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.

man-camera-taking-photo-photographer

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?”

pexels-photo-196650

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.

man-coffee-cup-pen

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.).

pexels-photo-59087

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.

Advertisements

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.

pexels-photo-271558

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.

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.

h5y00d4oft

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/

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.

u6iok6787i

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/

Social Media Tools for Artists

It is 2017 and social media is a part of our everyday lives.  People use social media not only to connect with friends and family but also to make new connections.  It is especially helpful for artists who utilize it to help expose their work to the public and create a fan base.  There are many social media tools available today that artists can use to their advantage including social mobile applications such as Instagram, and social websites such as Facebook, and Flickr.

Flickr is an online photo managing and sharing application which was introduced back in 2004 and was readily bought by Yahoo in 2005. As of last year the popular website was purchased from Yahoo by Verizon (Zhang, 2016).  According to their website, they have two main goals: “To help people make their photos available to the people who matter to them” and to “enable new ways of organizing photos and videos” ( About, n.d.). 

Having a background, and now a BFA, in photography myself I started using Flickr shortly after Yahoo purchased it in 2005 to share my amateur photographs taken on my 5 megapixel digital camera.  It was great to have a place to organize and display my photographs in an online format.  It made it very easy to view my photographs at different sizes, organize them into curated albums, host them for sharing on other platforms, share them with friends and family, and most memorable of all making new connections.  Being a part of the Flickr community gave me the motivation and validation I needed to continue pursuing photography as my passion.  As the years progressed many new social media tools have been developed, but Flickr still remains  true to their two main goals and is great place to share and store visual work.

Another great tool to help get your artwork in front of an audience is Facebook. Facebook has around 1.3 billion users today and the option to utilize your Facebook profile to set up a separate artist/business page is a great social media option for promotion.  Many artists already have Facebook pages set up to help promote their work.  It is one of the most simple social media profiles to set up, but often one of the hardest ones to maintain.  For those familiar with Facebook it is important to have direct eye catching content posted regularly to keep your audience engaged.  It is not simply sharing images but sharing a little bit about yourself and your interests so that potential fans learn to “care about you as an artist, as well as the works that you create” (5 Steps to Promoting Your Art on Facebook, 2014).

Instagram is the first tool to come to mind when thinking about social media tools for artists.  This public and private photo sharing social media application was created back in 2010 as a free mobile application but has since gained immense popularity.  Today Instagram has around 600 million regular users and 400 million daily active users (Smith, 2017). “If you think about the audience you could potentially reach through the Internet versus your art show, you will realize just how important Instagram is to grow your art” (How to Promote Your Art on Instagram, 2016).

Posting an image on Instagram gives you the option to post it on multiple platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and Flickr simultaneously.  The accessibility that this application has only continues to expand and artists are starting to regularly sell their work directly off of their Instagram accounts.  In fact back in 2014 Vogue published an article titled “Why the World’s Most Talked-About New Art Dealer Is Instagram” which touched upon how the platform “is not only launching the career of under-the-radar artists,” but how “it is providing the world with an entirely new way to access art” (Fleming, 2014).

There are many social media tools available in today’s day and age that will help promote the work of upcoming artists.  The ones discussed above are examples that have grown in popularity over the last decade or so but have still remained popular and relevant today, in 2017.  The key to benefiting from social media tools such as Instagram, Facebook, and Flickr is to be engaged within the platform and the community that surrounds it.  In future posts, we will take a look at how successful artists are that utilize social media to the best of their abilities.

As an artist, what are your favorite social media platforms?

– Natasha

References

5 Steps to Promoting Your Art on Facebook. (2014, October 31). Retrieved February 12, 2017, from http://www.agora-gallery.com/advice/blog/2014/10/31/promoting-your-art-on-facebook/

About. (n.d.) Retrieved February 12, 2017, from https://www.flickr.com/about

How to Promote Your Art on Instagram. ( 2016, April 5). Retrieved February 12, 2017, from http://www.agora-gallery.com/advice/blog/2016/04/05/promote-art-instagram/

Fleming, O. (2014, May 13). Why the World’s Most Talked-About New Art Dealer Is Instagram. Retrieved February 12, 2017, from http://www.vogue.com/article/buying-and-selling-art-on-instagram

Smith, C. (2017, February 10). By the Numbers: 220+ Interesting Instagram Statistics. Retrieved February 12, 2017, from http://expandedramblings.com/index.php/important-instagram-stats/

Zhang, M. (2016, July 25). Verizon to Own Flickr via $4.8B Yahoo Acquisition. Retrieved February 12, 2017, from https://petapixel.com/2016/07/25/verizon-flickr-via-4-8b-yahoo-acquisition/