6 easy steps to Social Networking Success

Step 6: Take the long-term view, measure success, stay positive and have fun.

by Susan Mumford

This is the final post in a 6-part series on social networking written for South London Women Artists. Today, we find out how taking the long-term view, measuring success, being positive and having fun are all essential components for social media success.

Think about how networking works. It’s an activity that goes in both directions; you help others, and they help you. 

 

Take the long-term view

If you were to only post self-promotional updates, people wouldn’t be very interested in following you, let alone actively helping you. On the other hand, if you have made an effort to repost, retweet, and otherwise broadcast the details for other people’s exhibitions and opportunities, they will be minded to return the favour. I consider the desire to return favours to be a natural human compulsion. The activity of engaging with others (as covered in this previous blog) is how you build an online community – and it takes time to achieve. As tempting as it is to only be active when you have an opportunity or upcoming event, it simply doesn’t work.

By spending just 10 minutes a day on whichever social media platforms you have decided to use (remembering the importance of focusing on two platforms and doing them well) and ensuring that you build trust, you will find that when you start to promote events, your peers help too. Taking this long-term perspective is vital. 

 

How do you know if social media is working, anyway?

You can easily monitor the impact of social media campaigns, which is something that too few people do. I’ve heard many artists say, “I do social media, but don’t know if it has any impact.”

By checking website analytics (you can use Google analytics, a smartphone app such as fast analytics and others), you can see how many visitors have come from the various social networking sites. This enables you to see what is working - and what isn’t.

You can also set up an account with bit.ly which provides shortened links for sharing blogs, emails and other links in social media updates. You can then monitor the analytics of each link shared. For instance, I can see that in a recent bit.ly link I created, it was clicked and retweeted on Twitter, clicked on Facebook, clicked in emails, and that those clicks came from four different countries, with 90% being the UK.

It can also be as easy as watching the number of page views on a newly published blog. I have personally witnessed page views treble within minutes of posting a link on Twitter and Facebook.

 

What impact does attitude have on social media?

A lot. I have heard people discuss this point at events, and have read articles and social media updates about it.

While it is important provide genuine content, remember that what you post is public and will make an impact on the people who read what you say. If you are negative in attitude and messages, it will result in people doubting your professionalism and not being so interested in following your updates. Accordingly, it is best to keep negativity as private information, and share the fun stuff with followers. Moreover, positivity helps you enjoy social networking all the more, too.

 

What now?

Enjoy investing a little time most days on social media. Building your online presence and community is a great step towards achieving your long-term career in the arts.

 

Susan on red sofa at One Alfred Place 2011 - low res

Susan Mumford is an entrepreneur in the art world. As Founder of Be Smart About Art, she is passionate about helping art professionals enjoy a successful career doing what they love. Based in London, she works with artists, gallerists and art professionals from all over the world.

“Art is your life. Make it your living.” www.besmartaboutart.com

6 easy steps to Social Networking Success

Step 5: Engage with others who share your values, and everyone benefits.

by Susan Mumford

This is the fifth post in a 6-part blog series on social networking, written for South London Women Artists (SLWA). Today, we look at how growing your art practice with social media is not a solitary activity, but one that you develop in collaboration with online peers. 

 

 

How does engaging with others work in principle?

Say for example that you send a tweet or create a post on your Facebook page. A limited number of people, who are by and large your dedicated, existing followers, will see the message. A small number of those individuals will take action and click the link.

Consider what happens when someone likes or shares the message on their personal or professional page…

On Facebook, posts on professional pages that contain a link or image have restricted visibility unless you pay to promote them – that is, unless they are ‘liked’ and/or ‘shared’. Recently on Be Smart About Art’s Facebook page, which is ‘liked’ by 1,763 people, a post of an article had 1 ‘like’ and was seen only 39 times. That works out to only 2.2% of the people who ‘like’ the page actually seeing the post. Whereas, an article that was ‘liked’ by 4 people and was ‘shared’ once was seen an astounding 658 times.

Significantly, the latter post had 17 times the amount of visibility of the former. Furthermore, the additional 619 views would have been largely to new individuals, as such views are by and large the friends and fans of the people and organisations who liked and shared the post. In other words, the vast majority of additional views are people who haven’t yet ‘liked’ your page – who might do so once they see the interesting article you shared.

And as for Twitter, retweeting quality posts makes your own shared content more interesting to existing followers, individuals and organisations whose posts you retweet take notice of you being an active supporter (they will be keen to return the favour) and you and fellow tweeps significantly generally increase one another’s visibility by sharing each other’s messages.

What other ways can you engage with social media peers?

There are many ways to publicly thank the efforts of social networking buddies, an act that further raises their visibility to your existing audience. On Twitter, consider sending a #ff Follow Friday message. This is a popular weekly event in which you #ff tweeps who you recommend others follow. For example:

#ff @SLWArtists @besmartaboutart

Not only will this likely get those recommended tweeps new followers, they will often retweet the message. And this further raises your noticeability to their followers.

With Pinterest, you can link to fellow pinners’ websites and boards. On Facebook, liking other Pages as your Professional Page will display those pages on your own profile – giving your stamp of credibility and sharing the love for your social media buddies.

How on earth is it possible to keep up to date with social media peers?

Once you get to know and like the posts of certain individuals and organisations, you’ll want to keep an eye out for their new posts. An effective way to not miss messages on Twitter is to put individuals and organisations whose messages you want to see in ‘lists’.  My general rule of thumb is that if I follow someone, I immediately add them to one of my lists. 

Pinterest enables you to follow pinners’ individual boards (rather than just the pinner as a whole), so you can keep up to date with the boards that are of interest and relevance.

And in general, you can utilise mobile apps to check various social media platforms when you are out and about and have a few minutes to spare.

What to do now?

Start making an active effort to promote and follow the activities of social media peers. Remember that everyone wins, and everyone’s practices gain visibility and grow as a result. It’s a win-win situation that makes all the difference in social networking. 

 

Susan on red sofa at One Alfred Place 2011 - low res

Susan Mumford is an entrepreneur in the art world. As Founder of Be Smart About Art, she is passionate about helping art professionals enjoy a successful career doing what they love. Based in London, she works with artists, gallerists and art professionals from all over the world.

“Art is your life. Make it your living.” www.besmartaboutart.com

6 easy steps to Social Networking Success

Step 4: Create credibility-building social media campaigns in which you consistently have a presence, no matter if you are online or not. 

by Susan Mumford

 

This is the fourth post in a 6-part blog series on social networking, written for South London Women Artists (SLWA). Today, we consider how to have a consistent social media presence, even when you don’t have enough time to get online every day.

Think about these two questions:

What is your niche area of expertise in your practice? Portrait painting, for instance.

What are you regularly in the know about? This could be exhibition openings and events, which make for excellent news.

Wherever your expertise lies, industry-specific knowledge is an excellent thing to share with followers. You demonstrate professionalism by actively updating social networking platforms on which you have a public profile. (Remember that if you don’t use it, then it’s better to lose it.)  

And here’s the trick – you can schedule updates in advance, so that even if you can’t spare the time to engage with social networking on a daily basis, you can at least maintain basic presence.

 

How does scheduling social media posts work in practice?

Download a third-party social media application such as Hootsuite, Tweetdeck, or BufferApp. Brainstorm the type of tips and insider knowledge you could share. Prepare a list of updates, and then schedule when they should go out. A good starting point is one a day.

You might even want to mix and match the types of updates. For example, you can provide essential knowledge about portrait painting techniques, interspersed with recommendations on shows to see.

 

Is sending a daily post enough?

In short, no – at least, not most of the time. Your scheduled daily post is a specific social media campaign that forms part of your overall social networking strategy. This consistent reminder of your know-how not only builds others’ confidence in your credibility as an expert, it also gives you presence when you are away on holiday, are unexpectedly dealing with something personal, or are simply too busy.

In addition to scheduled messages, send ‘organic’ updates throughout the days and weeks. These are of-the-moment and document any variety of your day to day activities and discoveries. Display images of works in progress, exhibitions being hung, events attended, scenes that inspire you, retweets (more on this in next month’s blog), etcetera.

 

How often should new posts be published, anyway?

For Twitter and Facebook, there really is no “should” or “shouldn’t” on frequency, so long as you are consistently sending the daily message, with additional updates on most other days.

The fuller answer largely depends on how much you are using social networking to help build your art business. It is certainly acceptable to send up to 3 updates a day on any social media platform. And when it comes to Twitter, you can send as many as you fancy, with many ‘tweeps’ sending as many as ten or more a day. Bear in mind that when people follow thousands of other people, you need to tweet a lot to be noticed in the first place.

 

What to do now?

In order to start your planned social media campaign, do two things:

1. Make a plan for when you will regularly sit down to devise new updates.

2. Record posts from the ongoing social media campaign a single document for future use, so that you know what has already been sent.

Personally, I find that idle time on public transportation is a perfect opportunity to brainstorm ideas and schedule future messages.

Susan on red sofa at One Alfred Place 2011 - low res

 

Susan Mumford is an entrepreneur in the art world. As Founder of Be Smart About Art, she is passionate about helping art professionals enjoy a successful career doing what they love. Based in London, she works with artists, gallerists and art professionals from all over the world.

“Art is your life. Make it your living.” www.besmartaboutart.com

 

6 easy steps to Social Networking Success

Step 3: It’s all about giving

by Susan Mumford

This is the third post in a 6-part blog series on social networking, written for South London Women Artists (SLWA). Today, we look at a key principle in using social media: focusing on giving and sharing.

 

What should – and can, an artist post and tweet?

I am frequently asked this question.

People enjoy learning about art and attending exhibitions. It’s a mysterious world to those outside it. Creative practitioners have so much to say! You hold a wealth of knowledge and will develop a following… providing you are not overly self-promotional.

 

Why is it so important to not be overly self-promotional?

Generally speaking, only one in every ten posts should be strictly self-promotional. The rest of the time, there is plenty to do. Share images of new works of art and series being developed, recommend shows to attend, share advice on creating and collecting art and re-share other people’s posts and links.

The focus on social networking is to regularly give, connect – and promote peers in your social media network. After you have developed a dedicated fan base, they will then know, trust and like you, and will therefore be interested to find out about your own events. At that point you will succeed in converting followers into clients.

 

Think about this question: Who do you enjoy following?

Do you like to keep up to date with someone who is constantly selling selling selling? Or someone sharing studio insight with images of works in progress?

 

Consider this sequence of three updates:

  •      TODAY ONLY ... my 2" Hammered Brass Goddess Earrings are only $25 (reg. $45). inbox to order.
  •      (10) One-of-kind Blue Moon earrings with Painted coconut beads Approx. 1.5" $125
  •      NO 1. Organic Shaped Bronze and Gold Seed Bead Earrings approx 2" on hammered brass (Available in Lapis Blue, Red, Peacock, Turquoise, black and more) $150

Versus these three updates:

  •     Hung today: 66 Sketchbook pages, 24 drawings, and 30 paintings--it's been a full day! 
  •     1st finished small painting from last week's progress: Fruit de confiance 01 2013 - acrylic on canvas - 27 x 19 cm
  •     In the studio filming an interview for an upcoming US show 

 

These are two genuine examples of professional artists’ Facebook pages. I follow the second one – which is actually a ‘professional artist page’. Yet, I would never in a million years accept the friend request for the former’s ‘personal page’ - not interested!

Think about your special areas of expertise, and what you know about. Create an ongoing campaign to share this insightful information. You will then be well on your way to creating a dedicated following, essential for being effective with social media. 

Susan on red sofa at One Alfred Place 2011 - low res

 

Susan Mumford is an entrepreneur in the art world. As Founder of Be Smart About Art, she is passionate about helping art professionals enjoy a successful career doing what they love. Based in London, she works with artists, gallerists and art professionals from all over the world.

“Art is your life. Make it your living.” www.besmartaboutart.com

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Piecework is the next SLWA group exhibition! It is curated by Jackie Brown, Pat Keay and Pia Randall-Goddard as part of our programme for Parliament Week. I'm sure by now you're wondering what it's all about so here's a video of Jackie, presenting the concept of the show. The Private View is on Thursday 19th September 6-9pm, Espacio Gallery, 159 Bethnal Green Road, London E2 7DG