Twitter is one of the quickest ways to build brand recognition for your art business.
What does brand mean in relation to your art?
The American Marketing Association (AMA) defines a brand as a “name, term, sign, symbol or design, or a combination of them intended to identify the goods and services of one seller or group of sellers and to differentiate them from those of other sellers.”
A strong brand communicates credibility to your prospective customers and business associates. You want your brand, your work, to find a place in the hearts and minds of your clients, collectors and prospective customers.
Twitter is the perfect site to begin branding your art business online. Remember to use it wisely. The world doesn't need to know, or even care about, your breakfast menu. You'll find many intelligent people sharing links, news, photos, websites, blog posts, videos, podcasts and more.
Finding and networking with these individuals is very important for the artist/business owner.
My short list of suggestions on building your brand on Twitter:
Create a "brand" name when you pick your Twitter name. Your name, represented by the @ symbol in front of it, is the first thing people will see on Twitter. You want people to associate it with your business. I picked "JanJava" when I opened my Twitter account, because our coffee maker had just broken and I was finding it difficult to think coherently without "java". [Do as I suggest, not as I do.]
Write a catchy, keyword rich, profile and bio. Choose your profile statement carefully. Use this great opportunity to brand yourself and your business and tell the world about who and what you are. Make your statement "catchy" and memorable to help people quickly decide if they want to follow you.
Upload a friendly, professional headshot for your profile photo. People relate to other people. If you're totally uncomfortable with using an image of yourself, pick a quality photo of your artwork that represents you and grabs attention.
Link to your website/blog from your profile page. Twitter will drive traffic to your site if you add your website/blog address to your profile. Make sure your portfolio is easily accessible on your website.
Follow people and organizations that could help your career as an artist and are of value to your business. Valuable connections could be galleries, museums, curators, collectors, art coaches, fellow artists, art critics and others you would like to be seen by.
Post helpful information. Re-tweet or tweet high quality, relevant content that adds value for your followers. Remember that people are looking for information of value to read and share/re-tweet with their followers. Share a favorite quote, mention a recent gallery opening, provide registration information on art workshops. You can add personal promotional information, but a little goes a very long way. Approximately ninety percent of your tweets should contain educational/informational content. Social media is not meant to be used solely for broadcasting and blowing your own horn. Remember to be consistent with tweeting. Relevant messages scheduled two to four times a day will not be overwhelming. Your goal is to build a small community of followers with similar interests who will recognize your name and your brand.
Don't forget to re-tweet and credit others for ideas and quotes. Re-tweeting is the act of tweeting someone's original tweet because you think it would be valuable information for your followers. Re-tweets begin with "RT@so-and-so" and then contain the original tweet. They're a great way to capture the attention of an art organization, gallery or someone you would like to have follow you.
Be polite and follow the rules of social media etiquette. Thank people for re-tweeting and replying to your tweets. Don't worry if you lose a follower or two once in a while. It happens every day and isn't a big deal. Be a human being, not a marketing bot. Constantly direct messaging people to visit your website, blog or artwork is the quickest way to being labeled a spammer.
Honor the golden rule, it applies to Twitter and all of the other elements of life. Be kind, don't tweet if you have nothing of value to say and respect the intelligence of your followers.
I work with artists, creative business owners and nonprofits interested in entering or expanding their social media marketing presence.