A savvy artist knows that in order to become successful they have to do a lot more than just create great art. They need to become known, respected and perhaps even establish a fan base.
In the past many artists often relied on visibility at art shows, gallery representation, newspaper coverage, and handing out thousands of business cards as well as word of mouth to establish their name and identity. Today however, artists with a little tech know-how can use the internet to build a fruitful business. The following represent only a mere fraction of the tools available that can be used to build up a reputation, market products and create a customer base.
One of the first best ways to build up clientele and get the word out is to take advantage of one (or all) of the many free social networking tools on the internet.
Myspace.com which has been around since 2003 allows users to keep in touch with “friends” and make new ones. You join a group with similar interests or create your own, post photos, music and create a profile. For artists it’s pretty simple to create a page to profile your business, add pictures of your work and even contact information. You can also send bulletins to all your “friends” with updates about what you’re doing. Check out Cleveland handmade’s profile on myspace.com for an example of how this collective of artists uses myspace as part of their marekting efforts.
Facebook is one of my current personal favorites. It was originally founded to connect college students, but today users can connect and find others based on city, school or workplace. A variety of applications allow users to maintian event calendars, post videos, photos, links, create groups and more. Once someone is a facebook user they can also create an additional business page. Facebook users can become fans of business pages to keep track of news feeds and updates from those businesses. For an example of a business page, her my business page:
This is very similar to social networking, though quite a bit simpler and quicker. Twitter is an example of one social networking site (otherwise known as micro blogging) in which users can send and receive short messages. Many artists on Etsy for example are using Twitter to send followers short updates on new product listings, links to photos, and short notes about events. Other social messaging sites include Jaiku and Plurk.
I personally follow several artists on twitter and enjoy checking out their updates on anything from what has inspired them to learning about new creations. I also use it to keep my own followers in the loop as far in regards to special news. Here’s an example of a short twitter I received from Etsy that let me check out the most recent “Get The Look” feature:
Another excellent way to get your art out to the public is to submit it to social bookmarking sites. These are sites in which users save the links of web-sites and products they want to share with others. These can be as simple as wish lists, or more indepth sites that run contests, allow voting, creation of styleboards, and have expert panelists. You can add your products as well as others you like to bookmarking sites, and use networking to suggest items to others.
Known for “connecting stylish people” Stylehive promotes their site as a way for you to become or follow “shopping divas” to see what’s hot. It’s an excellent place to add jewelry, clothing, accessories and home decor. You can share items with friends or the entire community as well as win contests and more.
Kaboodle is another shopping community where users can recommend items and check out the suggestions of others. On Kaboodle users can also create styleboards like the one below with items they have bookmarked to share with the community. In styleboards the images link back to the site where the items can be purchased.
Delicious is perhaps the largest of all the social networking sites. Users can tag and save their favorite sites, login to delicious and still get to their bookmarks from anywhere. Use it to check out which tags are the most popular and discover the delicious links of others.
If you’d like a bookmarking tool that helps you search or “stumble” across sites that would be of most interest to you consider StumbleUpon. Members of StumbleUpon can add sites, share, rate and rank the sites and use it to find similar sites or sites that fit their interests.
There are literally dozens and dozens more, so search the internet and see what else you can find that suits you.
Once you begin to establish a customer base keep your customers up-to-date through your very own blog. Artists can use their blogs to share their artistic processes, their inspiration for their work, news, and more. For best results make frequent posts to your blogs, include pictures to make things interesting, and build links. If you want people to visit your blog, your posts should be relevant and interesting. Submit your blog and rss feed to directories such as yahoo to get more traffic. Three of the biggest free blog publishing tools are WordPress, LiveJournal and Blogger. There are pros and cons to each so it’s worth thinking about what kind of control and ease you are looking for in a blog. This blog is an example of what you can do with a blog on wordpress. To see an example of how a wonderful artist uses Blogger check out one of my favorite artists, SToNZ:
Databases and Directories
Some internet sites have databases or directories where users can browse through a collection of links to shops and businesses. They key here is to add your site to databases most likely used by your target audiences. Artists may wish to consider adding their sites or shops to databases such as Talent Database, Bust Magazine’s Girls Wide Web, FashionMission and Indie Collective.
At the slight risk of having your photos used or “stolen” you can expose audiences to your work by sharing photos of your work with others. Flickr is perhaps the most well known of these sites. Flickr allows you to upload and store photos and choose how you want to organize and sahre those photos. If you make your photos public others can view and discover your work. Keep in mind however that Flickr’s dos ans don’ts state that the site isnot to be sued for commercial purposes. If you link your photos to a selling site or include too much “business” information your account may be terminated. Other photo sharing communities include webshots and fotolog.
Whew—tired yet? In short, there are so many ways to promote and market your art that are even FREE to be found on the internet. Keep in mind some of these resources bring more attention to your business than others, you just need to research and find out which ones are the best for your business and determine how m uch time to invest in them. The larger a presence you can make however, the more well known you will become as an artist.
Filed under: Indie Business Tips and News, Miscellaneous Information and News | Tagged: advertisement, art directories, artist promotion, artists, blogging, etsy, facebook, free marketing sites, marketing sites, myspace, social bookmarking, social messaging, social networking sites, technology, twitter, weblinks | 5 Comments »