Social Artists Guide to Social Media From PYE

Thinking of putting your project online? Wanting to expand your connection to other social artists? It needn’t be daunting with the PYE step by step guide to social media for social artists and entrepreneurs.

How Can Social Artists Get Started on Social Media?

Choose your platform

Whether your a social artist, a visual artist, or just a business person trying to promote your company, starting out in social media can be daunting. There are a number of different social networks and platforms to choose from when you are starting a social media campaign, and it feels like new platforms appear every week.

The very first step in developing a social media presence is to decide which platform is best for you. You can pick one platform and focus solely on that, or you can pick a variety of different platforms which will work together. When choosing which social networks you would like to use remember to be realistic. Maintaining a presence on each individual network will require your time and attention, so think about how much time you would like to dedicate to your social media campaign and choose which networks to use accordingly.  You can add new social networks at any time so it is often best to be conservative at first.

Social networks are like parties. They are great places to meet people, get information and network with potential friends. You can inform people about who you are and what you do and make great connections that will help you in every aspect of your work.

Networks

Facebook – The Global Gathering
Facebook is the King of the social networks at the moment and for brands and businesses it is the most important resource for letting people know about who they are and what they do. There are currently over 500 million active users on Facebook. 1 in every 13 people on earth have a Facebook profile.
Pro: Facebook is the biggest social network in the world with the biggest potential audience for your message.
Con: Because Facebook is so large it can be hard to be heard above the noise.

Twitter – The Speed Date
Twitter is the second most popular social network in the world with over 175 million users. Twitter conversations are open to everyone and you have no control over who follows you or who reads what you are saying. If you are interested in keeping up to date with a particular industry or group of people, then Twitter is a great way to do it.
Pro: Twitter is an open platform so it’s a great way to broadcast information about who you are and what you do.
Con: Twitter is often seen as a niche social network and you will find that many people who you want to contact do not use it.

LinkedIn – The Work Drinks
LinkedIn is a professional network that is aimed at helping you to make business contacts and to promote yourself and your career. LinkedIn is often seen as being a little bit boring and is often neglected, but for people who us it well it can be a really great tool for connecting with like minded people who work in your field. You know what they say – it’s all about who you know.
Pro: A great way to find people who are doing similar work to you and who you could benefit from connecting with.
Con: It doesn’t have the bells and whistles of Facebook or Twitter and is often seen as being a bit boring.

YouTube – The Open Mic
YouTube is the second largest search engine after Google and 48 hours of content are uploaded to it every minute of the day. Having great video content is a really important part of having a strong web presence and websites with video are said to be five times more likely to be read.
Pro: Hosting great video content on YouTube can provide a shop window into your work that demonstrates exactly who you are and what you do.
Con: Creating good video content takes time and skill. You need to know how to capture, edit and upload your content.

Blog – The Conference
Keeping a blog is a great way to let people know what is going on with your organization and to publicize the latest news and events. There are several easy to use programs that can help you set up and run a blog including Tumblr, Posterous, WordPress and Blogger. A second huge benefit of keeping a blog is that it will help you to appear in Google searches. Google regularly scan blogs to find out what they are about. If they think that what you’re writing about is relevant, they will point people towards your writing.
Pro: A great way of getting your voice heard by appearing in Google.
Con: Keeping a blog can be very time consuming and requires writing loger articles on a regular basis.

Google+ – The Cocktail Party
Google launched their own social network in 2011. It still hasn’t taken off as Google would have hoped and it’s nowhere near as busy as Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn. However, some people like the intimate setting of Google+. It can be easier to get your voice heard on this platform as there is a lot less competition. A huge added benefit of Google+ over Facebook is that everything you post is indexed by Google, meaning that it could help you to appear in search results which makes it much easier for people to find you.
Pro: Google+ is a great tool for helping you to show up in Google searches.
Con: There are not many active users on Google+ so it can be difficult to get conversations started.

Pinterest – The Art Opening
The newest kid on the block, Pinterest has grown in popularity very rapidly. Think of it like Twitter but with pictures instead of words. Pinterest allows you to collect images and pictures in one place, creating virtual ‘mood boards’ that can help you showcase products or events or visualize how you would like something to look and feel. Pinterest is very popular with people who are planning weddings, furnishing a new home or putting together a new wardrobe because it helps them to gather inspiration.
Pro: A visual showcase that helps you express the look and feel of something beyond the written word.
Con: This is not a social network that suits everyone as many people do not have a visual aspect to their work.

Determine Your Goals

Before you set up your social networks it is important to establish your goals and have a think about what you would like to achieve from a social media presence. In turn this will help you to be gain a better understanding of which networks will suit you best.

The most common reason for using social media in a professional capacity is to increase your profile online and to reach new customers or business contacts. With so much of our lives being lived online these days it is important that you do everything you can to help people who you could work with find you. Any business can benefit from having a bigger profile, whether it has 1 employee or 1 million employees.

Another common reason for using social media is to connect better with existing business contacts. Social media can help you to stay in touch with people you work with, add value to their relationship to you and even remind them that you are there so that they are more likely to return to you in the future.

Choose your areas of Interest

Have a think about your unique areas of interest and the areas that your work focuses on. Social media is extremely useful in helping you to tap into communities of people and to have a voice in debates and conversations that are relevant to you and your business. The digital world allows people from all over the world to connect and create communities with like minded individuals with similar interests to them. Many of these communities will be actively talking and sharing information on social networks.

With social media you can find these communities and use your experience and knowledge to participate in them. You will then be visible to a very targeted group of people who are potential customers or business contacts. For example, if you are a painter or artist who is selling your work, you will be able to find groups of people who are specifically looking for new artists. Traditional advertising and marketing often involve attempting to shout very loudly into a crowd of all kinds of different people, hoping that the relevant audience will hear you. Social media marketing is much more targeted, so you can talk more quietly and be heard more clearly.

PYE’s Tips for a Successful Social Media Campaign

So, now you are at a point where you have set your goals, chosen the social networks, or combination or social networks that are relevant for you and you are ready to get started. Don’t panic – social networks are relatively easy to set up. They are created to be user friendly.

Follow the steps, set up a basic profile and then start exploring. The best way to get familiar with any new social network is simply to start playing with it. Don’t be afraid to click on buttons to see what they do, treat it like a toy and feel free to make a few mistakes in the early days. If anything concerns you or if you are unsure about anything try searching in Google for an explanation or solution. There are bound to be hundreds of people who have been in your situation before and many of them will have written about their experiences. Google can be a fantastic tool in helping you to find solutions to any problems you have online.

Another really useful thing to do when you are just starting out is to find like-minded people and to see how they are using the social network. Have a think about people you admire, people who do similar work to you or people who you know and take a look at their page to get some inspiration and insight into how to use social media well. If in doubt, Skittles, Red Bull and Coca Cola all have fantastic social media campaigns across a variety of platforms so take a look at what they are doing.

Top Tips:

  • Learn to listen. Remember to engage with your audience. If we go back to the social media as a networking party analogy, you don’t want to be the guy at the party who is just handing out business cards and talking about himself. Networking is all about listening and finding connections. Start conversations, ask people about what they do, offer advice and listen to what is being said. Simply posting update after update about your business isn’t going to have the results you want.
  • Keep it Creative. As with any relationship, it’s good to keep your social network conversations interesting and surprising. If you’re a creative person then think creatively about your social media campaign. Try to think about how you can really engage people and what you could do to spark their interest and get their attention. In the past companies have done everything from asking customers to design their new packaging, to making songs about their followers and posting them online.
  • Post Regularly. Make sure that you are an active part of the conversation and that you keep your audience engaged by committing to regular posts and updates. Try to commit to a schedule. For Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest daily updates are advisable, while for blogs, LinkedIn and Google+ one post a week is probably enough.
  • Build a Community. Work on building an active community in your social networks. Open up the floor and ask them to create some content.
  • Always be Honest and Open. When you set your business up on social media you open up your business for public comment. Some people can find this quite daunting and it can be tempting to delete any negative posts that appear on your social media profiles. This temptation must be resisted at all costs as it will appear to others that you are not interested in learning from mistakes or listening to your customers. Instead, deal with the negativity openly and honestly. Do what you can to ease the concerns, offer explanations and most importantly, always be open and honest.
  • Ask and Answer Questions. As part of your commitment to engaging your audience make an effort to ask questions and talk to your followers. Allow people to talk to you and always answer any questions that you receive.

– Katie Jackson

 

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