In its most basic sense, social media is a shift in how people discover, read, and share news, information and content on the web. Social media is the fusion of sociology and technology and has become extremely popular because it allows people to connect to one another in the online world to form relationships for personal and business reasons.
Some people will tell you that it means, the days of postcards, direct mailers and catalogs are over and that the new generation of artists, gallery owners and consultants are programmed for faster, higher quality marketing techniques. Well maybe, but there will always be a certain population who wants something in their hot little hand to read or include in a file or portfolio. There is still something to be said for finding a lovely art postcard or direct mailer in amongst the bills when we pick up our snail mail each day.
However, thanks to social media networking sites like Facebook, Linkedin and Twitter, we are able to connect with our friends, family, colleagues, fan base and peers in new and different ways, 24/7. So in that way, social media offers everyone immediacy, connection and community and often leads to more exposure in less time on a global scale.
In addition to the 4 Basic Tips for Social Media Beginners I’ve written about, there are a few points you may want to know as you delve into the world of social media.
Social Media is a platform to showcase your work and your art AND connect with people on a more personal level. Some schools of social media thought will have you believe that there;s no room for your personal life if you are looking to increase readership or your network. This is old, outdated, corporate thinking. As artists and creatives we walk a fine line between personal and business. People want to know more about us than just what our credentials are. They are interested and curious about what makes us tick, what inspires us, how life is for us but that doesn’t always translate to photos of the family dog or your kid’s latest tap dance recital.
If you already have a Facebook profile set up for more personal use, you don’t have to toss the baby out with the bathwater and hide your more personal information. Simply create a Facebook Page used specifically for career purposes. No vacation or family pictures here, just images of your work and related business. You can check out how I did it, here.
Social Media is a way to meet people, you wouldn’t normally meet and find people you have lost contact with. These sites all reach a global audience. You might offer the best services in the universe, and have some amazing, innovative work- but how will you ever find a large group of people to see it? Social media finds another missing piece to that puzzle. It only takes a quick invitation and a brief, personal message to let someone know you’d like them to view your work and become a part of your page or network. This is also a way to see who their contacts are, possibly connect with new friends and often discover that you have a great many more friends in common than you thought.
Keep it fresh. Once you establish a profile on one or all of these sites be sure to keep your pictures, events, blogs, and contact information fresh and alive. You never know who will be curious about you. Stay current, focused and accessible.
Social Media is FREE. There is no cost to sign up to any of these sites; the only investment you make is in time. No website, no web hosting fees, no Domain Name to buy, no price per picture uploaded.
Still not 100% convinced? Here are some interesting facts about social media:
- 700,000,000 photos are uploaded to Facebook.com monthly
- 346,000,000 people globally read blogs
- 55% of internet users upload and share pictures, video and news
- 57% of internet users have joined a social network
Which site do I chose? You can start with one and eventually join all of them. The three I’ve mentioned below are the ones I find myself using most often. They are also the most popular and viewed
Twitter.com – This is a micro-blogging service. It enables users to send “tweets.” Tweets are text-based posts of up to 140 characters and are delivered to said users “followers.” It’s great a way to share information, meet new people and let them know what you’re up to at any given time. Follow me on Twitter.
Facebook.com– A typical Facebook profile consists of a number of different sections, including Information, Status, Friends, Friends in Other Networks, Photos, Notes, Groups, and The Wall. Most of the sections are self-explanatory but some are specific to Facebook. Facebook is as interactive as you want it to be. You can establish who sees what information and allows your friends to leave comments about your work, your status or just to make a connection. Find me on Facebook.
LinkedIn.com– A typical LinkedIn profile consists of your work status, previous employers and experience. It’s a little more professional than either Twitter or Facebook. It allows connecting with others,,requesting recommendations, but there is no “comment wall” and there is only room for 1 profile picture. LinkedIn is specifically for building business contacts. You can also post your resume and search for employment as well. This site is less for your creative side, and more for creatives interested in developing a network of business contacts as well. Look me up on LinkedIn .
Using one or all of these social media sites is another way in connecting, networking and building community. The growth of these sites on a daily basis is beyond measure. I am sure that by signing up with one or more of these sites, you’ll meet new and fascinating people, people of a like mind and reach a broader market, and gain more exposure to your art or service, faster than you ever thought possible.
How has social media changed your online connections to other people?