How To Use Twitter – The Arts Festival Method

One of several pieces I Twitpicked...

Just got back from the Decatur Arts Festival. It was a lovely event, but very frustrating.

Observed a ton of missed opportunities for these amazing artists to build a community around their art. Here are a few thoughts:

1. When I checked in at Foursquare, there was a respectable amount of attendees also checking-in. But no artist set up their own “location” and offered a special – such as a free post card print of their art. More importantly, no artist sent me a tweet inviting me to come by.

2. Too many artists refused to let me take photographs of their art and twitpick them to my network. What a wasted opportunity to spread the word about their art. [I will be writing more about this]

Are you sharing your great works?

3. We stopped in many booths and became seriously interested in a particular piece. Viewing it carefully and discussing what room it might go in. Now, most artists offered to ship it, or give us a discount if we bought it on site. But that’s it. Not seriously intending to buy anything that day, we would say something like “we’ll think about it and get back to you.”

Here is where Twitter strategy comes into play. If I am the artist, and I hear a potential customer utter those words, I ask for their email address and/or their Twitter handle. I record the potential customer’s name, and take a quick photograph of the art they were interested in. And do three things:

From an artist who didn't want me to photograph his stuff. Don't tell him!

a. Send me an email – or a Tweet with a picture of the piece – a couple hours later reminding me the piece is still available and perhaps offering an incentive.

b. Send a follow-up email or Tweet a few days later, again with the attached picture, and seeing if any interest remains.

c. Ask permission to add me to a mailing list to see future work. Since I was interested in one of their pieces, certainly I might like something new down the road…

NONE of this happened yesterday. And we probably ventured into 36 booths…

In fact, most booths we ventured into, the artist was sitting in a chair, reading and/or relaxing. So don’t give me the “I didn’t have time to connect with real people interested-in-art who made a special trip to leave home, drive all the way there, and walk around viewing art on an incredibly hot day” excuse.

24 hours later, and still no contact from my Foursquare check-in or any of the several tweets (including images) I sent around on Twitter.

What a missed opportunity. What are your thoughts? And how can you use this simple approach in your business?


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  • Renee

    That was exactly what Scott Stratten observed in his book Unmarketing. I’ve become frustrated as well when I’ve attended similar arts festivals. The work is beautiful, but the marketing (or lack of) is sad as you realize that the artist likely will lose potential opportunity to sell his work. I’m not sure why the community seems to reject basic business and marketing principles.

  • Todd Schnick

    I think the mentality is to prevent unauthorized prints of their work.

    Which I will be honest, that argument still doesn’t convince me.

    Spread the work!