SOCIAL MEDIA: Keep Your Eyes On The Prize

eyes-on-the-prize

Wonder what you should be posting on Facebook? Or what you could be tweeting? You’re in good company. There are lots of people promoting themselves through social media. Some are more successful than others. Before you put your next art opening on the cover of your brilliantly designed Facebook fan page timeline or utilize the custom background on Twitter to promote upcoming events, it’s important to step back and think about your goals. I’ve outlined ten to consider when developing your strategy.

1. Generating awareness. Let others know you have something to offer. This can often be combined with your other objectives. Point to media coverage, blogs and interviews, photos and regular programming and special events.

2. Draw a trail. Cross promote. Point to online content on your website. Mention art festivals or conferences where you have a booth. Suggest a private studio tour or other special event you are attending.

3. Launches and event announcements. Any change in your artistic practice? Anything new in your business? Changes in your institution? Launching a new service or initiative? Announce it! Include media coverage, external blog reviews, or any third party endorsements. Or create a special interview, video or a blog about it.

4. Establish needs and wants. Social media is valuable if you are offering something new that is not already out there. Listen to your audience. If you hear of common concerns, position yourself as the answer or point to academic or critical papers who point to you.

5. Comparison. What have you got that they haven’t got? Consider your points of differentiation (POD). Highlight reviews, surveys, or blogs that compare you favourably to others.

6. Positive associations. Connect with people, organizations, curators, or critics who like what you do, your gallery, or your organization –  engage with them online to create a positive impression in the mind of your audience.

7. Form/change opinions. More and more people are seeing the value of social media to create or change public opinion. Show that opinion has changed. Point to external blogs, articles and critical papers or to other media coverage.

8. Influence influencers. As you post, tweet, and blog, you will connect with people who are influential. They might not be traditional media figures, but they often have a successful rate of call to action. Engage these people and motivate them to re-tweet and repost your offerings. Invite these influencers to your events or suggest they try your service.

9. Drive action/traffic. Instead of pointing generally to your website or inviting someone to see everything you have to offer, tease them in by suggesting something specific. Highlight a unique in-venue or online event. Give them special online offers or direct them to new content, interviews, or blog posts.

10. Establish or regain trust. Trust goes hand-in-hand with establishing or changing opinion. Use social media to shine a light on positive aspects of your business or practice. It can also be used for damage control. Point to third party endorsements and articles. Or emphasize your – or your organization’s – outreach programs, highlighting your community involvement through charitable events, sponsorship, etc.

This blog post originally appeared on Akimbo.ca on March 24, 2012.