(This was an article I wrote for Pulse on LinkedIn) As an artist who also has do to marketing, I find myself warring with a dichotomy which seems endless. As a creator of art, I am sublimely at home using the right side of my brain, while marketing drains the left. The left side of my brain often looks foreign to me, and yet it is there that I must go to use the linear process involved. There are a few artists who are comfortable delving into either side of their brain, but I am not one of them. So I often catch myself, like a boss with a recalcitrant employee, shirking that responsibility.
Yet I must market if I wish (and hope) to sell, to draw people to my art, to put my name out in front of people. I certainly am in no position to hire someone to produce this odeious chore, so what hope do I have? I must slog along, using up my energy and time unless I wish to consider myself a hermit painter, finishing a canvas and then adding it to stacks of other finished canvases which have become like stacks of newspapers a hoarder might use to delineate his path. Oy.
I was watching this video recently, http://youtu.be/6WA0KecvP-g , and he stresses the new way of marketing for art, social networking. I have incorporated a Facebook artist page, an AboutMe page, I tweet a certain number of artworks every day on Twitter, I recently started a Tumblr page, I have my Executive Look at LinkedIn and am gaining followers on Flickr. It all takes time. And with my chronic illness, the importance of working the social sites is doubly important for me. I've sold art from someone seeing my artist page on Facebook, and I hope the other sites prove their worth as my investment in them grows.
The hard thing to achieve with this is balance, especially for me, but probably for all artists. I have to have time to create or, what's the point? Since a good bit of my day is spent lying down for necessary rest, the requirement for balance means what part creating to what part marketing? And there are variables there as well - each day's energy allotment is different and it won't be obvious to me till the day is underway.
So I've learned to make a small list of how much I want to accomplish in a week's time as far as investment in the social sites. I also need to remember that social means that it's not all about me; I need to say "thank you" when someone leaves a compliment about a work which was just posted and follow other folks while I wait and hope for followers who want to follow me. (The only exception to that seems to be Twitter, where most people follow you almost as soon as you follow them.) I need to pass on good words to other artists and favorite their works too.
So as you invest in your social media, remember that you are investing in people, not just waiting for them to invest in you. Keep in mind the Bible verse, treat others as you wish to be treated. I think you'll find that what goes around, comes around!