Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Free Stuff!!!

Okay, I need some help.

And I am picking your collective brains.

If you don't mind.

And in exchange, I have a bribe, ahem, I mean a prize. A give away for the best idea/advice.

So here it is...

My mom is a super great and talented artist. See?

She does folk art, lots of prints to hang on your walls, on your kid's walls, on your parent's walls, on your dog's walls. Rich dogs have art on their dog house walls. Right? (As a dog owner, parent and grandparent she paints, draws what is closest to her heart. Although I now have her working on some tri stuff. She doesn't think that people would hang tri art on their walls. I beg to differ. I totally would. Nice art. I would.)

Well, the problem is that my mom is a great artist, but not so great at the new media thing. (Twitter, Facebook, blogging, etc.) I keep telling her how she needs to utilize this resource, create a FB page, get a twitter account....just get her name and work out there in the social media world. IT'S FREE! And totally untapped for her. Well, after me telling her for the seventhousandth time, she just told me basically to eff off and do it myself. (Okay, she didn't really say that, but I am sure she was thinking it.;)

So, this is me. Doing it myself. I want any and all ideas you all have to help me help her become the Oprah of the folk art world. :) Social media, website, FB, twitter, contests....etc. Just ideas like how best to use social media to her advantage, what to do, etc.

Her art sells job is, now, to get it in front of more people to see it, then buy it, then we can all retire to our gold boat and burn hundred dollar bills for warmth.

The best idea gets a free print of hers. Pick from the ones below! I will send it to you. Winner will be announced on Monday.

Everyone put your thinking caps on! Thanks!! Post 'em to comments or just email me directly.

Choice #1 -- You Are My Sunshine. Her best seller ever.

Choice #2 -- I Love You to the Moon and Back --- E has this in her room.

Choice #3 -- Play with Me.


Rebecca DeWire said...

I checked out your Mom's website and her art is AMAZING! I love it.

Has your Mom ever considered It is basically the Ebay of the craft world.

Kelli said...

Well the only idea I have was taken. I love Etsy! So good idea. BTW I noticed your mother's art is at Greenleaf Gallery and in a crazy round about way I know where that is. People from chicago drive all the way out there just to go to GG, I'll look and see if her work is at one of my friends places.

Joe Reger said...

Your mom's work is amazing!

I think you've got all the basics in there. Twitter, FB, Blog. Let's look at each one.

Facebook: Create the Facebook account as a Page so that I can Become a Fan, invite friends, etc. Build up a few hundred fans. Start with family and friends like you're doing now. Find some artsy groups the the 'book and do some posting of your mom's work, ask some questions, invite some people over. Focus on providing value and asking for help. Consider some small paid ads within Facebook. Your mom's work is beautiful and should attract some clicks if the targeting is done correctly. FB allows you to define demographics to target. They also allow you to choose to target people who are fans of certain products or groups. Get specific with some specific campaigns... $50 or $100 each. Once you've got some folks in there you can start posting to the wall. I'm at a loss as to what should be posted but let's say you can crack that nut. Less frequently use the message broadcasting feature of the page. This allows you to send a message into every Fan's inbox. Do some cool stuff like print giveaways. Announce new artwork (on bonus!)

Twitter. Let's see. First make sure that when you tweet it updates your Mom's Facebook Page's status (that's a mouthful.) Easier that way. Or vice versa... have Twitter pull status from FB. Point being that you don't want to have to update both separately. Twitter's cool because you can do outreach stuff. Do a Twitter search for something artsy... not sure what... let's say "art cool style" or something like that. Read the tweets and find something to contribute to, say, 20 per day. Do this by @replying to those people who you want to interact with... don't do Direct Messages. Over time you'll engage some folks, gain followers. Start to link back to the Facebook Page where there's more interactivity.

Blog. Use it like your blog but focus on, obviously, art stuff (deep insights by Joe, right?) Discuss process, technique, subjects, color palettes. If Twitter is a collection of short blurbs and Facebook is a community discussion then the blog becomes your mom's book/diary/archive. Make sure that the art is featured with a bunch of high quality/high resolution pics. Always link back to the store website where people can order prints. Import blog posts into the Page as Notes.

So that's some basic stuff. [I have to break up this comment into multiple comments <4096 chars each.]

Joe Reger said...

Social media is all about community... listening as much as or more than saying. Not knowing your mom's process, is there any way to accept input from a community of twitterers, facebookers and blog readers? Like once every few months have her community vote on color palette or subject? And then halfway through the process ask the community for guidance... "should the dog be holding a bone or a remote control?" Listen, incorporate feedback and then announce the "Fall 2009 Community Piece". The key is that if people, through social media, can understand more about your mom and how she creates the art... and can then feel like they are part of it themselves... well, they'll be vested Fans, more likely to purchase.

Social media is also about relevance. Who buys your mom's work? Is it a home redesign sort of thing? Or is it a gift sort of thing? Or is it a "I can find a place for that" kind of thing? Once you know a little more about who buys and why you can dig in with some specific promotions or concepts that are more relevant... like free gift wrapping, etc.

Promotions, always a good idea as long as they're not all that you do. Coupons (does support couponing?) are great to spread via Twitter/FB/Blog.

I see a lot of subjects that could be characters in a blog or social media setting. You have to be careful to not confuse readers with characters too much... in the end they want to get to know your mom (that sounds creep but you know what I mean.) But I think you can keep a genuine mom personality and also have some fun with guest characters. Or maybe even spend some time developing short stories for a couple characters. Find a budding (and woefully poor) writing student that needs a stage (internship?) Have them work up some short stories/essays. As long as people can draw a clear line between what your mom's saying and what's in the character fun space I think you'll be ok. Troubles could arise if too much character content is developed (in that case you just break the character out into their own page.)

Behind the scenes stuff is always exciting. Hit your mom's studio with a digital camera and get some background stories. Why is the easel near the window? Who brews the coffee in the morning?

Probably a million simple ways to create content. The key is to a) build up a small following b) try some stuff c) listen to what the community says/likes and d) rinse, repeat.

Many apologies for the stream-of-consciousness nature of this comment... there's not a single fleshed-out idea in here... but hopefully it'll stimulate others to jump in and come up with the idea that wins the print!

Again, really great stuff that your mom does!

Mimi said...

Wow - Kate has very cool friends! Thanks to all of you.

Kelli - Greenleaf has carried my art for years and years. The owner has become a good friend. I did a show there once and wanted to buy everything in the gallery.

And just for the record, I have never told my daughter to eff herself. Only maybe as a joke....

Joe - I'll be reading and rereading your posts for a couple days to absorb it all!

And thanks, Bug!

Mama Simmons said...

Ok I had all these ideas but CLEARLY, Joe wins. :)

Meghan said...

although my idea is not in the new media relm it might know how there are Mary Kay parties where a lady would host a party and invite all her friends and then the Mary Kay rep shows all the ladies the Mary Kay products? Well you would do just that...i would even host one!! You would show some art work...word of mouth is a sure way to sell!!!

and who hasn't told Kate to eff off really? haha, j/k!! Love ya!

DC Running Mama said...

I triple (or quadruple?) vote for Etsy. I buy A LOT of stuff from there (including my necklace today). I would also suggest (after getting blog or etsy space up and running) that you tap into some of the children's bedroom decorating blogs or other decorating blogs (such as to see if they would give away your mother's art work.

I guess the only question I have is: what is your mother's goal? If her goal is to simply make art for friends and loved ones, then you can't make her want to do more. And, simply making art for friends and loved ones doesn't detract at all from the beauty of her art. If your mother has made peace with her little piece of the world, then let her.

Angela and David Kidd said...

Okay, I can't compete with Joe. I didn't even read his post but I know I can't compete. But.....I love your mom's stuff. Especially the angels and "grandchildren" and "dreaming of spring" paintings on her website. When I'm down in Atlanta I'd love to see some of her stuff in person.

Also, my friend Shay lives in Atlanta and is in charge of the Junior Women(s?) Art Fair every year and your mom's stuff would be awesome there. I can send you her email over FB but her blog is

Jennifer Harrison said...

WOW, I can not contribute much, but as a business owner, I will say this to your mom: DO IT ON BLOG and FACEBOOK and make yourself very accessible. I hate to say it, but it is SOO worth it. THE BLOG land in this ART arena must be huge!

Maria said...

I LOVE my Aunt's work too :) I am working on my company's facebook page, so Kate, I can try and help out when needed! I can definitely help spread the word. How fun!! Go Aunt K!

IronMatron said...

I have no good suggestions, but what I got from all of this is that I need to check out
Good to know. And I love your mom's work.

Jen said...

Etsy is so great and I agree......Joe is clearly the winner! ;)

Your moms art is AWESOME - it needs to be in everyones home.

escobc4 said...

Hey Kate-
I know it's been said a million times before, but she should definitely get on I have a few friends who are local artists who make a significant amount selling through Etsy. Especially if she sells prints as well as originals.

Good luck with everything. To the Moon and Back" is such an awesome one!

Kate Parker said...

Thank you SO much to everyone for all your super helpful comments. My mom is so excited, she can't sleep! No joke.

We're plugging away at working on her FB fan page, twitter account, etsy site, blog and how to tie them all together with a functional website.

Thanks again everyone!!

Anonymous said...

I congratulate, this brilliant idea is necessary just by the way

Anonymous said...

My friend and I were recently talking about the prevalence of technology in our day to day lives. Reading this post makes me think back to that debate we had, and just how inseparable from electronics we have all become.

I don't mean this in a bad way, of course! Ethical concerns aside... I just hope that as technology further advances, the possibility of uploading our memories onto a digital medium becomes a true reality. It's a fantasy that I dream about almost every day.

(Posted on Nintendo DS running [url=]R4i[/url] DS ccPost)