• Jeri Shepherd

5 Ways To Support The Artist In Your Life - (Part 2 of 5)

Last week, we began this series on supporting artists inspired by the realization a friend and I had that what an artist needs for support is not necessarily something we communicate well to even our greatest cheerleaders.

I introduced the five main supports our loved ones can provide: Buy The Work (which you can read about HERE), Tell Others, Honest Kindness, Skip The Comparatives, and Understand.

This week, let’s dig deeper into what it means to TELL OTHERS, a support that is expressed through:

  1. Word Of Mouth

  2. Making Connections

  3. Reviews

  4. Social Media

Word of Mouth -

If you enjoy your artist friend's work, it's okay for it to come up in conversation! In fact, nothing would make your friend happier. When I have a product I love and it comes up, I'm always willing to share it. When I have a store I like to shop at, I tell others. When somebody I care for is in need of a professional, in everything from medicine to plumbing, I tell that person about the service provider I trust. Let's start seeing those same opportunities in life for artists.

Imagine shopping with a coworker over lunch and they comment on a painting they like. If it reminds you of your artist friend's work, say as much! You'd be surprised how often somebody is willing to support a local, or working, or at least still-living artist when they discover they can buy their work. Photographers, painters, writers, artisans . . . they almost all have work available.

Even if, in the scenario above, the person opts to go with the piece they liked, they now know that an artist is available to connect to through you! You know and love and appreciate your friend already, but--as strange as it may seem to you--most people just aren't even aware of the fact that working artists are all over the place!

Look for opportunities to mention the working artists in your life to people you know and have relationships with. Colleagues, church and non-profit communities, family, friends, connections through school, people you know through your children, etc. Art is infused quite deeply in your life if you start to recognize it and the opportunities to tell others about the artists you know: videographers, voice talent, furniture builders, and more.

By the way, here are a few of my favorites, but I can't even begin to list them all:

Making Connections -

It's one thing to mention your friend's work when it happens to come up, but do you think there may be other opportunities for them that they're missing? It's so easy for any kind of entrepreneur to get tunnel vision. My daughter, for instance, is a professional stage manager. Every year, right up through the start of the pandemic, and picking up again now as the world begins to reopen, from the time she was maybe sixteen-years old, she's worked a show or several, organizing everything from cues to transitions to communications. She's well-sought in her field, but recently, she just began something she'd never thought of before.

A fellow stage manager connected her to a wedding management company. Why? Because the people they need are working essentially as the "stage managers" of single-show productions--the show being the wedding. Not only did this get my daughter some extra, simple, one-off gigs that were paid, but she is getting exposure to a number of people, some of whom may possibly lead her to other avenues of work more directly in her field. She personally would not have likely thought of the work to which she was connected, but her friend saw what she could not.

Here's the thing - artists connect other people all the time. Not all of us, but most that I know and certainly those in whom I trust, keep little lists in their heads of all the people who do all the things that somebody might ask for and we're excited to make those connections. And when people connect us, it adds that person to our little lists, even if the person is in the same field as we are. (When I had my publishing company, we used the term "co-opetition" for this help-one-another-out approach.) So, what are the connections you might have for the artists in your life? Those who need their work? Unique parallel opportunities? People in the media or who run podcasts and could feature them?

Side bar - I'd like to take this moment to recommend one of the greatest CONNECTORS I know: Jennifer Buchholz, owner of Excel and Flourish. Jennifer is a rock star. She's a woman of many, many talents, but her baby is Excel and Flourish, where they help individuals, teams, and whole companies to better understand, utilize, and maximize Microsoft and Zoom through (super fun, engaging, and practical) trainings. EVERYBODY can learn from her team because just about all of us use Microsoft's suite, even if you're on a Mac. The list in Jennifer's head is longer than I could hold in my own and I'm proud that she's my friend.

Reviews -

This one is simple. Artists live by reviews. It's how we get new clients, how we sell our work, how we market ourselves, how agents, publishers, and media judge us, and more.

So when you buy the book, leave an amazon review. When you connect on LinkedIn, leave a recommendation. When you join their Facebook Page, five stars and tell people WHY.

A great review is not just one that is a high rating, but also one that includes some detail as to why it's a high rating.

And the artist in your life is probably happy to reciprocate. Reciprocal reviews is a great tool for both artists and entrepreneurs!

'Nuff said.

Social Media -

For starters, FOLLOW your friend on all of their sites and consider sharing, reposting, retweeting, etc. their newsworthy posts.

Don't turn your social media into a commercial for your friend; nobody is asking that. And you shouldn't have to be a part of your friend's planned social media calendar, either. But if the artist in your life has a show, a gallery opening, a new book, a single post on a single day on each of your social media platforms could make a HUGE difference.

For writers, I can speak to how this one-day social media slam can be the difference between a #2 and a #1 Bestseller. My gratitude is HUGE for those who simply share a post or write something in the groups to whom they are connected to expand the grass roots movement and influence of my latest read. I thank them in return. I often give them a free book or some other kind of recognition. AND - I share THEIR work or announcements when I have the chance, too!

The bottom line on this support of artists--the support of TELLING OTHERS--is that when you have the backs of the artists in your life it WILL come back to you!

Stay tuned over the next weeks as we look at the last three supports of the artists in your life. Your Superfan, ~JS

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