The Basics of Social Media Success: A Focus on Relationships

Posted on Tuesday, June 1st, 2010 at 9:30 am by Engine Communications

The following is a part of our One For the Creative Types Series. We are looking to help people transform their web presence from “starving artist” to “social media savvy entrepreneur.”

The Basics

When people hear the term “social media,” they immediately think of tools like Facebook, Twitter, etc. without actually considering what these tools are all about.  Using these social networks has become so ingrained into our everyday lives that many have never stopped to think – what is social media?

“Social media” describes the online technologies and practices that people use to share opinions, insights, experiences, and perspectives. Social media can take many different forms, including text, images, audio, and video.” –Brian Solis [read full definition here]

Social networks are community-oriented websites. These sites are tools to help ease communication between like-minded people on a global scale.  This presents a unique opportunity for you to channel your creative output.

This means that there is a group of people interested in your art or product, and there is likely already a community centered on your specialty. You just need to find them.

Shift in Focus

Before we get into details about finding your community, it is important have a grasp on how you should focus your social media efforts.  Traditional interactions with potential consumers would have an internal focus that sounds something similar to, “sell, sell, sell”. It is a mentality that many artists hate but find necessary at trade shows or in storefronts.

Superimposing this technique onto the online space is one of the worst mistakes an entrepreneur can make in social media.  It is important to shift away from the “me, myself and I” and move towards building relationships with like-minded people and industry peers. The good news is that you’ll be able to use a more casual and personal voice; the bad news is that success will not happen overnight.  Social media takes a rather large time investment to do properly.

Social Media Marketing In A Nutshell

If you are an artist and have made it this far into the post, it means that you are interested in using social media to supplement your income.  You now need to look at social media as a marketing tool rather than just a network for your close friends. With that being said, if you are going to take one thing away from this post, it should be this:

It is important to genuinely care about the people in your community.

Demonstrate an interest other people’s goals, and many will return the favour and take interest in yours. It is kind of an implicit, “I scratch your back, you scratch mine.” This is nothing new to many artist circles. Now you are just doing it on a global scale.  Basically, continually leaving a good impression on individuals and interacting with them on a regular basis will almost certainly lead them to recommend you when their peers are seeking something similar to your trade.

You are planting the seed before the time of need.

Finding Your Target Market and Peer Circles

A while back, I was reading what seemed like a million articles about “Joining the conversation”. What does that even mean? It is pretty unstructured advice that can lead people to do a whole lot of talking with little success in helping their businesses. However, it is important to get out there and gain exposure.

I would recommend taking to avenues to start, find your target market online and also find your industry peers.

Target Market

Who would most likely buy your product? Can this be divided into groups? An example might help make this clearer.

Let’s use the example from the last post and assume you are trying to sell exquisite doorway-mounted puppet theatres. From past conversations, I know that great market segments would be elementary schools, libraries and parents.

It IS possible to find people on a variety of networks, but I suggest you start with blogs and Twitter because of the level of open communication.

Technorati – is a blog search engine; you can search for blogs or posts based on keywords. For the puppet theatre, I would search for influential blogs about “child development” or “arts and crafts”.  These are sites that your target would likely visit, read and possibly comment on in the blogs.  If they aren’t commenting, you can contribute by linking back to your website.

Twitter Advanced Search – This is for a quick and more current search about what is being said in your niche. Be careful though, searching keywords or hashtags can be a waste of time if the terms are too general. Also try the Find People link at the top of your page. Search for Libraries, Schools and find contacts that are in your target. See who they are following, or better yet, take a look at the lists they have created.

What are you waiting for?  Say hello! The next post will give more detail about how to act and respond on social networks, but for now, I suggest looking for your community.


You can use the same techniques as listed above to find peers to join your network, but there are a couple other places you can look.

Twitter Directories – Using directories like Wefollow or Twellow can help find people in your niche, similar area of interest or geographical location.

Art-Based Social Networks – There are a variety of social networks catered to artists. I would take a quick look at Deviant Art, Artition and MyArtSpace for now. I will be doing a whole post on integrated communications in the future which will include more resources.

What are your thoughts thus far? Need more insight?

{ 3 comments to read ... please submit one more! }

  1. This is great information! I see what you mean in saying it takes time!

  2. This is great information! I see what you mean in saying it takes time. Dedication, determination, patience, creativity, staying -power! Thanks!

  3. No problem Lori! I am glad you found this information useful – it IS an investment in time but from our other conversations I can see that you have already gained some positive traffic from your efforts 🙂

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