EBSQ Live Studio – Social Media for Artists

This demonstration was originally presented by Amanda Makpeace on 17 May 2010.

Good evening everyone. Thank you so much for attending Social Media, the Artist and Marketing. I’m going to start things off by defining the term social media. Most often when we hear the word social media the first sites that come to mind are Facebook and Twitter, but social media is any site that allows you to share information and interact with other people via the internet. Sharing and interacting—these are the two main aspects. Yes Facebook and Twitter apply, but so too do Blogs, YouTube, StumbleUpon, LinkedIn, Flickr, Digg and many more.

One of the best things you can do is explore social media sites. Chances are not all of them will work for you, nor do you have the time to utilize each and every one. The following link is a listing of the top 25 social media sites, along with marketing tips for each.

Top 25 Social Media Sites

When I began using social media sites several years ago I tried dozens of different platforms, but now I only use a handful. Here are my tops sites for interaction:

Twitter

DeviantArt

My Blog

StumbleUpon

Facebook

Flickr

Here are some of my recent experiences on Twitter:

Example 1: I love sci-fi/horror movies and books. I began reading Stephen King when I was 13 years old. This isn’t just something I’m interested in, it’s something I know. I follow many aspiring writers and published authors on twitter, and in turn quite a few follow me and they’ve also made purchases from my Etsy shop.

Example 2: Many of you know about my One Pebble Project? Well just last week bestselling author, Kat Richardson (who I follow and she follows me) caught wind of my tweet and went crazy sharing it with all of her friends. We bantered back and forth for a good 15 minutes. Okay yes, this was a lot of fun especially since she is one of my favorite authors, but it also spread my name and ultimately my art to the 1,117 people who follow her tweets.

Example 3: I entered a contest on a blog a few weeks ago and the blogger clicked on my profile to see who I was, and ultimately ended up at my Etsy shop. Within a matter of days she commissioned a painting!

Maybe I’m lucky, but I don’t think so. I think if you want to generate sales from social media marketing you have to interact with people and build relationships.

I’ve seen direct sales from Twitter, so I put most of my time and energy into using my tweets as a marketing tool. Twitter may not be that site for you. Maybe instead Facebook is where you generate the most interest or even YouTube. The key is to find which one works and put your energy into it, instead of spreading yourself to thin.

Here are some good and not so good practices. You can use these rules of thumb, in some form or another, on any social media site.

Good Practices

Give to Get – Successful social media marketing programs involve listening and participation. That participation centers around giving value before expecting anything in return.

Putting in the Time – Yes, social media marketing can be time-consuming, but if you choose the best times to participate you can plan and use your time wisely. There are also tools you can use so you aren’t spending all day on the computer.

You want to facilitate sales, not attempt to make sales directly. – This is probably the most important practice of all. People following you naturally become acquainted with what you do, and as you participate in the conversations and build interconnected followers sales can and do happen.

Think outside your product. – If you have interests outside your own art, and most of us do, share them! 1. You will gain new followers/friends who will then discover your art and 2. It makes you a “real” person who is interesting and not one-sided. Also, seek out people with those interests and follow them!

Bad Practices

Being fake, in any way. – This is self-explanatory. Nobody likes a fake.

Not listening.- If you aren’t listening you may miss opportunities to incorporate your product into a conversation, etc.

Being oblivious to formal & unwritten social rules – It’s good to do a certain amount of lurking to see what is socially accepted for a particular social media site.

Being pushy or overtly sales-y in messaging – If all you do is post links to your product people will ignore you.

Cautionary Practices

Be careful sharing your political and religious views. – Unless they pertain directly to your arts theme/subject. We’ve all seen the discussions that can turn ugly, this would be disastrous to your online image.

Be careful expressing anger or upset over an event/person. – This can work for you or against you. Last year I witnessed author, Alice Hoffman have a complete meltdown on twitter over a bad review. The backlash at her behavior forced her to leave Twitter, but not before her account was suspended.

Tools of the Trade for Twitter and Facebook

Twitterfeed – This site allows you to take any RSS feed and share it on Facebook and Twitter. I use it to share the images I “Stumble” but I could also use it to share new items I list on Etsy too.

Feedburner – You can also use Feedburner to share your latest blog posts on twitter, which means less time you spend on twitter! I like Feedburner for my blog because it has more customizable options.

TweetDeck – The newest version of TweetDeck allows you to simultaneously post to both Twitter and Facebook or separately. TweetDeck works on Windows, Mac and Linux, as well as iPhone and iPad and an Android application in the works.

TweetDeck also allows you to schedule tweets. This comes in handy if you have a busy day ahead of you but don’t want to leave your followers in silence.

Also, artist Lori Mcnee has an excellent article on her blog, Lori Mcnee: Fine Art and Tips, about branding yourself as an artist.

Lastly, I want to say just a few things about blogging. You don’t hear much about blogs as a social media tool, but they do fall into this category. Blog posts can be shared across a myriad of social networking sites with the click of a button. But guess what, nobody is reading your blog because of your art. If you want to know why, this recent post on Gapingvoid.com explains it in an easy to understand way.

And I am going to leave it there. I hope you find the information in this presentation useful. – Amanda Makepeace

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  1. #1 by Sherry K. on June 28, 2010 - 11:54 pm

    Great job Amanda…I posted you on my blog with a link to the transcript/presentation here.

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