Artists on-lineSocial Media – everyone’s doing it.  From Facebook to Twitter to LinkedIn to  niche communities – people are connecting and interacting all over the web.

As an artist or a creative business owner, it can be a fantastic opportunity to build your client base, get your work seen by a wider audience and create some unique collaborations.  Social networking can open some doors you might not have even known were there!

However, it’s not quite as simple as choosing a user name and creating a profile and voila – free marketing!

“free” doesn’t equal free

Social media is “free” in the sense that you get may get a lot of positive exposure without having to lay out any cash right off the bat.  It sounds easy: sign up and before you know it you’ll have more followers than you ever would have expected and people are clamoring for your creations.

The truth is, social media takes a lot of work, especially if you want it to pay off.  You need to dedicate time to it on a regular basis.  So while it’s “free” in one sense, you’ll be paying for it with your time.  Some larger companies even employ somebody full time to look after all of their social media obligations.  If you’re not prepared to dedicate 30 minutes a day to it (minimum), then you might want to reconsider whether or not it’s the best outlet for you.

interact, interact, interact

The second key to Social Media, that seems to be overlooked by many, many people, is that it’s interactive.  It is not about you broadcasting to the world and having the world wait breathlessly for your next words of wisdom.  That works for a very tiny percentage of people out on the web.  And I guarantee you they have outstanding content and  they started out just as small as you did and they worked hard at it.

know your limits and have clear goals

If you’re considering introducing social networking to your business, or if you already have but you’ve let it lapse and want to jump back in to the fray, here are a few things for you to consider first:

  • How much time can I realistically devote to this on a daily or weekly basis?
  • What are my goals with social networking?  More clients?  More exposure for my blog?  A higher professional profile amongst my peers?  Finding collaborators?
  • Do I want to interact with my peers and potential and existing clients

what’s next?

Over the next little while, I’ll be doing a series of posts on the different ways you can use the major social network platforms to your benefit,  how to interact with your followers, how to find niche communities more targeted to your business, as well as some tips on etiquette for the different networks (and yes, they all have different quirks!).  I’ll even show you some companies I think are doing a great job of using social networking.