My teenagers were mortified to find me on Twitter. First blogging and now this! But, do not allow yourself to underestimate the power of social media and micro-blogging services. Twitter is one of the quickest ways to build brand recognition for you and your art business.
What do I mean by branding? The American Marketing Association (AMA) defines a brand as a "name, term, sign, symbol or design, or a combination of them intended to identify the goods and services of one seller or group of sellers and to differentiate them from those of other sellers. "
A strong brand is invaluable and serves to communicate credibility to your prospective customers and business associates. You want your brand to reside in the hearts and minds of your clients, collectors, prospective customers and competitors. Twitter is the perfect site to begin branding yourself online. It is true that some people do use (or misuse) Twitter as a way to share their mundane lives with us. However, many intelligent minds are sharing links, news, photos, websites, blog posts, videos, podcasts and more. Finding and networking with like-minded individuals is a great advantage.
Here are important branding tips to think about: Please add your suggestions by commenting below …
1. @Name: Your name is the first thing that people will see on Twitter. Used the name you wish to represent your artist brand. When I first started on Twitter I used only my name, but I quickly added the word 'artist' at the end of my name and gained followers rapidly. It is easier for people to associate me as an artist this way. Also, when people search 'artist', my name appears.
2. The Profile & Bio: Choose your profile wisely. This is a great opportunity to brand yourself on Twitter. These few words will say a lot to the world about who and what you are. Make it 'catchy', this description says a lot about you which helps people make the choice to follow you or not. A custom page is a good way to immediately grab attention.
3. The Profile Picture: Remember you are building your artist brand. It is noted that most people relate to and want to see a friendly face. If you are not comfortable with this, then pick a great image of your art that represents you and grabs attention.
4. Your Website: Do not forget to add your website to your profile. Make sure your portfolio is visible. Twitter will drive traffic to your site.
5. Best Time of Day to Tweet:
12:00 midnight – 4:00 am PST: up to 6 tweets per hour 12:00 midnight – 2:00 am PST: 3 tweets per hour 8:00 am – 12:00 noon PST: up to 8 tweets per hour 12 : 00 noon – 4:00 pm PST: up to 6 tweets per hour 4:00 pm – 8:00 pm PST: 2 – 3 tweets per hour 8:00 pm – 12:00 midnight PST: approximately 1 – 2 tweets per hour
6. Be a Good Follower: Next, follow people and organizations that could help your art career and are of value to your business. I suggest you follow galleries, museums, collectors, art coaches, fellow artists, and others you would like to be seen by. Do not underrate the average Joe or the newbie tweeter … he might be your next big collector! It is good to learn how to be a better follower as well as to follow interesting people from all walks of life.
7. The Tweet: Tweet, re-tweet or post high quality content that adds value for your followers. Remember, this is micro-blogging. People are looking for something of value to read and share or "re-tweet" with their followers.
On Twitter, at times I will share aa photo using Twitpic to post a new finished painting or one in progress. This is a great way to get feedback and spark interest in your work.
I like to share my favorite quotes, knowledge and art tips. And, at the end of each Tweeting session, I leave a 'tweet' that has something of value to share.
Keep in mind what kind of personal information, links, resources and promotional materials you plan to post.
I read somewhere that a good rule of thumb for tweeting is – one personal tweet for every 10 informative tweets. Sometimes it is tempting to get something off your chest or share some exciting news as I did when I taught a plein air workshop in France or when a black bear jumped in front of me on a dark trail. A little of this goes a long way, but it also shows a real human side to you.
Also, tweet frequently to build your following and brand recognition. This way, you can grow a small community of people with similar interests and who recognize your name and your brand. Having said that, do not bombard Twitter with numerous tweets & updates. You will find what works for you … and your followers will let you know if they do not like it.
8. The Retweet / RT @: Re-tweeting is a great way to capture the attention of an art organization, gallery or someone you would like to have 'follow' you. The re-tweet shares valuable information with other like minded individuals.
9. Etiquette: Do not forget to thank people for Re-tweeting or replying to your 'tweet'. Oh, and do not worry if you lose a follower or two … this happens every day and is the name of the game.
Be a human being, not a marketing drone. Otherwise you will be considered a spammer if you are constantly direct messaging to your URL or product line.
And finally ……….
10. The Golden Rule of Twitter: "Tweet others the way you want to be tweeted."