The social web is one of the most important tools available to the artist. It’s where you can reach out to people with your work, establish yourself as a professional artist, connect with brands and other artists, and ultimately sell your work.
That said, the true power of the social web is completely beyond your control, as it rests with your audience … more specifically, what your audience does in response to you. This might include anything from subscribing to your newsletter, liking your page on Facebook, or re-tweeting your latest.
Wait, Wait, Wait!
Before we go any further in that direction, let’s take a step back and think about the prelude to any sort of social activity from your audience — your discoverability.
Before you worry about how to increase the social chatter about your work or whether or not people will find it easy, fun, and cool to share your work with their friends, you first need to think about whether you’re actually discoverable or not … in other words, can people discover you independently?
Answer the Golden Question: What Do You Do?
Establishing what you do is very important when it comes to discoverability. If you can’t even reveal what you do clearly and concisely, you won’t be able to create a connection and understanding with the person trying to learn more about you and your work.
When you meet someone for the first time, it’s almost certain that the person you’re meeting will ask the golden question, “so, what do you do?” — it’s at this very moment you have the opportunity to establish yourself not as who you want to be, but as who you are becoming (assuming you’re actually hustling).
Think about it: the person you’re meeting isn’t really interested in your day job … it’s not about what you’re doing for money or what you spend the majority of your work week doing — it’s usually a question asked with the intention of getting to know who you are, because whether or not we like to admit it, what you do is who you are. If you work at the grocery store 40+ hours a week and write music when ever you can get to it after work, people are going to define you as someone the works at the grocery store. However, if you work your full time job and write music on your lunch, after work, and during the weekend, people are likely to define you as some sort of song writer or musician.
This should be taken without the spoon of sugar for those out there that aren’t pursuing their life’s work, yet talk about getting to it someday.
This applies just the same online. When people visit your about page on your website or your social profile on Facebook, they’re looking for information regarding what you do. Now is your chance to establish yourself as a musician — leave out the day job, it’s not what people want to do. It’s boring. Reveal your work as soon as possible to those trying to discover more about your work. Create a gallery of your visual work online, provide streaming or downloadable files of your music, or pages and pages of your poetry.
Be sure what you do is clear to your discoverer … otherwise, they’re not going to be able to define you, you’re going to miss out on the most powerful aspect of the social web.
Establish A Clear Profile of Who You Are
In order to be discoverable, you need to have all the elements in place, including a clear profile of who you are as a professional artist. This means creating a solid about page for your website, a bio section for your blog, and polished blurbs for your various social profiles. This provides your audience, or discoverer, the information they need in order to discover you … who you are.
Avoid the temptation to copy and paste the same bio to your various social profiles, as this will only harm your chance of discoverability in the long run (this stuff counts as duplicate content, and duplicate content will likely result in a penalty from the search engines … or at least a lower ranking in your search engine position.
The idea here is to create your character — as if you’re in the story of a book.
Create a super-clear idea of who you are as a person … as a professional. Not only does this help position you as a pro in your niche, but it also helps create your profile, which is what helps people remember who you are. Sure, we all know the work of Salvador Dali due to it’s originality, but most of us will likely visualize him before his art because of the character he established.
What’s Your Unique Perspective?
Selling an abstract painting is a very difficult feat to achieve, but aside from the obvious price differences (depending of course) it isn’t unlike selling a bottle of wine.
Every bottle of wine offers something unique, because like art, wine is an old world craft that has had it’s share of innovation yet relies mostly on technique and perspective. The way wine makers sell their wine, aside from the ratings, is the label — each bottle offers a unique perspective that aims to connect with the potential customer. Similarly, paintings require that unique perspective because most buyers are interested in the idea, lifestyle, and motivation behind the creation of the painting.
Creating your own unique perspective as an artist will help you stand apart from the others in your niche, as well as help people connect with you. Think about how you feel about life, what drives you to create art, and what you hope to achieve with each creation. Remember, the goal is just as much to help the customer connect with your work as it is to define your true perspective.
For a lot of artists, this will come out through your expression and creation, however, it’s still a good idea to define it in words so you can explain it to those interested in learning what you have to say about your own work.
Create A Solid Foundation
The idea here is to create a solid foundation all about what you do, who you are, and what you have to offer people interested in discovering what you’re all about.
These three aspects to your professional profile will ultimately help you increase your discoverability, which in turn will lead to a larger social following and even ales.
cc image credit: Reemul