Social media – can it work for artists?

A highlight of my week is getting my hands on (metaphorically, because I read it online) Mark Ritson’s Marketing Week article.
Ritson takes a distinctly ‘the emperor’s got no clothes’ stance on many things to do with marketing, and the newer or more fashionable it is, the more his hackles rise. He provokes comment, he makes me laugh, and most of all, he causes me to think. What a writer!

This week, he’s been examining if social media (although he really focuses on Twitter) works for big brands. And his conclusion is – no. He cites the examples of some of our biggest brands – BP, Vodafone and BT. It turns out they have a pitiful Twitter following, and he concludes this is because we’re just not that interested in these faceless organisations.

You can read his post here…I recommend you do!

He goes on to say that, by comparison, celebrities attract huge numbers of followers, all intent on vicariously living the life they lead. Ritson offers the observation that ‘Celebrities are people and social media works on a person-to-person basis.’

So, the point I am meanderingly groping towards (keep up dear reader) is that artists are people too. And people are interested in people who do things they wish they could, like make or paint or photograph beautiful things. That’s you, my artist friend.

So should all artists use social media to promote themselves?
I’d say they should, if they feel confident in having a conversation with their public.

They definitely should if they have something to say. A major chunk of the volume of Tweets clogging up our internet are trivial to the point of tedium, so the value is down to what you have to say.
If you can talk eloquently about what makes your art special, in a way that others will be inspired by, or if you can invite people into your world by being engaging, charming, insightful or just plain interesting, then go for it.

But please, make sure what you say isn’t just about you.  Because, if you look at how those big brands Ritson castigates ‘communicate’ with their audiences, you’ll notice that it’s all about them. Yawn.

Next time, I’ll talk about some of the marketing techniques I’m working on to promote my own art and that created by others I work with.

Until then, if you want to know more about marketing for artists, get in touch via mike@artcraftweb.co.uk or have a look at my website – www.artcraftweb.co.uk.

Oh, and have a look at Mark Ritson’s post about the 2012 London Olympics mascots and tell me if you agree with him.  (Note – it’s not for the easily offended!)

Happy selling,
Mike

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