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.

The Risks of Being an Artist on Social Media

As an artist you have many choices to make, and one of them is whether or not to bring your brand social.  In the past, artists did not have the benefit of social media to help assist them in the promotion of their work.  They had to rely on traditional routes such as portfolio building and sending which is not only very time consuming but also very costly.  With social media being very prevalent today, it makes sense that as an artist or creative that you would be utilizing these free applications as marketing and promotional tools.

There are many benefits to taking your brand social as an artist.  By utilizing social media your work may be exposed to many people who might not otherwise have had the chance to view it.  This includes potential buyers, patrons, and new fans.  You may think that going social would be a no-brainer for an artist creating work in 2017, but along with the many benefits of social media also are risks that must be considered.

“People develop ideas and understandings of society, culture, and history through their interactions with and analysis of art” (Fusaro, 2016).  Art has always been an important part of society, and with today’s digital age, one that is not physically encountered with often enough.

“Cultural products are rich in symbolic meaning that consumers use to construct, sustain, and enact identity” (Colbert, St-James, 2014).  A community that readily has access to this kind of humanity may be better off in the long run as the younger generation may have the opportunity to grow up with a broader sense of self and the world around them.   “Individual aesthetic and empathetic awareness developed through engagement with art can lead to understanding and appreciation of self, others, the natural world, and constructed environments” (Fusaro, 2016).  However, when viewing a work of art online versus in person, the experience and intention of the artist may be lost.  Art is an experience, and part of that experience is having the ability to inhabit the same space in which the art exists.

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Photo from pexels.com

Another risk that one takes when bringing their work social would be running the risk of being copied.  It is highly unlikely that somebody with the intention of ripping off another’s artistic work would decide to do so after encountering the work within a museum or gallery setting.  Being online offers the veil of anonymity.  The internet can be a fleeting place, and there may even be chance that someone could copy your work unintentionally not remembering that they have seen something like it online.

In the long run, there are always risks that one takes when using social media whether it be for personal or promotional use.  The best way to determine if it will be the correct move for you is to identify what you want to accomplish with bringing your brand social, acknowledging the risks, and doing all that you can to monitor and reduce them.

As an artist, why or why do you not promote your artwork through social media?

References:

Colbert, F., & St-James, Y. (2014). Research in Arts Marketing: Evolution and Future Directions. Psychology & Marketing, 31(8), 566-575. doi:10.1002/mar.20718

Fusaro, J. j. (2016). When Worlds Collide: Artists, Teachers, and Learners as Contemporary Community. Art Education, 69(2), 52-60.