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An Efficient Plan for Using Social Media

As many of you know, I’ve been surveying artists lately to find out what your biggest challenges are, and one of the top answers was time management. I’m not surprised! It’s tough to find time to promote yourself and your art. And if you’re like me, you spend too much time thinking about what you could do and prioritizing tasks and not enough time actually getting the work done.

So let’s work on finding a better way, a good solution that allows you to maximize your time and effort. I’d like to recommend that you find yourself a system that works. Does that sound too complicated? Systems can be simple, and systems save time. Think of all the other systems you use every day. You’ve probably got a system for getting ready in the morning and another system for cleaning the kitchen after dinner, right? By system, I just mean a set series of steps that you perform so that you don’t waste time thinking about how you’re going to accomplish basic tasks every time you go to do them.

A system I’ve been developing for art marketing is a little thing I call the 7 + 1 Plan. Now, I know this is going to sound overwhelming for some of you, but I honestly believe this is what it takes to achieve your goals. On this plan, you’ll spend about half an hour on social media 7 days a week plus several additional hours doing more substantial art marketing tasks 1 day a week.

Many artists object to spending a lot of time on social media, but I’m now convinced that it’s an essential component that needs to become a daily habit. (If you want to know why I’m convinced, subscribe to my e-newsletter to get the data that opened my eyes! Click the blue triangle in the upper right corner.) However, I agree that it could easily become a giant time sinkhole, which is why you need—you guessed it—a system for keeping yourself focused and on track. On my plan, you’ll spend just half an hour each day doing the following:

First five minutes, post something, preferably several somethings. Whether you’re using Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or Pinterest, you’ll want to share posts that let your followers know something about you. Notice that I didn’t say you have to be sharing your work. In fact, your fans will probably like it better if only some of your posts are straight-up promotions of your art. The rest can provide little glimpses into your life as an artist, your process, your studio, your interests, and so on. Many of these posts can be re-posts of things you find in your feed that you think your followers might like. And keep in mind that if you’re using more than one social media platform, you can usually post the exact same things on all of them. After all, you’ll probably have a different set of fans on Facebook than you have on Instagram, for example, so you don’t need to worry about annoying your fans with duplicate posts.

Next five minutes, respond to comments on your posts. The whole purpose of social media is to nurture relationships with individuals, right? You can encourage two-way dialogue by taking five minutes to skim through and respond to your followers’ comments on your posts from the last couple of days. Just keep in mind that you don’t necessarily need to respond to every single person. For instance, if you post a new painting and 13 people write basic comments like “Great work!” and “Love it!,” it’s okay to add just one comment at the bottom thanking everyone for their kind words. Of course, one or two comments may stand out to you, especially if they’re questions, so you should probably respond to those individually.

Final 20 minutes, interact and participate with potential followers. If you really want to expand your reach, it’s essential to go beyond your immediate group of fans and actively engage with others who may become new followers. Fortunately, there are several ways you can do this.

  • First of all, look at what shows up in your feed and respond with more than just simple “likes.” Take the time to make an occasional comment and participate in the conversation, especially if it’s with a friend’s friend.
  • Also, on all of the different platforms, there are groups (or group boards) devoted to various interests, so you can join several groups related to you and your artwork and start participating in those group discussions. Ask questions, get involved, and occasionally share your work with the group.
  • Finally, there’s a third opportunity to connect with people online, which is through blogs, specifically the blogs about subjects related to you and your work. Although this is outside the official realm of social media, it doesn’t hurt to devote some of your social media time to building relationships on other parts of the Internet.

In all three of these situations, you’ll find that you quickly start gravitating to certain individuals, and you can then send them invitations to connect directly.

So there you have it—a simple plan, or system, for engaging in social media every day. If this sounds like too much to start with, aim for three or four times a week and work your way up. 

As always, I’m open to other suggestions. What works for you? Let’s connect!

WAIT! IT'S NOT TOO LATE TO PARTICIPATE IN THE SURVEY!
Hey, artist, I really want to know how to help you better! What do you need to know
to promote yourself more effectively? to sell more art? to achieve your goals?
Tell me how you really feel about art marketing when you take my online survey:
It will take about 10 minutes of your time, and you'll be entered into a drawing
for 1 of 20 $25 gift cards. Thanks for your input!

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