Back in November I finally got round to setting up a Twitter Account and had the idea to do a sketch or painting of The Early Bird That Catches The Worm, something I’m clearly not when it comes to social media!
It wasn’t going to be a large complicated painting, just a little Kids’ Illustration. I had a fair bit of paint left after I had finished it and, not wanting to waste this paint (my casein stocks are running low), ended up doing another painting. They are both 6*9 inches on Arches 140lb cold pressed watercolour paper. I rather like the dawn sky in the Early Bird piece you can see at the top of the page.
Not The Later Bird
I’m sure you want to know how I’m finding Twitter. I might not be the Early Bird but perhaps I’ve turned out to be some sort of Later Bird that wakes up nice and refreshed to a hearty breakfast of fat juicy worms?
Is my late-adopting Twitter persona hugely popular, frequently mentioned and regularly retweeted? Have I been gorging on the juicy ‘feel good’ you must get by having thousands of followers?
It’s still early days but the answer so far is a definite no, it hasn’t been quite the experience I’d hoped for. In fact I was so disillusioned with the whole thing I didn’t post a single tweet the whole of January!
My reason for joining Twitter was mainly to do with the marketing benefits. There are millions of active Twitter users, getting some of them looking at my paintings by tweeting a few short posts seemed an obvious strategy for marketing success.
Before I set up my account I made sure to read a few articles on how to get the most out of Twitter, things like how to grow my followers, how often to tweet and the best times to tweet.
I had a go at some of the advice. Especially the one that recommends following as many people as possible in the hope that some of them follow you back. This seems to be a very popular tactic and I went about it with some enthusiasm at first. I started off by following well known galleries and the odd art or decor magazine. By December I was following about 100 people/accounts and had something like 20 followers.
The volume of information these 100 accounts generated was overwhelming! Images, videos, events, statistics – loads of information rushing by, constantly. A massive task to take in, I ended up ignoring most of it. The advice is to tweet frequently and everyone seems to do just that. Some of the larger organisations probably have Twitter teams to keep the tweets flowing. What a battle to be heard above the din!
As well as your own original tweets there is much to be gained, apparently, from retweeting other people’s posts. These retweets appear in your timeline, and go out to your followers, alongside your own tweets. Be nice to someone and they’ll be nice back is very much the motto on Twitter. If you retweet someone’s post they might be inclined to retweet one of yours to their followers.
There are so many ways to make friends on Twitter – following, retweeting, mentioning and liking. One other thing you can do for people is commenting on their tweets which, if you have something interesting to say, might gain you exposure.
There’s a lot you can do to gain attention on Twitter but so much work is involved and I was starting to have doubts about how useful it would be. If I, following only 100 accounts, couldn’t keep up with all the information what chance people with thousands of followers? What would be the point of my tweeting to them? I don’t think many people would see my tweets, and the majority of those that do would most likely only respond on the Twitter platform when what I really want is for them to click through to this site.
With those fears in mind I’ve decided not to stress too much over my follower numbers and instead try to enjoy Twitter as the social media platform that it is. I’ll grow it naturally (some of those articles were suggesting following up to 100 people a day so my 100 in a couple of weeks is already pretty low) by only following accounts I find interesting and commenting where I have something useful to say – hopefully that will encourage people to check out my profile. I’ll try to remember that a handful of followers who are genuinely interested in my work is worth far more than thousands who aren’t.
Line Art Downloads
You might have noticed the line art for the Later Bird a few paragraphs above, I’ve added a Downloads Page where I’ll be posting lineart for anyone who likes to colour in (or perhaps you have children who do). There are 3 downloads there to start with and I’ll be adding more as time goes on.