Expand Your Audience through Online Groups
Many artists rely solely on their core group of fans and followers on Google+, Facebook or LinkedIn and other social media sites. They repeatedly send the same message to the same limited audience. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but when it’s the only way they use social media they are ignoring the enormous potential to reach thousands of new customers and contacts.
Consider joining one or more important groups that share your customer demographics or market niche. For example, if your art work focuses on wildlife and that is your passion you will find kindred spirits among members of various wildlife groups, such as the Wildlife Society group on LinkedIn. Here you will meet and exchange ideas with managers, researchers, conservation practitioners, policy makers, authors and other wildlife aficionados and experts.
After you become a member of a group I recommend that you comment regularly in the group discussions and also start your own topics sharing links to your art work. This practice will help you connect with others who share your interests, increase traffic to your website, and build rewarding connections and opportunities.
Here’s another tip: Whenever I post an article I have written about one of my artist clients on one of my blogs I share it on my page on LinkedIn. I also share it in a few other groups I belong to, including Art Collectors, a group with more than 13,000 members. As a result of posting my links in this group I have attracted the attention of many other members including some high end collectors and curators.
So, I suggest, the next time you post an update in social media take a few more seconds and share it on the group pages. If you post an interesting topic people will become curious about you and your artwork. It may also spark conversation and increase your visibility exponentially.
Look for forums that are best suited to your strengths and goals. For example, Thomas Hodges Artist, Curator, Art Journalist, Educator and Executive Producer (Motion Pictures), recently started a discussion in the Art Collectors group related to Fine Art Photography vs. Commercial Photography. Here’s an opportunity to share your strong opinion on this subject and also to connect with Hodges. Another discussion that I started in the Manhattan Arts International group to encourage artists to share and promote their creative passion is: When did you first realize you wanted to become an artist?
Provide Value to Others in Your Posts
The same way our art work reflects a lot about our persona, the manner in which we communicate publicly also reflects a lot about us. I’m sure you’ve read posts from artists whose personalities are magnetic. You may have even envied the powerful way they project their style and brand.
On the contrary there are artists who represent themselves very poorly. For example, there are many artists on Twitter and Facebook who only post complaints or comments about themselves.
My advice is if you want to be an artist people want to know approach social media from the desire to share and contribute. Reveal your sense of humor, intelligence and positive attitude. Share a positive quote, an important news story or art resource. Put some thought into your actions before you type a post and a link. Make a point to provide something of value to the reader.
Avoid writing such posts as:
“See my new art work…”
“Take my workshop…”
“Help me get more votes…”
Remember, it’s not about you; it’s about what you offer to others. With that in mind, better posts are:
“The grandeur of the Himalayas inspired this new piece…”
“Learn how to take your photography skills to a higher level in my workshop…”
The good thing is strong and effective social media communication skills can be learned. If you feel awkward at first spend some time observing other artists’ comments — especially those who have acquired numerous followers based on content not because they paid for them. You’ll be surprised how much you’ll learn from the way they interact with others.
Turn One Casual Connection into Real-Life Relationships
We often get so caught up in throwing out messages in social media that we forget the value of building real-life relationships. I recommend you begin today by reaching out to at least one person and take the Internet connection to a higher level.
Select someone who has expressed interest in your art work and/or many of your comments or an individual who frequently shares your point of view. Send them a direct message or an email with a note of thanks and suggest a quick phone chat. Express interest in taking the conversation further. If you live near them, you may suggest you meet at a gallery, museum or your studio.
When you speak to your contact I want to emphasize this: Frame the conversation around what you can do for them — not what they can do for you.
This will place you among the minority of people today who reach out to others in this manner and your gesture will be appreciated.
As a result of practicing this idea regularly I have developed professional relationships with many outstanding artists, curators, gallery owners, and more. A few have continued to become members of our advisory board, guest bloggers, and jurors of our competitions. And, many of these relationships began with a Tweet, post, or comment.
At the end of the day, success in life and business depends on how well you initiate and nurture your relationships. When you apply professional social skills with a spirit of generosity and professionalism you will add more value to your life and career.
Renée Phillips, is founder and director of Manhattan Arts International http://www.manhattanarts.com and http://www.manhattanartsblog.com, where she runs a curated Featured Artists Program and Artist Showcase gallery to promote artistic excellence. She also writes art business articles on http://www.Renee-Phillips.com.