Master The Art of Social Media, Now!

 

“Follow me, I will follow you” – Wrong!

This is a rich article that will help you harness the social media game.

Some people have thousands of followers. It’s crazy when you look at it. Truth is, they can’t even engage properly with one.

If you care about the hype and appearances, you might think they have something interesting to say.

Then you start adding them to your network and the next thing you know is that your timeline is invaded by topics you don’t care about. That’s the mistake I made in my early beginnings on LinkedIn: my articles catered to the corporate world, not mentioning any art form. I felt bored and lost. Then I stopped writing to finally speak about what I really love. I engaged with people who showed the same interest in culture and arts.

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As I was scrolling through my Linkedin messages yesterday I realized how much opportunities I missed because I was too busy or everywhere on the map. Change is good.

I use Linkedin, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram a lot. Being proactive on social media is sharing a work that carries all my emotions and feelings. A few days ago, someone asked me in a tweet reply: How big is social media for artists, should he or she care?That’s a very good question and today I will break it down for you, based on my own experience.

When a music label signs an artist they want to know if it’s worth the ride because… artists are crazy. They want to know how many followers, subscribers, likes you have. Numbers make you bankable. It’s not about quality anymore. It’s really scary. Maybe that’s why we have shitty music everywhere, but that’s another story.

LINKEDIN:

One thing I hate about Linkedin is its lack of messaging power. You need to get to the point quickly. People are busy, it’s hype to be busy. Sometimes the first message I get Is a person wishing me a great day and signing off even before the conversation has started. Duh!

Another thing I don’t get is why people are throwing emojis out like rice when they just met a person who wants to know them. A “Thumbs up” makes you look lazy and rude. Please don’t send emojis, have some conversation.

Ladies, I know your profile pic is the best ever and you know you look amazing, but don’t get an attitude for this. LinkedIn is not a dating site when someone like me shoots you a message it is on professional grounds only. I want to know more about what you do, not how you look.

Patience is everything. Post an article like this one, the first comments and likes will start popping later in a week or two. We artists are not well known to be patient creatures. It’s a thing you learn as you practice the medium.

I get zero return from LinkedIn groups. I don’t know why I keep posting my articles there. I am optimistic by nature I guess.

On the bright side, if someone likes your content it will make it visible to all his followers. When you comment on an article, it’s showing in your activity, increasing your exposure. Comment on others’ content, it’s paramount, you will then have a good reason to message them. You will have their undivided attention.

People want to know why they interest you so much. Don’t think that, just because a person is on LinkedIn, he uses it often. Check his profile, if he has zero activity: likes, comments. You are going to have dry conversations. I promise you. Why sending an invitation when you know the outcomes?

TWITTER:

Twitter is the paradise of written content. I use it to get traction to my blog. My images only help me illustrate my point. Making the post more visual and increase the click rate.

I know visual artists who are not that big on Twitter but go check their Instagram…

SoundCloud integration on Twitter is perfect for musicians and producers.

I always ask my Linkedin contacts if they have a Twitter account so I can follow their real thoughts and reactions.

You should also use Twitter lists feature. For example, you can create a list of influencers in your industry and reply to their tweets, their followers will notice you.

Don’t follow back for the sake of it. I see an account with 30k followers and the same numbers in following. How do you manage these numbers of the tweet in your timeline? Just follow when you know you’ll engage. Forget about messages on Twitter, get their Linkedin or Facebook for that.

Don’t follow people before checking their activities. Same rule on Linkedin.

Being “verified” don’t mean anything. You can have 400 followers and have that status. What matters is: what do you have to say?

Consistency is also key on Twitter, you don’t have to post every day but if you post things off topics you will lose followers. I use Buffer to do the work of posting my articles, for other tweets I’d rather be as authentic as possible.

INSTAGRAM:

I love the “gram”, it’s so visual! I get most of my clients from it. I post a painting and I get the likes. I turn them into conversations and invite my contacts to like my Facebook art page where they will find my store.

I always reply to comments about my work and I make sure to return the favor. The Same viral effect, when you comment a pic you gain traction to your Instagram and also get new followers.

I also like tons of pictures every day, using them later as an inspiration source for my next paintings.

Again, all the videos giving you tips on how to get followers fast are ridiculous. Following 100 people a day and using tools to get rid of those who don’t follow back. How low can we go?

Send a message as to why you don’t follow back or just start chatting. It’s simple.

FACEBOOK:

I don’t understand why my friends on Facebook don’t get my art. I stopped posting on my personal account. Your friends or cousins, family want to see pics of you holding cats, not your craft. It’s better to keep things separate, because as your reputation grows your inbox will be saturated by trolls or bots messages.

Don’t invite your friends to like your page it doesn’t make sense.

You can use Facebook ads to boost a great post and invite the people who like it to like your page without adding them as friends. That’s awesome.

2 billion users on Facebook, if you are not into it, you better change your mind.

Create a professional page and post there.

Groups are very active, I always post my work into groups. In return I get likes and you already know the drill about likes.

Your page comes with all the information about your blog, site, and store. Growing your page’s likes should be your top priority.

Have your links ready to share.

SNAPCHAT:

I don’t use it! I think it’s for people who really like selfies and their facial features at every hour of the day. Plus it’s so complicated to use. I tried so many times to jump in. I gave up.

SOCIAL MEDIA RULES:

Start a blog. Write often. Everybody can write. You will spend 20% of your time crafting stuff and 80% marketing it. So many artists don’t write and it’s a shame because it’s a wonderful way of expression and your audience wants to know the reason you are doing that sorcery.

Be proactive. Content needs action. Share a lot. Repetition is okay, by posting the same old content you make sure everyone sees it. Trust me they will see it! Don’t stop because you think they don’t. You’d be surprised. Someone asked me about a drawing I posted years ago to ask me if it was on sale.

“500 is a huge number” as Pharell Williams stated in an interview. Imagine yourself performing in front of 500 people! Why do you want 100k people, if you can’t satisfy 500?

People ALWAYS have time for things they are interested in which is why I always give value first. Value is your content: articles, images, videos, links etc.

Don’t get mad if they don’t respond to your messages or emails, people have their lives. Sometimes they go into a lot and they will never tell you. Be patient and don’t ignore them, they need you, they don’t know it.

Be frank, messages can get twisted if a person is rude to you address the situation say how you feel. Stay polite, but don’t get fooled around too long. It will happen soon enough when you will ask the sale.

Ask every day but don’t ask for money, show the value! Ask for your work to be shared, ask if it has been seen, ask how it inspired people. Money is important but relationships matters. Make friends “god damn it!”

Don’t sell yourself short. People will not buy from you because you are expensive. People buy expensive sh*t every day, sh*t you don’t even craft. Don’t compete on the price, compete on the value! You don’t sell to someone who wants your art for $5 when you have spent nights crafting it and he tells you he’s on the first class flight to his next conference. Why wasting your time convincing such a person? Your work is great, you are great! Some people just don’t see the VALUE! Show them.

Be yourself! Thank your unfollowers because they remind you not wasting your time trying to please everyone. If I write nonsense and my English language is “good enough to put me in trouble” – as one copywriter once told me-, I will get this content off my chest anyway and introduce it to the person who cares. See how it flies, adjust and the next will be better.

Don’t buy followers, you are not that low standards.

You only need ONE like. That’s all you need. Cherish that like and start a conversation, you never know where new opportunities come from.

Drop me a comment in the section below. I’m Lionel Thomas, I make beautiful music for the eyes and I’m curious to know more about you. Tell me your story! Follow my blog, like my Facebook page. I’m also on Instagram and Twitter.

Nadal vs Wawrinka 

Do you remember that day when Nadal gave Wawrinka so much troubles and headaches that he went nuts and literally eat the ball? Even his fierce backhand – that I love so much – couldn’t shake the Spanish. 

I remember the watch and the ball. That meant that it was time for real frustration for the poor Stan. 

He is a schemer. Blessed with a vision of the game that makes his opponents tremble. I don’t even talk about his fierce backhand that flirts with lines all the time. Usually he dishes headaches but don’t take them.

But that day he was really helpless. What to do against Nadal who got the strength, endurance and power running back and forth together from his legs to his left arm?

I had to make the strokes visible and the white lines for the sweat, they can be also interpreted as desperate tears. 

I really like the watch and it’s colors that fit the shirt very well. 

More drama with some dirt on the hand, light brown like the sand of Roland Garros really closed to dark red.

A colorful and warm crowd behind him, the crazyness of the game and the energy between the player and the public.

Left handed people will always give you troubles. 

– Roland Garros finals 2017

Who will win the Wimbledon tournament this year? Lets have this conversation.

I’m Lionel Thomas, artist and storyteller. If you liked this story, leave a comment, Hit the like button and follow my blog. Follow me on Instagram on Twitter and like my Facebook art page

Flower Powers!

If you paint flowers, you might be just the best flower painter in the whole world—but realistic flower paintings have been done, a lot. It’s pretty tough to make a living doing that. You’re competing against all of the other artists who make realistic flower paintings and all of the photographers that take pictures of flowers. How in the world do you stand out and be noticed and remembered?

I don’t worry about the competition, I know that I have a unique way of seeing flowers. 

The real challenge is to work on that special voice every day.
After all, everybody loves flowers.

I’m Lionel Thomas, artist and storyteller. Hit the like button and follow my blog. Follow me on Instagram on Twitter and like my Facebook art page

Artists, Don’t Feed The Lions! How To Be a Better Artist?

Let me tell you a story.

An artist starts dying when he/she stops engaging in conversations. That’s a fact.

I told you where to find those conversations in my previous article. On top of that, some artists, are crazy enough to let conversations running in their heads all the time. The kind you don’t want to hear. It gives you a clue on why Van Gogh lost his own ear.

That being said, I talked to a man on LinkedIn lately -I will not say his name for obvious reasons-. After thanking him for his kind words about my work, he told me this:

“Well…it’s true. I love how you write. Yes, you are very fortunate to have your job. Mine is kind of ok. I would prefer to get paid for working with creatives and get some commissions or contracts for my sketches: but I don’t think I am good enough. What is your best tip for overcoming procrastination, please Lionel? I am not an Interior Designer. I am scratching its surface. I have found out I am ENTP I start things and don’t finish them because I’ve got so many ideas for something new.”

“I’m trying to complete my course. I have been blessed with scores like 100% seven times and 90% twice. And I still think I’m no good. Hard to believe in me. I spend all day in church, with Christian friends and masticating roast dinner! I get 5 hours to myself on Sunday and 9 hours on a Saturday. But I am hopeless at plans.”

This sums up all the struggles artists are facing today. It went on for centuries, but I think all the technology surrounding us today has accentuated that problem. I want to break it down for you.

You are very fortunate to have your job. Mine is kind of ok.

My friend, I don’t have a job. I know this feeling. I went through multiple jobs in the past, taking orders from people who had absolutely no clue of what they were doing but only motivated by bullying and running total anarchy in the workplace. I just quit so many times -I can’t remember- to finally chase my dreams. Eleven years in the industry and I still love every part of it. Feeling “kind of okay” is not an option, nor is feeling “ok”. Feel SPECTACULAR! I have a friend working in IT and who is running a photography business just for his own pleasure, it’s a side business from which he doesn’t make money from. I don’t think he’s feeling kind of okay when he changes hats every day. Photography is his fuel to overcome the boredom and repetitiveness of the IT industry.

What is your best tip for overcoming procrastination

We are all procrastinators. If you want to know the epitome of procrastination, please pay a visit to a creative agency. I read “Hey Whipple Squeeze This” from Luke Sullivan, he said: “As an employee in an agency creative department, you will spend most of your time with your feet up on a desk, contemplating your partner’s feet, also up, across the desk. To overcome procrastination I force myself to produce something of value and share it everyday. Something I know my audience will like. Writing, painting, drawing, making music is part of that process. But sometimes when creativity is not kicking in you have to ignite the fire. Take a walk or… go to bed.

I don’t think I am good enough, and I still think I’m no good. Hard to believe in me. I am not an interior designer.

When I read this, it hurts me deeply. Because I truly love my fellow artists, but they are constantly shooting themselves in the feet before even learning how to walk, run and fly. It’s normal to not be good enough. Embrace it, it’s the road to humility and greatness. For example, a few days ago I shared this drawing to a professional with a stellar reputation in the fashion industry. I’m not a fashion designer but God knows I’m fascinated by women. I love women, their eyes, elegance, and accessories. My work is a pure reflection of that. So when I clicked on “send” I told to myself: “it’s not good, it must be way more detailed, what are you thinking! She will not like it, it’s not even finished.”

Her reply: “I think it’s finished. When you start they want to see a quick sketch style, this is perfect Your style is promising, you have “illustrative” and you have “art” in it!”

I laughed nervously. I was stunned. Like the moment when I saw a video on Youtube about a man in the middle of a safari, stepping off his car, holding his camera clearly determined to have a close shot of a gang of lions. It’s a very sad story.

I get 5 hours to myself on Sunday and 9 hours on a Saturday. But I am hopeless at plans.

Okay, Google! How many Saturdays and Sundays there are in a year? Can you multiply that number by 5/9 hours? That’s a lot of practice time. I don’t’ believe in that 10.000 hours rules, it was made for commercial purposes. I believe in practice and consistency. 1 Hour every day delivers more value than 14 hours every two weeks depending on your mood.

In conclusion: humble artists doubt, arrogant ones fade away. I learn and approach the craft as an ignorant student. I engage in conversations, ask questions, cease opportunities, get the knowledge from total strangers, turn them into friends. It’s okay to paint half naked women or raw meat, just don’t put you in trouble by showing it to your Christian/veggie friends. Know your audience before stepping out of the car in the middle of the jungle.

Damn, what was he thinking! [Shaking my head.]

Drop me a comment in the section below. I’m Lionel Thomas, I make beautiful music for the eyes and I’m curious to know more about you. Tell me your story! Follow my blog, like my Facebook page. I’m also on Instagram and Twitter.

What It takes To Shoot Street Photography?

A composition is the soul of great photography. It’s the same rule for paintings.

I have to confess: drawing daily is exhausting and sometimes my eyes just need a simple walk outside. Out of my comfort zone.
I’m a shy photographer. For God’s sake, I’m not a photographer at all! I’d rather shoot landscape or butterflies playing in the grass. This is why street photography is always a tedious exercise.

This is my problem: In the streets, as hard as you try, you never go unnoticed.

But isn’t fear just an illusion? When you find your real purpose. That puts you there at this very moment. You let go of your barriers and are only driven by the love of imagery and the story you want to tell. Ask yourself: why I definitely know that I will love that photo?

I like this shot. Because it’s just Africa. The market and its strong, vibrant colors; the noisy, warm, busy streets.

For the record, I had to wait until the salad vendor walked down the street, she involuntarily balanced the shot by filling one of the six frames formed by the bare shop’s posts. Giving me a blank stare in the process.

I felt guilty.

What’d happen if she looked the other way? Like the guy in the red cap. I’d have felt better but the pic would be different.

At the end, it’s a cool composition, a photo that I’d like to paint one day because I’m sure of one thing: hot, vibrant colors are killing me every time, and I know that Africa is so colorful.

How To Become A Great Artist? 

The next Spiderman movie poster is turning people into trolls on the internet (photo).  

How Photoshop can be a double edged sword even for Hollywood? Illustrator Sam Gilbey just puts it so well:
“If you’re simply moving photos around though, you’re not going to get that cohesiveness that an #illustration can bring you. A skilled #artist can take all those disparate elements and weave them together into a beautiful composition, whilst capturing the aspirational ‘feel’ of a movie at the same time. Of course now the fantastic thing is that as an artist you can use #Photoshop to aid the process. The ‘problem’ is that you don’t need to be an artist to give it a try, or to understand how good compositions and colour palettes really work.”  
Ps: Corporate world, the same rules apply to your next marketing visuals. 😉
Read the full article here: http://bit.ly/2tpCaS8

Chasing Cars

I remember when I first started 11 years ago, reading magazines and books, dreaming of a huge scintillating Wacom tablet and Steve Jobs’ Mac. No money so I started working jobs (no pun intended) and when I got it, I bought a little tablet and… a PC. Isn’t it ironic? I did upgrade 6 years later but I still have my old stuff. I just wanted to draw and tell stories, I still do. Still learning every day.

The point of all this is: tools are just tools. Remember the famous quote from the Joker “I’m a dog chasing cars, I wouldn’t know what to do with one if I caught it!” We are all chasing tools today hoping they will change us. Make marvels with what you have.

In my case, ideas are born on paper and brought to fruition by technology, not the other way around.

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