This post was inspired by a music producer whom I greatly admire. On Twitter he was asking how to get more engagement with people. I thought it a good moment to give out my tips and ideas, based on my own experience in what works.
1. Find your audience across multiple disciplines
Your audience is other creative people like you. Not just other artists in your genre (of art, music or writing) but broadly all people who are creative and who are into the aesthetic that you produce. Potentially you could extend this into other fields such as science, research, IT or engineering. These kinds of people are also very creative in their own unique ways. It’s just a different form of creativity to the arts. These people also look to music and art to be inspired.
2. Always follow other people back
Aside from bots you should always follow real people back on Twitter. To not do this is a bit elitist and snobby in my opinion. It says that you think you are king dick and are a bit arrogant to have a lot of people following you, but you refuse to follow back.
When you are followed by someone, you should then check out their feed and comment or like their stuff. This is an act of recognition of them as a person.
3. There is enough love and attention to go around
Thank, congratulate, promote and celebrate other people’s successes on Twitter with genuine goodwill, if someone you know gets a commission, sell some art, go on a tour or get an exhibition. This is the basis of building a rea; friendship with the person and also creating a community of likeminded people.
You can also show someone you appreciate them by retweeting their art or music to your own followers, with a comment telling people how much you love it.
By doing this you’re not negating your own work, but adding to the richness of your own reputation for integrity and friendship. People will be more likely to promote your stuff, if you also promote them. But you need to do this in a genuine way, if you actually like things. If you don’t like something – there is no point to give it further attention.
4. Take the time to respond to people’s comments and RT’s on Twitter
It is polite, expected and just a courtesy to respond to people’s comments on Twitter. Don’t forget to do this, even if you’re busy. It shows that you care and appreciate your followers and love that they enjoy your work.
5. Create short videos
Make some short videos of you doing a timelapse of painting, drawing or (if you are not shy) talking to the camera. If you are making music then perhaps a live or recorded set. Doing this regularly will mean people feel more involved in your creative process.
6. Use hashtags
There are many hashtags that are relevant to art, writing and music on Twitter. So learn to use these but only selectively, occasionally and with purpose – otherwise your posts will look like spam.
7. Actively follow people and engage them in conversation about their own creative work
You can find people who may have similar interests, values and ideals to you by using the search function and typing in random words there. You shouldn’t just follow people and not chat to them. You should also make genuine attempts at conversation with them about stuff on their own feed.
Creative people love the opportunity to talk about their own work. They will also be on the look out for your work and may become interested in it as well.
Remember – interesting people won’t come to you, often you will need to pursue them...it is a little like flirting in a bar with someone, but not in a creepy way.
8. Tease before launch
If you are planning an exhibition, book launch, tour or whatever then you should provide loads of notice and also some teasers about it in the weeks leading up to it.
9. A website on WordPress
If you want people to take the next step and purchase something or to find out more about something, then a good website is always a good idea for promoting projects and for more info. Twitter alone just won’t cut it. WordPress is a good idea as you can scale it up and actually sell things on it. WordPress is better than other CMS’s because you can build a community of people who like and follow your posts, rather than just blogging into thin air.
10. Twitch and Twitter
You can experiment with live streaming some of your music or art creation on Twitch and then feeding this onto Twitter. Twitch was originally created as a gaming platform for people to stream their gaming sessions to viewers. However, now people now stream a vast multitude of different activities from furniture making, creating art, sculpting, throwing pottery, playing music and much more.
11. Youtube and Twitter
If you are not comfortable to give Twitch a go, then you can also try a live stream on Youtube which is similar to this.
12. Special VIP offers to followers and fans
You can create a series of special limited edition illustrations or a music downloads or album giveaway to followers. Link back to your Kofi and Stripe to handle the payment part of the transaction. Only don’t do this one too often, infact very rarely otherwise people will get sick of seeing spam from you.
13. Avoid getting bogged down in politics on Twitter
It’s depressing and a total downer to see in your feed. People may unfollow you if you get in too deep with this. A good idea is to just avoid clicking on the trending hashtags all together because it’s the worst kind of crap on the internet and attracts all of the most vile people and most vicious conversations anyway.
14. Cultivate groups on Twitter
Groups are great if you have many thousands of followers. This way you can group people into ‘friends’ or people you tweet with regularly. You could have a group for ‘artists’, one for ‘journalists and reviewers’, one for ‘interesting people’ etc.
15. Remember that sometimes Twitter is full of shit
Just remember sometimes Twitter brings out the worst in humankind and it’s not really a very nice place. When it gets this way, switch off from it and do something else for at least 24 hours.
16. Abandon all rules, have fun, have a laugh and make friends.
It shouldn’t be a chore being on Twitter, if it is then you shouldn’t be there. Instead of blatantly promoting yourself on there, just have fun and post funny, silly things. Ask people questions, make wry comments about the state of the world. Have a laugh at the absurdity of life and don’t take yourself or your art too seriously.
Anyway here i am on Twitter if you want to find me: @contentcatnip
I hope you found that helpful. Let me know.