Thursday, September 24, 2009

The Keys to Online Social Networking: Rules and Strategies for Artists

We are still in Branding in a Flash Week. Monday we discussed Artist's Business Cards; Tuesday was about Building a Résumé for Artists; yesterday was on the basics of What to Include in Your Website and How to Promote It; and tomorrow will be about In-person Networking, but for today we are discussing: Online Social Networking

The top networks and the number of unique visitors they had last month (August 2009-these numbers were taken from

Facebook: 122,220,617
  • uses standard pages for each member. You can add “friends” on this network and post pictures, videos, notes, and short updates about your life.
MySpace: 55,599,585
  • is similar to Facebook in many ways but has customizable backgrounds so that you can make it look more like a personal/professional webpage. MySpace is not used as much as Facebook (and I do not recommend it over Facebook).
Twitter: 23,579,044
  • allows you to share 140 character posts (called tweets) about whatever you want. You can search comment streams to find people who have the same interests as you. You can include links that drive traffic to your blog or website.
LinkedIn: 14,241,651
  • a site for professionals to exchange ideas and job opportunities. A way to link with others who might be interested in your work and to find others in similar fields.
Ning: 6,112,986
  • is a collection of networks. Individuals can join multiple networks based on their interests and connect with thousands of others who care about the same topic. Users can add blog posts, photos, videos and events to their networks.
These numbers indicate "unique visitors" which means that one person who visits the site multiple times is only counted once that month.

The Eight Keys to Social Networking Online

Be Effective
As an artist who has a busy schedule and a million ideas every day, it is best to pick two or three online social networks (OSNs) to join and maintain. One should probably be reserved for your family and friends while the other(s) can be used to network with people in the same field or to build interest in your brand.

Be Active
Get on your preferred networks more than once per week (I recommend you choose one to visit daily). Update your status; comment on other people’s statuses. Find new “friends” with similar interests. If someone has posted a question you know how to answer, help them out.

Be Unique
Personalize your page if you can. Myspace, Twitter and Ning all allow for different backgrounds and graphics to be used. Try to plant your brand everywhere you can, without being tacky.

Be Cordial
Promote others online as well. If someone wrote a blog post or article that is extremely helpful or interesting, post about it on Facebook or Twitter. If all your posts are shameless self-plugs then people will eventually get tired of you (translation: only your mother will continue to follow you online, if she knows how).

Be Patient
Don’t join an OSN and send out hundreds of friend requests each day (unless you’re Oprah). Take it slow as you begin to post useful content. Find people who are posting useful and interesting content and see who they are friends with, or who they are following. Become friends/followers of a few of these people at a time and expand your network from there.

Be Genuine
It is easy to say things you don't mean when online. You don't have to see the people you communicate with online, so it is easy to flit about the web making insincere comments. People can tell if you really took the time to read their posts; they can tell if you really care about what they're saying. We all know the old adage "If you don't have any real support/advice/interest/thoughts/opinions/feelings to tweet about what someone is saying, then don't tweet at all."

Be Professional
Your online presence is a VITAL part of your brand. Your OSNs are probably not the place to bash people or to talk about your seriously wild & crazy adventures...unless that is part of the image you want to portray.

Be Linked
On your blog, set up links to your OSNs that you want people to befriend you on. Include links on your websites, newsletters and e-mails. The people who are interested will find you on your OSNs and establish a connection with you.

So, what other social networking sites do you know of? Are there specific sites that are good for artists?

Here is one for writers that I've yet to check out:

Also, please leave a comment if you are interested in a tutorial on how to use Twitter.


  1. I have no idea how to use Twitter. I'm not on it though. But I think if I would want to join if my writing career ever goes anywhere.

  2. Twitter is pretty cool once you've used it for a while, and I certainly hope your writing goes somewhere; I know I enjoy your blog.

  3. I don't want to be patient. Now! Now! Now!!

  4. I've recently rejoined twitter under a new user name

    I'd say of all the great things you mentioned above, consistency is key. Make sure you don;t go all cowboy one week, and trickle to empty in a matter of a month. Keep posting. As an artist (writer) it will also help in keeping the creativity going.
    Great post!

  5. Jm Diaz- that's so true. I've been trying to learn the whole consistency thing. It does help me get through blocks sometimes to just keep going.

    Wes- going to Joe's today with Oscar. Ha!

  6. :|
    I was dreaming about Joe's yesterday, I could like, *taste* it, it was the only thing I wanted. OH, to be young and eat at Joe's Bakery.