Online Marketing for Artists & Art Dealers: Top Tips for Success, Part II of III – Fortnightly column for the Art, Antiques & Luxury Design Blog

Be Smart About Art: Best practices in the art world
A fortnightly column by Susan Mumford for the Art, Antiques & Luxury Design Blog

Click here to read the article on the Art, Antiques & Luxury Design Blog
15th April 2012

This article is part two of a three-part series on online marketing. This piece looks at effective use of social media for art world professionals, including: 1. Regular updates for all social media platforms employed; 2. LinkedIn – why it is important; 3. Facebook – personal vs business use; and 4. Twitter – dos and don’ts.

1. Regular updates
A rule of thumb for online marketing is to keep all platforms up to date and regularly produce new content. When you decide to use social media professionally, you should have a plan in place in advance of “signing-up”. In regards to LinkedIn, your profile should be updated as soon as anything changes. For facebook and twitter, it is a matter of fresh content being presented.

Consider two circumstances:
What happens when you go on holiday for two weeks? Do you switch-off (as rightly deserved after working hard at fairs and exhibitions) and have no twitter updates?
What if you have a family emergency and are unexpectedly offline for a time? Does this mean that your updates will drop off a cliff?

Plan in terms of having a way to make updates on a regular basis. In order to ensure this, think about how you could share expertise in a long-term, prepared “campaign”. (See section 4 on twitter for more on this point.)

2. LinkedIn
There are many ways to use LinkedIn and I will cover basics, including why to signup in the first place and basic points on how to use it.

Firstly, LinkedIn is a hugely popular site for business professionals worldwide and consequently, it is commonly the first website presented when a person’s name is typed into a search engine. Therefore, having a profile helps people find you.

Secondly, it is common for people to research others in advance of commencing a working relationship. Accordingly, it is important to have a fully completed, up to date profile that reflects your knowledge and experience.

Your profile
The following items are imperative to include from the beginning:
•Your photograph (this gives people an image of you);
•A summary of your profession;
•Relevant work history in full, including experience and positions held;
•Education; and
• Websites and twitter name (as applicable).

Once you have completed your profile, request to connect with existing clients/associates as it is paramount, as a LinkedIn user, to be seen to have a LinkedIn network. You have to start somewhere, and once you have established even a few connections, you will likely find that existing contacts as well as people you meet at networking events will request to connect.

Profile credibility
Ask LinkedIn connections who are existing clients/associates to provide “recommendations”. These are testimonials that must be completed by your own LinkedIn connections.

Thirdly, LinkedIn is a great way to stay in touch with people even when contact details change – for example, when someone changes company or retires.

3. Facebook
Anyone who promotes business on facebook should have two different types of page: personal and business. The personal page is where people get to know you, the individual. Your business page, on the other hand, is accessible by the world and is the place to promote artists, exhibitions, events and the like. You will undoubtedly find that business professionals request to connect with you at your personal page, which is absolutely fine, so long as you are comfortable with this.

What you should not do is have a personal page only, and promote exhibitions, business events and your profession in general. This is how you will effectively lose friends or prompt them to hide your updates on their news feed.

Artists have a specific type of “artist” business page available to use, and dealers/galleries have a host of options from which to choose. Exhibitions and events should be created within that page, and shared with followers of the page as well as specifically selected friends.

4. Twitter
There is a fundamental principle for twitter. It is simple, yet so many people get this completely wrong.

Twitter is not a forum for constant self-promotion; it is a place for sharing knowledge, connecting with fellow professionals within your industry and beyond, cross-promoting with other businesses and professionals (“if you scratch my back, I will scratch yours…”) and then, only occasionally, promoting or linking to your own services.

Many avid users who “get it” do not actively sell via the platform yet they win business as a result; the expertise and fan base developed via the effective use of twitter sells itself. Such success is an example of the principle of “VCP” (Visibility + Credibility = Profitability) in action.

To run a campaign, one option is to present in-depth knowledge via daily tweets that are pre-scheduled (websites are available to help with this and I use Hootsuite). It is essential that such a regular automated campaign is complemented by “organic” tweets, as in, those that are sent by you personally, often in response to other tweets. For example, you can give insights into events/exhibitions you attend and present and articles you recommend.

In order to effectively use social media, you should choose the one(s) appropriate for you and use those regularly.
•LinkedIn requires upfront profile completion and offers an effective space for staying connected with others as well as enabling potential clients and associates to learn more about you – providing that your profile is kept up to date.
•Facebook offers fantastic opportunities for growing and promoting business, as long as you keep personal and business profiles separate.
•Twitter is a place to display your expertise, build a follower base and to effectively cross-promote with fellow professionals.

What are you waiting for?

Susan Mumford

About Susan Mumford

Principal, Be Smart About Art Academy Founder, Association of Women Art Dealers Owner, Susan Mumford Art Consultancy
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