A recent question by Larry Berman on an online email group prompted me to write this explanation of how I use Social Networking.
Here is Larry’s question:
“I’m doing a marketing seminar for a local photography group on
Tuesday. Since the last time I did this seminar, social networking
sites have become the current new thing. Can someone who’s familiar
with LinkedIn, Facebook or Twitter, explain if participating has
increased sales of their artwork in any way.
I have been using social networking sites such as LinkedIn, and Facebook for years, with Twitter being a more recent addition to the mix. I would also include Flickr in the list, as it has a huge social aspect to it, specifically regarding photography and art.
I started using Facebook a couple years ago, and have been using LinkedIn for much longer, though not for my photography and more for my “day job”. Twitter is also a tool I now use frequently.
By using Social Networking tools, I have a reached an audience that I otherwise would not have access to. I have actually made a number of sales and shipped my work around the world due to social networking… In fact, recently, I was connected to a publisher who will be using my images in an upcoming release next year – more on this deal in a future post.
As most of you know, I sell my work at local Fine Art Shows and Festivals. I concentrate primarily on the state in which I live, Texas, and recently did a show in Oklahoma City over Labor Day. The show went very well – I met a lot of great people! But, what really impressed me was that visitors to my booth found my facebook and twitter accounts even though they are not on my business card, and connected to me on those networks. These people actually sought me out! With younger people especially, this is very normal. In my experience, social networking is a much better way to stay connected with people than email newsletters alone – that is why I recommend using a combination of both.
Twitter has been fun to connect with other artists as well – and provides a ‘virtual camaraderie’ that I don’t get in the same way elsewhere. I have met other people that do what I do – Fine Art Photography – that live hundreds and thousands of miles away!
As part of my workflow, in addition to uploading new releases to my website, I post new images (in low resolution) on Flickr and Twitter, with links to my website and twitter profile. I have an image of the village of Oía, Santorini, Greece that has been out there on Flickr since my trip last summer that now has over 31,000 views, has been raved about online, and has been purchased and shipped internationally as a result. I couldn’t have done that with art shows alone…so I would definitely recommend that artiss and photographers use Flickr as well to promote their work. Due to the Flickr images I have posted, it literally drives traffic to my website and I have certainly sold some work off of my site (powered by SmugMug) as a result. Be aware however, that people do steal images off of Flickr and other sites regularly. Be sure to watermark your images, and do not upload full resolution images – or expect them to be used without permission.
That’s all for now – I will follow up with more info specific to Twitter and other tools in a upcoming post soon.