Ken Mueller of Inkling Media has taught me a lot about how I can use social media tools like Twitter and Facebook to increase my readership, to expand my creative community, and to make new friends. I asked him to share his thoughts on this idea with you because, like it or not, if you’re an artist interested in making a living at your art, these are things we need to know.

You’re creative. Perhaps an artist or musician or even a writer.

By nature you are probably not overly structured. You follow your muse and can’t be tied down to a lot of “rules” as to how to take care of the business side of things.

But, if you want to make a living at your craft you need to not only create, but make sure others know about your creations.

The business word for this is “marketing” and it’s not a very attractive word. Not very poetic. It brings images of men in suits to mind. Advertising. Commercials. All the things that artists and creatives try to avoid. But the fact is, you are creating works of art that other people would be interested in. There are those who want to see and experience your art, read your books, listen to your music.

And that is where Social Media comes in. It allows you to be about the business of marketing without necessarily being “business like”. Social Media should be approached not as traditional marketing, but as an extension of your creativity.

Some people approach any sort of marketing from a rather formal copy-writing perspective. Resist the temptation. If you decide to blog (and I hope you will) allow your creativity to shine. A well developed blog should be at the center of your “marketing” plan, allowing you to showcase your talents in a variety of ways, all the while drawing people to your website.

Other key elements of your creative marketing arsenal should include a Facebook business page, and a “branded” YouTube page and/or a Flickr account. These latter two are particularly important if you are a visual artist, or even a musician.

One more element that can be important in connecting with other creatives and building your audience is Twitter. It takes a while to get the hang of it, but it is well worth it. Think of it as 24/7 conversation that you can jump in and out of at any time, and contribute as much or as little as you choose. It’s a great way of meeting others who share your passion, as well as those who are local to you, and, of course, potential customers.

The key to all of this is your mindset.

Be yourself. Don’t think of Social Media as marketing. Don’t think of it as technology. Don’t think of it as selling yourself. Don’t think of it as isolating yourself from the real world.

Social Media is about relationships. Think about it as an extension of who you are as a person and as an artist. The relationships you will make and maintain are real. So be yourself. Interact with others the way you do in real life.

Most of all, have fun.

And don’t forget: be creative!

Ken is a wise, creative man himself, and I’m very grateful for all the help he gives me with my work. If you’d like him to help with yours, definitely get in touch with him. Or give him a ring on a warm day in the summer; he’ll probably be sitting on his porch in Lancaster, PA, and I know he’d be glad to have you join him. Maybe I’ll even see you there.

Inkling Media