Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Social Media Promotion for Artists


Over the weekend, I took a Social Media for Business class as part of the continuing education program at UArts in Philadelphia. The 5 hour class was so jam-packed with info that the time passed by extremely quickly. Towards the end of the session, the woman next to me (who was a photographer), leaned over and said, "Geez, I hope I still have enough time to take photos."

Lady, I'm with you 100%. There are so many "big" social media sites (10+), and so much you could do on each one that it was overwhelming for someone just starting out. I took the class because I know using social media is a necessary (and free) way to advertise my business, though I hadn't quite figured out HOW to do it. I left the class feeling much more confident, energized, and eager to share what I learned. So here are the social media sites I am going to focus on improving, and a few tips I am going to try:

Facebook: 

The most used social site by far, facebook isn't going away anytime soon, but in the past year it's changed the rules for businesses, showing less status updates to fans, in favor of paid posts. It also has a somewhat cryptic, continuously changing method for deciding what posts your fans see.

1) Completely fill out the "About" section - having blank information lowers the ranking of a page
2) Start following popular pages that have a similar focus as yours - (mine would be illustration & design), having an interest in bigger pages will make your own page more important in facebook rankings, similar to how befriending the "cool" girl in middle school made you 20% more cool.
3) "PIN" important posts/offers to the top of my page - the post will stay at the top of your timeline for up to a week, allowing more people to see it.
4) Have a contest where fans can be acknowledged to increase page engagement - there are many different ways to apply this, be creative! People love to to see their name or photo highlighted, as long as it's not in a jury duty summons.

Pinterest:

I was shocked to find out that Pinterest is the second most used social media site, which explains the rise in the number of ridiculously themed cupcakes I've been seeing. Women make up 80% of Pinterest users and it's a great social site for artists because visual imagery gets the most shares.

1) Pin high quality imagery that elicits an emotion - make sure the size is at least 600 - 800 px wide by about 1000 px high, high quality and avoid using watermarks or images - people prefer to share non-watermarked images (it detracts from the message). 
2) Re-pin others pins! - sharing is caring and your followers will return the favor
3) Don't only post your own images/links - people get annoyed at a constant sales message, try to keep self promotion on Pinterest (and any other social media sites) to 20% of your total pins/shares, focusing the other 80% on sharing inspiration from other sources.
4) Put the "Pin It" button on any image/post you share on your website or blog - make it easy for others to share your work. Pinterest also offers analytics for pins, so you can see how many times it was shared. Download the Pin It button here.

YouTube:

YouTube is the most broadly used social site, which means everyone from 13 year old kids to your 78 year old grandma is logging on. Clearly, no one can resist the pull of ridiculous cat videos. It's also owned by Google, so its content comes up high on search rankings. It's especially great for sharing tutorials or reviews of products.

1) Keep Videos Under 2 Minutes: Videos that are 2 minutes or less are more popular than longer ones, since social media has given us all short attention spans.
2) Tag Your Videos with Key words - the right keywords will help your videos show up more in search results, check out Google Keyword Planner for some tips.
3) Create Playlists to Organize Videos - once you have a bunch of videos up, organize them by subject so users browse through easily. If a viewer likes one video in a particular playlist, they are likely to check out others.
4) Create a call to action - Don't forget to put a web link to your site at the end of the video!

Blogs:

Active blogs are a great to improve your site's search rankings, since fresh new content gets priority over something posted 2 years ago.  They can help show "your voice" to potential customers and establish you as a leader in your field. It's good to have opinions, especially on current events that relate to your specific industry.

1) Follow Posting Schedule - Have regular posts at least one day a week (ex. every Tuesday), and write this in the about section, to hold you accountable. Try to write several posts in advance and schedule them, so you can keep to your schedule (yes, I need to follow my own advice).
2)Keep it to 400 Words - Short and concise messages are best. (note to self, stop rambling on....). Have short paragraphs (2-3 sentences), and use subheadings, large blocks of text scare people away.
3) Don't Overlink - The more times you link away from your page, the more likely the reader might go away and never come back. If you include links, make sure the link opens in a new window, and keep them to 2 max ( I just took out a link to follow this rule...see, I'm doing better!).  
4) End your posts with a question - and make sure to respond to comments, yes, even negative ones. Don't delete, but answer respectfully. (If I actually got any comments on my posts, I would totally do this!)

So.....do you have a social media presence? I'd love to check out your page(s). Please post them in the comments! And if you don't use any social sites for your business yet, which one would you start with?



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