Twitter for Artists – Part 2: Pinning, Automation, & Being Nice

In the first part of this series, I discussed the basic of Twitter.  In this post were going to deal with the practical side of using Twitter, how to avoid some common problems, and why scheduling is amazing!

Let’s get started!

Twitter for Artists – Part 2

What If You Don’t Have That Much Art??

This is a problem for a lot of creatives, not just artists.  If you’re new or the type who’s work takes months or years to complete, you don’t have a large enough body of work to really take advantage of social media.  There are some simple things you can do, and should do even if you have a huge catalogue to share.  I discuss those in this post.

What if you only have a few paintings or you’re an author that just finished your first book?  There honestly isn’t a perfect solution to this problem.  I do have an imperfect solution though.  Find other artists (or authors) that are in your situation & form a “social media collective.”  In a real-life artists collective, a group of artists comes together to buy or rent a gallery space or large studio.  They share the costs, the work, and ultimately reap the benefits.  The same could be done for social media.

The Pros & Cons

A social media collective is a bit trickier.  You will need to come up with a name, which will service as your account name too.  You’ll be sharing one account which can be problematic.  A social media account can only be controlled by one person at a time unless you use a service like Buffer (or Hootsuite).  But to allow access by multiple people on a Buffer account you’ll need a Business Account which runs $99 a month.  Otherwise one person has to do all the posting.  If that person flakes-out or for some reason can’t post, the rest of the group is locked out of the account.  It’s an imprefect solution but could be effective nonetheless.

The upside to a social media collective that you have content.  Potentially lots of content.  You also have different “voices” since that content comes from a variety of people.  That means you’re more interesting, potentially, than I am.  People who follow my account get primarily my art, my voice.  It can be a real weakness since it’s always more interesting to see a variety of artists over just a single one.  I think it’s certainly something to consider especially if you have friends with the same problem.

Twitter for Artists – Part 2

Pin A Tweet!  

I visit the profiles of a lot of people on Twitter.  Not because I’m some weird stalker, I visit profiles to make sure I’m not in for any unpleasant posts in my feed (the kind that requires eye bleach for instance).  I want to see what kind of content they’re posting.  Here’s the problem.  Sometimes I visit a profile of someone who’s in the middle of a conversation or who clearly likes to engage with a lot of people.  That means I see nothing but text tweets & no art. When I follow an artist I expect to see art you know? I’m not likely to follow an artist who doesn’t post art, and I’m not alone.

The solution to this is taking advantage of the “pinned tweet” option.  Select a past tweet, one with a piece of your art, and pin it.  You can do this by selecting the drop-down arrow on the upper right of the tweet.  “Pin to your profile page” is one of the options.

When someone visits your profile, that’s the first thing they see.  Just be sure to change it periodically.  Nothing is weirder than seeing a pinned tweet that’s 2 years old. It makes me wonder if you’re even an artist anymore.  Two years & no new art?  Seriously?  Change the pinned tweet every few months at least.

Twitter for Artists

Automation:  Ur Doin It WRONG

Most of the time that is.  There are lots of services out there that claim they’ll help you build a following, post “great content”, and tons of other things.  You may have heard of some of them:  Crowdfire, CommunIT, Tweepsmap, etc.  I’m not telling you not to use these services, I am telling you that you need to exercise caution & some measure of intelligence before you do.  Let’s run through some real examples from my Twitter feed & breakdown why they’re bad.  These are real accounts & real tweets.  I did my best to insure their anonymity.


1) What Did You Just Say?!?!?!

Twitter for Artists - Part 2

The tweet above nearly got this artist blocked. The only thing that stopped me was seeing that two tweets down was another but instead of “I hate arabs” it was an obvious (but unlinked) username.  I realized person must have signed up for a free trial from one of the automation services.  I’m guessing their trial ended, or there was an error, because the account name is no longer linked.  Regardless, this is a fantastic example of someone who didn’t think through how automation could go wrong.  You will get followed by undesirable accounts.  Do you want to publicly thank them?  I don’t.  Nothing chases away people faster than automated spam like this – except for thanking racists & porn accounts publicly for following you.


2) Are You a Bot or an Artist?

In the short time I followed this artist, I never saw him tweet anything other than this.  This screenshot came from his profile, which I visited because I was tired of seeing this crap.  I wanted to see if I just missed the art posts.  Nope.  I scrolled down a few times & it was nothing but these auto-tweets.  This is not the way to build an active, engaged following.  This is a way to drive people away or, at the very least, cause them to mute you.


3) Am I Following an Artist or a Twitter Service??

This tweet illustrates the first issue again.  Do you want to thank this kind of username publicly?  Let’s face it, it’s probably porn (or a troll). You just publicly thanked a porn account. Think about that for a bit.

Second, this is an ad for FindUnfollower.  Ask yourself, are you an artist or an employee of a FindUnfollower?  Unless they pay you to advertise on your account, they don’t belong in your feed.


4) Why Do You Think Anyone Cares?!?!

This is another artist who thinks automation is handy but in all the wrong ways.  The first tweet should tell you why it’s stupid. 100 people followed & most of them fled.  In the previous THREE WEEKS, this guy tweeted zero times.  Crowdfire got to run a free ad 3 times though.  Just as important, why do you think anyone gives a rat’s behind about your weekly stats?  No one does.  No one.  So don’t think sharing them is a good way to add content.  It’s not.  And I shouldn’t have to point that out.


5) If You Don’t Want To Be On Twitter, DON’T BE ON TWITTER!!

I covered this in the last post, but I’m going to do it again.  As you can see, I put them on mute.  I, and most other people, do NOT click mystery links.  If I’m Twitter, I want to be on Twitter.  If you want people to follow you on Facebook, just ask them to do that!  Sharing from one account to another just tells me you don’t want to be on Twitter.  It’s annoying to see this crap (and yes it’s crap).

I’m not on Facebook so I can’t see what they posted even if I did click the link.  When I was on Facebook, I still didn’t click links like these.  Why?  First, because I was on Twitter!!  Second, there’s no way in hell I’m clicking a mystery link, especially one without any context.

This holds true for Instagram, Fine Art America, print-on-demand services like Zazzle, Red Bubble, & Society 6  & other services too.  No one can see anything other than a link.  I’m not clicking your mystery link.  Ever.  

Twitter for Artists – Part 2

Growing Your Followers

There are lots of ways to get more followers. Some are better than others.  The goal is to gain quality followers – people who are actually interested in your art. I’m only going to cover a few things here since this is a widely blogged about topic.

I covered this in the last post but I’m saying it again here:  Do NOT be tempted to buy followers or sign-up with any service that promises free followers.  You will not get the afore mentioned quality followers, you’ll get fake accounts & bots.  Even if they are look like they are real accounts, why would you want people picked at random to follow you?  Do you think they’re going to care about your art?  No. No they aren’t.

Find another artist & follow their followers (use common sense, don’t blindly follow people).  Go to my profile, for instance, & click on “followers”.  Then follow those people.  Doing this means you will find people who are, generally speaking, interested in art.  I use this strategy often and it works very well.

Note: Because I use this strategy, I look for artists similar to me with large numbers of followers.  Or at least I used to.  I follow several artists who have over 10k followers – technically.  Technically?  A quick scan of their follower list shows that they bought most of their followers.  It’s easy to spot fake followers at a glance. When I, or others, see that many fake follower then it means the artist is basically a fraud.  They may be great artists but if they don’t have the integrity to build a legitimate following, why would you think anything they claim they create is really theirs?? You must think about how your actions are going to be perceived & how they will reflect on your business & artwork!

Tweet Often!

The best way to gain engaged followers is to TWEET OFTEN.  Be sure to use one or two hastags in each tweet. Do not use more than 2 hashtags per tweet!  Research (not mine clearly) has shown that tweets with more than two hashtags get significantly less engagement (likes & retweets) than those with only 2 hashtags. Also, you look like a spammer when you go nuts with the hashtags.

In my previous post, I mentioned that I post 10 times I day.  I’ve played with the frequency a bit (for various reason) but when I tweet less, I gain followers much more slowly.  Noticeably so.  But how do I manage to tweet often?

Buffer.  It’s a scheduling tool that allows me to plan out all my tweets in advance.  I declare every Monday “Social Media Monday” & spend the day scheduling my tweets, Instagram posts, & posts on other platforms for the entire week.  That leaves me free the rest of the week to engage with my followers, send ‘thank you tweets’, and take advantage of trending topics without the stress of checking in 100 times a day on each platform.  I wrote a review of Buffer here.

Twitter for Artists – Part 2

Social Media is for Sharing

If you post your art on social media, and you should, you want people to retweet & repost it.  It gives you exposure to a much larger audience.  Retweets help you get more followers.  Common sense right?  Wrong.

I was recently blocked by an artist because I retweeted one of her pieces.  I wrote that I adored the piece & was struck by the raw emotion it evoked in me.  Most artists would love to see commentary like that.  I know I would.  This artist blocked me.  I know that because I checked my profile & saw a message that the original tweet was “unavailable.”  I clicked the link Twitter provided & it said I had been blocked.  Really?  I say something nice about your art, share it with my 3,000 followers (not a lot but more than she had) and I get blocked.  When people retweet my art, I say Thank You!

I retweet other artists’ work every day at 6:15pm.  It’s a prime slot.  I do it because I believe in creatives helping creatives.  Want me to feature your work?  DM me on Twitter (@WhiteRosesArt), leave a comment here, or email me.  I don’t do nudes, racist, or violent works (nothing NSFW) but other than that, all styles & mediums are welcome! I don’t expect a retweet of my work in return but I would suggest you adopt the same rule.  Retweet another creative (artist, author, designer, etc) once a day.  Say something nice about what they do too. 

Twitter for Artists – Part 2

Profile Don’ts

If your profile contains a list of “don’ts”, ur doin’ it wrong.  Seeing that list sends my cursor over to the “block” button because I assume you’re a drama queen.  Tell me about you, don’t give me a list of demands.  Honestly, do you really think that someone with an automated DM service is going to turn that off just for you?  Good luck with that.  Do you really think that a porn account is going to care that you don’t want porn?  Ha! As if.  Don’t waste your profile space with demands.  It makes you look like a very spoiled 16 year-old girl.

When you fill in your profile, think about how you will be perceived by a regular person (i.e. not an artist).  When you write things like (and this real) ALL WORKS COPYRIGHT. DO NOT RETWEET WITHOUT EXPRESS PERMISSION, you look like an ass.  And not just because it’s all uppercase.  The point of being on social media is to have people share your content.  When you demand people jump through hoops to do so, you come off as an arrogant jerk who clearly doesn’t understand the purpose of social media.  Or who thinks they’re so important that the rest of us should actually care what you want.

Twitter for Artists – Part 2

There are probably 100 more things I could talk about when it comes to Twitter, but I think this is enough for now.  If you have questions, please ask them in the comments below!  Twitter for Artists, Part 2