How to use Social Media for Artists: Strategy to use Blogs, Networks and Emails
To learn more about Brainard Carey and his services for artists, or take a class from him, visit: http://praxiscenterforaestheticstudies.com/
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I’m Brainard Carey, an educator, author and an artist. I’ve written three books for artists – Making It in The Art World, New Markets for Artists and The Art World Demystified. I’ve also shown work at the Whitney Biennial, having a show now in New York and host the Yale University radio series called Lives of the Artists. I’ve interviewed over 700 artists, architects, curators and writers about their world and how they navigate it.
The basic strategy to use social media, blogs and email lists for artists.
Step 1 – write a blog
Whether you have a blog or not, I would suggest using a blog attached to your website. If you have a WordPress, Squarespace or another template-based website, you could easily attach a blog. Or at least you should be able link a page to the blog.
Then you write something once a week in your blog. It could be, and ideally is, anecdotal. It’s not necessarily about your art, but more about what you’re doing – went to a movie, got a new dog, travelled, etc. It should be about things you think about and are interested in – a book review or how you feel about current events. You can write something that points towards your art – what you’re doing in the studio or exploring lately. But it shouldn’t always be about your art. Write a little bit with an image. If you’re not really a writer, just a few paragraphs would be enough, say 500 words or less.
Step 2 – social media
Your blog now has a link that goes directly to it. Then, go to Facebook and say, “this week I’ve been thinking about my dogs and cats, and I saw this movie, take a look at what I’ve written here,” and put a link to your blog post. The same thing can be done on twitter and other social media platforms. With Instagram, it would be slightly different – you’d upload the photo and then either put a link in the comments, or have your profile link on Instagram go directly to your blog. This is how you share the blog.
Step 3 – mailing list
The way you have a mailing list is you tickle your contacts. Rather than just sending one email with a BCC or CC, you should have (if you have a mailing list greater than 10) is an e-marketing program – such as Mailchimp or Aweber. MailChimp is free for the first 500. Aweber costs about $20 a month. It’s important for your contacts to all be in this because when you send out an email through an e-marketing service, people have the chance to subscribe or unsubscribe. They can subscribe to it through your website even – which I’ll talk about in in another installment of the series.
You send out a letter once a month. It’s friendly. It’s plain text. And you just act a little chatty. Write a few words about what it is that you’re doing and then have a link to your blog. The reason for doing this is that you’re giving them content. You’re not just saying this is my new work or waiting for something to happen, like a show, or something big. The idea is that everybody that subscribes, everybody that’s interested in you in social media, and even the people who don’t know you on social media now become interested because you’re writing about interesting things that they like. They like your voice. And that drives traffic to your website, because your blog is on your website so people have a reason to look at your art every single week. That’s the strategy.
What do I blog about?
It should be anecdotal. Not necessarily about your art, but more about what you’re doing – went to a movie, travelled, etc. It should be about things you think about and are interested in – a book review or how you feel about current events. Write a little bit with an image. If you’re not really a writer, just a few paragraphs would be enough, say 500 words or less.
How should I maintain a mailing list?
If you have a list greater than 10, you should use an e-marketing service such as Mailchimp or Aweber. This will allow people to subscribe (or unsubscribe) willingly and help you maintain your contacts. You can get subscribers from your website to this list.
What do I write in an email newsletter?
You send out a letter once a month. It’s friendly. It’s plain text. And you just act a little chatty. Write a few words about what it is that you’re doing and then have a link to your blog. The idea is that everybody that subscribes become interested because you’re writing about interesting things that they like. They like your voice.