A Little Pep Talk
Social media is a force that can’t be stopped. It’s widespread and deep. So using it to market your art or talent makes perfect sense in 2016.
But before we go on, I want to tell you how super remarkable you are without it. I know I write to tell you ways you can improve your art business, but it’s even more important that you work on your amazing talent. You know it’s paramount and certainly social media comes somewhere down the line after that (which is completely up to you to say how far down the line that is!).
I know it can feel like we’re not keeping up well enough since there’s always some new technology flying toward us at light speed. So, before you read through my list of social To Do’s in 2016, know that by simply sticking with your passion and creating art that would never exist without you means you’re nailing creative success.
And that perseverance combined with your talent is what makes you as remarkable as you are. The most successful creative people on the planet do their work despite difficulty or delays in achieving their success. And we should add to that the fact that you’re doing better than everyone who’s not doing what you’re doing!
No matter how many mistakes you make or how slow you progress, you are still way ahead of everyone who isn’t trying. –
Social Media Today
I took a minute to give you a boost because these tips may be a bit tough for some of you to follow. I know they are for me. The good news is, you’re going to be better at it than you think. And if you’re ready to tackle social media marketing in 2016 to grow your art biz financially and to gain recognition, then I have a list of 4 strategies that will help you lasso a win.
There are a few people living their lives online these days. Three and a half billion to be exact. That’s a fact. I Googled it. (Ok. It’s a tad over a few.) And your audience is in there getting shoved around. So, you’re going to have to throw them a lifeline if you want to reach them sometime this century (which I’d like to mention has quite a long way to go). And social media is the dock you’ll be standing on when you do it.
And, hey, guess what? You’re already plenty qualified to use these strategies. The fact that you share, like, comment, learn, and experience stuff online means you’re plenty equipped to market there too.
You’re Internet integrated.
So, try using these strategies to get to the top of the winner’s podium. The goal is to spread your content in ways few artists are utilizing.
1. 360 Video
Videos (and I mean VID-EE-OH-S) are picking up momentum online. They’re starting to outrank images the same way images showed up long ago to outrank text. However, there’s a newish video in town that’ll put you a lot farther ahead of the curve than a regular video will. It’s called 360 video. I bet you’ve seen them, but never thought of using this kind of videography for your art. The whole idea is to connect in a more authentic way than you’ve ever done before with your audience.
Here’s a sampling of 3 different types:
1. A behind-the-scenes practice session: Here the WSJ shows you a practice session of an elite ballerina in 360.
2. A tour: Here’s a serene 360 video of a lake in Oslo, Norway.
3. A gallery viewing: Finally, check out this 360 video of the super unique Hope Outdoor Gallery in Austin, Texas. You’ll love it!
How To Use It: You’ll need to borrow or buy a 360 video camera. Wait. Before you throw this idea out, you must know the hassle will be well worth the return. Remember that the reason 360 video is SO HOT now is because it’s ultra engaging. It feels to the viewer as if they’re actually there with you. Google a few more and take a look. I recommend watching a few more 360 video shoots to get a good feel of what you like and what you want to video like this one of painter Ricoh Theta painting a cat or this one of the Max Graef Band live in the JRS Studio. They clearly show how artists and creatives LIKE YOU are starting to use 360 videos to boost engagement with their art form. 360 video lets viewers have a virtual experience with your art, gallery, show, process, or whatever you choose. By having them with you, their experience becomes more real and in turn they connect better with you and your art brand.
The Advantage: You don’t have to be a videographer with lots of knowledge of video production. It’s as simple as recording a regular video. And it’s just as simple to edit and upload. So, be one of the first to use it and win big. It works great on mobile, desktop, or laptop. Video yourself outside, on stage, in your studio, at a show, etc. The ideas are endless as are the opportunities.
The Drawback: You’ll have to get access to a 360 camera. Depending on how fancy you want to get, they can range in price from less than $100 on up over $1,000. If you look around, you might just score one for much lower.
2. Live-Streaming Video
Last year, live-streaming video hit the Internet with very little mainstream fanfare. Now that early adopters have turned into real users, apps like Periscope and Meerkat (available on the app store) have been followed by sites like Blab.im, and Appear.in. Lots of people are joining in and live-streaming video is becoming ultra popular.
The reason live-stream is so contagious is because unlike video that’s recorded previously and posted after the fact, live stream is as current as you can get without being right there with someone. And current is all the craze in social right now.
Here’s a short tutorial by Sunny Lenarduzi. See what you think!
As you can see, using live stream video lets you meet your fans face-to-face (virtually) by removing the distance barrier. Fans interact with you in real time, yet can be thousands of miles away. These interactions carry truth, reality, transparency and authenticity. People are embracing these ideals as the new norm for social in 2016.
How to Use It: Just as Sunny explained in her tutorial, you simply sign up on one of the free platforms such as Periscope, and set up your profile. Watch some sample streams. Next, choose what you’ll broadcast. Come up with a simple idea at first. For example, you could stream a short painting session, sculpting, welding, dancing, singing, etc… Decide on your space and a time. Write an introduction to let your audience know what you’ll be showing them. It might be intimidating, but remember, you’re the expert and people want to learn more about you and your amazing talent. So, try it! You might just end up joining some of the first artists on Periscope as a live stream celebrity.
The Advantage: There are a lot of people using live streaming video, but not many yet who are using it specifically for the arts. Because it’s still a fairly new technology, by starting now, you can get ahead of the curve. You could create a series that dominates with tutorials for beginning artists, behind the scenes looks at what it takes to create your work, a step-by-step guide to producing a piece or for getting started, and so on. The ideas are endless.
The Drawback: Live streaming requires your time and full attention. That means you don’t have the freedom to stop and start again later the way you can with regular video. You also won’t be able to edit, of course. In addition to that, you have to prepare your environment ahead of time, have a detailed outline of what you want to cover with a general timeline (15 to 20 minutes is best). Finally, while these certainly aren’t necessary, you may find yourself wanting to purchase things like a smart phone stand, a clip on mic or a smart phone case with built in lighting like this Techxar SX6 Photo Video Light and Charger. All of which can drive up the cost a bit for your new marketing strategy.
3. Private Social Networking
Private social networking is hitting the internet like gangbusters too. And that goes along with the movement towards more personal, authentic connections online. It works on the notion that people like to be exclusive. By nature, it’s more targeted and immersive. Basically, it’s just more friendly. In order to get in there with everyone, simply use private networking strategies like groups and messaging offered on your current social media platforms along with some additional platforms like Nextdoor (a private social network for your neighborhood) to communicate with a specific community of people.
This might not seem like a likely way to grow your biz reach, but the more you connect with people authentically, the more they’ll want to know more about you and your talent. Check this out if you haven’t already.
How to Use It: Search out some private social networks to find what you like. Look around and join or start a group online. Create a new topic of interest or join an existing one. Take your time and build rapport with your tribe. There are plenty to choose from like Dogster (a social network for those who love all things dog… pssst…. great place to share your paintings of dogs if you have some) or Cafemom (a network for, you guessed it, mommies). To do it right, you’ll need to be active. It takes some effort, but the payoff is worth it.
The Advantage: By being more personal and conversational online, you peel back another layer to your business friendships with fans. People invest themselves when interactions are authentic. The more real you are, the more invested they’ll become. Unless you’re working on that whole ‘mystery persona’ thing.
The Drawback: Private social networking requires more time because you’re more deeply involved with individuals. Rather than posting a general announcement or picture on your feed for all who follow you to see, a private group, network or message requires you to answer and ask more questions. It requires your commitment, your thoughtfulness and your dedication. So, maybe try baby steps? Choose one method to start with and before you know it, you’ll be the super star of super exclusive!
4. Adaptive Marketing
Adaptive marketing is being more of what your target audience needs. Switch your efforts to a “them first” strategy. Find out what interests and desires they have and adapt your interactions to include those. Ask questions that engage them in their interests. Meet them where they’re at literally. Learn about them so you can directly market to their wants and needs. Ask a relevant question that centers around their knowledge base but has to do with your genre, request votes for choosing content and so on.
How To Use It: If you’re a portrait photographer living in a college town where your target market is usually focused on hometown college football, then you could get some great shots of athletes and ask to display them in a busy local pub. Include your social handles on the information posted with you works. Now you’re showcasing your talent while at the same time giving fans a way to connect with you online. Providing products that hit right at the heart of your market’s interests as well as positioning them right where they’re most likely to see them is smartand adaptive. It just takes a little research and some effort and BAM, you’ve got them.
The Advantage: Your job of marketing will become more enjoyable in a lot of ways. It’s like finding a clearance sale and scoring big by saving money. Only you’ll be scoring big by gaining zealous fans because people’s enthusiasm is contagious once you tap into their interests. You’ll get to start having real life conversations initiated by them first (which is the best way to sell something anyway).
The Drawback: Adaptive marketing takes more thought and planning. It can also feel like you’re trying to be something you’re not if you don’t do it right. There’s a line in the sand that you’ll want to draw to stay true to you, which is why people love you in the first place. But just as you see in your significant, real-life relationships that you hold dear to your heart, online relationships flourish if you make the effort to show interest intheir interests first.
It’ll take an investment of your time and energy, but little by little you’ll grow as a modern day marketer using these methods. The free resources above (plus artsrow.com, of course) will help to position you for a strategic takeover.
Be sure to join Arts Row if you haven’t. It’s free and our mission is to help you grow.
As always, all the best to you!