Make Twitter work for your art promotion

Have you realised your potential on Twitter?

What the world really needs is more art on social media. No, seriously. Film, music, poetry, prose, visual art, crafted works: it contributes so much to people’s lives and social media is a great way to get your creations in front of the people that will love it.

The question is - how do you find those eyeballs?

In this blog post I share with you the techniques I’ve used to grow the @thefollowmg Twitter community to over 20,000 followers.

Twitter puts my work and my message in front of thousands of people every day for FREE!

To make Twitter work for your art practice you need 4 things:

  1. valuable content
  2. engagement
  3. tools
  4. time 

Valuable Content

The good news is, as an artist, you have valuable content. It doesn’t matter what your art practice is you can easily and simply convert your art into something that people want to know about.

The equation is simple: art moves people – people want to be moved.

Poetry

Post a line and link it to the rest of the poem on your blog or link to your book on Amazon.

Visual art

Post an image of your painting and link to your Etsy store or to your online gallery.

Music

Post some lyrics or a description of how your music makes people feel and link to your Soundcloud or Bandcamp page.

Film

Post a still from your latest film and link it to the trailer on YouTube or Vimeo.

as an artist, you have valuable content

If I haven’t covered your art form, you get the picture. You already have the content and it is valuable. I recommend crafting 30 tweets in a word document that showcase your best creations. This will give you a great go-to resource for new tweets.  Make sure each tweet is slightly different but that they all link back to the same web page. This way you can create buzz and measure the results from that campaign.

Images get more click-throughs and engagement than just text. Even a screen shot of text is better than just text itself.

You can measure the reach of any given tweet by clicking on the three-bar icon on the bottom of your tweet. Select “view all engagements” to see how many impressions it got, how many click-throughs and how many detail expands.

 Engagement

This is you engaging with followers and finding new followers. Part of the engagement is automated. I’ll cover that in the Tools section. The rest of the engagement is about you retweeting other people’s content, creating lists, instigating opportunities for conversation and following new people.

Retweeting is a crucial part of creating positive vibes towards your account. Whenever you retweet someone they get a notification. The subtext of that notification is that you’re engaged and you’re a good person. Now, isn’t that a great association to your brand as an artist?

List creation is often overlooked as a valuable marketing tool.

When you are on someone else’s profile page there is a little gear icon on the right next to the Follow/Unfollow button. If you click on the gear icon it gives you a number of options including to “add or remove from lists”.

You can create lists and select whether they will be public or private. When they’re public other people can subscribe to your lists. This helps to raise your profile in people’s minds and provides a public service by helping people to filter the grain from the chaff.

As you go about your daily twittering keep an eye out for accounts that you don’t want to lose track of. Create a list. Add them to the list. Every now and then tweet to ask people if they’ve subscribed to any of your lists.

Conversation is just like small talk at parties. Hit that reply button (to the left of the retweet button). Start with the generic and as you find out more about someone move on to the specific.

I recently had a great conversation with a novelist about the weather and the Australian Ambassador to Eastern Europe. (Hi, @ErskineQuint ) He’s an author, I’m a magazine publisher but we just kept exchanging tweets about unrelated topics and promoting each other in the meantime. It means that all of his followers now know who Follow Magazine is and what the weather is like in Australia. All of my followers know that he’s friendly, ready for a chat and an author of an indie time traveller book available on Amazon. That’s a win in my books.

A well-known way of growing your Twitter account is the follow/unfollow method. This involves following a couple of hundred people every day and unfollowing any that don’t follow you back after 24-48 hours. This is a good way to expand your audience but it works best if you use two guidelines.

First, follow people that already follow similar accounts to yours. This way you are targeting people that are most likely to be interested in whatever it is that you do. Second, have great content that people can easily retweet. The majority of my retweets come from people that are checking out my profile for the first time after I followed them. They notice I’ve followed them, visit my profile to see what Follow Magazine is all about and then retweet a couple of tweets because they love what I do and they want to get my attention.

Try it. It’s fun to see your account grow quickly and great to get the interaction happening.

Tools

As you start to get more involved in Twitter you’ll realise just how much time it takes to make the most of it. If you have more money than time you can buy Facebook ads and use Google’s AdWords. They are both very effective at getting the message out.

If you want to make the most of Twitter but also want to keep spending time on your art practice find the tools that help you make the most of it.

To respond to new followers and give them a call to action of some sort I use Crowdfire to send an automatic direct message. Some people don’t like auto messages and the vast majority of people just ignore them. It’s still worth having them for the small percentage of people that follow through and click on your link to buy a book or download an album. Test different messages to see which one gets the best response.

For posting content, I use Buffer and Hootsuite. Buffer helps me schedule tweets in advance and find articles that I want to post to keep my Twitter feed interesting. Hootsuite allows me to schedule a bulk post of up to 350 messages. I usually do two or three weeks worth of four posts a day. Each tweet needs to be different and the bulk uploader doesn’t support images, but at least it’s a framework that I can then add to. 

The scheduled tweets form the skeleton of my Twitter feed and then I flesh it out with retweets, interesting articles, special promotions and conversations.

The tools I have mentioned are all free with premium versions for multiple accounts or added features.

Time

There are many tools out there. The ones that I’ve highlighted are just a drop in the ocean. Find the tools that work for you and you will save yourself hours of time that you can then reinvest into your art. Remember, this is all about the art. Look after yourself and your practice. It’s very useful to take some time away from social media every now and then. Creativity thrives in the spaces between busy-ness. Make sure you create that space.

It does take time to learn how to Twitter. You will find it awkward to start with, but slowly it will become second nature. 

The Takeaway

  • Your art is your best asset
  • Get social by creating lists, starting conversations and following people
  • Find the tools you need to make Twitter as easy as possible
  • If it all gets too much, take a couple of days off to reassess and adjust your Twitter workflow

What tools do you use to make the most of your time on Twitter? Leave a comment below.


If you want to spend more time making and less time marketing, take a look at this Free Guide to Launching Your Creative Work.