As soon as you have about a month’s worth of posts published on your art blog, it’s time to start promoting it. And one of the easiest, and cheapest, forms of blog marketing is to jump on the social networking bandwagon.
Social networking is essentially a group of individuals who are connected to one another through a common interest. They meet up to discuss their likes and dislikes about a particular subject, they share insight into achieving certain goals, they lift up others, and as a byproduct, they promote their unique set of skills and/or businesses.
In today’s society there are two types of social networking: offline (face-to-face) networking and online networking. For the purpose of this article, we’re going to stick to online social networking.
Below are 6 simple steps for socializing online using social networks.
Step 1. Use your blog as your home base
When you sign up for social networking sites, always enter your blog URL as your website, not your online portfolio, slideshow, or gallery page.
By doing this, you make sure that the people you’ve met on your social networks immediately get the latest updates, the most current artwork, the most current schedule, etc.
Step 2. Create a landing page for each social network
Even better, don’t just direct social networking visitors to your blog’s homepage. . . send them to a specific “landing page” on your blog that you’ve created just for them.
Not only will creating a landing page make it easier to track your online marketing efforts (with Google Analytics) but if done correctly, you’ll reinforce the relationship you’ve started on that social network and give even more incentive for checking out your products and/or services.
To help you get a better idea of how landing pages work, check out these Twitter related landing pages from various bloggers around the web, myself included:
Social networking sites, like Ning.com and Facebook.com give you ample room to sell yourself. Use the space provided wisely, and include a headshot of yourself or, at the very least, a logo of your company.
And of course, fill out every field. . . tell your followers, and visitors, who you are, what type of art you create, and what type of services you offer. Let them know where to find you outside of the social networking site and where they can buy your art.
Step 4. Be genuine
Your goal for networking online should be to build genuine relationships, not to make a hard sale. If you sound like an advertisement every time you open your mouth or type a few lines, you will alienate everyone on that social networking site—and quite possibly, get banned.
Take the time to make real connections by commenting on the posts of others, asking questions, acknowledging answers to those questions, and sharing advice that shows others your expertise.
Step 5. Don’t ignore your followers
Believe it or not, social networking is not “all about you.” The beauty of social networking is that it is not one-sided, it’s interactive. So interact with your followers—not just those you choose to follow.
Step 6. Balance your posts
Yes, it is okay to mix business with pleasure, just do it carefully. The beauty of social networking is the ability to get to know the person behind the brand, the person behind the art, the person behind the business.
So go ahead, tell your followers a funny story that happened while standing in line at the grocery store, tell them what you did on your vacation, or share a praise about your husband getting a promotion. Just don’t tell them what you are eating for dinner unless you’re asking for a recipe.
At the same time, share recent blog posts, tell your followers when you’ve been featured on another site, distribute links to cool information and/or videos you’ve found online, and throw in an announcement about an up-and-coming art workshop, an original piece of art you have for sale, or some other press worthy news.
Naturally, there will always be self-promotion within social networking. . . but when in doubt, remember to look out for others’ interests as much as your own and I guarantee you’ll do just fine.
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