How Artists Can Use Twitter in Their Business

Greeting Card Designer Blog invited Tara Reed, Licensing Artist & Consultant, to be a special guest writer for "Social Media Month" and talk about why she thinks artists should use twitter.

Guest Writer Tara Reed

How Can Social Media Help Artists with Their Business: A Closer Look at Twitter

There are so many Social Media sites and places to connect online that it can be daunting to decide where you want to spend your time. Do you link-up on LinkedIn, share stuff you Digg, make friends on Facebook, Tweet on Twitter, swirl, poke, prod, nudge… it's enough to make an artist take cover under their easel!

In fact, when Kate asked me to write about Social Media, I got a bit dizzy trying to decide where I would start and what I would say. So I decided to pick my favorite site, Twitter, and give you some ideas of how it can be used for your business. Others can take care of the rest!

I joined Twitter in June 2008 because I was told to. When I started I had no idea what I was doing or what I might get out of tweeting, I was simply following directions. Since that time, I have become so enamored with Twitter that I was even put in what I refer to as "Twitter Time Out" - meaning I tweeted more than 150 times in an hour! I wear that as a badge of honor and even created a club - be sure to let me know if you need to be added to the roster!

So what is Twitter?

Twitter is a fast-moving, ever-flowing social media platform where people are answering the question, “What are you doing?” in 140 characters or less. You get very good at dropping vowels and abbreviating!

What can you do on Twitter to help your art business?

1. You can connect with other artists or people in your field.
Twitter is a great forum for networking, discovering and being found by others interested in the things you are interested in.
Twitter can become a support system so you don't feel so isolated if you, like many artists, work from home or alone in a studio.
Tweeting is live, active and in real-time. You can have conversations with those who are on Twitter at the same time as you or send messages to specific people that they will be sure to see when they come online.

2. Twitter can be a place to discover or share new resources.
I discover blogs or websites with tips, techniques or products that could help me in my art business all the time. You just watch what people are talking about, click on links and see what has their attention.

3. You can get or give help with personal and technical issues.
Once you start connecting with others on Twitter it is a very sharing and supportive community. I use Twitter almost like I use Google when I'm trying to figure things out.

4. You can connect with buyers.
If you sell your own art in galleries, online, on Etsy, Zazzle or any other way on the web, you can connect with potential buyers. One great way to do that is to decide on key words people would tweet if they might be interested in your art.
For example, if you do paintings of wine, you might watch who is tweeting about a trip to Napa Valley, wine tasting or other words that indicate they like wine. Then talk to them.

So how do you get started?

Sign up and find some people to follow.
If you have friends on Twitter, follow them. See who they follow and who follows them. One cool thing about Twitter is you can follow anyone - you don't have to ask permission, it is an open forum. It doesn't mean they will automatically follow you back but if you engage in a meaningful way with a person, they more than likely will.

Start tweeting.
Once you are signed up and have a few people to follow, start tweeting. I contend that “You are what you Tweet.”
Remember that Twitter is a place to connect first - not a place to jump on and sell. If you only tweet about yourself and your business, your results won't be the best.

Connect first - then telling about your business becomes more like adding value or sharing and not like a commercial in 140 characters or less. Twitter is a great place for people to get to know you - if you let them. And remember, people like to do business with people they know, like and trust. You can build that on Twitter with people you never meet in real life.

Talk. Add value. Ask questions. Help others.
Selling comes last… the key to success with Twitter is ‘slow and steady wins the race”. A good rule of thumb is to share, rewet and connect 80-90% of the time, and promote your business 10-20%. You will find people that say the opposite but I and many of my business friends who Twitter have found this to be a good rule of thumb.

How do you fit Twitter into your day?

Twitter is about being brief. Unlike writing a blog post or painting a masterpiece, you can get in and out in a matter of minutes. So get into a habit of just peeking in to see what is going on and share what you are doing throughout the day.

I like to use TweetDeck.com or HootSuite.com because you can create columns and see more of what is going on at any given time. I can see the stream of tweets from everyone I'm following, any "@reply" - meaning someone wants to make sure I see something or replied to something I said so they put "@ArtistTaraReed" in front of their tweet, or any direct message. (You can send a direct message, or DM, to anyone who is following you and it is only seen by them. It's a way of having a private exchange.) You can also create columns for keywords so you see who is talking about topics of interest to you and your business.

Twitter can be a very effective tool is used well and if used authentically. It is not, however, for everyone. That is why there are so many choices - because everyone likes different things, different formats and different ways of connecting.

I hope this has given you a better idea of what Twitter is and what you can do with it for your business. If you decide to give it a try - stop by and say hi! I'm at www.Twitter.com/ArtistTaraReed

Copyright © 2010 GCDesigner & Tara Reed

Tara Reed is an artist who, when not tweeting, is creating art for licensing and teaching others about the industry. Learn more at www.ArtLicensingInfo.com. Very active online and using new internet tools in her business, Tara has also created a resource for artists looking for recommendations for learning and implementing their creative businesses online. You can see what she has discovered at www.ArtMarketingWithTara.com.

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Tara Reed said...

So Kate - remind us what YOUR Twitter id is... thanks for letting me share my 2¢ about Twitter!

Tara Reed

Best Business Opportunity said...

There are so many ways to become the best, business opportunities are now easily accessed on different media stream. Even better, they are free, especially on the internet. The promotion you do on Twitter is vital because it makes your enterprise and even yourself more popular.

Kate Harper said...

I've never heard of the excessive tweet club--that was funny!-Kate

Tara Reed said...

Kate - I made up the club when I was put in "Twitter Time-Out" - it's like a badge of honor! I heard a rumor that they have upped the Tweets per hour to 300 - that would require some seriously fast & furious tweeting!