On 29th December when we decided to launch www.streetphotographylondon.co.uk we set ourselves a target to reach 1500 followers by the time we launch. I've got to say that figure was not really based on anything, it just seemed like a fairly possible yet challenging number.
In under a month and with 3 days to go and we have made it! (Some may think, "ok well, big deal", and I say: fair enough!)
But what I have learnt in the past few years is the importance of social media to spread a message. OK, we're not exactly starting a revolution but trust me, if you're an artist or a small business with little or no marketing budget, Twitter alone can be a complete game changer and elevate your business or idea.
First of all it means you can reach people across the globe who wouldn't have a clue who you are otherwise. But more importantly you can engage with them, get their opinion, get them to participate in the discussion.
How much do market studies cost? Well now you simply need to ask the question on-line to your targeted audience and get that for free. People love to give their opinion when you ask them. If only people listened more to their followers. It's all there.
Social media is fantastic for anyone capable of sniffing opportunities too. Provided you don't completely suck and have a good product or service to offer as a starting point, I would say that over 90% of my success in 2013 has been through opportunities I've picked up on and contact I've made via social media.
There's never been a better time to go out there and ask. The joy of being limited to 140 characters!
In 2013 (bearing in mind not much happened in 2012) I had 2 solo shows (which cost me nothing), one of them sponsored by Olympus cameras (who I got in touch with on Twitter) and for whom I am now an ambassador, I became a regular blogger for viewlondon.co.uk (contact via Twitter), I had my work featured in londonist.com (yep Twitter again), I was interviewed by Hoxton Radio (need I say it again?), and for 2014 I have a big 4 month solo exhibition...erm...yeah...through Twitter. And this is only a short list of many many doors Twitter helped me open.
So if I'm simply trying to explain one thing, it's:
"Build your following, engage with them on a human level, sniff opportunities and don't be afraid to ask as the worst that can happen is a big fat NO".