In my previous article about social media, I talked about the five basic ways you can build trust with your art buyers. One of those ways was to “be sociable.”
Today I’m going to share three very easy, extremely natural ways to build relationships with all the other people (who, remember, are all potential art buyers) on your social media networks.
1. Answer questions
Jeff Gordon, founder of Interactive99, an online marketing agency with over ten years of online marketing experience, suggests you become more sociable by allowing your fans and followers to ask questions.
“It’s important for the individual, or key player, in the business to be accountable, reachable and [willing to] directly answer questions. When the customer knows that there are real people on the other side of the silicon veil they are more likely to purchase or engage,” says Jeff.
You can allow fans to ask questions directly on your Facebook fan page or Twitter account, or you can filter them by having questions sent to you via a contact form.
The advantage of filtering questions is that you can pick and choose which questions to answer, thus eliminating congestion if several fans have the same exact question.
Another advantage of filtering questions is that those requiring more detailed answers can be saved for blog posts, newsletter articles, and online videos (which can later be shared via social media) while those requiring short, quick answers can be addressed directly on your social media networks and later added to your “Frequently Asked Questions” page.
2. Share personal stories
Jaime Catmull, Strategic Partnerships Manager for ConsumerTrack, believes sharing personal stories is a great way to build trust and get to know your fans.
After sharing your personal story, Jaime suggests that you “encourage your readers to share theirs.” And of course, a great way to get readers to share their own stories is to end your post with a question.
One thing you should keep in mind, however, is that while personal failures and/or struggles may show your human side, too many posts like this can turn fans off. . . so if you’re going to share a personal failure or struggle, wait until you’ve come out the other side, then end the post with advice people can use to overcome those same situations in their lives as well.
3. Share your life in photos
Terence Kam, founder of eStrategy Pro, an Internet business strategy consultancy, believes building trust and being sociable online can be as simple “sharing photos of your team hard at work.”
Whether you’re working in the office, answering phone calls, making a product, or shipping orders, Terence suggest that you “don’t dress too formally and don’t be too tidy because it looks too fake; a real workplace isn’t spick and span.”
Here are some fun ideas for sharing personal photos:
• You talking with a collector at a gallery opening
• You packing a piece of art to be shipped off to a buyer in another country
• A close-up of your hands as you paint an intricate detail of a painting
• A sneak peek at your studio remodel
• A candid shot of your cat walking across your still-wet painting (hey, it happens!)
• A look inside your studio
• A photograph of the actual inspiration for one of your pieces
• Or even a photo each day of your works-in-progress
The keys to socializing online is to stop thinking about pitching yourself to hundreds of thousands of strangers, stop thinking you have to be one-hundred percent perfect at all times, and stop thinking you have to know all the answers.
Also, start thinking about that one fan who asked to see your art and know more about you, and how easy it was to share that information with them!
Do that, and you’ll be able to open up more and share more of the real you. . . which, in the end, is what your collectors really love to see.