Why I think Twitter is a great place to promote your art.
As an artist that is trying to promote my work online to drive traffic and sales I have tried lots of social media outlets to see how well they work at getting exposure and helping to drive sales.
First let me list the places I've tried and a brief reason why I think they did or didn't work for me and then I will dive into the reasons I think Twitter is one of the best places for the kind of promoting I do.
Okay, first on my list and in the order that I tried them is Instagram... a cool place to surf and share and even make friends but for me, not ideal for promoting and here is why. I share images that link back to the sites where you can view and purchase my work. Instagram has no way to embed links into your posts, they only offer you one link in your bio and while I have heard that others have had success using Instagram for promotions, it did not work for me even though I had been there for a few years before I started promoting and had a decent number of active followers. I saw no evidence of any traffic coming from Instagram. I still use Instagram sometimes just for fun but I don't promote there anymore.
Next I tried Facebook.. I already had a personal account so I made an art fan page and added a shop button I got all my friends and family and even some people from Instagram to like my page and I started posting. Well, while a few of the followers sometimes liked my posts, very few ever shared them and they were not my target audience so I was not reaching any new people. I tried joining some groups but never had enough time to spend interacting with the groups and even got accused of spamming in one of the groups but no action or traffic ever came from them either. Then Facebook wanted to start charging me to boost posts and I felt like no one was seeing them because I would not pay to boost them so I let my page go dormant. It is still there but I don't even like it anymore.
Next I tried Pinterest and at first I thought it would be great. I made lots of specialized boards I joined a bunch of group boards and created some too, I even upgraded to a business account. I pinned and still do pin there all my new work, to one board or another trying to target buyers instead of other designers. Here is the problem I think Pinterest is just a place people like to collect pins of stuff but they rarely ever click through to the site the pin came from. My Pinterest analytics shows lots of shares and repins and likes but my Google analytics shows next to no traffic ever coming from Pinterest. Also Pinterest has been changing a lot lately and seems to be less user friendly than they were a few years ago and they are saturated with designers and artists promoting their own work. The only reason I share there anymore is for the link backs and whatever exposure I get for my name and art.
I tried Wanelo and bombed because it is a site for 20 something fashionistas who want to be models. Not my target audience... same with Polyvore, although you can make some cool promo images there. Add Tumblr to this list of places where my style is just not well received.
I also promote on Google + and it is one of my effective and favorite places but I will save the details about why for another post in the future so be on the lookout for that, but now I want to talk about Twitter...
I like Twitter because it is short and sweet, no long drawn out posts that take half an hour to read or write. While twitter does require some interaction with other people it is a lot less needy than some of the other social media outlets and nobody seems to be offended when you are trying to promote your work. Most of them are promoting too and they want to network to gain exposure. This is where the reciprocating of a retweet comes in. You can carry on conversations, you can have fun posting to crazy hashtags and hashtags are very useful and needed when you can squeeze them into your short message, but what I think the real benefit seems to be is the retweet.
While I might only have 1500 followers and a limited audience for my posts when I tweet them, if I can get someone with 15,000 followers to give me a retweet, that post has just increased the potential audience 10 fold and many times the retweet will even get a retweet so even more people have a chance to see it. Now while I do follow other artists and designers, I also follow people who are not artists but are successful business people and have the income to be able to afford to collect art and many of them follow me back. If and when one of them retweets my post, even though I have no idea who their followers are I am reaching more people and maybe one will turn into a buyer. All of this is done without laying out any cash so far, but is is still not free.
In order to get engaged people to see and share your work you need to engage with them too and share their stuff once in a while. The good news is it only takes a few minutes a day to engage, retweet a few interesting tweets, say hi to some people and see results.
So yes, it does cost you a little time and effort but meanwhile you make connections and have fun doing it. But the best part is that my analytics show that Twitter does drive some traffic to my websites where sales happen. If you find this low cost promoting is not getting enough results for you, you can always pay for sponsored tweets with Twitter ads. I haven't yet, but it has crossed my mind and when I do I will report on how well it worked.
So there you have my take on why I like Twitter as a place to promote my art and of course you need to remember that your mileage may vary or other outlets may work better for you. I guess there is really no way to know what works or doesn't work for you without trying them to see, but if sharing my experience helps you then I am happy about that!