Artist Lori McNee is a social media superstar. With six years of art blogging, over 99,000 Twitter followers, and an acclaimed art career, this #TwitterPowerhouse has gained expert art marketing knowledge. She helps artists grow their career through blog posts, videos, consulting and, of course, social media advice on FineArtTips.com.
We spoke with Lori about blogging, social media, and asked for her top six social media tips.
1. Use Tools to Save Time on Social Media
Many artists say they don’t have time for social media, but it’s so much easier than it used to be. You can use Buffer and SMQueue to schedule posts for Facebook and Twitter. With social media phone apps, you can really quickly check your social media channels and talk to people. It’s important to jump on a bit every day, even for just 10 minutes. Even if you use social media to a smaller degree, amazing things can happen. I used to spend four hours a day at the computer back before you could schedule tweets and use phone apps. It did take time away from my studio, but that time spent online was so important. It built my brand and reputation, and broadened my whole career as an artist.
2. Share Your World to Build Your Brand
Don’t be afraid to share your world on social media. You need to focus on building your brand, then you can market it. Share your personality, a little bit about your life, and what you’re doing in the studio. Pinterest and Instagram are wonderful tools for this. They’re visual, so they’re perfect for artists. Twitter and Facebook can now also be visual. You can share images of your day, your paintings, a road trip, or the view outside your studio window. You have to find your own voice just like you do as an artist. A big problem is that artists often don’t know what to share, why they’re doing it, or where they’re going. When you know why you’re using social media, you have a roadmap, a strategy. It makes it much easier.
3. Focus on Forming Relationships to Increase Your Reach
A lot of artists aren’t focused on building relationships on social media. All they care about is marketing and selling their art. Be sure to talk with people on social media and share other people’s interesting posts. And while it’s great to engage with fellow artists, it’s important to reach outside the art niche. Everyone loves art. If I hadn’t reached out beyond the art world, I wouldn't have been able to work with CBS and Entertainment Tonight, and do fun events with them. You have to think outside the box when it comes to social media and blogging.
4. Use Social Media to Enhance Your Blog
It is so important to have a blog. Another mistake that artists make is only using Facebook and Twitter instead of a blog. Your social media channels should enhance your blog, not take the place of it. Social media sites are owned by other people who can shut down the site or change the rules. They are also always monitoring your content. It’s much better to control your content on a blog that is all your own. You can post links from your blog to your social media sites - they work together. You can send traffic to your blog through social media. (How To Start an Art Blog or Website in Minutes)
5. Use Video to Break Up Monotony
Artists should use YouTube as well. Video is huge, especially on Facebook. Your Facebook posts rank higher with video. Videos are a great way to break up monotony. You can share tips, painting sessions, start-to-finish demos, studio tours, or make a video slideshow of your latest exhibition. The ideas are endless. You can take videos of you hiking and plein air painting, or interviewing a fellow artist. You can do a talking-head video letting people get to know you and your personality. Video is powerful. You can also embed videos into your blog posts. There are lots of ways to repurpose content. You can turn blog posts into videos by narrating your post. Podcasts are really popular too because people can download an audio mp3 file and listen to it.
6. Post Consistently to Build Your Following
Twitter and Facebook are very different cultures. You don’t have to post as often on Facebook as you do with Twitter. A lot of artists use their personal Facebook page as their business page. It’s much easier to market on a business Facebook page and it’s searchable on search engines. Through ads, you can target a specific audience to get more views and likes. If interested, there’s a way to turn your personal profile into a business page. I post once a day on my Facebook business page and I suggest one to two posts at most a day for a personal page. That said, it depends what your social media strategy is and what you want to gain from it.
You can tweet a bunch. I tweet approximately 15 informative scheduled tweets a day, and even a few in the middle of the night to target overseas. I like to constantly feed good information throughout the day, and I also tweet live to engage with my following. If you’re just starting out, that number might seem ominous. I would shoot for tweeting 5-10 times a day if you want to build a Twitter following. Keep in mind, if you don’t tweet consistently you will get unfollowed. I recommend tweeting at least once a day to keep from getting unfollowed, and "Tweet people the way you want to be tweeted!"
Why I Started Blogging and Using Social Media
I started blogging back in 2009 as a way of ‘giving back’ to my fellow artists and reinventing myself. My 23-year marriage had ended abruptly, and at the same time I found myself an empty-nester. It was a challenging time, but instead of feeling sorry for myself, I decided to share my 25 years of professional artistic experience with others. I didn’t know anything about blogging, but I started FineArtTips.com. I didn’t know how I was going to get my message out to the world or how anyone would find my blog. I’d joined Facebook as a way to connect with old friends - and my kids were mortified! I remember I was surfing the web and a little bluebird caught my eye – Twitter. It asked, “What are you doing?” and I immediately got it! I knew what I was doing, I was blogging and I had a post to share. So, I started sharing my latest blog posts, and I began networking with others on Twitter. This decision changed my life!
I worked hard, rose to the top, and am considered a social media influencer. I’ve met so many interesting and powerful people from all over the globe within and outside the art world. These relationships have led to so many amazing things, including gallery representation, exhibitions, sponsorships, and becoming an Ambassador Artist for Royal Talens, Canson, and Arches. I’m now paid to travel and give keynote speeches at big conventions, and I’m paid to write for books and magazines. I have my own book (FineArtTips with Lori McNee), plus e-books, and an amazing DVD (Social Media Secrets Revealed) that walks the viewer through each social media platform and explains the benefits. I’m a social media correspondent and fly to LA to cover red carpet events like the Emmys and Academy Awards. I even receive free art supplies and other cool things, plus I get to be featured on cool blogs like this one - just to name a few! Social media has done so much for my career.
Learn More from Lori McNee!
Lori McNee has more terrific tips on the power of social media, business of art advice, and fine art techniques on her blog and in her newsletter. Check out FineArtTips.com, sign up for her newsletter, and follow her on Facebook and Twitter. You can even join Lori in France in 2016 to paint and learn social media!
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