Friday, January 16, 2009

Twitter For Artists Part One

Today I want to talk a little about Twitter, and how I have seen other artists use this social networking tool to help market and improve their art business. Twitter takes some getting use to and I admit I am still pretty new to the game. Like many folks I signed up, twitted a few updates and not understanding the concept I abandoned twitter for quite awhile. I think I am finally starting to understand Twitter's true potential.

What do your Tweets Look like?
The hardest thing to wrap your mind around is what the heck to post? When it comes to content I see 3 distinct types of twitterers in the art world and we will look at all 3. The first twitter user I'll call "Sally the Saleswoman". Sally uses twitter aggressively to twitt links to her recent blog posts, new items for sale in her Etsy shop and maybe an occasional contest scheme. That is pretty much it for Sally's twittering. Then there is "Woowoo Wanda". Wanda likes to twitter news of which herbal tea she is sipping at the moment. She lets us know when it is raining, what her pets are doing and what movie she went to last night. Wanda wants her followers to get to know her and she is very open and conversational in her tweets. She hardly ever links to her sales pages or her Etsy shop, as her followers are her friends and "you don't ask your friends to buy stuff from you". Wanda also spends a good amount of time replying to other people's tweets. My last stereotype is "Hybrid Harold". Harold is a healthy combination of both Sally and Wanda. Harold lets his followers know what projects he is working on at any given moment and will not hesitate to link to new artwork for sale on his website... yay Harold! He also shares news about what gallery openings or museum shows he may have seen recently. He may even tell us when he is hitting a brick wall and struggling to write a grant proposal or other tough task. Harold tries to stick to art and business, and yet he is not afraid to stray off topic on occasion. Healthy Harold is also not afraid to toot his own horn. If you are a Twitter user you may see yourself in all 3 stereotypes. I know I do. I would like to think I am a "Healthy Harold" and yet this last week I spent way too much time complaining about my broken furnace on Twitter. Of course with that said, one of my local facebook pals saw my tweets ( you can link your FB and twitter accounts) and she facebooked me to let me know she had some spare space heaters. I did not need them but her sweet offer made my afternoon. That brings me to another great use of twitter ... you can ask for stuff! No not literal "stuff", but if you have other artists following you and you need advice on which software to purchase, which post card printer to use, or who has the best deal on custom stickers, then twitter is a great place to throw out your questions. So many artists work alone in their studios and twitter can be a great thread that connects you to a larger creative community full of resources and advice.

I suppose when it comes to content I could create one more stereotype and that would be "Generous Gerald". Gerald is the great guy that is always twitting about other people's work and is determined to share every new tool or web resource he stumbles across. Gerald is web-savvy and knows how to use tinyurl to share virtually any link he discovers, even those 160 character amazon book links. We could all strive to be more like Gerald on occasion.

Ok that is enough for Part One on Twitter for Artists. I wanted to do a video post today, but I am still sitting in a cold studio and I have a house full of workmen here. The good news is they are promising me heat by this evening. Next I want to cover some more advanced stuff like customizing your background image in Twitter and how to find other artists to follow. Check back for Part Two on Twitter for Artists. If you are a twitter user and can think of other types of content I have missed please leave a comment. I know I have probably only scratched the surface with my light-hearted stereotypes.


Melissa and Emmitt said...

Hi Rebecca!
This is an excellent post about Twitter. I love your 4 characters and hope they will show up again in part 2!
:) Melissa

Rebecca said...

Thanks Melissa, or shall I say "Gerald". I can't wait to do part 2 ... I really want to try to do a screen capture video thing and take folks on a virtual tour of some of my favorite twitterers.
I appreciate the comment!

Manon Doyle said...

Hi Healthy Harold!
Looking forward to part deux!

Kathy Weller said...

Great stuff once more, Rebecca!