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Interviews

Using Social Promotion for Online Exposure of Your Art

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Have you considered using online communities for self promotion? Today we talk about the use of social networking to help gain online exposure for your art and tips on interacting with your audience. Whether you want to promote your art for sale or for feedback, there are a variety of ways you can go about this. In this day and age, the most cost effective way is to promote yourself via the internet.

Last month we talked about promoting your work and yourself via a website portfolio. This month we're going to be looking at the option of social media as a vehicle for self promotion.


Social Networking for Aiding Art Promotion

The amount of networking opportunities out there are massive. Ranging from art oriented forum such as deviantART, Behance and Dribbble to your bread and butter platforms such as Twitter and Facebook. The majority of which offer a variety of customization options by way of avatars, backgrounds and layouts to help mould your social media tool(s) to make them look more unique and fitting with your promotional needs. Several even are able to be linked into, for example if you own a Facebook artists page, you can have your updates transmitted onto your Twitter account. This is more for convenience sake for both you and your followers. It's also a simple way to reach your audience on different social networks automatically.


Increasing Followers Will Increase Your Online Exposure

By notifying the people who follow our work across these platforms, we gain online exposure. Ultimately social media becomes a game on how to increase the followers and thus the audience which views our work. Working towards 10 followers, 100 followers, 1000 followers and so on can be a daunting task.

There are many guides out there that will claim this or that is the sole way to increase followers. Some however may increase your "follow count," but you have to wonder if it's quantity over quality. I've seen guides suggesting you follow as many people as you can via Twitter in the hope that they follow you in return, after a week unfollow them and begin the cycle again. Sure, it's an instant audience but are they really interested in the work you want to promote online?

I'd like to take this opportunity to mention that a way to gain exposure on deviantART is to receive a Daily Deviation feature. This is a site wide feature and can help increase the people who view your work. I'm currently a Volunteer Gallery Moderator for the vector galleries and I am able to feature vector art Daily Deviations. I do welcome and encourage self suggestions as we all need a hand with self promotion. Please note, I won't feature everyone as I would like to maintain a standard. So if you're a member, feel free to drop by my profile and send me a note!

As an artist and tutorial writer, I thought about how I'd increase the amount of followers I had across Twitter, Facebook and deviantART. After deciding that the follow/unfollow method is not the route I wanted to go, I tried out a few things:

    Promoting my work via wallpapers: offering unique wallpapers across different platforms... Facebook followers would get one sort, deviantART members would get another and so on. I gained some instant feedback on the pieces available, but it didn't go about increasing my follower count. Of course, this might be different depending on your own art so is worth a try.

    Providing works in progress of upcoming work and tutorials to followers: this helped to connect with my audience and I was able to gain feedback from my peers. Although it didn't increase my follower count, it did increase the quality of feedback from my followers. I got more than "likes" or "favorites" from people, but actual questions, compliments and criticisms from them!

    Sharing Tips: I found sharing some tips with my followers on Facebook and sharing tutorials on deviantART helped increased my follower count. Offering resources also helped on deviantART, although my most viewed piece on my deviantART has been a tutorial! Maybe they've came to see my works in progress, rather than the finished products themselves!

I decided to talk to some vector artists to see what experiences they had with social networking, and using social promotion to gain online exposure.

Valentina Crespo

Q From your experience with these sites, which do you feel has helped you gain more exposure online? Which do you feel you are able to interact more with people who appreciate your art?

It never hurts to join the top social and art networks, since each has its own specialty, benefits and audience. But for me, it all starts at deviantART and it spreads from there to my other social networks. So, I would have to say deviantART is the most helpful in my gaining online exposure.

My other profiles effectively support and promote, each with their own strengths, and work in complimentary conjunction with each other. For example, Twitter is great for meeting new fans and getting a time-line across with minimal effort, while Facebook is great for creating a hub for your fans and friends and filling them in on all the details in an organized fashion.

Q Do you think there are any dos and don'ts of using social media for self promotion? What should or shouldn't you do or say on social networks? What should you avoid doing/saying?

It is up to the artist as to the boundaries, he/she sets, if any, and it comes down to a personal judgment call, especially when, more often then not, it is taking place in real-time, archiving and entering the permanence of the ever-expanding Metaverse. It's unfortunate that this freedom can be abused, in the sense of hate speech and bullying, etc.

Q In what ways have you tried to increase the people who follow your work on these social media sites? Which do you feel has been most effective for increasing your online exposure?

To increase your social media following certainly it comes down to balance. Participating in events and shows, etc.. The physical 3D World does keep you connected and growing in the virtual social realm. It is more effective to nurture both "worlds." Equally important is staying current with your content, supporting fellow artists and sharing what you "like."

Q Is there any advice or tips you would give others who want to promote themselves via social media?

Be proactive! Reach out to others! Don't wait! Support and you will be supported! You'll be surprised as to what you manifest!! Lastly, stay current with your postings and content, be zany and have FUN!

You can follow the work of Valentina Crespo via:

kawaiiuniverse portfolio, deviantART, Twitter: @BleuhMeuhDesign & @KawaiiUniverse, Facebook: KawaiiUniverse and OfficialKawaiiUniverse, Behance, Flickr: KawaiiUniverse & BleuMeuhDesign, Tumblr, and Dribbble.

AtixVector

Q From your experience with these sites, which do you feel has helped you gain more exposure online? Which do you feel you are able to interact more with people who appreciate your art?

I have a special affection for DeviantArt because it was there where I started to expose my work and also because it's a very large community where I met people who helped me to improve my art and accomplish a better exposition.

Behance is another site that I consider important. Both of them allowed me to get to a lot of users interested in what I do and also to meet really good artists and learn from their work. I think there are two things that are important: To get a positive response from people towards your art because that means you're doing a good job and to get inspiration watching other artists' galleries because it helps you get better.

Q Do you think there are any dos and don'ts of using social media for self promotion? What should or shouldn't you do or say on social networks? What should you avoid doing/saying?

It's a tool that can be very useful if you use it in a positive way like exposing your work and help other people. I think we shouldn't use social networks to broadcast hatred, racism or xenophobia messages. Social networks give us a lot of action freedom, but we have to use them with responsibility and respect for others.

Q In what ways have you tried to increase the people who follow your work on these social media sites? Which do you feel has been most effective for increasing your online exposure?

I think the most effective way to increase the number of fans is trying to make things better every time. People value dedication and effort. With time you'll get people talking about you on sites and communities and your art will get to places you never thought.

Q Is there any advice or tips you would give others who want to promote themselves via social media?

Get inspiration from other artists' work. Be respectful with your fans. Every new piece you publish should be better than the last one.

You can follow AtixVector via deviantART, Behance, Flickr, FaceBook, Hysterical Minds, and Intrinsic Nature.

MisterISK

Q From your experience with these sites, which do you feel has helped you gain more exposure online? Which do you feel you are able to interact more with people who appreciate your art?

Each site has its own benefits, Twitter is my favorite just because it's so casual, and because it's not a gallery site you can follow users from loads of business and creative fields. Sites like Society6 and DeviantArt tend to be populated just by artists - which is good for critiques and finding cool work, but not so great for online exposure. I know some artists who have had great success with Behance, but you really need to get featured for art directors to find you.

Personally, Twitter has given the most exposure and social promotion, but DeviantArt has allowed for the most interaction.

Q Do you think there are any dos and don'ts of using social media? What should or shouldn't you do or say on social networks? What should you avoid doing/saying?

I guess the great freedom of social media is that there really are no rules; you can be who you want to be. On the other hand everything you say is recorded and everyone can access it, which starts to be a real concern if you're operating under your real name. I tend to go by the rule, "Don't say anything you wouldn't say to your Grandma" (mainly because my Grandma actually does read my social network feeds!).

My biggest problem with certain social network users are people who rip off people's work or just straight up post someone else's work and claim it's theirs. If you're so desperate for attention on a social network that you'll steal something, maybe it's time to reassess your priorities.

Q In what ways have you tried to increase the people who follow your work on these social media sites? Which do you feel has been most effective for increasing your online exposure?

The best way to increase your followers is to genuinely connect with other users. Obviously having great work will help, but if no one knows who you are, how are they going to find you? Chatting, critiquing and promoting other people are all great ways to interact.

As well as meeting people, having reciprocal links from each network to the others is an obvious way to let people know the sites you're on. Putting links to networks on your main website is a no brainer.

Q Is there any advice or tips you would give others who want to promote themselves via social media?

If you're not already well known it can take a while to build up a network of followers, don't let this get you down - see it as a chance to meet new people online and improve your work. Don't take things too seriously, have fun!

You can follow MisterISK via: Website, deviantART, Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, Behance, Society6, and LinkedIn.

Dika Toolkit

Q From your experience with these sites, which do you feel has helped you gain more exposure online? Which do you feel you are able to interact more with people who appreciate your art?

I think Facebook and Twitter really help me to gain more exposure online. I connect my FB page to Twitter, so my followers can see my new updates (artwork) and sometimes they Retweet it, which means more people will notice my artwork.

Q Do you think there are any dos and don'ts of using social media? What should or shouldn't you do or say on social networks? What should you avoid doing/saying?

Imho..It's great to see when someone shares about their daily activity, shares new information/news, share pics, vids. But now what I see is people share something that's not what other people need to read/know. For example when they had problem with their parents, just keep it private, don't write it on your wall. Because 80% of people don't really care about your problems!

Q In what ways have you tried to increase the people who follow your work on these social media sites? Which do you feel has been most effective for increasing your online exposure?

Try to give good feedback, when someone comes to my page and they like my artwork, I must have time to check their page too, just to say hello/give a comment or else.

Q Is there any advice or tips you would give others who want to promote themselves via social media?

Promote something that can "sell" yourself as an artist and remember respect for yourself and your audience.

You can follow Dika Toolkit via: deviantART, Behance, Twitter, Facebook, and Facebook Artist's Page.


Final Thoughts on Social Promotion and Online Exposure

It's fair to say the majority of artists feel that social media is a way to get your work out there and to expand your audience. The impression I get is that rather than focusing on increasing your "follower count," that increasing your work quality is more important. After all, social networking to promote your work is just a tool. By increasing the quality of your work in theory you may increase the quantity of followers.

Whether people have "liked," "followed," or "devwatched" your work, keep in mind that they are following you for a reason. When a person follows you or your work, they are doing so for the reason that they enjoy what they see. By respecting your followers and keeping them in mind, they can be the best promotional tool in your arsenal. Word of mouth is the best form of social promotion.

Finally, I'd like to mention if you enjoy the work and tutorials of the writers of Vectortuts+, you can follow your favorite writers via their RSS feeds. You can follow Vectortuts+ on Facebook, Twitter and RSS to keep up to date on the latest posts and promotions!

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