I joined Twitter in 2012. I ignored it for years. I just didn’t ‘get’ it. I do now. It’s now my favorite way to promote my art. My art gets seen by a much large audience (compared to Facebook). People actually visit my website, Etsy shop, Zazzle store, and blog.
This is Part 1 of Multi-Part Series
- RT = Retweet
- DM = Direct Message (messages sent using Twitters built-in messenger)
Why I LOVE Twitter
- People actually see what I tweet – and not just people that follow me.
- It’s very easy to use (no, really, it is).
- My tweets get shared far more often than my Facebook posts get shared.
- Did I mention that people actual see my tweets?
Using Twitter is easy, but it takes much more time than Facebook does. Thankfully there are tools to help with that, some of what are free. I’ll cover those tools in future posts.
Basic Things to Know:
- Tweet often. The more you tweet, the more followers you gain.
- A tweet is, generally speaking, only effective for about 24 minutes. Does that mean that after 24 minutes no one will ever see them? No. I have people ‘like’ tweets that are several weeks old but that’s pretty rare.
- You will repeat yourself a lot. Because things get lost in the noise of Twitter’s fast-paced feed, you need to constantly recycle posts. Many of your tweets won’t be seen so repeating yourself is normal, useful, and highly recommended by every Twitter ‘expert’ out there.
- Retweets are important! Don’t do it constantly, but do it regularly.
- Always use at least one hashtag in your tweet. This is how you get found by people that don’t (yet) follow you.
- Did someone just follow you? Follow them back! It’s basic etiquette on Twitter to return the favor. BUT, don’t ‘follow back’ blindly lest you end up with porn in your feed & a bunch of spammy and/or porn related DMs (direct messages).
- Use a scheduling tool to make your life easier. Hootsuite is a powerful tool and is free (there’s also paid versions). I just made the switch to Buffer, which is $9 a month. I’ll talk more about those in a future post.
- Thank the people who retweet your content. Thank them in a tweet & be sure to tag them: “Thanks for the RT @WhiteRosesArt!”
What Not To Do:
- Do NOT faux-tweet!!!
- Faux-tweets are tweets created automatically when you link Facebook & Twitter OR when you ‘share’ from sites like Instagram to Twitter. When you do this, people on Twitter only see link to another site. IE: fb.me/abc123
- DON’T link your accounts to auto-tweet or ‘share’ to Twitter. If someone is on Twitter they want to be on Twitter, not Facebook, Instagram or other apps.
- Your faux-tweets will be ignored 90% of the time but if you do it too often, you’ll lose followers.
- Faux-Tweets don’t allow you to take advantage of hashtags. Hashtags are how your tweets are found by people who don’t follow you. They are key to expanding your audience.
- People don’t “engage” with faux-tweets like they do with a real tweet. You don’t get ‘favorites’ which means you don’t know what content is really working for you. You don’t get shares which limits the number of people who see your content.
- Do NOT use a personal account for business or vice versa.
- Your business account should be under the name of your business. I’m @WhiteRosesArt, not @HeatherMiller or @SillyFunnyName
- No one cares which political candidate you support, what conspiracy theories your believe in, or your stance on abortion. This is the fastest way to loose clients & fans. Unless those things are related to your art, leave controversy to your personal account.
- Do NOT retweet every thing you read.
- Retweet sparingly. Think about Facebook for a moment. Most of us have at least one friend that ‘shares’ every article, video, and meme they come across every single day. Do you enjoy that? I don’t. My feed becomes all about that person which is annoying.
- Do NOT blast out 5 tweets back to back unless it’s a conversation of some sort. Have 5 events coming up? Schedule the tweets so they each get a moment in the spotlight!
- When you send out 5 unrelated tweets back-to-back it’s the same as the previous point: you take over my feed in a way that’s just spammy and annoying.
- DON’T use a service like TrueTwit to “validate” your followers.
- What? There are numerous services that claim they will ensure your followers are ‘real’ and not bots (automated accounts that are run by a piece of software).
- Why, that sounds like a good thing? It’s not. They don’t work. Even worse, they automatically send a message on your behalf to your brand new follower that asks the to verify themselves. What kind of first impression does that make do you think? When I get those messages, I unfollow. If it’s TrueTwit (a name that pretty much sums up how I feel about those who use the service), they get this link: The Truth About TrueTwit Validation which sums up why the service is pointless.
- DON’T buy followers or use services that promise ‘X’ number of new followers for free just for signing up.
- First, buying followers is not only sad but it’s a waste of money and a security risk.
- Most of the followers provided by those services are bots, dead accounts, & other useless followers.
These apps will send DMs on your behalf to all of your followers, even if they don’t disclose that. Before I started getting serious about social marketing, I decided to try one of those services that promised “real” followers. Why? I was already planning to write this blog post and wanted to try it out before I had any real following. The service I chose arrived in my inbox via DM from a publisher of a craft magazine. Their twitter feed is always recommending various apps and such. In the name of research, I tried it. BAD IDEA. Granted, I assumed it would be but still. I spent several hours of reading the dry, boring, legalese of their terms of service, privacy agreements, etc. I just provided my username, not my password. Did I get new followers? Yes, a handful & most seemed like real accounts – and yes, I actually checked them all. BUT IT WAS A HORRIBLE IDEA. Why? The service somehow managed to send a DM to every single one of my followers telling them to use the service. I was mortified, among other emotions. The link provided wasn’t even to the service I used. I ended up apologizing to the majority of my followers for my idiocy. If you want to experiment with a service like this, set up a test account to do it from. Just in case. But really, don’t. Just don’t.
- Use automated services with caution.
- Automated services? There are a lot of apps out there that claim they will “help” you engage with your followers and even provide content. One common feature automatically sends a DM to every new follower with a message you customize when you set up. Sometimes they provide a link to the service, sometimes they don’t.
- Why not use them? They feel very spammy & insincere, especially when they include a “crowdfire” link. You aren’t engaging with people, your spamming them. Can they be useful? Some people claim they are. I’m not a huge fan of getting unsolicited DMs.
THE MORE PEOPLE WHO SEE YOUR ART, THE MORE LIKELY YOU ARE TO SELL IT.
Why Would an Artist Use Twitter?
Excellent question! Promotion! Marketing! Networking! Twitter does it all.
Twitter is a great medium for getting your art seen by a large audience. If used properly, your images are front & center in all of your followers feeds. Read that again: if used properly. Since you’ve already read the “what not to do” section, you’re halfway along the journey to using Twitter properly. The other half is to make sure you attach a photo to every tweet that’s about your art. People will see images long before they read text. As an artists, this is super easy.
How is it better than Facebook? If you’ve noticed, I keep stressing that your work gets seen on Twitter. Facebook is so crowded that they continually find ways to “curate” your feed for you. That means our Facebook Pages are becoming increasingly useless. Right now the absolute best you can hope for is a ‘reach’ of 11% on your posts (excluding shares or something going viral). Reach is the number of people who actually see what you’ve posted to your Page. 11% is the maximum. The average is 4%. If 100 people have “liked” your page, only 4 of them will see any given post. That assumes your post contains a video or at least an image. Facebook is constantly adjusting their newsfeed algorithms and penalizes posts, and small pages, with each revision. If you want your page to be found and your posts to be seen, you’re expected to pay for that. It dosn’t matter how many or how few followers you have either. I ‘liked’ a page that has over 2 million ‘likes.’ They recently started an email newsletter because their fans weren’t seeing their posts anymore and it was causing problems. If a page with over 2 million likes can’t get seen, what hope does one with a few hundred likes have?
Growth is easy on Twitter. In the month of June (2016), I gained 156 Twitter followers. I was only posting about 2-3 times a day, at most. During the same month on Facebook, I gained a whole 14 new likes – and most of those came from posts to Facebook groups on page-sharing threads. Today is July 9, I am now tweeting 10 times a day. I have already gained 108 new followers. My goal was to get to 500 Twitter followers by the end of the month, I had to revise that to 600 because I hit 500 on July 8. As you know, Facebook “reach” is the number of people who see a post; Twitter uses the term “impressions.” My tweets have been seen over 10,000 times this month alone (again, it’s July 9), I have a total of 515 followers. My Facebook posts have only been seen 332 times, I have a total of 347 page likes.
BUT tweeting your art isn’t useful unless you have a website or an online store (like Etsy). When I say “website” I mean a real website. Not a blog. Not a Tumblr account. Not a Facebook page, but a real website. Why? If someone likes your art, they may want to buy it. They may want to see what the rest of your work looks like. If you’re sending them to your blog, or Tumblr, they aren’t going to be able to browse your art easily. Blogs aren’t for displaying art, they’re for sharing information. A website is like your own personal art gallery on the web. It should be easy to view all of your art – current and past – so buyers, gallerists, dealers, curators, etc, can learn more about you and your style. No one wants to hit “previous page” or “older posts” a dozen times (or more) to try and see all of your art. Yes, blogs are easy to set up and maintain. Ask yourself: do you want to sell art? Then get a website.
There is a LOT more to tell you about Twitter Promotion for Artists.
BUT, I’ll do that in future post(s) because this is getting epically long. Here’s a taste of things I’ll cover in future posts:
What if you don’t have that much art? I have a solution for that….in a future post.
How do you find time to do actually tweet 10 times a day?! Short answer: Hootsuite (free), Buffer ($10/mo). Long answer: coming soon!
….and more to come, stay tuned for more Twitter Promotion for Artists!
Twitter Promotion for Artists