Episode 231 – New Markets for Artists / Sincerity in Marketing

Sincerity

As I continued to talk with my friend about social networking, I told him about HootSuite and how he could spend a small amount of time each day on it, or even just one hour a week, by scheduling all his tweets in advance announcing specials he would be offering at his store. In response to this he said, “That sounds kind of bullshitty.” When I asked what he meant, he said, “Well, when people are tweeting and updating their pages, you assume they are actually doing it, but if you schedule all these things in advance, it’s kind of false.”

This is an interesting opinion, and it’s one that you might share. Is it somehow disingenuous if you schedule a message to go out at a certain time instead of always typing it in at the moment? I think there are several ways to interpret his statement. He may be saying this out of fear because he feels it will be too difficult to learn. It may be another excuse not to get into online marketing and social networking. The fear of getting too involved could certainly be an issue as well. Finally, he might be saying this because it upsets his own Internet experience; he can no longer know whether people are posting things in the moment or just scheduling all their posts in advance.

No matter what the reason for my friend’s reaction, I do not see composing posts in advance as somehow insincere. If I am scheduling a tweet (which I do) and I am talking about an exhibition I saw that I loved or a new work of art I have made, I am being honest in what I’m saying. I could schedule posts like that all week long, and still be truthful. In fact,  I am really just making announcements. The only aspect of social networking that requires that you interact in real time is “liking” or commenting on someone else’s post. This is when you have to contribute to the community by interacting with people in real time and investing the moment you have as you type on the keyboard.

A Warning

Everyone has a different reaction to the thought of getting involved with social media tools like Facebook and Twitter and using them for the first time. These reactions are often age related, because people in their teens through their late twenties are very tech savvy (or at least that’s how people over thirty think of them). Children, on the other hand, are not so much tech savvy as fearless. Digital media and smartphones can be used by toddlers and young children are becoming very familiar with the concepts of poking  around on a touch screen to write, download, play, and do research. That gives the newest generation a head start, not because they are smarter, but because they are learning about these technologies earlier in life, when they are not intimidated  by them.

To learn more about Brainard Carey and his services for artists, or to take a class from him, click here.  To join one of his free weekly webinars, click here. To download the workbook mentioned in this series, click here.

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Episode 230– New Markets for Artists / Daily Work

Daily Work

You should make it part of your daily social networking routine to look at the work of friends and other artists as well as any institutions that have Facebook pages and comment on what they post. You can spend as little as fifteen minutes a day on this, but it makes all the difference in the world. When other people—including those associated with major institutions— see that you like their post or comment, they will remember who you are and will be inclined to comment on what you are doing. This is essential because through it you are becoming part of a community, and you must contribute to that community if you expect others to appreciate your posts.

Programs like HootSuite can help you to do much more than just easily post a message across platforms and organize your social media accounts. They can also send out tweets and messages that you compose in advance, and they can send them out on a scheduled basis.

Is It Cool and Authentic?

Recently, a friend of mine was opening a small store and we were talking about advertising his business. I told him that it was essential that he have not only a Facebook page, but at least a Twitter account and foursquare account as well. When I elaborated, he said, “You’re making me feel old”—and he is in his early thirties.

This is something you may be feeling if you’re over thirty, because most of this is new to you, but let’s look at that statement for a minute. Why was I making him feel old? Because he wasn’t familiar with online promotion and he felt that it would take him a while to learn it, so he was resisting evolution and change. Of course that is very natural and it’s understandable. People have the same reaction to smartphones, but in spite of the learning curve, I see older people tapping away on their smartphones every day. If you want to become fluent in social media, you can. It’s really not that hard, but you have to have the will to do it. You also have to realize that you’re not alone, and there’s a lot of support out there for you in the form of books and videos.

To learn more about Brainard Carey and his services for artists, or to take a class from him, click here.  To join one of his free weekly webinars, click here. To download the workbook mentioned in this series, click here.

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Episode 229 – New Markets for Artists / eBay

eBay

By now, everyone is familiar with eBay, a huge, largely auction-based marketplace where many artists have sold their work. In general, when an artist sells his or her work at an auction like Sotheby’s or Christie’s, their market value is established. Similarly, if you sell work regularly on eBay, it will increase in value over time.

For example, let’s say you put up a small drawing or painting and it sells for $50 at first. As long as your art continues to sell for about the same amount, that value is being established as what people will generally pay. But if you keep selling your art on eBay, week after week for a year or more, you will see the prices rise slightly, especially if you are promoting your artwork on your blog and Facebook. When the prices rise, you are establishing real value for your work. You will read more about artists who have done exactly that in chapter 6.

Putting Everything Together: Hootsuite, Tweetdeck, and More

Perhaps all of this sounds overwhelming—as it probably should—but there are ways to simplify all of the social networking you’ll need to do to promote yourself and your art effectively. One way is to hire someone. That person is called a social media manager, and this is one of the fastest growing jobs right now. Because small businesses everywhere are realizing that the phone book and traditional ads are not cutting it anymore, they are hiring social media experts to do all their tweeting, blogging, and Facebook status updates. That is an option for you; however, you could easily do it all yourself using a central hub, which I will explain in a moment. Another option is to become a social media manager yourself. You could make a good part-time income or even take it on full time. I will explain this as well.

Dashboards

The way to bring it all together is through a central system, or dashboard. That means that all your social media platforms—Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, WordPress or Tumblr, and more—can be controlled through one, easy-to-use program. The program that I use is called HootSuite, but there are others, like Tweetdeck. What these programs do is organize all of your social platforms, simply and elegantly. If you use HootSuite, which at the moment has more tools that TweetDeck, you will be able to manage all of your platforms by logging into them all at once. Then you have several choices. You can send a tweet just once, about your art or an upcoming show, for example, and it will automatically appear on every other platform with the touch of a button. That way you do not have to spend time looking at each one; you just enter an update or a new image you made and it goes out everywhere. That saves you lots of time, so that after under thirty minutes, not only will you have updated all your sites, you’ll have also poked around and “liked” other people’s comments or made your own comments. It is called social networking for a reason, so you have to remember that it’s not all about you; it’s about the community you are in. Just as you like to receive comments on your updates and new images, so do other people. If you comment on their posts in a way that shows a sincere interest in them, they will take an interest in you as well. This is what the new online community is all about, and it has fundamentally changed the way products are marketed. It is now a give and take that people want, a way to give and get feedback on everything from travel photos to their latest interests  and passions.

To learn more about Brainard Carey and his services for artists, or to take a class from him, click here.  To join one of his free weekly webinars, click here. To download the workbook mentioned in this series, click here.

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Episode 228 – New Markets for Artists / YouTube, Vimeo, and Video-Sharing Websites

YouTube, Vimeo, and Video-Sharing Websites

Video can and should be a part of how you communicate with the world about your art. This can take many forms, so you do not have to be a video artist to take advantage of this medium. A YouTube channel is easy to create, and it’s free, so I suggest you sign up for one today. If you are already doing this, fantastic; if not, it’s as easy as creating a Facebook or Twitter account. Once you do that, you can easily make and upload a video. You can use a phone camera or a small consumer digital camera.

Video Studio Tour

An easy way to get started is to give a tour of your studio. This makes it easy, because you do not have to be in front of the camera. Just turn it on and spend three minutes or so walking around your studio and talking about it. Tell people a little bit about what they are seeing; if something is recent or in pro- gress, talk about it. Be as quirky as you like, be relaxed, be as you are. There is no need to perform here or do anything that is not your style, so just talk and, if possible, be enthusiastic.

If you take this approach, you can probably see how you could make a video almost every week. These videos could be posted on your Facebook account as well as your Twitter account and blog. Everyone loves videos, and not only will it get responses, it’s very much like a studio visit. So take advantage of this powerful medium and begin making videos and sharing them. You can shoot videos of almost anything, so there’s no need to limit yourself to studio tours. You can make a video of a place that inspires you, or a time-lapse  sequence that shows an artwork being made, or anything else that relates to your art.

Consistency

The key is to be consistent in your video production when possible; a good goal to set for yourself would be to create one video or more a week, keeping them under three minutes each. You  don’t want to make videos that are too long because people will get bored and impatient. In this new, fast-paced world of online communications, video is the quickest way to communicate a lot of information, but it also has to be brief to have an impact. There are, of course, exceptions to this rule, but it also makes it easier for you if you concentrate on making something quick and easy as opposed to a more elaborate production that could take a week or more to produce. The value of video is huge and social media gurus talk about   it all the time as one of the best ways to reach your audience. I know that when I want to learn something about a new program or anything computer related, I really don’t want to read a long text about it, or even a fairly short one; I would rather watch a video tutorial by a nonprofessional who narrates while clicking around their computer screen explaining what they are doing. I learn very fast that way, as do most people, because it is visual and easy to  understand.

To learn more about Brainard Carey and his services for artists, or to take a class from him, click here.  To join one of his free weekly webinars, click here. To download the workbook mentioned in this series, click here.

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Episode 227 – New Markets for Artists / LinkedIn

LinkedIn

LinkedIn is a professional networking site, and you should consider adding it to your list of social media tools, because it has a slightly different function that sets it apart. Originally, it was intended for businesspeople trying to meet others in their fields. It works in a way that is similar to Facebook; you begin by entering information that is related to your work and, like Facebook, LinkedIn has the power to lead to introductions to curators and others who can help you. The concept of LinkedIn is that you describe your business and then, as you become friends with others, you become connected to their networks, and the concept of seven degrees of separation to almost anyone comes into play.

For example, let’s say I had a show at the Whitney Museum of American Art (which I did) and that one of the curators at the museum accepted my invitation to be connected on LinkedIn. Now, I could go to my LinkedIn profile, and look through all the curators’ connections. I may see people there that I want to meet. Instead of just writing to them, LinkedIn requires that I ask for an introduction. That means my friend who  is a curator at the museum has to send a note to introduce me to them, and LinkedIn makes that process very easy. For the serious artist who wants to make connections the way  a businessperson does, this is a great resource, and it’s one that you should not be without.

To learn more about Brainard Carey and his services for artists, or to take a class from him, click here.  To join one of his free weekly webinars, click here. To download the workbook mentioned in this series, click here.

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Episode 226 – New Markets for Artists / WordPress

WordPress

There are many blog services out there, but the best ones as of this writing are WordPress and Tumblr. The reason for the great success of WordPress, a relatively new blogging site, is that it can be used to create so much more than a standard blog because it includes plug-ins for adding all kinds of features to your blog. This makes it very dynamic and allows you to change the look and feel of your blog as well as its functionality. You can easily integrate it with other social platforms so that whatever you write on your blog appears on those sites as well. There are new features being added constantly, which explains why it is one of the most popular blogging sites out there.

Why do you need a blog? For several reasons: You can use it to put up new images of your work with descriptions of what you are doing, you can use it to connect with other bloggers, and it can take the place of a web page by giving you the ability to update all of your artwork. Also, if you like writing, it can help you get the attention of a publisher, and  if you attract enough followers, you can even earn a living with it by selling advertising space on your blog. You might feel like keeping a blog is overwhelming or unnecessary, but it’s one of the most important elements of your social media arsenal, as it has the ability to create conversations and build interest. In chapter 2, I talk about artists who make a living using eBay, and a blog can play an important role in driving up your eBay sales.

To learn more about Brainard Carey and his services for artists, or to take a class from him, click here.  To join one of his free weekly webinars, click here. To download the workbook mentioned in this series, click here.

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Episode 225 – New Markets for Artists / Artists on Foursquare and Swarm

Artists on Foursquare and Swarm

But how will you, an artist, use this platform? In several ways. To begin with, you can enter your own location, and it doesn’t cost anything. Let’s say you want to put your studio on there. You simply enter the information and a name, probably your own, as the name of the studio. Then you can check in there regularly. Every time you check in to your studio, you have the option of telling your friends on Facebook with one click. That means foursquare creates a post on your Facebook wall with a little map showing where you are. You can make a comment too, like “Working on my giant robot sculpture  today,” which should get you a few comments. As you continue to do this, more and more people will remember where your studio is. As the owner, you can announce parties, post pictures, and create events. Also, when you visit a gallery or another artist’s studio, you can comment on it and people will see where you have been.

The term “social networking” is appropriate for foursquare because you are not just talking about your studio but other studios as well. If you comment on a show in a gallery or a museum, a map of those spots will pop up on your Facebook wall along with your comments, and others will comment back, so the community grows because of interests shared by artists, collectors, and friends. It’s like a game in a sense, but with the added value of helping you publicize your exhibits and your studio, which in turn can drive sales of your artwork up by increasing visits to your studio and creating a stronger community to support you.

To learn more about Brainard Carey and his services for artists, or to take a class from him, click here.  To join one of his free weekly webinars, click here. To download the workbook mentioned in this series, click here.

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Episode 224 – New Markets for Artists / Foursquare

Foursquare

This is another new platform that is fairly simple in its concept. If you have the application on your smartphone, you can “check in” when you walk around to different places, for example from the grocery store to school, or to a bar or a concert. That means you are using your phone’s global positioning system to determine where you are. For example, if I am on 23rd Street and Broadway in Manhattan and I click on “places”  in the foursquare app, I’ll see Madison Park and lots of delis, restaurants, and retail stores. Using a vast and constantly updated data bank, the phone can tell what’s around you. If I walk into a deli or go to a park, I can “check in” there, meaning that I can click on the name of the park and choose that as my location. I can also add a comment. Then when other people check in to the park, they can see my comment, and  it may even help them. Perhaps I might comment, “Don’t eat the hotdogs at the stand on the northeast corner. They taste terrible,” or I might say, “Watch out for the rats coming out of the hole underneath the sculpture in the middle of the park.” Those comments are a way for people to tell each other what they think is good and what isn’t at any particular location. But there are many more components to foursquare that have contributed to its popularity.

Becoming Mayor

If you check in to a location—say the park or a deli—multiple times, you may become the “mayor.” The title of mayor is given to the person who checks in the most times at any one location. You cannot check in more than once a day, to keep things fair, and you have to actually be there. If you become the mayor of a location or of many locations, anytime someone checks in at that spot, they will see that you are the mayor. This simple feature has caused people to check in everywhere and compete for the title of mayor. But there is another component that stores use and you can use it, too. Let’s say the local pizza place is on foursquare, which it most likely will be. The owner of the pizza place can post rewards on its place marker. For example, it could announce that whoever is the mayor of the pizza place gets a free slice or something like that. That makes more people who go there regularly want to “check in” so they can get their free slice. The pizza place benefits because more people are seeing check-ins at their restaurant, and it is becoming well known as a result. Like Facebook and Twitter, many of your friends may be on foursquare, and they will be able to see what you are the mayor of. Knowing that you go to certain places so often will make them consider checking them out as well.

To learn more about Brainard Carey and his services for artists, or to take a class from him, click here.  To join one of his free weekly webinars, click here. To download the workbook mentioned in this series, click here.

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Episode 223 – New Markets for Artists / Template-Based Apps and Games

Template-Based Apps and Games

Template-based apps and games are all very easy to make. You just fill out templates, add words and pictures, and then share the results with friends. You can post them on their walls, and when they use them by sending “gifts” to their friends, they unlock new parts of the game you made to share. For example, in the game I created called “Box that opens when you close your eyes,” the gifts you unlock are new pictures and words. That is how I chose to design that game app, but you could use images of your own art or any- thing else related to it.

This is the easiest possible way to create apps and games, because they are template-based, but if you are feeling  more adventurous, you can create an app for the iPhone or for Android phones. That is a bit more difficult, but it is possible.

iPhone Apps and Creativity

To make an app for the iPhone, you would need help, unless you are very familiar with designing software or willing to learn. Apple is trying to make it easier for people to create apps by themselves, but as of this writing, it is still too complicated for most. But hey, you might pay printers or fabricators to help you with your artwork, so you could consider this another art supply expense. If you’re considering making an app for the iPhone or for Android phones, begin by looking at the apps that are out there and deciding if you would make something similar or different. You might be wondering what could you possibly make. How about an app for the iPhone or iPad that allows you to paint by numbers using your art? Or maybe a puzzle where the final picture is an artwork of yours? Or perhaps even backgrounds—otherwise known as “wall paper”—for peoples’ phones or tablets? Be creative, and try to get ideas by looking at others. If your idea is really good, you can even charge people to download it, so that you can make an income from it. Consider this for a moment; it’s a truly new market. If you could find a way to send images of your own through your phone app in a way that is fun and entertaining, you could earn real money without doing any selling. There are many different approaches to this, like starting with a free app and upgrading it to a paid one, but take your time; think and dream about it and, most importantly, play with other apps to see which ones you like and don’t like, and that will point you in the right direction.

To learn more about Brainard Carey and his services for artists, or to take a class from him, click here.  To join one of his free weekly webinars, click here. To download the workbook mentioned in this series, click here.

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Episode 222 – New Markets for Artists / An App as a Work of Art

An App as a Work of Art

Another approach to making an app or a game on Face- book is to make it a work of art in itself that is worth passing around. The app I made with this in mind is called “Box that opens when you close your eyes,” and it is a series of images and phrases that you can share with friends. The way the game is set up, you can put in perhaps twenty or more items, and then when people share one, they get a message that says that if they share it ten times, they will unlock a new gift, meaning that they will unlock another one of the picture and word combinations I made up.

Here are three examples of gifts that I made which are intended to be charming enough to share: a self-eating cake (accompanied by a picture of a cake); a soup that heals all wounds (with a  picture of a soup bowl); and a Qwerty Party (with a picture of a keyboard). All of these are a little more artsy than the quiz questions, but they are also more likely to be passed around if people are using them to send messages to friends. I made that one a year ago, and   it has been used fifty-seven thousand times so far! Is it art? Yes. Does it help me? I think so, because friends enjoy it and pass it along and they are reminded that I am an artist who works with abstract and poetic concepts. You could say I  am “branding” the work that I make under the name Praxis, which is the name under which my wife and I collaborate as artists.

To learn more about Brainard Carey and his services for artists, or to take a class from him, click here.  To join one of his free weekly webinars, click here. To download the workbook mentioned in this series, click here.

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