My New Facebook Page


I’ve had a Facebook account for a while now and have found it to be a terrific way to stay in touch with friends, clients, and other artists. It’s also a great way to meet new people and make stronger connections in the industry. While there’s no substitute for personal one-on-one relationships, Facebook makes it possible for me to stay connected to more people in more ways than I could ever do offline.

As great as Facebook is, there’s one drawback: It’s too easy for my personal and professional life to get blurred. All of my connections are lumped into one big network. My family photos and personal comments to friends are mixed in with blog updates and news about my business. In some ways that’s a good thing. Certain clients and colleagues may appreciate getting to know me on a more personal level. But I have a strong suspicion that others could care less about my personal hobbies or what happened on my vacation. From a marketing standpoint I walk a tricky line on Facebook. Often when I post something personal I catch myself asking, “How might this make me look to a potential client?” Whether that’s a good thing for me to worry about or not is another subject, but it’s one of the realities of being a small business owner in the age of social networking.

So I’m trying an experiment. Facebook has a feature called “Pages” that lets you create a page devoted solely to your business. Large companies like Coca-Cola and Disney use them in an attempt to create a community around their brand and to connect with their customers. But thousands of small business owners also use them to have a more professional presence on Facebook while building a more personal connection with thier clients.

So I’ve created a Facebook page for my illustration business to see if I can’t take better advantage of what Facebook has to offer. For starters the page has samples from my portfolio, my latest blog posts, and a couple of links I’ve found interesting. I’m planning to post news, my latest work, and links I think potential clients or other colleagues will enjoy or find helpful. I’ll also be running a fun contest soon (both here and on the Facebook page) so stay tuned for that. To follow my Facebook page just click on the “Become a Fan” link under my photo.

I’m still trying to figure out exactly where the dividing line will be between my personal and professiona life on Facebook, but I’m having a Page devoted solely to my freelance business should go a long way towards helping me make the best of both worlds.

Any thoughts? Feel free to leave a comment below.

Facebook For Freelancers?


In case you’ve been living in a cave, Facebook has officially exploded onto the internet scene and is now THE social networking site for, well, anyone with a pulse. I’ve been on Facebook for a while now, using it both personally and professionally. While I enjoy catching up with friends and keeping tabs on a few other artists, I’m still trying to figure out if Facebook has any real value in terms of networking-slash-growing my business.

For instance, on Facebook I’m “friends” with dozens of artists (which is obviously good for light networking). Lately I’ve noticed some of them are creating Groups or Fan pages to promote their work. Can anyone explain to me how this works and what the benefit is? If it’s just to gather a bigger list of “friends” to prove how popular you are, I’m not really interested. I got over most of that in high school. But if creating a Group or Fan Page has some real benefit in terms of getting my name out there, reaching clients, and growing my business, then I am *definitely* interested. For those of you who have Groups or Fan Pages, what do people get out of joining your Group? How often do you have to update the Group page? How do you get potential clients to follow you on Facebook?

Let me ask it another way: Have any of you blog readers actually found freelance work or grown your client base through using Facebook? If so, please leave a comment and tell us all about it. I’d love to know how Facebook has helped you as an artist.

This and That

Happy New Year everyone! Here’s a few misc. items of interest I’ve stumbled upon recently. If you follow me on Twitter you’ve likely seen them all already, but since many of you don’t here they are:

8 Ways Twitter can help grow your freelance business. I used to dismiss Twitter as a massive waste of time used primarily by members of the Cult of the Self-Absorbed. I’ve done a total 180. In fact, I’m now ready to admit publicly that I’m addicted to Twitter, checking it several times a day. I primarily follow other artists on Twitter making it a sort of virtual water cooler where I can hang out and chat with other freelancers like me. For me Twitter is a fun middle ground between Facebook and blogging. This article sums up some of the many benefits of Twitter.

I Yam What I Yam (But Not For Long). It appears the character of Popeye is about to lose his legal spinach: the rights to the character are about to expire. As I understand it, the various comic strips and cartoons in which Popeye has appeared are still fully protected by copyright but Popeye himself is about to enter into the public domain. That would mean that anyone will be able to legally do anything they want with Popeye. He could shill products, be printed on t-shirts, even endorse a presidential candidate, and no one would have to pay Popeye’s owners a dime for the privilege. I would never underestimate the power of a team of high-priced lawyers to somehow stop this from happening, but things are moving in that direction.

Facebook vs. Twittter: Which sends more traffic to your website? Facebook and Twitter can both be leveredged to point potential clients your way, but Facebook appears to be the clear winner between the two. At leaset according to this article, which also lists some helpful tips for making the most of your exposure on both.

Bristol Paper, Canvas, iPhone. Artist Stef Kardos has been using his iPhone to create sketches and paintings (thanks to a nifty piece of software called Brushes). It’s pretty amazing stuff.