Know how to eat up the life of a professional artist? Juggling priorities, keeping up with art trends, sparking personal creativity, volunteering, chasing money, marketing your “brand,” pitching to galleries, and actually CREATING art. After all that, you might think about social media.
As a professional artist, I found that frequently I could spend only about 10% of my time creating art.
The rest was spent as described above.
At the end of the day, after you’ve manage everything else, social media seems daunting. But, even if you’ve ignored it so far, you can’t ignore it any longer. So you’ll need to take a deep breath and add it to whatever else you do to promote yourself. It costs less out-of-pocket than post cards and other methods of promoting yourself. Although realistically, since your time is a primary component of your “raw materials” it will take some time and therefore has a real cost.
Now, please don’t give me that “I’m too old to learn it” excuse. FYI – the fastest growing age group on Facebook is people 50+. And According to Branding Yourself, the average age of a Facebook user is mid-30’s. Kind of surprising, huh?
Here are 6 Social Media Tips to Advance Your Career & Connect with Prospects:
- Limit yourself to what you can keep up with. Perhaps a Facebook page, LinkedIn and Twitter is as much as you can handle. Some experts suggest a blog is essential… but you know your own capacity for writing and keeping up on non-art creating tasks. These are in addition to at a minimum a web page or website. You can see mine as an example at janemmason.com. Also consider adding yourself or your studio to Wikipedia.
- Keep it one-to-one — consider that you are having a conversation with one person, and a bunch of people are that one person. (I know it sounds weird, but that’s really what it is.) Ask your prospects, customers and peers how they want to hear from you and how often.
- Ask questions and listen. Don’t do all the talking. You don’t even have to respond to a question with an answer. Sometimes another question works best.
- Have fun with it. you can let your “real” personality come through. You want to stay professional, but you can act as you would among a group of friends who are also professional peers.
- Load images, photos, content, links, videos, retweets, “shout outs,” questions, calendar dates, columns you’ve written, openings, big successes, little successes, idle chatter (briefly), important life-changing thoughts–you get the idea–be fruitful, and your thoughts will multiply via social media. (Be cautious about loading images of your two-dimensional art to sites, whether your blog, Facebook, etc. There is so much content sharing without regard to intellectual property rights, that you are putting your images at risk whenever you put it in any format on the web. Posting to the web is forever, so think it through before you post.)
- Talk to experts. Check out sites such as Mashable.com to browse through what’s new. (You don’t have to understand it all. It just keeps you in the loop.) My new favorite book is Branding Yourself, Erik Deckers and Kyle Lacy. It’s a simple read with really great tips. If you are new to Twitter, Lacy has “25 Small Business Twitter Tips.” Simple, but on target ideas to get you started or hone “best practices.”
Have any home runs in social media you want to share with me? Let me know!