I joined Twitter several months ago. There was some buzz about the application and how cool it was. Well, as I spent a couple of days tweeting the whole business just didn’t make sense. I had 3 followers and didn’t know who to follow myself… it was just so foreign to me. Why does anyone what to hear what an obscure artist is doing during the day? Ok, I just wasn’t getting it.
Then fast forward to a couple of weeks ago, I had a conversation with Chad Manspeaker and Joshua Dieker with Mixed Media (a new Topeka company offering their experience with Web 2.0 and website development.) They had worked in our local elections as Nancy Boyda’s campaign management. They used Obama’s campaign model by utilizing social media to enhance her constituency outreach.
What an eye opener. He made it really simple, tweet about yourself, use the search tool to find people in your area to follow or people who have similar interests and watch your circle grow. Also, he introduced me the integration of Twitter and Facebook if they find you on one application they will probably seek you out on the other.
He also explained how it’s changing the entire concept of marketing back to the oldest most original concept of marketing – by word of mouth (or should I say by stroke of the keyboard) and friends recommendations. The only difference is that it goes at light speed rather than plodding along via Pony Express. He wasn’t kidding.
To keep from being intimidated I didn’t want to grow too fast, just a steady growth so that I wouldn’t get overwhelmed and this is exactly what I got. It’s amazing! In just a couple of weeks and maybe 3 hrs total of poking around, I have 47 followers on Twitter, many whom I don’t know but have found my tweets interesting and I have found their tweets interesting as well. On Facebook, my friends have grown to more than 42 (and not all from my personal solicitation) from around 5 many local people who have access to the galleries that I show in and many who I know but haven’t been in touch with for years. My circle includes many from the local media circle as well. The best news of all is that my website gained 171% in activity from last month. People are starting to find me online and it is literally growing on a daily basis.
Between Twitter and Facebook if used properly can launch your online presence from obscurity to a targeted, interested, friend base. Now, I am not even going to pretend to know all the ins and outs of either application, because I am still learning. My strategy is simple. Use Twitter and Facebook in tandem to enhance my online presence and drive traffic to my site.
Facebook has several perks for artists who participate: just take a look at their Statistics. http://www.facebook.com/press/info.php?statistics
Specifically for artists, more than half of their 150 million users are outside of college and their fastest growing demographic is people over 30 years old…. This adds up to educated people who have the funds to buy art. Many people who are on twitter own the high end phones with internet services. If they have those kinds of toys, logic follows they can also afford fine art. Just take a look at those stats on the site and see how that plays into a marketing goal for the artist.
Next, not only did I have my profile on Facebook, I also created a “page” about me and my artwork. These can be found at the bottom of the page under “advertising.” Creating a “page” is completely free and then you can add applications to them as well. With “devices” turned on and the Twitter application added to my Facebook profile, I can update my status on one and catch both systems in one sweep, even from my cell phone. Also, I discovered that I can RSS (really simple syndication) my blog to pick up my blogs as notes for both my page and my profile. What a time saving applications! No more cutting a pasting my blog so that all of my friends can find it!
A local group of Twitter fans started to gather in the evenings at “Tweet Ups” where you can actually meet fellow Tweeters in real life. What a fantastic opportunity to rub elbows with those interesting people! I have planned a “Tweet Up” for SouthWind Gallery in Topeka where I work, it is a preview opportunity for the tweeters to get together, enjoy new art (some of which are mine) and get to know each other. All in building bonds across the area. (If you are interested take a look at my events on Facebook “Michelle Leivan” or follow me on twitter @michelle_leivan)
Finally, one final thought – people buy art from artists they connect with, either the art itself connects or they know the artist and therefore enjoy the artwork even more through the relationship connection. The advent of the Web 2.0 creates the “conversation” era for the information age. The web is no longer a simple tool to find or present information, now we can make connections, social interactions! Share and have conversations with people across the world. It’s just simply amazing! Isn’t life Tweet!