This Post is by Lori Woodward Simons, Regular contributing writer for
FineArtViews. Find out how you can be a guest author.
After having written last week's post on how to use Twitter as a business tool, a number of artists responded to me directly or via the comments section, saying that they were either confused about how to use this utility, or else that they felt it was another way to waste time. Because the last post generated confusion and, in some cases, strong responses, I feel that this subject warrants a second post.
Social Media IS NOT the Key to Success - it is only a tool.
I was a successful artist long before social media came into vogue, and so I write to you today - just to say... no, I don't think using social media leads directly to selling artwork. Many artists whom I can call my personal friends, are wildly successful and use no social media tools at all. Many of them work exclusively with galleries.
If we don't need social media, then why is everyone A-Twitter?
My personal take on social media: It is a new way to keep abreast of information that is of personal interest, and likewise, it provides a way of putting out information about my work to those who follow my Tweets. For example, I follow Clint Watson
on Twitter. When he posts his daily newsletter, he then "tweets" a direct link from Twitter to his Fine Art Views
blog. Clint's tweets pop up on my Twitter page, and with just a click, I immediately link to his blog and read it. I do the same with Alyson Stanfield's
Tweets - which connect to her blog posts.
So, essentially, Twitter provides me a quick and easy way to access information that I'm already wanting to read.
But does using Twitter necessarily improve my artwork sales? No, not directly. However, my network efforts have been essential to my making important connections in the art world
-- and these connections have eventually resulted in art sales. Contacts with other artists who can vouch for my work, gallery and art dealers, magazine editors and other key people have, over the years, led to making my work visible to the art collecting public. In fact, a decade ago (long before I knew what a blog was) my friends called me The Network Queen.
The only problem... my artwork, at that time, was not up to the standard that was required for those venues.
After several years of taking workshops and getting my work to a professional level, those previous contacts came in mighty handy because I had formed friendships with people who could help me get my work in front of collectors. While this all may seem like a simple task of just befriending the right people, it took me 5 years to establish both my artwork and my attitude to point where my connections could benefit my career.
What matters in the long run, when using social media or making face to face connections - is your professional attitude and
the quality of your artwork. It takes both - great artwork and the connections
to boost your art career to the next level.
The nice part about having a website, email newsletter and followers on Twitter: I have not needed to physically cart my portfolio to art gallery districts or ship photographs through the postal system to reach my intended audience. In recent years, every connection to art selling venues, even gallery dealers, has come through my associations and friendships with other artists who vouch for my work, honesty and work ethic. These opportunities are enhanced and expedited when art dealers and editors can easily link to my website or follow my tweets on Twitter.. thereby keeping up with what I'm doing on a daily or weekly basis, in the comfort comfort of their homes or offices. The whole system seems efficient and requires little travel and expense on my part.
Getting Started With Twitter
If Twitter appeals to you, by all means, try it out. Darren Rouse
has created an interesting site called Twit Tip,
and recently, he began a useful series on Twitter tips for Beginners. If you're wanting more information to get started, visit his site.
Use Social Media Responsibly
As I have mentioned before, Twitter can be addicting. If you find yourself whiling away the hours - watching and waiting for mentions of your name or reading what others are doing, hour after hour, you might be falling prey to social media's seductiveness. Twitter addiction
is probably worthy of a separate post. So, here I'll end with this advice: If you do decide to use social media for quick links to important information, making new contacts or even for casual conversation with friends, have a plan in place to use it responsibly.