Jo's Web Wizardry

Jo Atherton

With Open Studios just round the corner, it’s probably time to refresh your online presence and make sure you’re doing all you can to can to make your event a success this year. The great thing about using online channels is that they are, on the whole, free. Here’s a selection of the top social networks you can be using to shout about your activity during Open Studios 2013.

HVA Gallery

First things first, I would suggest making sure your Gallery page on the Herts Visual Arts website is up to date.  As a member of Herts Visual Arts, did you know that you are invited to list your work on our Gallery pages? This includes three images and space for an artist statement - a great way of establishing your online presence.

Unlike an actual gallery, you are not reliant on visitors who are tethered to a specific geographical location.  Listing your work in the HVA Gallery opens you up to international exposure and is a great place to start if you don’t have your own website. You can find out more about this, looking back to my newsletter article from May 2012.

Facebook

I regularly sing the praises of Facebook in this column, as a means of keeping in touch with your peers, networking and promoting your work.

At this time of year, I’m in the process of uploading your Open Studios images to our Facebook page.  I’ve recently discovered that by tagging those members who ‘like’ our page in their Open Studios image, it will appear in their newsfeed and subsequently, their friends’ feeds. In doing so, I can report that these images are being seen by on average by 300 people – an amazing reach, and all for free.

I must encourage you to ‘like’ our Facebook page so you can be sure your work will get seen by a wide range of people.

Pinterest

Imagine Pinterest as a bookmarking tool which allows you to share images from across the web to your own personal pinboards.  Pinterest allows you to create as many boards as you like on any subject, be it sunsets, penguins, Harpenden or cakes, allowing you to curate your own mood boards.

This year, why not create a couple of boards of your studio space? You could include work in progress, posters and graphics advertising your event, favourite materials and inspirational images.

Last summer we looked into why Pinterest works so well for artists, and given the nature of sharing graphics, it becomes very easy to see how you can make this nifty image sharing site work well for you.

Twitter

Are you on Twitter? Have you considered tweeting about the build-up to your Open Studio events? Follow @HVAF to stay connected over the Open Studios period.

By using a hashtag, such as #HertsOpenStudios, will enable us all to categorise our tweets.

People use the hashtag symbol # before a relevant keyword or phrase (no spaces) in their Tweet to categorize them and help them show more easily in Twitter Search.

Clicking on a hashtagged word in any message shows you all other Tweets marked with that keyword. If all those HVA members on Twitter were able to use #HertsOpenStudios, we would easily benefit from the associated visibility this would bring.

LinkedIn

Very recently mentioned here, LinkedIn is a professional network, the aim of which is to ‘connect the world's professionals to make them more productive and successful.’ Joining LinkedIn means you get access to people, jobs, news, updates, and insights that ‘help you be great at what you do.’

We have recently established an HVA Group with the aim of connecting members and establishing a professional space for these discussions to take place. If you’re looking for a more focused online network, away from the social chatter of Facebook, then why not come and join us?

During Open Studios it will be interesting to see how the group develops, and whether there exists a need for supporting one another, asking questions and sharing insights.

Good luck in the planning of your Open Studios, and we hope you find the above suggestions helpful. If you happen to find an online channel that is working particularly well for you in your promotion, we would love to hear about it!

by JO ATHERTON

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