This article is by Carolyn Henderson, the managing half of Steve Henderson Fine Art. She is a Regular contributing writer for FineArtViews and her freelance writing appears in regional newspapers, online magazines, and her humor blog, Middle-Aged Plague.
I grew up with the cheesy Star Trek show, and among the many lines repeated each week – the failing dilithium crystals that Scotty couldn’a do nae aboot, Spock finding everyone else illogical, Uhura being frightened – was Dr. McCoy’s observation to Spock that he was a doctor, dammit.
I thought of this last week when I talked to a businessperson who, like us, had advertised with a regional guidebook, part of the benefits of which included the guidebook’s posting our updates on their social media accounts, as well as setting up a separate online page for each business.
“So, have you been taking advantage of the social update function?” I asked.
“No.” Sad little sigh. “I’m not a social media expert.”
Let me break here to point out something obvious (which I also mentioned to the businessperson):
All that was involved in taking advantage of the social media update option was to e-mail the information to the guidebook company, which then posted it on our behalf. One simple e-mail allowed us to access a client-base outside of our normal circles.
“I don’t know,” the person replied. “I don’t think I can.”
(That’s not what the train says in the Watty Piper children’s story! Remember, “I think I can . . . I think I can . . .?)
Two days later I ran into another advertising businessperson, and the response was the same.
“I don’t even have a Facebook account.”
You don’t need one! Don’t you SEE this?
Need I mention that neither advertiser had taken full advantage of the free webpage either, which required nothing more than writing a chatty little account of one’s business and attaching a few images?
Because they were so convinced that they were something else, not computer programmers, dammit Spock, neither person accessed an option of added online exposure that required no more than the ability to write an e-mail and attach some links. The guidebook staff did all the hard work.
And what was the hard work, incidentally? Okay, building a webpage from scratch is beyond the scope of a lot of us, which is why Steve and I wax eloquent about Clint Watson and his team of FASO virtuosi, but writing an e-mail with updates just is not beyond the abilities of the average journalism major who gave up on computer classes in college, despite her mother’s imprecations.
The two people with whom I spoke were so locked up about the concept of “social media” that they let their fear block them from reality: no one was asking them to become social media experts; they were asking them to send information about themselves so that someone else -- with whom they had entered a valid business arrangement and who maintained social media accounts linked to that valid business -- would post the information for them.
It was akin to a newspaper publisher offering free ad space – as long as you send the information to put in the ad.
While you may not be comfortable setting up your own blog site, or tweeting, or Linking, or posting and re-posting funny sayings – YET – (we’ve got plenty of fodder for future discussion here) don’t let good opportunities pass you by.
When you’re offered something – like the ability to pass on updates about your business to a legitimate site – look into it closely, research the validity, and if it checks out, go for it.
The more that you write about yourself and your art, and the more venues you take advantage of to post these writings, the more that your name – and your art – is floating around in cyberspace, where a lot of people travel.