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Best of the web | July 2011 | Don’t miss these

How Bob Ross sees Social Media

A beautiful infographic from flowtown.com in which the godlike Bob Ross explains the world of social media. Happy Little Blue Birds…

Pay My Rent ~ Buy a Painting

Evangeline Cachinero has quit her job as an advertising art director. Can she survive on her art for one year? A genius way to sell her art.

Artists Who Sell: How to Write a Killer Sales Page {and why}

A genius post from Steff Metal on the lovely Abundant Artist website.

“If you want to make an honest go of being a full-time artist, at some point you’re going to have to ask people for money. That’s quite a scary contemplating. Many of us have got it in our heads that money in the art world is kind of crass – especially when we’re first setting up our websites.

We don’t ask for sales, and so we don’t get them. Our readers buy from another artist instead, or spend their money on Cockney language kits or Justin Bieber CDs.

That’s right – Justin Bieber gets your money.”

Shes right you know…

Art & Illusion – The Magic of Pricing…

Jack White with an interesting perspective on art pricing.

“Not a month goes by that I don’t receive a gaggle of emails asking about art pricing. My standard answer is, “Art is worth what folks will pay.” That’s the brutal truth. The exception is if you can create the illusion that your art has more merit.”

Is Twitter a Waste of Time?

A close look at Twitter facts and figures in another fabulous and funky infographic.

 

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Social Media for Artists – How To Conquer It And Have A Life Too

Social media can be fun, a great way to network and spread the word about your art to the world and enjoy new collaborations. It can also be a terrifying time sink of gargantuan proportions of the kind where you wake up on Saturday morning and realise you have spent the entire week poking at Facebook and Twitter and achieved NOTHING else. Not good.

So this little post deals with a few ideas to help you deal with social media in ways that are a bit more efficient and which can help you reclaim your life.

Scheduling – for fun and relaxation.

There is a big secret to reclaiming your life from the tentacles of social media… and that secret is SCHEDULING… If you can limit the time you spend on social media to, say one or two 15 minute session it stops you from getting embroiled in addictive checking. You can set up a bunch of links first thing in a morning to post later. Then you can close down Twitter & Facebook and get on with the good stuff, like painting and creating.

Will scheduling make me an evil robot?

Looking on Twitter it’s easy to spot the absolute abuse of scheduling software. Streams of random links and spam, offering ways to make $3000 dollars at home, posted by bots with no human interaction. This is clearly not where you want to be, but it doesn’t have to be like this.

You can use scheduling to post your links but take time in your 15 minutes update time to check on what’s happening, thank people for retweets, chat and interact with people. You can still be human. Scheduling just means you get all the grunt work done, actually leaving more time for the lovely enjoyable human stuff.

Which software to use?

There are some great pieces of free software on line which will help you automate many aspects of your social media presence. These are my favourites…

Tweetdeck

I use Tweetdeck.com as my main weapon of choice when dealing with Twitter. You can set up tweets and schedule them for a particular time. You can also see your streams of followers, mentions and direct messages extremely easily making it a snap to keep on top of what is happening. I spend 15 minutes or so first thing scheduling my posts for the day and replying to messages. I will then check back towards the end of the day to chat. Tweetdeck also allows you to add other social services including Facebook.

Networked Blogs

Networked Blogs is extremely handy for taking your blog and feeding it into Facebook. This is my main use for this application but you can also feed your blog straight to Twitter too.

Dlvr.It

I have recently discovered www.dlvr.it and found it really useful for sending an RSS feed from a blog into individual Twitter posts.

The great thing about dlvr.it is that you can schedule the posts for the best time for you and specify how many are posted at any one time, preventing flooding. You also get stats on how your posts performed. Extremely informative.

What about Google + ?

Google+, the new social networking phenomena from Google is growing at a phenomenal rate. It offers a lot of the functionality and advantages of Twitter and Facebook without the complexity. It is easy to use and offers content sharing, the ability to network with people you don’t know {like Twitter} as well as share content with your close friends {like Facebook} all in one place. It is a simpler, more streamlined “one-stop-shop” for the sharing of content and images and as such has the potential to be a definite time saver.

However, it’s usefulness will be ultimately governed by how many people join and the levels of useage it attracts. It looks extremely promising though and is well worth joining for artists, giving you the advantage of being in there early.

At the moment, Google+ is by invitation only so try and grab one if you can from someone you know who is already using it.

Reclaim your life…

Automating some parts your social media presence will really help you to free up your life from some of the more time stealing elements of this area of the web.

Importantly it will allow you to focus on the really important part of social media. Communicating with people.

Share the tips and software/apps that work for you in the comments...

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Artists & Twitter. Just what IS the point?

As an artist you are always being told you need to get on Twitter. Every blog, every news item, every art newsletter you read tells you to do it. So you jump in and join. You start tweeting, a bit about your work, a bit about your blog. You do it religiously for a couple of weeks, get some followers, start to enjoy it AND THEN… you have THE TWITTER CONFIDENCE CRISIS.

It suddenly it hits you. What on earth is the point of all this tweeting, Rting, @ing and DMing? Has the world gone mad? Isn’t Twitter is just some kind of superannuated monster timesinking water cooler discussion about crap? Just what on earth is the point exactly?

Many artists never get over this hump and their tweets fade off into the ether never to return. They mark it down as some huge waste of time with no clear value.

So… I started thinking about Twitter and its uses and how it helps me as an artist. I thought it might be useful to see how I use it and the value I get from it. The value isn’t always direct and obvious, but there is a lot of it hidden away in there.

I use Twitter to:

Think Global

Being an artist who lives on top of a moor in deepest wildest Yorkshire it would be very easy to lose touch with what is going on in the rest of the art world and become isolated . Thankfully via the power of Twitter I can spend a 15 minute lunch break perusing the offerings of New York galleries or art events in Copenhagen. Twitter is a brilliant way to keep up with art news across the globe. What’s not to love?

Act Local

I find that some of the biggest success I have with Twitter {especially sales wise} is when I use it at a local level. It’s easy to search and find people on Twitter who live in your local town, county or state. Relationships that you start on Twitter often translate into real life and may become people who will visit your gallery events or open studios. I have found that this can often lead indirectly to sales of your work. I have met some lovely people this way who I would never have met under normal circumstances.

Publicise events

Following on from the point above, Twitter allows me to search for people interested in art in any area where I am exhibiting. I can then tell them about my upcoming event, preview the work and get them interested and involved in what is going on. It’s a great way to increase the audience of people who might like your work. On the opening day of an event I can send reminders that the show is open via Twitter. All more immediate and likely to be seen than e-mail.

Discover galleries who may like my work.

By following a gallery I can get a feel for their personality and the kind of work they might be interested in. I can keep track of galleries and events in my local area or further afield who might be a good match for my work.

Network with other artists.

Twitter is a great way to get in touch and see what other artists are working on. A great source of inspiration and camaraderie. Seeing others work also inspires you to keep your own work fresh.

Build my mailing list

Whenever I post a blog entry on Twitter it usually results in a few signups to my mailing list. In turn this offers me the opportunity to tell people who may be interested about any future work they might like.

Drive traffic to my latest blog posts

Whenever I write a new post on my site I link to it from Twitter. This drives quite a lot of traffic and helps to get people more involved in what I do.

Get people interested and involved in my work as it progresses.

Posting ideas and images of preparatory sketches involves people in the work from the start and builds interest. By the time a piece is ready for an exhibition there may already be people interested in coming to see. It’s also great to get feedback as the piece progresses.

And last but not least

Indirect sales

Twitter is not a good medium for direct sales. Don’t expect people to come along and just buy your work straight off there and then. However, Twitter should be seen as some kind of slow burning network system where something will come of it down the line. Someone may discover your work on Twitter, come to a gallery show, join your mailing list and then buy something 6 months down the line. I find this is how I get the most sales through Twitter

So, Twitter does definitely have a point and a great deal of value but it can be a little hidden at first. Still waters run deep and all that. Make sure you get over the Twitter hump and plumb the depths of its possibilities.

How do you find Twitter helps you as an artist? I would love to hear your experiences and how you use it. Please share your experiences in the comments

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10 shiny golden rules of social media for artists {for Twitter, Facebook, everywhere}

Social media networks {like Twitter & Facebook to name just 2 of the more well known ones} can be a great source of support, collaboration, fun and valuable traffic for an artists online… but like everything {well, most things}, you gotta stick to the rules.

There are some essential ground rules that are pretty universal across all social media sites. Keeping on the right side of the established etiquette can make a big difference if you are trying to use Twitter, Facebook or any social network to help sell your art. If you annoy people they won’t be interested in what you have to say.

So here are 10 pretty essential common sense rules to bear in mind when you venture into social media.

DO do do…

Use your real name

People feel more trusting of a real person and will interact more freely with you.

Be Real

Don’t try to pretend to be somebody you are not. You will come across as false. Share, be honest and be a genuine person. People are attracted to these qualities and you will have better quality and genuine conversations conversations with others, which is really the main point of social media.

Personalise your profile

Make the effort to put up an avatar and personalise your space as much as possible, whatever site you are using. Don’t just leave it as the default. That way people know that you are a real person and not just a spammer or automated bot. People are more likely to trust and interact with you if you have added images or a biography for example.

Respect people and their “virtual space”

This is the most important DO. Don’t start hounding people with information about your work or starting arguments on forums. Be nice and treat people the way you want to be treated.

Say Thank You

You know what your mum used to say… and she was right!. If someone does something nice, say showcases your work on their forum or tweet – say Thanks! Its a great conversation starter and if you don’t acknowledge their helpfulness they won’t bother again.

DON’T even think about…

Don’t view other Social Media users as competitors

This is a new way of doing things. People who do a similar thing to you can offer great collaboration opportunities. You may be able to learn from them. Create trusting and sharing relationships and you can both help each other.

Don’t just spam with links to your stuff

The most important don’t. This is where most people who say “Social Media doesn’t work” fall down. They are pushing their stuff for sale without giving anything in return. You’ve seen them on Twitter, long lists of links to shop items with no conversation in between. You have to give to receive.

Make sure you share good interesting useful content, both your own and from other sources. A good ratio of sales message [ie “look at my new painting”] to useful content [ie “read this blog I found about making your own sketchbooks”] is around 1/12. Again its about having a two way genuine conversation.

Don’t get obsessed with numbers

As always 10,000 twitter followers who don’t give a monkeys about your work are less valuable than 1 follower who really loves it.

Don’t spread yourself too thin

There are SO many Social Media networks out there. You can’t participate in all of them without going actually insane. Choose where you focus your energies wisely.

Don’t Expect instant results

Social Media works like real world networking where a friend of a friend might buy something 2 years down the line. You need to build it up gradually. Rome wasn’t built in a day and all that.

Bonus rule

Wherever you are interacting online, if you try and stick within these guidelines you shouldn’t go far wrong. There’s one bonus  last rule {I had to break the rule of 10!} that’s maybe the most important one of all and that is… HAVE FUN


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The images illustrating this post come from the lovely Spoongraphics blog by Chris Spooner. Chris offers great tutorials, free icons and a lot lot more on his blog. Well worth checking out. Download Chris’s free social media icon pack here.

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