Twitter For Artists and Creative Professionals – Following, Followers and Tweeting

In this article I will explore some ideas on who you should be following on Twitter, who you should follow back and some of the basics of Tweeting. In the first article about Twitter, Twitter For Artists and Creative Professionals – Getting Started I took a look at getting started on Twitter and the importance of having a strategy and developing a great profile. If you are just starting out on Twitter I suggest you take a look at this article.

These are some of the types of people and organizations you should be following on Twitter!

These are some of the types of people and organizations you should be following on Twitter!

A Little Review

Twitter is fun!

Twitter is a great way to see what people who you find interesting are doing, reading and recommending. 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

You need a strategy and need to know why you are on Twitter or any social media for that matter. What do you hope to accomplish and how you are going to execute it? Here are a few things you need to look at as to the reasons to be on Twitter:

  • Do you want to make new contacts?
  • Do you want to learn about new things, ideas and techniques?
  • Do you want to ask questions and seek advice?
  • Do you want to help others?
  • Do you want to use Twitter to help sell your art?
  • Are you looking for a social experience?

When you can answer these questions about why you are on Twitter your path to success on this social media platform will become easier. The Bottom Line – Know why you are on Twitter and what you expect out of it.

Who Should You Follow?

The great thing about Twitter is that you can follow anyone you want. This could be other artists, arts organizations, museums, galleries, publications, bloggers as well as companies in just about any line of business you can think of. Think of Twitter as your personal news feed for the things/people/ideas that you are passionate about or that interest you.

Caution: There are a lot of “fake” accounts on Twitter. Choose who you follow carefully. Most of these fake accounts are behind an industry that sells “pre-made” Twitter accounts complete with followers. The good thing about these fake accounts is that they are easy to spot with a little practice.

Some Ideas On Who to Follow:

  • Follow people or companies that interest you. Most companies, bloggers, news outlets and many artists have a Twitter account – look for it on their website or blog or do a search.
  • Think twice before following someone with no profile picture but keep in mind some people are just getting started on Twitter and you may want to give them the benefit of the doubt.
  • Look for a link to a webpage and see where it leads. Accounts without a link to a webpage should be scrutinized, as many are fake.
  • Read some of their Tweets. Many accounts are just filler or endless sales pitches that do nothing more than clog up your Twitter stream. Look for Tweets that you would enjoy reading.
  • Everything you put on Twitter including your profile and your tweets become a basis for searching on Twitter and finding who to follow. Hash tags (those keywords that are preceded with a # i.e. #Art) are also searchable and may lead to some interesting accounts to follow.
  • Check out who the follows the people you follow as well as the people that they follow for ideas on who to follow – “Birds of a feather, flock together”.

Getting Others To Follow You

The name of the game on Twitter is to connect with others and that means having followers. Think “Quality” versus “Quantity”. It will do you no good to have a ton of Twitter followers that don’t relate to you and your art and don’t really care what you have to say or share.  Here are some ideas on how to build you followers:

  • Building your Twitter following is all about having a great profile, targeting who to follow and providing content that is interesting to your audience.
  • Advertise your presence on Twitter on your website or blog. Make it easy to connect with you by providing a link to your Twitter account – i.e.
  • Don’t forget to advertise your Twitter presence on all of your marketing materials including your advertisements, business cards, brochures, show cards, press releases and any other marketing materials you use.
  • A great place to start is by including a link to your Twitter account in your email signature.
  • When you meet people in person or online, invite them to connect with you on Twitter.
  • As you use Twitter you will slowly begin to gain followers. Again you need to use the same scrutiny in choosing who to follow back as you use in choosing who to follow.
  • I suggest you stay away programs or services that promise you “more followers”

Tweeting – Here is where the fun (and work) starts!

Here are some ideas on how to Tweet:

  • You are limited to 140 characters in your tweets so the marketing adage “You can’t put 10 pounds of stuff in a 5 pound bag” has never been truer.
  • Another marketing adage “You can’t bore people into buying from you” also has never been truer.
  • Watch your language and don’t be snarky! Once you post a tweet you can’t recall it – think before tweeting.
  • Tell your followers about your work that is finished or in progress. Don’t forget that you can also post pictures of your work on Twitter. I suggest that you watermark your images with your name and/or website.
  • Tell your followers about upcoming events or shows that you are having.
  • Share articles, pictures or interesting websites with your followers.
  • If you see a tweet that would be interesting to your followers then “Re-Tweet” it. Others will Re-Tweet your Tweets if they find them interesting and worthy of sharing
  • You don’t need to Tweet a hundred times a day to have a successful Twitter experience. Tweet only those things that your audience would likely enjoy or benefit from.
  • There are several programs out there that will help you schedule your Tweets to the times of day that your audience is likely listening. Remember just because you Tweet it doesn’t mean that anybody saw it. Some duplication of tweets at different times of day will increase your chances that your Tweets get read.
  • Comment on what others are doing by including the “@” symbol next to their user name in your tweets.
  • As you tweet you will be telling a story about your brand, your work and your experience.
  • Engage with your followers and build a relationship with them both online and in person.
  • Ask questions and answer the question of others.
  • One of my students coined the phrase – “You don’t want to be that guy”. Think about it!
  • If you are having a bad day then take a day off of Twitter – nobody likes a grump.
  • Have fun!

As I said in the first article on Twitter that when I first started using Twitter I didn’t get it. It just took a bit of work, experimentation and persistence and now Twitter has become an important part of my overall marketing, brand and social media efforts. And yes, I have met great people on Twitter, some later in person and I have used it to build my business – you can too!

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

One thought on “Twitter For Artists and Creative Professionals – Following, Followers and Tweeting

  1. Trina Stephenson

    What specifically does twitter do for you in your business? I tweet for our business, but have never been able to figure out if there is any payoff beside “exposure”?

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