Linkedin affords professionals, especially artists, to reach, meet and network with other art professionals, that in the past, under normal circumstances, you would never be able to meet and get to know. Artists on Linkedin can meet gallery owners, corporate art reps, interior designers and many other successful art professionals that may eventually help an artist to become more successful.
Today, Linkedin has more than 350 Million registered users and it is still growing. The following are some ideas to follow in order to maximize your time and effectiveness on Linkedin;
Create or Complete Your Profile:
Your profile can make you or break you. A Linkedin profile that has a photo will be viewed 11 x more than a profile that has a blank or default image. Personally, I do not respond or take anyone seriously who has not taken the time to either complete their profile page or the time to upload a photo of themselves. Make your profile a priority and stress your artistic accomplishments and experience.
Connect with People through Groups:
Join groups that are relevant to your art business. Again, your profile will be very important as to whether or not that you will be accepted into that group. If your profile does not show an artistic background, the moderator of that art related group will probably not accept you into the group.
Become an Active Member in Your Groups:
Begin by joining in and participating in group discussions. Thoughtful answers or questions will highlight you as an informed art professional. In addition, you can also “Like” any discussions, posts, and comments.
Remember it is Networking Not Selling:
I am always turned off by a person coming into a group, who ignores the group’s mission and tries to sell you something! Who are you? I want to first get to know you, I want to learn more about you and I want to be able to trust you. Networking online is no different than networking in person.
Follow these 10 Online Networking Rules:
Remember to be a productive and steady member of any of the groups that you belong to. Help others along the way and they will help you when you need it too.
LinkedIn should be a part of every professional artist’s online presence and if you are not yet on LinkedIn, you should be! Here is an overview of the social networking site and how an artist can benefit from using LinkedIn.
First, let us discuss what LinkedIn is and what it isn't. I am sure that when one hears the phrase “social media”, a person then thinks “what do I need with another social media website?” Though LinkedIn is considered “social media” it is not another social media site like Facebook, Twitter or Google+. Think of LinkedIn as an ongoing professional network event. You are there as a participant in order to meet, get to know and hopefully at some point, develop a professional relationship with other people. The thing that I appreciate about LinkedIn is that you will connect with people who you would not be able to meet and establish a relationship with under normal business circumstances, but now, through this unique social media platform, you are now able to make this connection.
LinkedIn is not a site where you share with everyone the general “I had salmon for dinner” or for “I am reading my book at Starbucks right now”. LinkedIn is a professional networking site and it should be kept separate from all personal business. I can personally say that I have met and made contact with other professionals in the art business that I just would not have made in any other fashion. It is an extremely useful tool to use in order to meet new professional contacts and if done correctly, ultimately to get new business.
Overall, the object of LinkedIn is to create and build a professional network of people, contacts, and influencers within your industry. Therefore, it does not make sense just to build a network of anyone, but rather to create a group of people who have a similar interest in what you do, as hopefully, these connections will be able to learn from you, as you will be able to do the same with them.
When you set up your LinkedIn profile, think of it as a visual online advertisement of you as a person and as a professional. Make it good, accurate and interesting, as a lot of people within your industry will see it (there is no restriction on how or who cannot see it). This means that all spelling, punctuation and sentence structure should be correct.
I suggest that you visit other people’s profile pages and in order to see how they have gone about and created their profile pages. When you do this, you will see some profiles that are good, some that are horrible (in that they hardly provide any information about themselves) and some that were started and never completed. There is a negative subliminal message that is given with the incomplete and poorly done profile pages. Make sure that you make your LinkedIn profile page perfect. The LinkedIn platform now allows integration with other social media, blogs, RSS feeds, document sites (Slide Share) and outside portfolios sites. Therefore, there is no reason not to have an interesting profile page for people to discover about you.
LinkedIn allows you to begin creating your profile by downloading your email contacts in order to see which of your contacts are already on the LinkedIn site. This is a logical place in which to begin building your professional network, as you already know these people or have done business with them in the past. Once you are initially connected, you are then able to be introduced to their contacts as well. LinkedIn provides to its members with the information on how and to the degree by which someone is connected to another.
After these connections are made, explore industry related Groups. Join these Groups, see what people are posting and contributing within the Group. Anything that is posted and interesting to you, jump in the conversation, comment and contribute. It is a great way to meet and to follow/connect with other like-minded individuals. The other important aspect about being in a Group is that once you are in a Group, you are then able to say that you are connected with all of the Group’s members and because of this connection, it is an accepted way in which to invite someone into your network (as you are not a stranger to this person due to this Group relationship) and you have something in common with the other person.
A LinkedIn member can post to a wall that encompasses a stream of posts from all of your connections. Therefore, when someone on LinkedIn posts, the post should not be of a personal nature and the post should be interesting and/or helpful to your connections. Always be upbeat and anything of a negative or controversial nature should never be posted.
I also want to mention the Recommendation feature contained LinkedIn. Recommendations add value to your LinkedIn Profile. Recommendations provide a third party endorsement of you as an individual and as a professional. Someone who is contemplating asking you for a connection will be much more inclined to connect with you due to your profile containing recommendations. Also, give recommendations to others that you are able to provide them to, as “turnabout” is fair play. Try to get as many recommendations as you can and if the recommendation is “so-so” you have the ability to decide whether to post that recommendation or not.
There are many other features contained in the LinkedIn site that enhances your ability to connect and increase your sphere of influence. Overall, if used properly, LinkedIn can be extremely helpful to an artist’s career and I strongly suggest that an artist create a free account and begin networking along with other industry professionals to extend their network, influence and most of all, their professional career. Here is a link to our LinkedIn Profile Page.