I will never forget the special Valentines Day many years ago when Shannon, my roommate’s girlfriend, surprised me with a single white rose. I’d been feeling down and lonely after the guy I’d been dating stopped returning my phone calls a week before the impending holiday, repellant to all those who fear commitment, pink hearts and chocolate. Not only did I dodge a bullet when this guy so unceremoniously dumped me, but I also learned how valuable a friend Shannon was as she passed me this gift with a mischievous smile, then scooted into her girlfriend’s room for some Valentines canoodling. I couldn’t wipe the smile off my face all day and for weeks to follow because I knew that someone wanted to make me happy.
Reaching out to artists here on Redbubble can be supportive in the same way that Shannon knocked me out of my downer. Some artists are satisfied with making art completely for themselves, and they keep it to themselves. Most of us, however, thrive on feedback and reflection to gain new perspective on what our potential might be. Even the most seasoned and confident of us need a little boost now and again.
Redbubble provides a ton of tools that you can use to connect with artists. You can send someone a private Bubblemail message, or, if you look on the bottom of each individual artwork’s page, you’ll find a plethora of tools available for you to use to interact with anyone. For those of us who have too much work to do, there are some quick ways to connect. When you find yourself with more time, there are ways to connect on a deeper level.
Some quick ways to reach out:
You can follow an artist’s entire portfolio from their main profile page, and receive updates by email when they post new works online. When you click that Follow button, that artist will receive a notice and will be linked to your portfolio. Even better, you can choose to have that artist’s profile post automatically to your Facebook profile after you click on the Follow button. This feature can be turned on or off from the “Connect With Facebook” page.
You can quickly share any individual work of art on your Facebook page, as well. On the bottom of an artwork’s page, you can click the Facebook “Like” button and then click “Add Comment.” If you’ve got a moment, type something in to spice up the post before releasing it into the wild. Redbubble will post a nice big juicy image to your facebook profile – seriously, they look really nice.
There’s what looks like a plain old share button on the bottom of every artwork’s page on Redbubble. Clicking it reveals a fancy drop down list of social networks you can post to including Twitter, Tumblr, G+ and Pinterest. Don’t be shy about posting artists’ works on your social networking profiles, and don’t forget to add tags to those posts. If you’re not sure what tags to use, choose from what the artist has already posted. You can see their tags in the artwork’s description area. Using tags helps people find your posts when searching Redbubble or any social network for certain things, so it’s really important to include them.
Some in-depth ways to reach out:
You can leave comments on individual artworks, giving yourself the opportunity to interact directly with any Redbubble artist. Give them a short note, or spill your guts. Either way, you’re opening up a dialog. If the artist whose work you commented on doesn’t react, it’s fine. You’re paying it forward and that’s what’s important.
Responding to people on a blog post comments can start some rich conversations. Check out the “Open Discussion” posts on Redbubble’s blog wherein your participation is specifically requested. This recent “Share the Love With Your Favorite RB Artist” is particularly appropriate! If you agree with someone’s comment, let them know why. Don’t hesitate to offer your respectful opinion to those you don’t agree with; readers and commenters may learn something new about the subject at hand or about themselves.
The next step, of course, is to continue the connection that someone else may have started with you. If you’re an artist and you find that someone’s posted your work somewhere, whether it be another artist or even a buyer, on Instagram or here on Redbubble, pass along a thank you and/or share their work in kind. If someone has commented on your artwork, a simple “thanks!” would suffice in response, but can you take things a step further and find out what they liked about your work?
Throughout all this interaction stuff, keep in mind that your personality is key – be yourself and be sincere. That’s gotta be the most important asset in your business toolbox – don’t try to fit in with other peoples’ ideals. As Katherine Erlikh mentioned in one of Redbubble’s previous posts:
Social media, blogging, getting more followers and fans… it’s not about the average number of hashtags used, or SEO, or schedules. It’s also about sincerity. I always took it for granted that any and all social media communications should be sincere, honest, truthful, from the heart or at least the mind, but it seems it’s not such an obvious thing to some.
So, if you post comments on a bunch of artworks with the single hope that the artist will respond to you, then it’s time to rethink your intentions. When Shannon gave me that rose, she wasn’t looking for karma points. She wanted me to feel happy and I could tell. Your interactions will help you and who you reach out to if they’re of a positive quality, not a high quantity.
It sounds like I’m treating Redbubble as a dating service of some kind, but really these sorts of interactions are incredibly valuable for both your art business and your art buying passion. You can choose explore the connections you make on an interpersonal level or on a business level. Shhhh, don’t tell anyone, but this is marketing at its finest because it expands and defines the impression that others have of you in real and honest ways. This will add more value to your artwork and your experience at Redbubble overall.
Find more advice on reaching out, take a look at some of our previous posts:
[Header image: “Love Tree” by Paula Belle Flores]