There is a tremendous amount of value that comes out of online conversations in social networking communities. Today, the concept of PR 2.0 focuses on reaching people who are like-minded individuals who share similar interests through meaningful web discussions. And, as you venture into and explore different web communities, whether it’s MySpace or Facebook, you’ll find opportunity to build trust and strong relationships with people. Just by setting up a profile, you open up and make information available about yourself. By taking this first step, you are welcoming the opportunity to talk to people one-on-one and to listen to them. That’s the best kind of relationship building there is!
As an artist, there’s tremendous potential for you to speak directly to someone online who may be interested in your style of art or perhaps they will contact you to help them answer a question pertaining to a period in art history. Either way, you use dialogue to start the interaction and to build the “friendship.” In these social networking forums, you are also able to participate in groups, perhaps with other artists or with people who prefer a particular type of art. On Facebook, when you search under the word “art” about 500 different groups surface that you can peruse and join if you are interested.
Another great opportunity for you to speak with people who share you passion for art is by setting up your own blog and by blogging regularly. You can easily start your own blog through Word Press (www.wordpress.com) or Blogger (www.blogger.com) or you can choose to blog in a social networking community (whether your blog is posted as a part of your profile or within a group that you participate). Blogging is a great way to start conversations and learn about people and have them learn about you. However, whether you are blogging about your favorite artwork, your technique or your passion, it’s really important to make a solid commitment to blogging and to stick with it (however often that may be). Soon you will have people who follow what you say, and look forward to reading your blog, on a regular basis.
In the past, you may have heard that social networking is just a way to collect ‘friends’ rather than a PR strategy, but savvy people are realizing it’s so much more. In fact, it’s one of the best ways to talk to people who are like minded and who are able to share interesting insight. If you listen and listen hard, you will learn, and then you will be able to reciprocate with information that will guide someone else. That’s how to make real friends and possibly gain new followers who end up someday as your best customers.