Doing Business: Return on Investment

Before I delve into Social Media I think we should discuss basic business principles, in terms that you can understand of course…. Many times I am asked “Will I make money with Social Media?” The answer is yes but not directly. What you will get by engaging in Social Media is a huge Return on Investment (ROI). This is a business term that is often used to mean a return on time, effort and money and should be used in everything you do for the business side of your career. Unless you hire someone to manage your Social Media accounts for you, the investment you will make is time. So basically there is no cost and the return is tremendous and sometimes priceless.

If you want to get your work seen and develop an amazing reputation Social Media is essential. It’s time to get started!

Here are some of the ROI’s you will get from Social Media….

REPUTATION
The first thing every artist should know is that the key to a successful career is an excellent reputation. There is no better place to develop your reputation than the online tools available to you. So it is essential to have a professional looking website and to get a clear and consistent message out there through Social Media and Selling Online. If you do this your reputation will grow exponentially and it will motivate you with the positive feedback you will receive.

RISK REDUCTION
You can see any complaints, threats to your reputation and news about you and your work immediately and address them. You can create alerts in something called Google Alerts, for example. In addition to entering your name and any items that are relevant to you and your art business, you can be alerted about news items you are interested in. Here is a link: http://www.google.com/alerts Remember to respond immediately to anything negative you will see unless you suspect it’s a Troll. (A Troll is someone who is commenting negatively usually for sport but it can be for other purposes as well. The best way to handle a Troll is to ignore them.)

VIEWER, FAN, BUYER/AUDIENCE RETENTION
Constant and consistent communication with your audience will give them more information about you and your work. Artists are fascinating and people want to know more about them. How is the work made? How do they get themselves out there? How do they live their lives? You will connect and communicate with your audience directly. No more mysterious buyer out there in the world somewhere. (The buyer who purchases your work and you never hear from them again.) You will find new people, talk about new things and keep them coming back for more. A side benefit – but a very important one – is that relationships will deepen.

EFFICIENCY
You will deepen relationships, research, share your message. develop your “brand” as an artist in ways that may seem incremental but are profound. You will be able to do this in a miniscule amount of time, compared with doing it off line. You can also research in minutes. Compare using Google Search (for example) to going to a library. The time you will save is amazing!

ART INTELLIGENCE
You should rely on the information you get from Social Media to constantly hone your message, how you market your art and who your audience is. It will help you make better marketing decisions and perhaps even inspire your next great work of art. You can even post works in progress and get feedback almost immediately.

Another type of art intelligence you will get is inspiration.  I have learned so much about artists I know already and new artists whose work I’ve never seen on Pinterest.  You can read about them on Wikipedia or their own websites.  You can find Facebook and Twitter pages about them. You can go on StumbleUpon or Tumblr and search for web pages about them. It’s amazing what you will find.

SETTING YOURSELF APART
This is especially important for artists. You are unique and it’s important to remember to push that when marketing yourself. Be proud of that uniqueness! Tell the world how you are different and how you are better. The key to this is how you communicate, how you present yourself and your art, and who you present it to. Making uniqueness a key part of your marketing efforts is essential. Social Media will help you find new ways to present yourself. It will also put you in close touch with what your audience is looking for.

DEVELOP YOUR “BRAND”
Think of your art as your “brand.” It may be hard to do this because art making is such a personal and intimate thing. The first thing I tell artists is to separate your art from your personal life. You art is your job. Yes, the creation of it comes from your heart and your soul but at the end of the day you go home and settle into the things you enjoy doing – watching TV, spending time with your family, etc. If you are able to separate your art from the rest of your life you will be successful. It will become your dream job.

You will also begin to look at your work objectively and begin to develop that brand. A brand is unique to each artist. It is associated with your style and the message you are trying to convey. Yes art is visual but there is something you are trying to say. Even if it’s not immediately clear to you. Developing your artist statement will help you get in touch with that message.

When you do get in touch with that message it’s time to strategize how to market your work and who the right audience is for your work. More on branding in the next post.

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