Having some followers and buyers online is great, but if you want to push yourself and be taken seriously, you MUST work on creating a strong, professional image of yourself online and offline too.
Here are some things to consider when reviewing how you come across:
Do you use LinkedIn? If not, you should! LinkedIn is a social network for professionals and a great way to market yourself and your business. After setting up your LinkedIn account, connect with friends and colleagues or join a group like the Arts & Crafts Vendor Group or the Handmade News Group to find like minded people and wonderful resources. You can also use the site to upload your skills, connect to old employers and college/universities, as well as have people vouch for your skills/recommend you!
The key to creating your professional profile is to share what you’re currently working on…customers and potential customers want to know what you’re creating and how you created it, so share the interesting stories and inspiration for your work.
Personalize your online image with your picture. This helps to connect your customers to your work. Using a picture of yourself builds a personal connection in the online space just as a handshake does at an art fair. Personally, when I look at artists websites and Facebook fan pages and it appears to be made by an anonymous person, I don’t react as well to their online presence, even if I like their work.
One of the best ways to sell your work is to share your work. One of the best ways to share your work online is through Flickr as well as your website/store. Offline, a great solution is to create your portfolio with a book through Blurb. Blurb offers a fabulous online publishing service that within days can turn into the perfect portfolio book for you to carry to shows and events to showcase your work.
Respond to everyone who contacts you about your work in a timely, polite manner. Enough said on that topic!
Branding your business starts with you and improving your professional image is a great way to build your brand. And, don’t forget to integrate your online professional profile to the rest of your social media accounts and your website/online store to maximize your brand equity!
Best of Luck!