12 Mar 2010
Discovering Social Media Through Art
In the past few months I have made many friends through the Internet and Social Media, one of which is Kate Harper, a Greeting Card Designer, with the wonderful blog discussing all topics relevant for greeting card designers. Kate gave me many good ideas, and invited me to write an article about my experiance with Social Media for her Social Media in March event. Following is the article published few days ago on her blog. I encourage you to visit Kate’s blog and other sites, and learn from the best!
I love art. I love the Internet and the possibilities it has. Until six months ago, these two were always separated for me. I made art, I framed it, hang it on the wall, I gave it as gifts to my close ones.
I went to art shows and art fairs. I admired art hanging in museum halls as well as on my friend’s walls. That was my right brain in working. The other side of my brain, the lefty, was used for Parnasah, or in plain English, to pay the bills.
I worked for 20 years as a software developer and it all changed six months ago, when I decided to try market my art and my brand name online.Here are few things I have learned since, hoping that sharing them here will help other emerging artists as well:
Social Media is about friendship
I have made many new friends from all over the world. I didn’t meet any of them yet in person. I spoke with few on Skype. With most, I have exchanged emails and tweets. I call them my friends because I keep in touch with them, and we help each other. I have written about few of them in my blog, and they about me, driving traffic to each other, and increasing our visibility online. We also encourage each other and support each other in success and failures.
I never dreamt before starting this journey that it will take me this route, but here I am, with my new virtual friends from the US, New Zealand, Costa Rica, Portugal, and everywhere in between.
Social Media is about opportunities
With the friends come the opportunities. I have seen it done by other people – individuals I connected with separately, who all of a sudden started making business with each other.
One example that comes in mind from my own experience – I have connected with a local artist in Toronto, Valerie Kent, who after seeing my social media efforts, connected me with her niece, who hired me to help her build her own website and blog. In this case my efforts didn’t materialized for the main goal I have of promoting my art, but to a new opportunity I didn’t have in mind, yet was much welcome.
Social Media is about ideas
New opportunities and new revenue drivers are just one type of ideas that come as time and investment in social media grows. But there were other great ideas that I came across, some I used successfully and some not yet. For example, Kate Harper’s idea and encouragement to create a list of sites for artists, triggered my most read post yet, a list that now include more than 120 websites, and directly increased 10 times my readership, as well as linkage to my blog, which as a result affected my SEO, as I demonstrated in “SEO for Artists Example”. Another idea was Jen Goode’s, who was first to introduce me to Zazzle, where I shortly after opened a shop and sold many products around the globe.
Social Media is about learning
Without learning we stay in place. Without learning our creativity will starve to death. And social media is about learning – from others, from our mistakes, from other people mistakes.
For example, in the beginning I didn’t like Twitter, I must admit. Why? Because I didn’t care for nagging people several times a day about what I am drinking or about a piece of art I am selling. It’s just not my nature. But I have seen other people doing it all the time. Of course I want people to notice me, but from that to harassing or spamming I saw a direct line that I didn’t care to draw. Alas, I took that as a learning experience, of what I am not going to do. I must admit that I don’t take Twitter as my main media channel, as no one else should. It is just one piece of the puzzle.
Social Media is about growing
Growing as an artist, as a person, as member of the community. Growing your business, your knowledge, your creative side. Just growing.
These goes beyond “what social media is” and how one utilizes it to help his or her business. I believe that the tools are there to make a change in people lives, not the other way around. I also believe that artists who are there to promote only themselves are doomed to live in their own lonely silos. After all, it is first “Social” and only then “Media”. Here here to everyone’s success – friendship, opportunities, ideas, learning and growth