Many artists have opened a Twitter account at one time or another and then happily gone back to only posting their art updates on Facebook anyway. Why does this happen so often? I think the reason is because many people don't know what the benefit of using Twitter is. It certainly is a different animal than Facebook! So let's delve into some tips for artists on Twitter.
1. First step is to start by following people who interest you - if they follow you back then celebrate by connecting with them further. You can do this by sending them a message to thank them for the follow - perhaps you can share how you found out about them. Connecting with people on Twitter is sort of what the whole platform is geared toward. If you do it with a sincere and positive attitude then you may make some great and meaningful connections with people who like your artwork. You can easily compliment the artwork of an artist on Twitter or send encouragement to others but you actually have to tweet a sentence @ them ...there's no like button! (unless you count the favourite "star" button). This makes your compliment more personalized and much more meanigful.
2. If someone shares interesting tidbits about art that you'd like to retweet then you can share someone's tweet and perhaps add your own text to that tweet - rather than just retweeting this adds a personal touch and let's people know that you aren't just out there on Twitter retweeting hundreds of peoples tweets all day - I've seen these accounts and they can be annoying to follow especially when they seem to be retweeting every random thing and doing so at light speed. Don't follow these people unless you want to have your news feed bogged down with their crummy retweets and not see anyone else's tweets.
3. If someone follows you try to take the time to follow them back if they are someone that tweets content that is of interest to you. After using Twitter for a while you will start to get a feel for who is a good connection and who is out there just following people in order to try and build their number of followers up. There are many out there who will aggressively follow as many people as possible in order to "fish" for follow-backs and then they will unfollow all of them a week later. Don't worry about it and don't take it their "scammy" behaviour personally. When you are an artist on Twitter you are on a mission to connect with like-minded creatives and people who buy your work, there may be a few bumps along the way : )
4. If someone shares some of your tweets see if there is a tweet of theirs that you would like to retweet in return. There seems to be more attention to etiquette on Twitter than I have seen on other social media platforms. When someone does something nice for you - like tweet about your work or send you encouragement- you should always respond with a thank-you and if you want to do more then you can tweet something of theirs, include them in a #ff or (follow Friday tag).
5. Though it will be extremely tempting when you are trying to make some rent money from your art...try not to post sales pitches for your work over and over again. This will get annoying even to your fans !! You can keep people updated with new work and exhibitions by just saying "Here's my latest piece!" and occasionally mention that you can be contacted for sales inquiries. Try to diversify your content to include other interests and perhaps some of the things that directly inspire your work or themes. If you have a show coming up then by all means schedule a series of tweets that will remind people that the event is coming up but don't just repeat the same tweet each time. One tweet might announce the event, the next might state the location, another might link to your blog post about the work and event details, another might state that the event was a success and thank people who attended.
I think you get the idea. Have fun and be nice! Get out there on Twitter in order to connect to great creative people and meet some of your new future patrons!