Social Networking and Your Art Business
Networking has always been a vital tool for the success of every business. Today, networking has extended from the offline, real world into the online realms. Your competitors are already there, making links, contacts and reaching new audiences. Ignore social networking at your peril. To make sure your art business succeeds; it’s absolutely vital that you become part of the action.
What is social networking?Social networking is an umbrella term for various online activities, allowing you to reach out to other businesses in your field, existing clients and new business. The various motors of social networking raise awareness of your business and act like online ‘policemen’ directing traffic through the doors of your gallery or delivering them to the home page of your website. Various types of social networking include:
- Network groups are communities of businesses or clients that share information, updates and observations.
- Blogs are becoming increasingly popular. An abbreviation of the expression ‘weblogs’, they are literally online diaries. They bring your clients updates and news from your business and related activities. Blogs are the daily story of the life that goes on behind your art. There has been a massive upsurge in the last couple of years in the practice of ‘micro blogging’- these are tiny snatches of diaries, delivered in real-time to your clients and fans.
- Media sharing networks mean you can post examples of your work to a much wider audience. Media commonly shared include photos and video.
Why will Social Networks Help your Business?The reasons for getting caught up in social networks are countless.
Use the networks to point online users to your website or online gallery. Maybe they see a picture they like, hear an update or notice some comments you make during a group discussion. However they find you, the important thing is that they make their way to your website.
An online presence in social networks gives you a profile. This is an online identity you create which includes a summary of your activities, history and art statement. Make sure it’s concise, relevant and compelling. Once you have developed an effective profile, you can use it as your launch pad into all sorts of groups and networks.
Use your contacts to share market information. Trends are much easier to identify, you gain access to feedback from your target markets and news and views from industry experts will fall into your lap. Social networking keeps you up to date and ‘in the loop’.
Having built your own online network, your website will grow from strength to strength. Link it with your networking activities and its search ratings and presence will be increased. The higher the ranking the search engines give you, the greater the volume of traffic directed to your website.
Social networking brings personality into your business. Clients get to know the person behind the art and customer loyalty tends to increase as a result. Make sure your updates are relevant, appealing and honest.
A Word of WarningSocial networking should bring you nothing but good things. Don’t forget there are pitfalls, though, only a few but make sure you avoid them.
- Do not involve yourself in any ‘spamming’ activities. This is the online equivalent of junk mail. It’s unprofessional and will damage your online reputation immeasurably.
- Keep your posts and updates interesting- personal and professional. Although you want an insight of the real you, don’t mix business with pleasure too much. None of your clients want to see lurid photos of your social life! Neither do they want to read posts of your recent grocery shop and your opinions on the increased price of petrol.
- Don’t get irretrievably sucked into the world of social networking. You still need to live in the real world and run a business. Stick to set portions of each day for social networking and get back to the real world immediately afterwards.
Social networking is a treasure trove of opportunities for your art business. Experiment and enjoy social networking but remember it’s all about your art business. Follow some simple rules and ideas and the online world will help your profits and reputation spiral upwards.