One thing they never teach in art school is how to use social media to advertise your work. (Heck, when I was in art school, social media was limited to pen, paper and a stamp.) There are marketing classes and e-classes you can do online, but the ones I’ve taken dealt in generalities. When it comes to the specifics, I’m as much a numpty as you are.
Still, it behooves artists—as disorganized as we are—to understand and use social media, including its advertising. I understand that Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and blogging all enhance my brand, but there’s a world of difference between using them and actually netting some kind of return. Jamie Williams Grossman is one of the few people I know who has monetized her online presence, here.
Bobbi Heath has painting classes she is promoting in West Acton, MA. I have my workshop at Schoodic Institute in Acadia National Park in August. We are both researching the world of social-media marketing to see where it leads.
Bobbi has been experimenting with Facebook advertising, so I decided to take a narrowly different strategy. She focused on sending people to the classes page on her website while I focused on getting people to click my $100 off offer. Our idea was to keep our ads as similar as possible so we could understand how variables affected them. There were some things we couldn’t standardize for a more accurate comparison. For example, my market is the whole United States, whereas hers is targeted to the greater Boston area.
This morning I will change my ad and see what happens. Tomorrow, I will change the picture, and so on.
My ad in Plein Air Magazine garnered much attention, but an experienced copywriter took a red pencil to it. He said it looked good and had good placement, but suggested that I should focus on my own name—which is my brand—and not the name of the workshops. He’s absolutely right. So Sea & Sky moves to the dumpster.
All of this is nerve-wracking. You want your ads to be perfect the first time around, but unlike the old days of print advertising, you never see a finished ad until it’s running. But perfect is the enemy of good, and as long as you keep striving there is movement in cyberspace. One of my favorite students in Rochester is brand strategist Brad VanAuken. He impressed on me the importance of constantly stirring the social media pot.
On social media, there are a million variables that affect the algorithms by which ads run, and the best way to understand them seems to be through trial and error. For example, yesterday Bobbi and I cross-posted our ads to each other’s’ pages. After we did that, I got to wondering if that would work against the paid postings. We’ll try something different today.
So for now I’m committed to spending $5 a day to be schooled in online advertising. Meanwhile, if you want more information on my workshops, you can find it here.