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

 

LinkedIn

 

6 easy steps to Social Networking Success
Step 2: LinkedIn: Why, what and how?
by Susan Mumford

 

This is the second post in a 6-part blog series on social networking, written for South London Women Artists (SLWA). Today, we look at why LinkedIn is growing in popularity for artists, the basic steps for having a complete profile and how much time investment to anticipate.

 

Why should art professionals have a LinkedIn profile?
In presenting your artist profile on the social media platform for professionals, you demonstrate that you take your art career seriously. Therefore when peers, collectors and gallerists spot your listing, they know they are dealing with a professional.

Furthermore, LinkedIn is an excellent platform for displaying credibility, achieved by fully listing experience and receiving recommendations. I have personal experience of an art collector analyzing my profile, to be certain of my expertise as an art consultant. The same kind of background research is conducted by collectors and gallerists who are considering approaching artists with new opportunities.

Importantly, you stay connected with LinkedIn contacts when someone moves to a new job, so you don’t lose contact if a client’s email address changes. This is important when connecting with corporate clients, as people in corporate roles generally move to a different company every few years.

 

What should be done to present an effective profile?
Your listing should be complete, including all relevant experience – providing achievements within each role, not just what you did, or do. For example, you might incorporate completed or current jobs, stating positive impacts on the commissioning business, organisation or individual. This brings to mind what a private client once said to me in regards to a completed art consulting job:

“Thanks to your art consultancy, we are proud of our home for the first time, having lived here for twenty years.” That’s a powerful statement to list as part of one’s experience. It states the achievement, not only the less-clear what. As with artist websites, best practice is to write your LinkedIn profile in the first person. It looks odd to present your own information in third, and this happens surprisingly often!

Creating your personal ‘vanity URL’ means that you can share your LinkedIn profile URL with a short and sweet web address, as opposed to a long sequence of bizarre-looking numbers. It’s a less distracting URL and once more, helps present you as a professional. You can see how to do that here. And last but not least, artists running a gallery or studio should create a Company (as opposed to personal) profile for the business.

 

How much time does LinkedIn take?
You can be an active or occasional LinkedIn user. The initial setup for anyone will take up to two hours. A complete profile revamp takes one hour – and feels great to accomplish! Ongoing time investment ranges from 30 minutes per month to 30 minutes per week, depending on how engaged you are with groups and in writing updates, recommendations and more. Actively using LinkedIn works well for the life of solo practitioners, as you can be less involved when you have exhibitions or other deadlines, picking up where you left off when you have more time available. Thanks to LinkedIn apps for smartphones, the majority of activities (responding to connection requests and messages) can be done on the move.

In conclusion Sound easy? It really is! Get round to setting up, revamping and completing your profile now. Readers with a publicly visible yet incomplete listing will feel much better about having a more up to date rundown for visitors to see. Connecting with established as well as new connections provides great satisfaction, and is invaluable for maintaining contact with your network. And remember, generally maintaining an up to date profile and regularly responding to connection requests needn’t take much time, unless you also want to get involved with groups and profile updates; the choice is yours.

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

agm2013-leonieSome 4 years ago, I bumped into the SLWA bookmark during Dulwich Open House.  The little flyer was beautifully designed and looked really professional (thanks to Julie Bennett, as I was about to learn, but more about her in one of the future videos). 

I asked about the group and how I can join, and the artist told me to email this girl, called Leonie. “She’s very nice” the artist said “she runs the group”.

 So I had a look on the website, back then a simple blog, and sent Leonie Cronin my artist statement and 3 images. I couldn’t believe such a vibrant and supportive community of female artists existed in my area. It was the single best thing that could have happened to a foreign girl who had pretty much just moved to London and knew no other artists.  

SLWA has provided me, and I believe all our other members who have been actively involved with the group, with the kind of support network that we need as female art professionals. Today, Leonie is taking a step down from running SLWA. Many members join and leave the Steering Group, but as Melissa Budasz put in her introduction ‘without Leonie, the South London Women Artists wouldn’t be’. So, thank you, Leonie!  

Check out this video to witness one of the most emotional moments from our AGM this year and to hear Leonie speak about starting SLWA and the spirit of our community.