Because I blog, host online seminars, and spend a lot of time on social media, people I encounter during live social interactions often ask me for advice regarding their art business. Should I be on Facebook? Do I have to do Twitter? Blogs-are they in or are they out? What about online teaching? Newsletters?
|In today's world, art, business, and technology go together.
(Photograph from Ty Pennington)
My response, initially, is always the same: It depends. What do you want to get out of it and how much time do you have?
It's true, lots of artists are getting great exposure and making money through teaching (in person and online), art blogging, and social media. But you don't necessarily have to participate in every kind of social media, etc. Often, a bad online presence is worse than none.
Even if you think blogging, tweeting, or teaching would be fun and exciting, know that keeping up your schedule can quickly become overwhelming. "Family Guy" creator and avid tweeter Seth McFarlane said on "The Daily Show" recently that when he first started tweeting he thought it would be no big deal to think up "one joke a day." Pretty soon, that one joke a day started to become a burden.
Having said all that, social media and the Internet offer unprecedented opportunities for artists to make connections, create community, and make money from their art. So, if you need help navigating the business of art in the Internet age, here are some guidelines.
1. Ask yourself what you want to accomplish. Do you want to get better known (to attract galleries, publishers, etc.)? Do you want to sell your art online? Or do you just want to be more involved in the artist community?
2. Analyze your favorite artists' sites. What is it about someone's Facebook page, blog, or online tutorials that attracts you. Is it their organization, chatty style, beautiful images? What keeps you coming back for more? The answers are clues to what kind of online presence you'd like to maintain.
3. Choose the venue that seems most comfortable to you. If writing a blog post twice a week seems more manageable than keeping up with the ever-changing rules of Facebook, maybe the blog is a better idea. If you're new to teaching, maybe you should give a demonstration at a local school or library to see how you like it before taking your show on the road or online.
4. Assess your technical skills-especially photography. Good photos and a basic knowledge of uploading text and images are crucial to online marketing and social success.
5. Do your research. Learn how each social media platform works, ask questions of your favorite bloggers and teachers, attend presentations, and so on.
The Internet can be your servant or your master, so learn how to make it work for you and your art business.
We have an ongoing series of live and recorded web seminars on teaching, using social media and blogging, and presenting courses online, taught by artists who are experts. Watch one today and learn how to take your art business online.
P.S. Do you sell your art onlne, have a blog, or teach workshops? How has the Internet helped you? What is your biggest stumbling technological stumbling block? Leave your comment (and a link to your blog, online shop, etc.) below.