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You Like Me, Right Now, You Like Me: The Case for Social Media

Sally Field\’s 1985 Oscar Acceptance Speech
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With all the social media sites out there- Google+, Facebook, Myspace, Twitter, Pinterest, etc.- it has a lot of us all wondering if we really need to be on these sites.  As an artist, I have to say yes… I can hear the groans now… Does it really matter?  In short, absolutely.  Not that this is a popularity contest, but those likes, plus 1’s, and tweets are important.  Sure, they give you a boost of confidence and let you know that someone out there is taking notice to the work you’re doing- everyone wants to have their “Sally Field moment” – you “like” me.  But more importantly, it’s about trust.  Social media sites, time-suckers that they are, actually help build brand trust.  They allow people to get to know you, get better insight into your art, see what you are doing with your art career, and it also gives them confidence to buy your art when they can see that others like you as well.  In fact, the number of fans you have on Facebook, for example, builds confidence among other fans and potential buyers.  All the social media kudos you receive show that they are not alone- that others like your work and buy it, too- therefore they should join the club.  Because of these sites, others are able to vouch for you.

So how to manage all these sites?  And is one more important than the other?  Well, I have to admit that I do have my personal preferences when it comes to social media, however, I do think it is important to be present on all of them to some extent.  To keep things from getting out of control, I would recommend that you first set time limits.  Don’t get distracted with reading posts and watching videos.  Limit your social media time to only work-related posts and interactions when you are on the clock.  You can always go back later at the end of the day to do your personal posts, etc.

I know some of you may frown upon this, but copy and paste is your best friend when it comes to posting about your art.  I see no harm in replicating posts from one site to another.  It will save you time while maximizing your reach.  More than likely no one is going to be seeing the same posts from one site to another anyway.  Not everyone is on all social media sites and even if they are, they still may not see all your posts due to their short shelf-life as well as Facebook’s use of EdgeRank (which filters out 99% of posts by friends and businesses).  It really is best to cross-post in order to broaden your audience.

One last note- this may sound contradictory given your time restraints, but do try to respond to your fans’ comments in a timely manner.  If you post a painting or you ask a question, people are going to respond rather quickly, so be around to give them a response as well.  If you find that this is exceeding your time limit, perhaps find a way to wrap things up and exit the conversation.  You could thank everyone and say that you are going back to the studio now.  Or maybe entice them to come back by saying that you’re off to work on a piece and will come back with a “sneak peek” photo later.  Speaking of which, I need to get back to my easel as well.  If you have questions or comments concerning social media, feel free to to share them here!



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