There is no denying social media has become a powerful tool in the past decade, especially as a promotional vehicle. According to the recently released 2012 Social Media Marketing Industry Report, 83 percent of more than 3,800 marketers believe that social media is important to their business and an overwhelming 94 percent of marketers said they used social media for marketing reasons. There is little debate that an active and engaging social media presence will help increase business exposure and probably drive traffic to your business as well.
Of course as an artist, you probably don’t have the luxury of a dedicated marketing team to constantly monitor and update your various social media profiles, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t embrace social media, it just means you should be careful about over-extending yourself since you are your own marketing team. When it comes to creating a successful one-person social media marketing strategy, you want to be efficient and effective, and you want to use multiple mediums. We cherry-picked the most commonly used social mediums according to the study and came up with three examples of how artists should be using these channels to network and market themselves so you don’t have to.
It is important to keep in mind that because art is such a broad subject, it is difficult to offer sweeping advice that all artists should take to heart. We think we have done the best we can, but we also admit that different types of artists should use social media channels differently. Just remember that before you start reading and get angry when it feels like none of our tips apply to you. But I don’t think that will happen anyway.
It turns out that the social medium that your college kid uses to post pictures of himself getting drunk is also the reigning champ when it comes to preferred social media channels for networking. 92 percent of the marketers surveyed said they used Facebook and the multi-faceted platform leaves artists with a lot of flexibility when it comes to how to use it.
- Create a Facebook page for yourself (as a public figure or create a page for your business) which you can dedicate solely to the promotion of your work and business, and then promote that page through your personal page if you want. You will want a page solely dedicated to your work and/or your business.
- You should obviously be posting photos of your work on your Facebook page. Not only can you use these photos to draw the interest of visitors, but you can use the caption section to link to where someone can buy that particular piece of art on your website. There is nothing wrong with providing interested parties with an easy way to make a purchase, that is just good business.
- Use status updates to promote your appearances and public showings of your artwork, just be careful when you do it. Update if your work is appearing in a gallery, or your documentary is being played in the town square. Don’t repeatedly blast out the news every 20 minutes. People appreciate when you let them know about chances to see your work, but not when they are repeatedly being hit upside the head with that information.
While Facebook stills reigns supreme as marketing professionals’ social media channel of choice, Twitter is not far behind, especially amongst experienced marketing professionals who are convinced the site’s dynamic ability to interact with individual customers is key to helping establish traffic and customers. Twitter is also one of the more difficult social media channels to market with successfully because there is such a fine line between acceptable promotion and spammy nuisances.
- You need to maintain constant activity on the site. You can’t tweet once per week and expect those tweets to drive traffic, because they won’t. The more opportunities you can take to connect with potential fans, buyers, or other artists the more effective your Twitter marketing and networking will become.
- Twitter is not just a place for you to send your thoughts out into the nether regions of the Internet. Be a good Twitter citizen and make your feed about more than just your thoughts and work. This may not improve your traffic, but it will let other artists know that you are a good person to connect with and collaborate with.
- Don’t treat your Twitter account as a chance to spam your followers with promotions of your own work. If you have a piece of artwork you are particularly proud of, it is okay to tweet it out more than once per day for a few days, but make sure to talk about other things as well. You really don’t want people thinking that you are treating them like mindless visitors, you want them to connect with you and your work on a higher level.
The medium that is on the verge of rendering your paper resume obsolete doesn’t seem like it lends itself to people looking to market their business, yet it is still the third-most popular social media channel amongst marketers and you don’t have to look too hard to see why. LinkedIn has made a concerted effort to court daily returning by adding groups, potential jobs, and a news feed where you can read updates about people as well as interesting news and stories from around the web. Anytime you are able to get that much daily activity on a social media platform, there are marketing opportunities to capitalize on.
- Make sure your profile is complete as possible. LinkedIn is your digital resume and the information you are presenting needs to be up to date and also complete and accurate. People may not know you on LinkedIn, but if your profile is comprehensive, they will still be able to get a sense of how talented and dedicated you are.
- You should use your LinkedIn news feed freely to promote your work, your public appearances, and shows or events. LinkedIn’s newsfeed has similar functionality but half the ambient noise, which means your posts will receive more attention and won’t get lost in the shuffle.
- When it comes to making connections, LinkedIn is in a class by itself, so recognize that and take advantage of it. Join groups of like-minded artists and don’t be afraid to connect with people who you think could help make you a better artist. While some connections may be superficial and the e-mails do get annoying, making a few connections and getting your name out there is more than worth it in the end.
It sounds funny to call blogs the old guard of social media channels but that’s exactly what they are. But, while new social media channels launch seemingly every month, blogs have staying power and have maintained their relevancy thanks to their usefulness when it comes to marketing a business or a person. Blogs are more versatile in the sense that you have more space to explain who you are and what your work is, but that much space can be dangerous if it isn’t used effectively.
- Allowing for more long-form writing, blogs allow you to tell a story about yourself. Make a new tab, and then write a 500-word biography, add pictures to illustrate the story, and really allow readers to connect with you as a person, which will be important if they are going to connect to your work.
- Use blog posts to inform readers about the creative process from start to finish. Write about how you came up with the concept, write about obstacles you overcame, and write about your thoughts on the finished product. This allows the readers to follow along and really identify with a particular piece of work.
- Use the space to collaborate with other artists. Invite them to write a guest-post; use a post to host a round-table with other artists to discuss interesting topics; maybe even start a podcast and chat with other artists. Not only will this make your blog more readable, but it will also let you network and collaborate with other, like-minded artists.
If blogs are considered the old guard of social media channels, then YouTube and some of the other social video platforms should be considered the new frontier of social media marketing. According to the study, 76 percent of marketers plan on increasing their use of video marketing in the near future, which makes sense when you consider that an estimated 161 million people visit the site each month. However, the increased YouTube marketing means that there will be more competitions for user’s time and attention, so you will need to find ways to stand out.
- If you want to market your name or business through YouTube, you need compelling videos. Make a video answering questions about your work; make a pseudo-documentary about your creative process; or tell a visually compelling story about your artwork. People will respond to video storytelling and you and your work will resonate with them as they watch.
- YouTube pages and channels all look so similar, which is why it is important to brand yours as your own. A branded experience will improve user experience, so customize your background, choose a color scheme, use a favorite work of art as your background or make a play-list of all of your most popular videos. This will not only improve visibility, but also make your YouTube page more memorable.
- Create a series to keep viewers intrigued and coming back for more. Don’t make it too complicated or in-depth otherwise it will suck all of the creative juices from you, just make a few guides to your art, or a “week in the life” set of videos. A series will give loyal viewers something to look forward to, and could help you garner buzz in an industry where buzz is difficult to achieve.
Maybe we spoke too soon when we labeled YouTube the new frontier of social media marketing because, according to the report, while Google+ remains a relatively untapped marketing landscape (only 40 percent of marketers currently use it), 70 percent of want to learn more about Google+ and 67 percent intend to increase their use of Google+ for marketing purposes. Google’s answer to Facebook hasn’t quite caught on the way they were hoping, but you would be wise never to count out the search giant when it comes to improvements.
- Like LinkedIn, you absolutely need a comprehensive and compelling profile. Everything from your profile picture to links to your websites and artwork matters, especially when it comes to drawing in potential customers or connections. Also, Google isn’t the king of search traffic for nothing, so make your Google+ profile easy to search, and people will have less trouble finding you, even if they aren’t looking.
- You will want to make good use of the “Circles” function, because it is probably the channel’s most compelling function. Google+ allows you to bucket your connections in different categories and you would be wise to create a business “circle” where you can communicate with customers, clients, and potential networking targets exclusively.
- Use all of the media they offer. One thing that makes Google+ so appealing is how seamlessly it integrates written word, videos, and images all in one profile. Your profile can become a one-stop multimedia shop to your work and your business, which means that potential customers and networking partners will have everything they need to know all in one space.