- by Barney Davey
Customers and collectors are won one at a time. If you can spare a little time getting the hang of how having a Facebook following can help you, I think it will be worth the effort in the long run.
Some readers here may recall I have blogged about the artist Valentina and her very successful Val's Art Diary Web site replete with regularly updated and always entertaining vlogs. Surf her site and you will also find useful information for artists in a section called Val's Art Tips.
Val's latest efforts to help artists and create a little buzz for herself in the process involves Facebook. She has started a group there called Artists who refuse to starve. Creative people share their business secrets. It has quickly grown to more than 1,300 members. It is just another example of the viral power of social marketing and how Facebook has become a dominant force in it.
It looks as if my November 2007 post titled Bet on Facebook — It Could Be the One was accurate. It's not too late to get on Facebook now. Get on board, don't forget to friend me and join some groups like the one Val has started. Or start your own like artist Maya Green with her Art of Maya Green group.
Spend some time on the discussion boards on groups such as Val's mentioned above. You will make friends and admirers and learn some things too. I couldn't resist adding my thoughts to the "No Time to Create" topic started by Dan Monroe. He is lamenting there are so many sites and not enough time to join them all and participate in them. I couldn't agree more and offered this commentary to topic:
Pick something more than just the next big thing
This conversation strikes a chord with me. I believe there are plenty of reasons to have angst over not having enough time to do enough of the things that are truly important. It is quite easy to get carried away on the next best new thing to do. One can literally twitter (pun intended) away their time till nothing gets done.
FB offers promise, as do other online sites that can help get an artist gain awareness. I've always thought the best approach is a planned one. It seems the art that stands the test of time was rarely if ever impulsively put together. Same has to be true of great marketing.
Well executed smart moves make the most sense
Sure random strokes of genius can propel a piece or an artist, but it is the years of experience and raw talent that give the artist the ability to translate the lightning flash into real genius. Often the first stroke is carefully reworked until perfection. And, in retrospect, one can nearly always see it, the stroke of genius that is, actually is the culmination of hard work, dedication and talent and not just dumb luck.
Making a career work successfully is not unlike planning to create your best work. You wouldn't sit down with a willy nilly idea and think the result is going to a museum, or will quickly sell tons as a print. Likewise, it's hard to take seriously that a few blog posts or building a ginormous FB friend list, who mostly just want to see their own friends number climb, will make a big impact on a career.
Online communities are the bomb
Don't get me wrong. I think online communities are the bomb. We are just beginning to see the groundswell of where this is going. As such, I support anyone's efforts to make dent in the FB, Twitter, LinkedIn, FriendFeed, etc. world. I just think it needs to be done as part of a much larger overall plan for nothing short of world domination. Well, okay, a little hyperbole there. But, at the very least, a marketing plan to become huge in your world.
Your world can be being a star artist in your local community. It can be being well known in your state or region. It can be wanting nothing short of national and international recognition. None of those things just happen. Yes, some incredibly lucky people get monster breaks that propel their careers that in comparison just seems downright unfair to a hard working artist who is doing every thing right.
You can create your own luck
The thing is, one can't prepare for their future by banking on getting lucky. Might as well buy lottery tickets because the odds are about the same and will take much less work. So, the alternative is to construct the very best, most robust, most creative overall marketing strategy you can devise. It is an organic thing that will grow and morph on a regular basis, but having such a thing in place is the way to best create one's own luck.
Part of creating such a thing requires taking a brutally honest assessment of what one wants, really wants, and what one will do to get what they want. One thing you will find in virtually every successful person is ambition. It's a certainty without it one will fail. This assessment includes being as clear as possible where one wants to take a career and then realistically evaluating what resources are available to follow a plausible plan of action.
Look at the fearless leader of this pack, Val. She makes doing what she does seem effortless. It would be hard not to be more than a little jealous of her. She is photogenic, charismatic, self-deprecating, talented and funny. Those traits belie the fact she is driven to succeed.
Ambition will where talent will not
What Val does makes for a great presentation. But, guess what, there are tons of other artists who have all this going on and don't have her success. I'd say her desire to be successful is the fuel that makes her successful. Naturally, she has to produce work her collectors will willingly repeatedly buy, but it is the other things she does that gives her the channel or path that leads to those collectors.
Her collectors only found her because she set out to whatever she could to disrupt their lives and make them aware of her and her art. And, now today, she has a growing FB audience to add to her list of accomplishments. One should not be surprised at this at all. Kudos to her for her success here and with her art career. She finds the time to work the business and be creative. proving it can be done
I'll close this unexpectedly long missive by saying I think besides talent and ambition, the thing that makes the difference is a good plan that works all the angles, including publicity, advertising, shows, galleries, online presence, blogs and so forth. Don't just hang out online and hope for the best. Plot out what you can do. Work on creating systematic approach that strikes a balance between those long term things that seem somewhat frivolous now but show signs of future potential and those urgent important things that can impact a career now will both pay dividends. The result will be to lower the angst over feeling like there is not enough time and allow you one to avoid feeling guilty by enjoying some fun with new and old friends on FB and elsewhere. When discipline, desire and details intersect with talent and ambition, success ensues.
p dir=”ltr”>Making time for and making money online requires an ongoing effort. But, let's face it, there has never been an easy quick way to building a business as an artist or for any small business. Customers and collectors are won one at a time. If you can spare a little time getting the hang of how having a Facebook following can help you, I think it will be worth the effort in the long run. It offers global exposure and great potential to help you reach and influence the right people.