2020 and 2021 has brought many challenges and some opportunities but not in equal measure. As the world locked down, we have been accessing so many aspects of life via the internet from shopping to healthcare and beyond. It has also made our online presence and profile so much more important, so here’s our perspective on what to put where and some things to consider avoiding…
Artists and wider creative industry professionals may not consider themselves to have a ‘brand’ but what we choose to share online creates a picture of who we are, what we are all about, our values, our likes, dislikes etc. There are so many online platforms we can use and collectively these create your ‘brand’.
Your online profile will be viewed by friends, family, colleagues, clients, competitors, frenemies, and enemies too. It will shape the way that you are perceived by all these people, including people who may never meet us in person.
Your online profile will be the first impression many people get of you and your practice so it is really important that the impression you give is strong and positive.
If you create the wrong first impression it can be very damaging, sometimes in ways we will not always be aware of, with people we will never get to meet.
The first and most important online presence a visual artist should have is a website. We always advise artists to have their own dedicated website that is kept up to date. There are so many easy-to-use self-build platforms to choose from with a range of fees, some are free - so there really is something for everyone.
When creating your website keep it simple and focussed. Remember this is where you present yourself to the world. Think carefully about the impression your website is creating, the story it is telling.
Your website should also then link to whatever social media channels you choose to engage with.
There are many social media platforms to choose from and spending too much time on any of these can be draining not to mention damaging to our wellbeing, so we suggest limiting which platforms you use and the time spent on these. Some of the most commonly used are Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter.
Facebook is definitely not what it used to be, many people are leavings, but for now it’s still there and many people will look you up to check out your profile (including prospective employers, commissioners, collectors etc). The way in which many people use Facebook has changed over the years and the demographics are also changing. It used to be a place where people connected with friends and shared personal photos of family and shared experiences. However, this platform has been plagued by privacy issues which has led to changes to how many people choose to use the platform.
You may wish to separate your work and personal life. Many people prefer to keep Facebook for friends and family, or alternatively have two accounts one for personal contacts and another for work related contacts and content. This is a great idea if you feel you must share personal details or photos that you would not want work colleagues to see.
Instagram is a great social media platform for artists. The image, video and limited text format allow us to share a range of imagery from sketches, finished artworks, events we have attended or been featured in, people we’ve met, places we’ve been etc.
In a world where we almost always have a phone camera available, we now photograph so many aspects of life from the food we eat to the cute family photos. Consider carefully what images you choose to share, no one really wants to see every meal you sit down to or your endless selfies... As with Facebook you may wish to consider having separate accounts for personal and professional content.
LinkedIn is described as “a business and employment-oriented online service that operates via websites and mobile apps …mainly used for professional networking and allows job seekers to post their CVs and employers to post jobs” The key words here are ‘business’ and ‘work oriented’. All content shared on LinkedIn should be related to your career and professional activity. This is not the place to share your cute cat video, family photos etc.
For artists this is a platform to share achievements and career news. You can use it to share images of your artwork however it is not the best place to put this kind of content. The LinkedIn audience are generally not visiting this platform to find artworks to buy or artists to follow.
Twitter is text only with a 140 characters limit so content needs to be concise - and importantly catchy. Content tends to be focused on current events which is why it is often used in politics and news coverage etc. Twitter is often used as part of conferences and events so that audiences can share thoughts or reactions as they happen. Due to the real-time and link-based nature, it’s a great space to share news, views and links to your website or other online presence, promoting your work or upcoming events you’re attending or featuring in.
Who, what, where, when why etc…?
Whatever platform you are using always consider
- who are you connecting with?
- what messaging you want to share?
- where you are sharing – is this the best place for this content?
- why are you sharing that content?
In our lives we meet and interact with a huge range of people from close trusted friends to lifelong enemies - who’s who may not always be clear. If you wish to share deeply personal content think very carefully about who you are sharing this with. If you really need an extreme rant, consider going outside and shouting at the moon instead of publishing this week’s manifesto online for all to see. If you are heavily religious be aware that not everyone will share your faith. If you have strong political opinions, consider how these will be viewed by others who, again, may not share your position. If you are having a midlife crisis, is it helpful to share your thoughts with the world or are you using social media as a replacement therapist?
Never, ever, post on social media when under the influence of anything! It might seem like a great idea to share photos of your belly button after two bottles of bubbly but it’s not…
Finally remember any content posted online is NOT private (even though we may be led to believe it is) and even with other platforms with temporary aspects, once something is posted to the internet it’s out there forever - even if it’s stored as a screen grab, so keep this in mind when posting anything at all on the internet.
*DISCLAIMER: These blog posts are written by T Projects are not necessarily reflective of the position or opinions of any of our clients.
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