Are you making connections on one of the biggest social networks on the internet?
LinkedIn.com is the network for serious professionals, and has a lot of potential for artists who are building their businesses. Thousands of art and craft professionals use LinkedIn. So do gallery owners, retailers, sales reps, mentors and experts in the field. Are those people you would like to connect with? LinkedIn offers you a place to meet people, learn, gain opportunities, share resources and do business.
Here’s how to get started with LinkedIn:
1. Complete a profile. Your LinkedIn profile describes you – but it isn’t a resume. Don’t worry about listing every job you ever had. Use your profile for your art business, and add credentials, education and experience that are relevant – ignore your day job if it’s unrelated, and include just your art information. A photo of you is a must. This is important, so choose a professional one. Your LinkedIn profile is often on the first page of a Google search for your name, so you will want it to represent you and your business well.
2. Make connections. Start with friends and family. You can search for people on the site that you know and request to link with them. As you gain connections, you will be able to direct your requests towards people in your field who you want to interact with. Other people will also request to connect with you, and you may either accept or ignore these offers. Once connected, you can message everyone in your list.
3. Request recommendations. These appear below your profile, and are short testimonials from people who know and respect you for your work. A great way to receive recommendations is to give them to other people you respect. You can also request others to write one for you.
4. Update your status. Use this feature to share what’s new with you. Do you have a show coming up? Did your work win a prize? Was your website recently updated? Share this type of news, and a link to more information. LinkedIn isn’t the type of social network to talk about your pets or what you had for lunch. It’s all about business.
5. Import your blog posts. If you write a blog on your website, you can import the feed to your LinkedIn profile, which will give regular updates that are seen by your connections.
6. Join discussion groups. Groups are an excellent way to find people who can help you, and whom you can help as well. There are hundreds of groups for artists, and groups for others related to the arts. Ask questions, exchange resources, and meet people you can connect with in discussion groups. Consider also joining groups of people in your target audience and get to know your prospective customers better.