“It takes too much time!”
“Doesn’t guarantee sales or increased attendance.”
“It’s so difficult to stay active!”
In my work as a digital trainer with artists, art dealers and art organisations I hear the above excuses on a daily basis. While they all might seem like valid arguments, they are surely not reasons to completely ignore social media.
As I would like to argue, one does not have the luxury to do so nowadays.
Let me outline exactly why that is the case in the following five reasons:
1. Did you ignore mobile phones when they first emerged?
No? Exactly. That’s my point. You need to see social media as a new means of communication and not as a scary new world.
Social media has increased the channels through which you can engage andcommunicate with your audiences.
While it might be possible to live without a mobile phone nowadays, I do imagine you would have a hard time keeping in touch with everyone.
2. It’s not as complicated as you think
Yes, there are many different platforms and channels out there and each one has its own language and form of interaction.
No one ever said you need to jump at every new platform that emerges.
I always recommend to start using LinkedIn properly plus one other social media channel. If you then begin to feel very confident with your use – feel free to expand!
3. If you know how, it doesn’t take up much time
I keep an active personal profile on four different social media platforms (not counting the two to three professional accounts I am contributing to as well).
I spend no more than half-an hour a day on them.
How do I manage? My trick is to make it a habit to pre-schedule a lot of the updates throughout my day.
There are a lot of possibilities out there to make your life easier so you don’t have to spend all day glued to various news feeds.
Usually I use my commute and lunch hour to skim through interesting articles, post them, re-tweet a few interesting tweets from people I follow and schedule them in advance.
4. If you don’t measure effectiveness, you’re missing out
For any marketing it is vital to know who your audience is and how to target them. This is particularly relevant for art marketing and what better way to do this than measuring the effectiveness of your social media activity?
The good news is that almost everything that happens online is measurable in some way or another.
The bad news is that a lot of art organisations are missing out on this opportunity and their social media accounts’ content appears haphazard.
There are so many tools that let you track your social media audience’s demographics, engagement, conversions and much more.
For example, your professional Facebook page engagement can be easily tracked through Facebook Insight.
And finally don’t forget the power tool Google Analytics that can be used in so many ways – I certainly recommend taking their free webinars to learn more.
5. It’s the arts: if we’re not showing the way, then who is?
The arts have always been leading the way and great at illustrating the spirit of the current times.
So, my advice is to go for it and enjoy it! Be creative. Explore its boundaries and break them.
To come back to my initial point, social media does not have to take too much of your time, it guarantees a direct engagement with your audience and with all the tools available you can easily make it work around your busy time schedule.
If you think back to even just a decade ago, who knew you’d be able to launch records, premiere entire films, publish books online and be able to reach enormous audiences at the same time?
Maybe you’ll be discovering entirely new ways and uses of social media for the arts sector that the industry hasn’t realised yet…
About the Author: Mara Vlatkovic currently works in London at Be Smart About Art, a business offering a programme of talks, workshops, webinars and mentoring for the arts and artists. Mara is a Marketing & Business Development Professional, and New Media Trainer for Art Professionals. Get more from Mara on Twitter