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.

Would you like to connect?

I’ll connect to you on linkedin if I have met you – could be virtually- in a work context. I will sometimes make exceptions if you’re someone really interesting.

So when I got an invite from a name I didn’t know with just the generic invite text I went to linkedin site and checked the profile.

Not a company I’ve ever had contact with but is working in the same field. Has over 500 connections, one of whom is a first level connection to me  and a very good friend. Interesting.

So I contact my friend, who has put me in contact with some excellent people in the past and on whose recommendation I would connect to someone, I ask him how well he knows the requestor.

Not well it turns out, my friend – being a far more generous person than I – has a very open approach to linkedin connects with almost anyone who requests it. As it happens he approved the request about 20 minutes before I got my request.

It is of course completely fine to use Linkedin to “harvest” contacts, I just feel that what you are creating is a telephone directory and is not a reflection of your personal network.

I’ve hit ignore.

How do you decide whether to connect?