Best Practices for Blogging and Microblogging

Anyone can start a blog or a Twitter account. They are free and easy ways to start promoting yourself as an artist on social media.  However, just starting something doesn’t mean you will be successful.  In this post I will explore some best practices for both blogging and microblogging (or tweeting).  In order to cultivate and maintain success in your social media journey, keep in mind some of these simple practices.

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One of the most important aspects of a good blog is surprisingly not just the written content, but the quality of the photographs used within it.  Great photos can grab the attention of a reader far quicker and easier than even the most clever blog post titles. “This is especially true for indie artists who are relying on online product listings to make sales. If you have blurry, dark, or uninteresting images, your blog will suffer for it” (Curi, n.d.). It also helps to break up the written content within a post, providing the reader a place for their eyes to rest, making sure they are not overwhelmed by the written content. “When you need to use the images of others, be aware of copyright law and image etiquette” (Curi, n.d.).  As an artist I am sure you know how important it is to give credit where credit is due and to make sure you have permission to use someone else’s work in the first place. Always think to yourself – “What does this photograph add to the purpose of my post?”

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Another important practice to implement is consistency.  You may attract readers initially with a good post, but if you do not keep posting regular content you will most likely lose any readers that you gained in the first place.  This does not mean that you have to produce lengthly meaningful posts on a daily basis- it is best to start off a little slower and get into the routine of a posting schedule.  “Contain your off-topic posts by sticking to a weekly regimen.  You don’t have to create a different topic for every day of the week.  Try starting with one, two, or three posts per week” (Danger, n.d.).  Another helpful tip is to “map out your ideas using a weekly template or calendar.  Schedule craft blog posts for holidays, sales, craft shows, and other special events” (Danger, n.d.).  This way you are not getting off track and its easier to hold yourself accountable.  “Blog in advance.  Write multiple craft  blog posts at once, save them, and post them throughout the week.  You can also schedule your posts to post automatically” (Danger, n.d.). Hootsuite is a great and free tool to help you schedule and post things automatically to your social media accounts as well.

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Lastly, another bet practice for blogging is to be engaged with your readers.  “For beginning bloggers, getting traffic and initial interaction is the biggest first goal once you’re up and running” (Curi, n.d.).  In addition to making sure you are posting on a regular schedule to maintain your new followers, make sure to engage with those who leave you comments.  “You need to get out there and visit the blogs of others and leave meaningful comments too.  This will increase your readership in the run” (Curi, n.d.).

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Now the opposite of blogging would most likely be microblogging, or tweeting. With Twitter you are limited to 160 characters, so the content of your tweets should be of utmost importance.  “The best simplest advice I can provide is to tweet about what interests you,” says Mark Schaefer, author of The Tao of Twitter. “It helps keep it real, human, and interesting for your followers” (2014).  As a artist tweeting is a great way to promote your own art, as well as connect with other artists and professionals in your field, but the content you choose to post must be interesting and eye catching or it could simply end up being scrolled past repeatedly.  “The three tried and true sources accessible to most businesses are blog, podcasts, and videos” (Schaefer, 2014).  Using your tweets to link to interesting content outside of Twitter, like your own blog for example, is a great way to connect your social media presence together as well.

“Arguably, the inclusion of hashtags as an easy way to group tweets is the most important innovation in the history of Twitter, perhaps the history of social media” (Schaefer, 2014).  Hashtags can be extremely helpful in getting readers to notice your Twitter account.  By making sure to use relevant hashtags, people who are interested in when you are talking about can find your content more easily.  A good tip is to use more than one hashtag, and in addition to making sure they are relevant to your content, make sure they are not too vague or overused because your tweet will get lost amongst all of the others.

Social media, at the end of the day is just that – social. Twitter offers an amazing opportunity to connect with one another, however you must be wary of how you may come across.  Every day we are used to advertisements trying to sell us something, and if you treat Twitter as a traditional marketing tool you will not find it to be successful.  People are on social media platforms such as Twitter to learn something new, discover helpful solutions, be happier, healthier, and most of all express themselves as a human being. “They interact with friends and people who treat them like friends instead of ‘targets’” (Schaefer, 2014).

“Like any business relationship, friendships on the social web are built on trust, and that must be earned” (Schaefer, 2014).  Keep in mind your best practice of engaging with those who read your blog and apply those same practices here on Twitter.  Answer someone’s question, pick a follower of yours and like / reply to some of their recent tweets, offer your support of knowledge to someone looking for it.  There are plenty of quick and simple ways to increase the longevity of your followers and to create a social environment that could be beneficial to you in more than one way in the long run.

What are some best practices that you feel that an artist should employ within their social media initiative?

References:

Curi, M. (n.d.). Blogging Tips for Indie Artists. Retrieved March 09, 2017, from http://www.indiemade.com/blog/blogging-tips-indie-artists

Danger, P. (n.d.). Artist Blog Tips: Sticking to a Steady Blogging Schedule. Retrieved March 09, 2017, from http://www.indiemade.com/resource/artist-blog-tips-sticking-steady-blogging-schedule

Schaefer, M. (2014). The Tao of Twitter: changing your life and business 140 characters at a time. New York: McGraw-Hill Education.

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Social Media Application within the Artistic Community

Traditionally when one thinks about an artist and their artistic process they picture someone in the process of creation in solitude, or working in a community of other artists like a shared studio space.  While “‘creativity is stimulated differently for different people” for some “it is the social aspects of creativity that assist them in feeling inspired and creating new work” (Budge, 2013).  Of course, this can be achieved in a traditional sense, but now with the advancement of social media, it has provided artist’s a whole new way to reach public audiences, and connect with other like-minded creatives for support, critic, and collaboration.  No longer does an artist have to push themselves into a local scene to be successful in enhancing and supplementing their creative processes as social media allows these connections to happen organically with individuals  both near and far.  “Now millions of nimble cultural entrepreneurs come together online to hone their craft, exchange ideas, fine-tune their content, and compete to produce hits” (Holt, 2016).

Many artists use social media by ways of “communicating and documenting practice, interaction with other artists and designers, self-education, and as a means for inspiration and motivation” (Budge, 2013).  However, the possibilities do not end there!  A lot of artists also rely on social media to create a brand for themselves in the public eye across multiple platforms.  This can bring their work in front of new audiences and art world professionals which can aid in the success of an artist looking for recognition in the art world, when done right.

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Retrieved from: StockSnap.io

Some popular social media platforms that artists use were mentioned in my previous post, Social Media for Artists, include Instagram, Facebook, and Flickr.  Other popular applications include Pinterest, Twitter, and blogging websites like Tumblr and WordPress.

Where blogging is considered “ one of the best ways to get your art or gallery found by the search engines and provides excellent content to fuel your other social marketing activities” (Black, 2012) I feel as though it is one that is not used to it fullest potential as often as other social media platforms.  “In the studio, Twitter has become a quick way to document practice in progress and seek feedback and clarification from others about any number of art related topics without having to devote the kind of time required to writing a full blog post” (Budge, 2013).  Blogging does take more time to do than other applications such as Twitter, and if you do not take the extra time to update it regularly with interesting updates and content, one’s blog can quickly become obsolete.  The same rule of thumb should also apply to other social media applications as well.

“In social media, if you are wasting my time, not teaching me something new or alerting me to something of interest within the art field, then you are not a valuable or an interesting connection” (Top 10 Reasons Why Artists Fail with Social Media, n.d.).  We live in a fast paced digital world and the unfollow button is just a click away.  It doesn’t do any good to have profiles on every social media website and application without the discipline to use them consistently while simultaneously producing interesting content which inspires communication and interaction.

What are some practices that you employ to keep on top of your artistic / professional social media presence?

References:

Black, L. M. (2012, November 05). 6 Social Media Tips for Artists and Gallery Owners. Retrieved February 19, 2017, from https://www.americanexpress.com/us/small-business/openforum/articles/6-social-media-tips-for-artists-and-gallery-owners/ 

Budge, K. (2013). Virtual Studio Practices: Visual Artists, Social Media and Creativity. Journal Of Science And Technology Of The Arts, Vol 5, Iss 1, Pp 15-23 (2013), (1), 15. doi:10.7559/citarj.v5i1.84

Holt, D. (2016, June, 09). Branding in the Age of Social Media. Retrieved February 19, 2017, from https://hbr.org/2016/03/branding-in-the-age-of-social-media

Top 10 Reasons Why Artists Fail with Social Media. (n.d.). Retrieved February 19, 2017, from https://www.lightspacetime.com/top-10-reasons-why-artists-fail-with-social-media/