, one which I look forward to checking out on a daily basis. I find that many artists and other creative people are not using Twitter either on a personal or business basis. I encourage you to take a look at Twitter and see how it might help you grow your art or creative business.
Unlike other social media platforms such as Facebook or LinkedIn you can follow anyone you choose. This could be people you know, people you find interesting and even companies or brands that you like. If you present yourself as interesting there is a good possibility that the people you follow will follow you back.
Here are some of the things I have learned:
Twitter is Fun and Can Help Grow Your Art Business
I look at Twitter as a great way to see what people who I find interesting are doing, reading and recommending. It is my “Mini” news tickertape on a slice of the world that I have defined. On Twitter you can follow other artists, galleries, museums, arts festivals, companies that make or sell art supplies and just about anyone else that interests you.
Have A Strategy
Before you get started with Twitter (or any social media for that matter) you need a strategy with regard to why you are using this form of social media, what you hope to accomplish and how you are going to execute it. Social media is just like any other marketing tool such as advertising, public relations or direct marketing – you need a strategy.
Some reasons why you should be on Twitter might be:
- Connect with your existing friends and business contacts.
- Develop new contacts that share a common interest or who are potential customers or influencers.
- Learn new ideas and techniques from the people you follow.
- Use Twitter as a “soft” introduction to people you want to meet in both the virtual and real worlds.
- Ask questions and seek advice.
- Tell your followers about new projects you are working on or new things and ideas you find interesting.
- Direct your followers to your website or blog.
If you just plan to be an observer on Twitter you can just create an account with a blank profile and start following people. If you really want to take advantage of all that Twitter has to offer you will need a profile – one that is interesting, descriptive, and tells a story about you and your art. If your profile is a blank canvas don’t expect many people to follow you back.
Some Ideas on Getting Started:
- Before you create your Twitter account I suggest you create your profile on paper or with a computer design program first. A little planning will go a long way to make your Twitter experience successful.
- Choose an industrial strength password that includes lower upper and lower case characters along with a few numbers. Twitter accounts have been hacked and you don’t want this happening to you!
- Create a user name. I suggest that your user name tell who you are and what you do. Be creative as your username is limited to 15 characters. If you can include your real name go for it.
- Use a good profile picture – if you don’t have one then get one. If you can show what you do in your profile picture – go for it. I am not big on logos but images of your artistic creations might work fine. Remember that profile pictures in Twitter are square so keep that in mind when choosing your profile image.
- Fill in your location – locations like “The World” or “Anywhere You Are” may be cute but to me they are not professional.
- Include your web address or blog URL. No website says you are not professional and begs the question – “Are you really in business”. I repeat, include your web address or a link where somebody interested in you can find out more about you and your art!
- Your Bio is perhaps the most important thing you create when developing your profile. As with most things Twitter you only have 140 characters to tell your story. You need to be concise, tell what you do and give people a reason to follow you.
- Take advantage of a custom Twitter header to tell your story. Twitter allows you to upload an image of 1200 x 600 pixels for your custom header. You can put anything you like in this image including text, graphics and photos. Your standard Twitter profile will be centered along the bottom edge leaving you to use the rest of the header space to create an interesting profile that will invite others to follow you. Once you have a great profile image created I’m sure you will find other uses for it in your other social media profiles and marketing materials.
- Take a look at other Twitter profiles to get some ideas on how you might create a great profile for yourself.
- The information you put in your profile – name, web address, and bio become the basis for searching people on Twitter, so do it right!
OK, I hope you got some ideas on putting together a great Twitter profile, one that tells about you and your art, makes it easy for others to find out more and screams “This is somebody I would like to follow. In the next article on Twitter For Artists and Creative Professionals I will take a look at some strategies on choosing who to follow, what to post and how to interact.
In the meantime I invite you to connect with me on Twitter here @neilmckenziephoto.
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