This week I’d like to talk about how you’re spending your time on social media. If you go into Facebook or Instagram and post a few posts every week and maybe respond to a few comments, you’re off to a good start but you’re really just using social media. Unfortunately, though, you’re not getting all you can out of your efforts. With relatively little additional time and thought, you could be accomplishing so much more, making major strides in building up your fan base and selling more of your creations! By following these six tips, you could start capitalizing on social media strategically, which is huge! Let’s break it down:
1. Define your target audience. Just as you should be doing with all of your art marketing tactics, you need to start by identifying who it is you’d like to attract and communicate with through social media. Please don’t try to reach “everyone who likes art.” Instead, narrow down your focus based on the characteristics of the people you think are most likely to appreciate and buy your artwork. Are they older or younger? Have traditional tastes or contemporary? Are there other interests they may enjoy that are related to your art, such as pets, flowers, or the ocean? Having a clear picture of the people you’re trying to attract will help you determine which social media platforms to use and what types of posts to write and share.
On a side note, if you’re also an art teacher, you will want to identify a separate target audience, namely fellow artists who might be interested in taking your workshops or buying your books and DVDs. The types of posts you write and share for this audience are quite different but can happily live side-by-side with your social media content directed at potential collectors.
2. Establish your purpose. Almost more important than defining your target audience is articulating what you’re trying to achieve with social media. There are a number of ways to answer this question, so really think it through. Is your objective to attract new followers? To build relationships with existing followers? To drive people to your website? To sell more of your work? Here again, your purpose will influence the type of content you post and share, as well as how you use these platforms. For example, if you’re only concerned with nurturing existing relationships, it’s great to simply post to your own feed, but if you want to attract new followers, you’ll need to branch out and get involved in groups, forums, and other conversations going on outside of your own circle of contacts.
3. Vary your content. If you want your followers to look forward to seeing your messages and to enthusiastically interact with you, think carefully about how you can make things interesting for them. Variety is key. For starters, there are two types of content you can post—content you create yourself and content that comes from other sources into your feed, which you then share with your followers. In the realm of content you create yourself, you’ll probably always want to include an image, but it could be a newly finished work of art, a work in progress, or a photo of anything else related to your life as an artist, including your favorite quotes. And when it comes to finding other content to share, it’s as easy as setting up your Facebook, Instagram, or Pinterest so you’re following others who are creating content that would be of interest to your followers, and then forwarding it on to your followers by sharing. To work with this second type of content successfully, you have to know your target audience’s interests!
4. Interact with your followers and others. It’s important to know that people who just post, post, post all the time come across as overly self-promotional. So part of your social media strategy should include engaging in conversations about other people’s posts and content. Another great place to interact is in relevant groups and forums.
5. Commit to a consistent time. And now we come to the part of social media strategy that makes everyone groan, but really, if you’re going to use this tool strategically you’ve got to put in the time. I really encourage you to spend a minimum of half an hour each day. In about 5 minutes you can create or find some great content to post, then spend another 5 minutes responding to your followers’ comments, leaving you with a good 20 minutes to participate in other conversations. If this doesn’t work for you, consider using a tool like HootSuite or Later once a week or so to create many of your posts in advance and then schedule them to show up at designated times each day. By consolidating all of your content creation into one session, you can cut down a little on the time you have to put in each day.
6. Track your progress. An essential part of any strategy is to lay out some goals that you want to hit with all of your effort, and these “analytics” should be directly related to your purpose. For instance, if you want to attract new followers, write down how many you have currently and how many you want to have six months from now. But check in every month or so. If you’re not seeing steady progress toward that end goal, that’s a signal to change some aspect of your strategic plan.
Hey, if you’re going to do social media at all, why not do it strategically? Get the most from your time and effort, and learn to make this amazing tool work for you!
What other ideas do you have for using social media strategically? Let’s connect!