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10 Simple Ways to Build a Strong Artist Brand on Twitter

My teenagers were mortified to find me on Twitter. First blogging and now this! But don’t allow yourself to underestimate the power of social media and micro-blogging services. . . Twitter is one of the quickest ways to build brand recognition for you and your art business.

What do I mean by building your brand? The American Marketing Association (AMA) defines a brand as a “name, term, sign, symbol or design, or a combination of them intended to identify the goods and services of one seller or group of sellers and to differentiate them from those of other sellers.”

A strong brand is invaluable and serves to communicate credibility to your prospective customers and business associates. You want your brand to reside in the hearts and minds of your clients, collectors, prospective customers and competitors.

And yes, Twitter is the perfect site to begin branding yourself online. It is true that some people use (or misuse) Twitter as a way to share their mundane lives with us. However, many intelligent minds are sharing links, news, photos, websites, blog posts, videos, podcasts and more. Finding and networking with these like-minded individuals is a great advantage for artists.

Here are 10 important branding tips to think about, as you build your brand on Twitter:

1. Create a “brand” name when you pick your name

Your Twitter name (represented by the @ symbol in front of it) is the first thing that people will see on Twitter.

When I first started on Twitter I used only my real name, but I quickly added the word ‘artist’ at the end of my name and gained followers much more rapidly. It is easier for people to associate me as an artist this way—my name is much more of a “brand”—and when people search for “artist” my profile comes up.

2. Write a catchy profile and bio

Choose your profile statements wisely. It’s a great opportunity to brand yourself on Twitter, and these few words will say a lot to the world about who and what you are.

Make it “catchy” and memorable—this will help people quickly choose whether to follow you or not.

3. Upload a friendly, personal profile picture

Remember you are building your artist brand. It is well-known that most people relate to, and want to see, a friendly face when talking with you. If you are not comfortable with uploading an image of yourself, then pick a great image of your art that represents you and grabs attention.

4. Link to your own website from your profile page:

Do not forget to add your website to your profile. Make sure your portfolio is visible. Twitter will drive traffic to your site.

5. Choose the best time of day to tweet

Most people are on Twitter during the day, while at work, so that’s a good time to use it. I sometimes tweet up to 8x per hour from 8am to noon. The afternoon is usually a bit slower, but not by much.

6. Follow people who deserve to be followed

Follow people and organizations that could help your art career and are of value to your business. I suggest you follow galleries, museums, collectors, art coaches, fellow artists, and others you would like to be seen by.

Then again, do not underestimate the average Joe or the newbie tweeter. . . they might be your next big collectors! You will also learn how to be a better follower by following interesting people from all walks of life.

7. Post helpful tweets

Tweet, re-tweet or post high quality content that adds value for your followers. Remember, this is micro-blogging. People are looking for something of value to read and share or “re-tweet” with their followers.

On Twitter, at times I will share a a photo using Twitpic to post a new finished painting or one in progress. This is a great way to get feedback and spark interest in your work.

I like to share my favorite quotes, knowledge and art tips. And, at the end of each tweeting session, I leave a tweet that has something of value.

Keep in mind what kind of personal information, links, resources and promotional materials you plan to post.

I read somewhere that a good rule of thumb for tweeting is to post 1 personal tweet for every 10 informative tweets. I’ve tweeted about my plein air workshop in France, and about a black bear that jumped in front of me on a dark trail. A little of this goes a long way, but it also shows a real human side to you.

You will need to tweet frequently to build your following and brand recognition. The goal is to build a small community of people with similar interests who will recognize your name and your brand.

Having said that, please do not bombard Twitter with numerous tweets and updates. You will quickly realize what works for you—and your followers will let you know if they don’t like it.

8. Don’t forget to use the re-tweet

Re-tweeting is the act of copying and tweeting someone else’s original tweet, because you think it would be valuable information for your own followers and other minded individuals.

A re-tweet (which begins with “RT @so-and-so” and then contains the original tweet) is a great way to capture the attention of an art organization, gallery or someone you would like to have follow you.

9. Be personable and follow good etiquette

Don’t forget to thank people for re-tweeting or replying to your tweets. And don’t worry if you lose a follower or two occasionally—this happens every day and is the name of the game.

Be a human being, not a marketing drone. You may be considered a spammer if you are constantly direct messaging people to visit your website or artwork.

And finally, never forget the golden rule of Twitter. . . .

10. “Tweet others the way you want to be tweeted”

For more tips and resources from Lori McNee, please visit her blog, Fine Art Tips.

Recently I've stumbled on two effective strategies for marketing myself as an artist. One is donating art, and the second is doing things for others that they're not so good at. (Though it may sound rather mercenary to put it that way. . .)

Why donating artwork helps promote my art

It started simply enough. I was contacted by a local charity and asked to give money.. . . read more

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