home resources "The Independent Artist" Issue 6, pg 8

"The Independent Artist"
Issue VI, November 2009

by Dee Overly

Dee Overly

Dee Overly is a Colored Pencil artist and an Internet Marketer. She has combined the two passions to help artists learn about building their own online art presence. You can find out more about Dees artwork at http://DeeOverly.com and subscribe to her Web Presence newsletter at http://ArtWebPresence.com

Most artists I talk to have one priority when it comes to their art: Doing it! Marketing is an area many artists run from or continue to put off until another day, and then another day. At some point, if you want to be a selling artist, youll have to stop and look marketing in the face.

Also, for some artists, the Internet is a bit challenging, filled with unknowns and I dont know how to do that situations. But in todays world, the Internet needs to be part of the marketing package.

Even if you have not started building an art web presence, here are some solid reasons why you, as an artist, should consider using Facebook as a marketing tool.

1. You dont have to be a computer geek! You dont have to know html or any special Internet language. Anyone can learn how to use Facebook.

2. A major marketing principle is to go where the people gather. Facebook has over 250 million members. There are over 120 million users active on Facebook everyday. And that number keeps growing. Plus, Facebook users spend an average of 3 hours per month on the site. Thats the highest average time per peson among the top social media sites on the Internet. This is a gathering place you cannot ignore.

3. Its not a kids hangout. Yes, Facebook got its birth with college students, but the professionals and business class has moved in. The average age is 35 and the fastest growing group right now is women over 55. There is a more mature atmosphere and you have control over the activities you allow on your pages. Your peers are using Facebook.

4. The concept of Facebook and the way it has been constructed makes it easy to start dialogs with people. The ice has been broken and connecting with people is simple. You can meet people on Facebook where it would not be possible otherwise.

5. You, your talents, and your products can become visible to many people in a short period of time because of the expansive nature of Facebook. For instance, if you have thirty friends and each of them has 100 friends, the activities and engagements between you and your friends can be seen by their friends, which is 3000 in this simple example. You can build a Profile friends list to 5000, and the Fan list on a business page is unlimited. The numbers can get mind boggling with the amount of exposure you will receive via these pages.

6. It is a known fact that people prefer doing business with people they know; and people love knowing the artists who did the artwork that hangs in their homes. Facebook is a great place to let people get to know you, and its quite possible there are owners of your art work already on Facebook. Let them find you, or you find them. Build and nurture relationships.

7. Ok, lets get just a bit techie now. One of the things that contribute to the value of a website is its search engine optimization. Facebook is highly optimized. So if you have a page on Facebook, it is highly optimized; meaning you and your artwork can easily be found on the Internet. The second item of value for a website is its traffic. There are only three websites on the entire Internet that receive more traffic than Facebook and it is now the top social search engine in existence.

8. Facebook is free. With all this access to this many people you cant beat the price tag. You can create paid ads if you like, but everything else on Facebook is free for your use.

Get Started

Those of you not on Facebook who want to start taking advantage of this growing audience, go to http://www.facebook.com and sign up for an account. You are required to use your real name and are allowed to have one personal Profile account. This is a personal page, not for businesses, organizations, or groups.

Dee Overly

Its called Profile for a reason. On your Information page you can share a variety of your interests, not just art. Then you can become friends with people involved in all of your interest areas. Since people in all walks of life love and buy art, youll be building an audience at the same time you are building relationships and enjoying interactions in your various interests (see box to the right for the keys to setting up your profile).

Dee Overly

Now What?
Youve set up your profile. So whats next? First of all, have some fun with the software. Learn how to upload and share some photos. Share pictures that have some of your friends who are also on Facebook. That will start drawing people to your Profile pages; and, of course, you can add a photo album of some of your artwork so your new friends learn that you are an artist.

Facebook is loaded with thousands of Groups and Fan Pages. Become a member of groups and a fan of pages that interest you and interact with others at these locations. These are great places to meet others of like interests, and invite people to your Friends list.

Soon youll want to move on to the next step which is to create your own Artist Fan Page. This is also known as a business or niche page. To get started with a Fan Page go back to http://www.facebook.com and click on Create a Page under the Sign Up button.

Building a Fan page is similar to a Profile, with important differences. With your Profile page youll share a variety of areas of your life and draw friends to you from all those areas. Your Fan Page will have one purpose which will be your art. Everything you post and write about on this page will be centered on your art. You can collect an unlimited number of fans, whereas

your Profile is limited to 5000 friends. Of course, all of your friends can become your fans, but eventually, not the other way around.

A very important difference is the title of your Fan Page. Your Profile is your name, its you. Your Artist Fan Page is a business. You will want to take full advantage of the power of how Facebook is search engine optimized. Make sure the title of this page is keyword rich. What type of artwork do you do? What words, other than your name, would people type in a Google search to find artwork like yours? Pastel, oil, landscape, portrait, and mixed media artist are all examples of keywords to add to your name to create the title of your fan page.

You can treat your Artist Fan Page like a website with a mini-blog. Build albums of artwork, announce exhibits, talk about your art mediums and interact with the visitors as comments are left. Also make sure you incorporate links on these pages to direct fans and friends to your other locations on the Internet.

One of the main questions about Facebook I am asked by artists is, Have you received sales from being on Facebook? In all honesty, its difficult to determine if a sale was a direct result of being found on Facebook. This is just one spoke in the whole wheel of marketing your art on the Internet. Its one more avenue of putting your name and artwork out in front of peopleone that I highly recommend you consider.

Your Facebook Profile: Key Points

1. Youll want to build an attractive and interesting Profile page.
The starting place for this is with your photo. Since it is the first thing another person will see, its the first method you have to make an impression. Dont leave it blank, and for goodness sake, please dont use a picture of your pet! Have someone take some nice head and shoulder shots of you to use for your web presence. If you upload too large an image, Facebook automatically downsizes it to fit in the 200 pixel wide, left-side column. It would be better if you cropped and sized the image before uploading it so that it is 200 pixels wide by 200 to 350 pixels high.

2. Next, write your mini-bio.
There is a small box located under your profile image where you cn type approximately 200 characters. Even though it is considered a bio, write it in first person and make it very friendly and personable.

3. Then go to your Info tab and share some interesting things about yourself.
You can share as much or as little as you like. Remember, you are on the Internet. Once you put something out there, its pretty hard to take back. Heres the rule I live by: never reveal or say anything online that you wouldnt want your grandchildren to see.

4. DO NOT by-pass putting your Settings in order.
It is believed that nearly 90% of Facebook users never even look at the Settings pages. You should go through all of the tabs under this drop-down menu. This is where you decide how private or open you want your Profile to be. The default settings are set for everyone to see everything. Its up to you to decide how transparent you want to be.

5. With the previous four items completed you are ready to start inviting Friends to your Profile.
In the Friends menu you can click on Invite and a page will open to get you started via your list of contacts in your email. Then you can Find Friends from high school, college, work and other searching methods. Youll be amazed at how many people you already know and will come to know. A note of caution; dont get too zealous in adding friends to your list. You do not want to appear spam-like to Facebook. They have been known to deactivate Profiles who build friend lists too quickly. Inviting no more than 20 per day keeps you in the safe zone.

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