10 Social Media Tips for Artists
By Compiled by Millie Ross – 27.01.2012
So while most everyone is already on Facebook, and many are tentatively testing the Twitter waters, we thought it worth starting the year with some positive tips from the arts professionals who are using the feed to the best of its ability.
The Importance of a mailing list
Rosalind Davis - Artist and Curator
The importance of a mailing list to keep your career moving forward is essential. You cannot wait for people to discover you and you also need to keep in touch with those who do know about you. At exhibitions etc have a paper mailing list people can sign up to and build one into your website. You can use easy web programmes and create e-bulletin templates to send updates about forthcoming exhibitions and open studios etc that integrate into social media. E-bulletins are much better visually than a normal email with an attachment and can be personalised. People want to see the work as soon as they open your email, to be excited or intrigued. Within ebulletin programmes you can also create different mailing lists and send out variations of an email. For example, I have my collectors separate from my general mailing list so I can send them specific offers and in doing so nurture a good relationship. I recommend Mailchimp or YMLP. They also give you html coding to build mailing list sign ups that you can integrate into your website.
Make your content interesting
Nicola Anthony - Artist
Make your content interesting, (i.e not about what you had for dinner). This could mean sharing your inspirations, images of your work, exhibition reviews, or insight into the creative process. One of the key things I've learned as an artist is that people don't often have a chance to see inside the artistic mind or the creative process - so sharing yours is extremely valuable to your social media 'audience', even though it seems mundane to you!
Develop your own voice
Becky Hunter - Rebecca Projects
Be yourself. Sounds corny, I know, but it's the best social networking advice I have! Develop your own voice. Blog about what makes you tick, whether that's campaigning for better artistic working conditions and fair pay, or meditating on modernist painting theory (not what you had for breakfast). If you feel like you have to invent a personality for the web you'll quickly get burnt out, so just be you. Great examples of unique online voices are Rosalind Davis, Anthony Boswell, and Emily Speed.
Use Plugins to automate social media activity around your blog posts
If you're a blogger with limited time, automate social media activity around your blog posts. Many website plugins will broadcast links to your latest blog posts via Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, and any other network you're a member of, without you having to lift a finger. For example, TwitterTools integrates Twitter with most blogs; and these plugins hook up your Wordpress blog to Google+. To find the right plugin for you, search for "[my blogging platform] [my social media platform] plugin".
Engage regularly and interact with other people
Crystal Bennes - Curator, SALON (LONDON)
Join Twitter! Or, if you're already signed up follow random people you like the look of as well as "industry people" (everyone is on Twitter!). Don't just self promote when you've got a show on. Engage regularly and interact with other people - have arguments about arts funding and the Damian Hirst overload or talk about which recent shows you've seen and loved. Twitter is a surprisingly brilliant way to meet new and interesting people (I've met a lot of fantastic artists and curators in the past year alone) or find out about residencies and other opportunities. Don't forget to say hello - @crystalbennes.
Holly Willats - Art Licks
I’m going to focus on Twitter as I find Facebook is easier to grasp. I am by no means claiming to have an overwhelming knowledge of twitter – so my tip is for the ‘beginner’ user: RETWEET! Not only does this mean you can save on thinking of endless witticisms, it also flatters the person who originally came up with the clever comment. But main benefit is that it works wonders for increasing both their and your following and shows that you are listening to what others have to say, that you’re making connections with other people, exploring different points of view and ideas, and not just channelling out your own voice. Retweet as much as you tweet.
Use lists to create categories of artists and organisations
Dave Charlesworth - jotta curator
If you are interested in using Twitter as an additional resource for your practice then it is useful to be organised when it comes to your followers, use the list tool to divide the people you follow into different categories. Being able to see timelines for artists, writers, galleries and friends separately is very useful because it is very easy to miss interesting posts on your main timeline if you follow many people. This way you won't miss something important in a sea of Xfactor tweets.
Get savvy with hot-topics on Twitter
Richard Taylor -editor of a-n online degrees unedited
Talk about your work, and get yourself a hootsuite.com account to maximise your posted updates about your blogs and websites by appearing on chosen Facebook walls and pages as well as Twitter accounts with one click. Get savvy with hot-topics on Twitter too, take note of hash tags and who's hash-tagging what to appear in more places...
Facebook events are a handy tool
[Jane Trustram, jotta design director
Most people are on Facebook and more than familiar with the format. One thing many arts organisations and individuals use it for is events listings. Creating an event can help to spread the word, leading like-minded people and their extended networks to information about you and your event or exhibition. It also means that if people RSVP to your event they are making a semi-commitment, and you can then post updates and reminders to them via the event.
Lucy Bannister - Axis online editor
You don't need to read everything and follow everyone. Dip in and out, use hashtags (#) to search for topics and trends, and don't stress about it!