If you are not familiar with the term “social media,” you NEED to learn about it as a promotional tool. Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google+ and others all fall into this category, and you almost can’t get through a day without feeling the effects of social media on your life in some form.
The real question is how can you use it to help market your work? The easy answer is just do something with it, use it, get your name out on it, etc., but a strategic plan with a purpose will be much more effective and successful.
While many people still use social networks for quick chats and messages or games, there has been a large shift into business use of social media, and choosing which ones to use is a good place to start. If you KNOW who your potential buyers are and which networks they are on, start with those. If you don’t know for sure, you can start with the big four, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Google+.
Each of these has similar functions and purpose from a social media aspect, but they also do things on their own that can be valuable to you. Knowing how to use each of them properly is important and if you are doing it yourself, be prepared to spend at least a quarter of your time managing it. This time commitment will pay off, but if you really do not have the time or the desire to do this yourself, find someone who knows what to do.
The networks you decide to be a part of MUST be managed regularly or it can negate what you are trying to accomplish. REMEMBER, the point of joining social networks for business is to engage customers and then point them to YOUR product, which should almost always be done through your website in some way, if possible.
The reason for this is that you have complete control over what is on your own website, where other websites control or limit what they will or won’t show and how it is displayed. All of the recent changes and ongoing problems at the Facebook website should make this clear, but having a plan for each network you join is a good idea.
Blogs can be helpful, but should also be integrated into your own website if possible. A blog on its own will not bring you overnight success. Posts on it should be rich in content and valuable to a potential reader or they can hurt you just as easily.
There are somewhere in the area of 50 or more social networks that are considered popular, and you do not need to concern yourself with all them right now. We will get into much more detail about specific networks in the next newsletter. For now I'll leave you with a couple of excerpts from an online article I read at http://mashable.com/2012/01/20/artists-social-digital-media/.
(Andre Woolery) “For artists, I think [social media is] crucial, because people connect with your work but also want to connect with you as a person … they are going on a journey with you.”
(Alyson Stanfield) Lastly, have fun. “If you’re not having fun, you’re doing something wrong and probably won’t be effective.”