Tuesday, June 14, 2011
Thoughts on the Social Scene Self Promotion Service (Act III)
There are some major avenues of "Hey Look At Me" you can drive your self promotion bandwagon up to that were not around when I started as a reluctant marketer. These streets do have names and they are located in the Social Network section of Info highways. Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter to name a few. If you're an independent artist and would like to flash your work to the world, it is beneficial to expose yourself. (Yes, write your own joke here)
You are the person who creates something: a play, a song, a book or any piece of art and in many cases, the public is familiar with the people behind the work: Van Gogh, Van Morrison, Picasso, Warhol, Neil Simon, Neil Diamond, Dostoevsky,Tolstoy etc.. We hear or see these name and usually we can call up something familiar about their work, because we have become... well, familiar with their work. They have been around the block a few times and may have passed us on the sidewalk. I mean, if a car keeps going around the proverbial block, sooner or later you will notice it. And none of these people had access to social media because it had not been invented yet. No, Tolstoy didn't have Twitter account - "Wrote about War today- thinking about writing about peace next. #longnovel".
If you wanted people to become familiar with you and your work - the best you could do is hang a poster or leaflet up in the local cafe or hoped to be mentioned in the newspaper. Perhaps someone read your book or saw your painting, heard your song and told someone else about it - who then told someone else.... Bottom line - now that we do have social media -- as an independent artist, getting your "Name" out there increases an association between you and what you do. (And of course, "Links" to your site)
One drawback of creating a Profile on Facebook or Twitter is that while you are creating a presence that associates your name with your work, it also allows room for you to expose your true nature and feelings that may not delight the world at large. Example: One day you post your "New play is produced in Sheboygan this weekend!" Which is fine. The next day you post that "Rush Limbaugh is a big Fat Fart head!" Which is fine also, but may alienate a few potential patrons. It's best to keep your politics, religion and old photos of yourself sharing a bong with GG Allin to a minimum.
Essentially, putting your face and your name out there on Social Networks with the subtext of your "Brand" (music, poetry, writing, photography etc..) while at the same time, putting your "Brand" out there,(your Website), with the subtext of yourself, you create two paths in which the public can find you and maybe follow you. I believe it's best to keep the Brand of "You" to a minimum.
Well Done vs Over Done
While it's a major benefit to promote yourself on-line and in Social circles, keep in mind the idiom from Henry IV, Part One in which Falstaff says: "The better part of valour is discretion". I have seen many Self Promoting Indie types go overboard posting about themselves and their work.
It's as if a point of reference to be noticed is drawn from a 6-year old at the Supermarket, standing in front of the impulse-buy Candy display. Repetition of a desire may wear the parent down into letting a child have the Gummi-Worms, but repetition of a self promoting artist can get annoying, (depending on the topic). I mean sure, if your work is being published, your play is being produced or you have a headlining gig at club, great! But if you're telling us that you're having coffee with Uncle Otis again and that you need to color co-ordinate your sock drawer, ummm, OK. Didn't really need to know that. It should be about "Here is my work. This is what I do" and NOT "Here is me. This is my organized sock drawer."
As a member of the public and potential fan of your work - tweeting or posting about your work will spark my interest. A photo of what you ordered at a deli - does nothing in the end. What it boils down to is what you do not who you are. Don't allow yourself to overshadow your craft. Two essential writers in the world of literature - J.D. Salinger and Thomas Pynchon - can you immediately see them in your mind? Do you know anything about their personal lives? Read their latest tweets? Liked a band they checked out on Facebook? Did it really matter?
There are many schools of thought on what you should post on-line, how often you should post and you can find self proclaimed experts on line. For me and my work - I have found it best to stick to matters related to theatre, writing and all related matter. Friendly not familiar. Personable not personal. Well done and not over done.
A few final thoughts later. I'm meeting Aunt Bunny at Costco. She finally buying me that 3 gallon vat of Gummi Worms.