Last week I was at an event and a friend who is a very accomplished artist said to me “Well, you are certainly maintaining a strong internet presence.” She meant it as a compliment. But the comment startled me. I have thought that in this age we live in the electronic connectivity of the internet, and of social media is critical to small art businesses like ours. You have to go where the people are, and keep your information fresh, educating when you can, offering inspiration, encouragement, and all the while still promoting the products.
But is it odd that artists are out there on the internet? So many people i know have paid the money, bought the domaine and built that website with copyright settings on their work. It seems so much easier to provide a visual record of your work, a catalog of available pieces, that ofcourse will not replace in person interactions, but will perhaps expand the capacity of the artist to reach new places, new markets, new patrons.
So that said, i did an inventory of what activities i do online involving the business:
This blog – yes, wordpress documenting the daily work, interesting techniques, new products, events, and the general evolution of Images in Bloom. But this blog is also connected to Facebook, Twitter , Tumblr and LinkedIn – so when a post is published, it sends a link to each of these places.
Twitter – While not as active, i have tried to tweet several times a week, forward interesting tweets other people have shared, and share news, photos and product updates.
Facebook – I maintain my own account, and a page for the business to which i update photos, add commentary regarding products, events, and business updates. Images in Bloom updates go to only the current “friends” of the page, so i then go to my page and share the images post with my list of friends. You never know which post will go viral, but sometimes there is a huge response.
Linked In – More of a professional job seeker/career networking site, i have been updating and adding contacts, and this blog updates to the linked in page of my profile.
Tumblr– Occasionally i will post photos to tumblr. My blog links to tumblr, and photos post there.
Pintrest– As i post products on my electronic shop on etsy.com i will also post a copy of the product to facebook or twitter.
Manta.com – an electronic register of businesses much like yellow pages. I registered the business there, but have not done alot with it.
Etsy.com– the electronic home of our online shop. I have been on etsy for over 2 years. Etsy is so visual – photographs of products have to be amazing, stylized, tell a story without words. As i list items on etsy i have the option of sending posts to Facebook, twitter, pintrest. When i do that a small post encapsulates the product in a mini advertisement.
And both Steve and I belong to a few professional sites that allow the opportunity to be listed, explain our products and link to any of the social media above.
Honestly it seems some times like a full time job just keeping things active, interesting, meaningful. But the other side of this online presence is to document our business, and watch as it has been evolving from a little pop up adventure to a maturing business that is growing. We love the opportunity to stay in touch with people, and in some cases we thought we have something to offer to the community about our adventures.
So this is a question for you – As an artist do you use the internet? I would love your feedback, and thoughts.