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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Instagram – A Quick Ride to the Top

Instagram is a social media application which focuses on imagery and video.  It was created back in 2010 and it’s popularity immediately took off. Today Instagram is a global community of more than 500 million who share more than 95 million photos every day (About, n.d.).  In my previous post I touched upon some of benefits which artists could reap from considering Instagram a marketing tool.  In reality, anyone can use their Instagram to promote themselves, their business, their work, or their beliefs.  Because of the sheer amount of users on Instagram it provides a huge opportunity to get one’s work in front of many eyes it may never otherwise have gotten to reach.  Instagram’s track record is one that is quite remarkable, and they only continue to improve and grow each day, which in the long run is a great benefit to the user.

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Within the first 24 hours of Instagram being released they obtain around 25,000 new users. Within the following nine months, their users had reached around 7 million “including influential tech-loving celebrities like Justin Bieber and Ryan Seacrest, and “to instagram” became its own verb in the tech world vernacular” (Roberts, 2014). In just under two years of Instagram being introduced, the application caught the attention of the creator of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg. He decided to “shell out nearly $1 billion in 2012” to buy the photo sharing social media application which “had just 30 million users” at the time (Chaykowski, 2016). “In the four years since the purchase, Instagram has become one of the fastest-growing platforms of all time, with about as many users as Twitter (310 million), Snapchat (100-million-plus) and Pinterest (100 million) combined” (Chaykowski, 2016).

Today, Instagram is a global network which continues to grow at a rapid pace. It makes sense to be a part of this community which gets “dramatically more engagement than Facebook and Twitter – by an order of magnitude” (Grizzell, 2015).  In order to keep track of your personal success with using Instagram, there are many third party, free websites that can offer an array of engagement metrics, including most engaging tags, the best day and time to post, most popular location, top filter, and even highest engagement on sites outside Instagram.  Some of the most popular Instagram analysis tools include Simply Measured, Squarelovin, and Iconosquare.

I am curious how others use Instagram to promote themselves or their brand, and if you have experience with any of the analytic tools mentioned above?

References:

About (n.d.). About Instagram. Retrieved on February 26, 2017 from https://www.instagram.com/about/us/

Chaykowski, K. (2016). INSTAGRAM’S BIG PICTURE. (cover story). Forbes, 198(2), 62-69.

Grizzell, N. (2015, November 19). Not Using Instagram? Here Are 6 Reasons Why That’s Silly. Retrieved from https://www.agorapulse.com/blog/6-reasons-instagram-social-media-budget

Roberts, D. (2014, October 14). How Kevin Systrom of Instagram got his start | Fortune.com. Retrieved from http://fortune.com/2014/10/10/how-kevin-systrom-got-started/