Building an Online Presence

I’m part of a round table discussion this afternoon, for young artists. I’m there to talk about what they could do online.

I had the impression that young people would be super savvy online and I wouldn’t have much to say so I asked the organisers for a list of participants and did a little online research to see just what sort of presence the group already have.

It varies. Most are on facebook, some are on linkedin, one or two came up in pages from the university profiling a project, or in articles about an exhibition. Few came up in a name search as having their own sites.

I was surprised. So I’ve put together a little list of 7  things to think about.

Take charge of your own presence

You want to be talked about? Start the conversation.

Choose your tools

Because you haven’t got time to do everything, choose the tools that you can work with easily, choose a format you can stick to easily… eg; a photo-based blog with one photo of something that inspired you and one photo of your work in progress each week.

Consistent Story

Design, style and tone of voice should all reflect you, and be consistent. That doesn’t mean the same and it doesn’t mean they can’t evolve as you grow as an artist. It means that people seeing your art and your blog/site/twitter page will understand that it’s all about you.

Test your presence in search

You want to be found – you should be on the first page on a name search, even better if images of your work show up as well. Even greater would be if you come up on a search of your genre or style of work, but that’s a lot tougher to crack.

Remember, everyone is listening

Be aware that anything you do online, including comments can come up in a search. Be aware that comments you make on facebook about a client who has commissioned you might be read by that client.

Be alive

Don’t link to sites under construction, if you’re using a blog – use it – don’t abandon it.

Connect

Connect/link your content, use the tools to publish to more than one place, connect to other artists online.

I think that’s enough to start with.

I’ll see what happens in the discussions – I am curious to hear their views on online communication/marketing. I’ll let you know.

Blog by Phone

Making a podcast has never been easier, it’s now only a phone call away with ipadio. I was interviewed via ipadio in the lead-up to speaking at a conference earlier this month. It was easy for me all I had to do was pick up the phone! The podcasts are recorded and presented in their own little player, which includes an embed code which I can’t get to work in wordpress – but it looks like this.

Mark Smith, the CEO of ipadio was also a speaker at the conference and he had some great stories of how his clients are using ipadio, he spoke about the use made by Oxfam to broadcast updates on the role.

I got to talk to Mark in one of the breaks, and was really interested to hear how companies are using ipadio for business goals; Virgin media have used it to deliver mass interactive communication for their 20,000 employees, Melcrum used it to preview their speakers. But perhaps the most unexpected use was “one to none”, using ipadio with the automatic conversion to text notes so that field workers such as district nurses could “dictate” their case notes following a visit and get a text draft back saving them a lot of time.

We’ve avoided podcasts for the most part because good recordings and playing/streaming on our systems is tricky. But this takes all the headaches out of that. With a lot of change coming up this year this could be a great tool for us.

I’m pondering how we can use this; as Mark Smith said in his blog “One phone call is sometimes all it takes… It’s good to talk!”

.

image phone via pixabay

Twitter gets serious

The number 1 trending topic on Twitter right now is #iranelection.

twitter avatars in support of Iran
twitter avatars go green in support of Iran

Twitter has become so important that they’ve rescheduled their planned maintenance from a time that would suit America, but be in the middle of Tuesday morning Iran time, to a time that is the middle of the night in Iran, but within business hours in West Coast US. According to one commentator the reschedule was at the request of the US government.

With international news coverage from Iran limited, few diplomatic ties and other social media sites banned twitter has become a lifeline for news from Iran. Tips for following the aftermath of the Iran Elections have already been published.

The links supplied via Twitter go to a phenomenal number of different reports/blogs/images and video clips, there are links to Amnesty International, and mention of a denial of service attack on websites of the Iranian government.

As a show of support many tweeters are adding a touch of green to their avatar, either a green wash or specific green avatars. First seen on Monday, I think the first I noticed was Jason Pollock.

There are a lot of retweets so there is significant noise in the feed, but it’s clearly a flood of information. What the impact will be remains to be seen.

There have been 2382 tweets using the hashtag “iranelection” since I started writing this post.

.

POSTSCRIPT
Two days later and #iranelection is still the top trending topic on twitter. Here are some other articles/resources from around the web, mostly on the impact Twitter/social media has had.

Blogging for Companies

CM200812_blog1Blogging is maturing into a communications tool for companies, you know when a solid company like General Electric start blogging it’s entering the mainstream.

Or is it?

I was at a conference recently when a woman, who had mentioned the low-key, humble nature of her company’s business culture went on to lament that she couldn’t get her senior executives to blog. They were too worried that there might be a negative reaction. Company Blogs
Innocent
Nuts about Southwest
Fast Lane – General Motors
Direct2Dell
GE Reports

The most successful individual bloggers have tons of personality, something to say, and chase controversy rather than fear it. Companies need to think the same way when setting up a blog.

Innocent and Southwest blogs both shine with personality, both are companies that have a certain amount of fun in their image and both have exploited that. Both use writers from around the company, rather than simply assigning a top exec. Both blogs are fun to read.

Dell sees blogging – including interacting with key blogs that follow the company – as an opportunity. They might have started a bit bumpily but their outreach to bloggers has earned them respect.

Fast Lane from General Motors shows great understanding of their target audience – they are talking to someone.

Of those listed above only GE Reports fails in my view. Lots of good video, but it reads as if it’s written by their corporate communications team, as an extension of their press function. But it’s early days yet, the blog is only two months old so perhaps it will develop.

If you want to start blogging at your company look for someone with personality, who has an interesting role, who has something to say.

CM200812_blog2

This probably won’t be your executives whose days are filled with meetings, who may be bound by closeout regulations around the publications of figures, and whose most interesting tasks may be commercially sensitive.

Instead look into your sponsoring, marketing, product development or corporate responsibility teams.

POSTSCRIPT 20 September 2018

10 years later most of the blogs I used as examples are still running in some form, GE Reports has got a lot better, and GM Fastlane has died – but it existed from 2006 to 2015. I’m taking this as a sign that my analysis of which companies were blogging successfully was spot on.

images: keyboard and business man via pixabay