What is a Twitter hashtag and how can an artist use this to their advantage when using Twitter as a means to market and promote their art? Try to think of a Twitter hashtag as a way to categorize and collect Tweets about a particular subject. A Twitter hashtag is the symbol # plus the subject, for example; #Art is a well-used hashtag on Twitter. If you were to create and Tweet a message about a new art show or a new blog article about art, at the end of the Twitter message include the hashtag #Art and automatically this Tweet will be listed with all of the other Tweets that have used this hashtag (and there are quite a few in this category) as well.
By using this hashtag and reaching your regular Twitter followers with your message, you have now included and reached another group of people who follow the hashtag #Art. The hashtag #Art is followed by a very large group of people who are also interested in or who are associated with the art industry.
Popular art related hashtags are #artgallery, #artnews, #artinfo, #painting, #photo, #photography, #abstract, #acrylic, #watercolor, etc. Try making up your own hashtags in order to research that hashtag with the Twitter search function and see what you come up with in this category or in this subject. You will find leads, new prospects, other interested people, art galleries and art related people who are following this hashtag as well. I think that you will find that the most effective and popular hashtags are with the shortest and most concise names.
If you are involved with or you are having an art event, create a hashtag for this event ie: #billsartevent and include and promote this hashtag with all of the Tweets, posts, and ads about this event. In addition, encourage all of your followers and everyone associated with this event to also use this hashtag. By doing this, it will then create a stream of information, comments, and conversations specifically about your art event. The same would hold true if you were creating a discussion with your followers about an art subject as well. Using a hashtag is a great way to separate your topic away from the clutter and to focus on that category or subject in a Twitter stream.
I want to provide a word of caution about using hashtags in any of your Tweets. When using a hashtag name or hashtag subject, it is also included in your 140 character message limit, thus requiring more difficulty in formulating and in writing your Tweet. If you want to include several hashtag categories, but you do not have the character space, send out the same message, 2 or 3 times, with your different hashtags.
By using a hashtag with your Twitter messages an artist is also exposing their message and themselves to a new group of Twitter users who have the potential to not only read their message but also to become new followers and readers of future Tweets. If you are unfamiliar with or are uncomfortable using Twitter hashtags, look for other users who are using hashtags, click on that particular hashtag (it is a link to that subject or category) and follow where the hashtag takes you. I think that you will be surprised at what you find and also you will be happy that you are now following and using hashtags with your Twitter messages.
Are you marketing and branding your art through social media and getting the results that you desire? Have your efforts in social media so far been worthwhile? Do you feel comfortable in establishing your presence in this new medium? Are you up-to-date on the effectiveness of this media? If you said “no” to any of the above questions then it may be time for you to brush up on your social media “netiquette” as your effectiveness may be improved by adhering to the unofficial rules of social networking.
In social media try to develop connections and relationships with people rather than advertising, promoting, selling something and by spamming people. People want to be educated, engaged and informed by you, rather than being “sold” by you.
When reading an interesting post about your art share it with your followers, friends and in your networks. By doing this, your followers will remember you, follow you more closely because of your attention and begin to connect with you.
Always be upbeat, positive and helpful with your followers, friends, and networks. Remember that “social networking” is a tool that is used to develop relationships and contacts that are related to you in the art business. Do not just send posts and announcements about selling your artwork to your followers as this may be considered as spam and it will cause people to drop you, unfollow or eventually block you. Send interesting posts related to the art world and people will look forward to your posts, Tweets, and updates.
Do not send negative or offensive posts, Tweets, and updates. You are trying to meet people and build a following. Remember, this is called social media and people want to follow an upbeat and positive person. In addition, whatever you say, write or post will follow you forever, so think twice before you post!
If you are using Twitter, do not forget to give the original person credit for a Retweet. Remember, it is social media and by giving credit you are being helpful in promoting the other person’s business too. Turnabout is fair play and others who are social media savvy will do the same for you.
Do not ignore direct messages or emails from followers or from others in your network. Try to answer them promptly, otherwise, it is similar to not acknowledging that person. Also, do not use the direct message feature to spam, sell or solicit business.
Do not send out and post personal information about yourself or about other people. Social media is a tool for trying to develop relationships, not to spread gossip. Do not ruin your reputation by revealing personal information and or details about yourself.
Do not post that you have just stopped following or "unfriended" someone. Or post something that indicates that you will not do business with “so and so”, because of. People do not care about this information and social media should not be for that purpose.
Try to fit in and be a part of a crowd. Someone once wrote that to be effective in social media that you need to think of it and approach it as if it were a cocktail party. When you attend that party you need to introduce yourself, get to know that person and then mingle with the other guests. In other words, be sociable and get to know everyone at the party as much as possible.
I have always thought of social media as an incredible tool that provides you an opportunity to meet, interact and get to know people who you would otherwise not be able to meet in any other situation. Think of Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin and other social media as a regular networking event where you will be meeting new people and you will need to be on your best behavior in order to make a good impression on someone, who can further your art business. Just remember that whatever you do in person at a networking event, you also should do online too.
Twitter is a social media platform which allows users to express themselves by sending messages to their followers in 140 characters or less. Twitter for public use was launched in July 2006 and since that time, they now have 155+ Million users, who Tweet 1 Billion messages a month! Twitter is an incredible social media phenomenon which artists can use to increase and brand their art business.
This article is for artists who want to expand their social media participation with Twitter and are unsure how to use Twitter to their advantage. The following are Twitter do’s and Twitter don’ts for artists:
Twitter Do’s for Artists
1. Be sure to fill out fully the profile section and make sure that you have an active link to your business website.
2. Have a good photo of yourself or your logo. Do not use the default icon which Twitter will provide to you. Better yet, whatever graphics, logo or picture you use for Facebook or for your website use the same for Twitter as part of your brand.
3. Use the search feature (with art related keywords) and follow people who are influencers in the art business. Do not be offended if they do not follow you back when you start out, as you are not an influencer yet.
4. Make sure you are an active user by Tweeting a minimum of 3 times a day (all at different times of the day) and Tweet no more than 10 posts a day. Any more then this and it becomes annoying to your followers.
5. Try to develop connections and relationships with people rather than advertising, promotions and spamming people. People will unfollow people who send out spam all of the time.
6. When reading an interesting post share it with your followers with a retweet (similar to forwarding an email). When someone retweets one of your posts, direct message and thank them for the retweet. They will remember you and follow you more closely because of your attention.
7. Start a free Social Oomph account as they have an automatic response feature that should be used to automatically thank a person when they connect and follow you. It is an opportunity to tell a little about your self and your art without having to type it out each time.
8. Do purge your list of people who you follow, but who are not following you. Try to keep in proportion the number of your followers to the number of people you are following. The reason for this is that Twitter allows you, 2,000 followers, to begin. If you had 100 followers and you were following 2,000 people, Twitter will flag your account and you will be considered someone who is churning your account and using the site to distribute spam. You can tell who is not following you if you do not have the ability to direct message them.
9. Do customize the background page as Twitter allows a user to do so. This is a great opportunity to not only stand out in Twitter but also to be able to provide more information on you, your website and your art, that does not fit in your official profile section. Unfortunately, there are no active links allowed in this area.
10. Be upbeat, positive and helpful to your followers. Remember: this is a tool that is used to develop relationships and contacts who are related to the art business. Share yourself and become a valuable part of this incredible interactive media.
Twitter Don’ts for Artists
1. Do not just send posts and announcements about selling your work to your followers. That is considered spam and it will cause people to unfollow you. Send interesting posts related to the art world and people will look forward to your Tweets.
2. Do not send negative or offensive Tweets. People will unfollow you for this too. Remember, this called social media and they want to follow an upbeat and positive person. Be one!
3. Do not use offensive words and phrases. It is just not acceptable and remembers that it is out there for everyone to see (even if you erase/delete on your page, it is still there on everyone else’s pages. Think twice before you send it out.
4. Do not overdo the Tweets. If you do send out an excessive amount it will be annoying to your followers and they will eventually unfollow you.
5. Do not forget to give the original person credit for a retweet. Remember, it is social media and by giving credit you are being helpful in promoting their business too. Turnabout is fair play and they will do the same for you.
6. Do not ignore direct messages. Answer them promptly, otherwise, it is similar to not acknowledging and answering someone’s email. Also, do not use the direct message feature to spam, sell or solicit business.
7. Do not Tweet personal information about yourself or other people. This is a networking tool and you are trying to develop relationships, not gossip. Do not ruin your reputation by revealing personal information and details about yourself or someone else.
8. Do not ask or plead with your followers to retweet your posts. If by chance the post was about an emergency, such as a kidnapping, natural disaster or an emergency, then it would be proper to ask to have the post retweeted.
9. Do not Tweet that you have just unfollowed someone. People do not care about this information and Twitter is not for that purpose.
10. Do not have rules that people must adhere to if they are going to be following you. People will simply not want to follow you. Try to fit in and be a part of a crowd. Someone once wrote that to be effective on Twitter, you need to think of it as if it were a cocktail party. When you attend that party you need to introduce yourself, get to know that person and then mingle with the other guests. In other words, be sociable and get to know everyone at the party as much as possible.
I have always thought of social media such as Twitter as incredible tools that provides you an opportunity to meet, interact and get to know people who you would otherwise not be able to meet in any other situation. Think of Twitter as a regular networking event where you will be meeting new people and you will need to be on your best behavior in order to make a good impression on someone who can further your art business. Whatever you do in person at a networking event, you do online at Twitter.
Twitter has a great Help Section that they call Twitter Basics. It is an easy read but answers most of your questions on how to maneuver and take advantage of Twitter for your benefit.