Linked In/Facebook: Tools For Teaching Artists

Linked In and Facebook: Tools For Teaching Artists?

The work of a teaching artist is multi-faceted, crossing the creative fields of the art forms we use, classroom management skills, and business acumen. The last thing many of us want to do after engagements is the business part of it – logging into a million websites and telling everyone what we’re doing. At first it may feel a bit awkward, or attention-seeking. But sharing the story of what you are doing matters.  

It matters to the field — the world needs to know about the work of teaching artists. 
It matters to the community — family, friends, and the community in which you serve, deserve to hear positive stories of the impact of arts and positive change.
It matters to you in your business as a teaching artist — as growing your business, and finding future opportunities is a constant effort for a teaching artist.
On February 22, we hosted our first TAG Meet-Up, a free event for the community to learn in a peer education space about LINKEDIN and FACEBOOK. The biggest take-away point was that we each need to start telling our stories to the world (as stated above) — using the tools and business practices commonly shared in 2013. If Facebook feels like too much exposure to chatter and personal information, try LinkedIn. It is a network of professionals, documenting their resumes and successes in a directory. Our participation in this as teaching artists reflects professionalizing our field. 
 
Here are the 5 top tips on Linked In from our Meet-Up. 
Your resume should be on LinkedIn.
As you set up your profile, add all of the elements of your resume. Your page is searchable and current, unlike an attachment to an email that may never be opened, or is only a time-stamp of who you were at the moment you sent it.
 
Provide recommendations for others.

One TAG member suggested recommending a few choice colleagues from each of your endeavors; individuals are likely to return the recommendation, which can highlight to others more about the joys of working with you. Also, you might consider asking clients, parents, or service providers to provide a recommendations. It will lead to more work as their network (also target clients) will see the recommendation of your work. 

Bells & whistles
Have you written articles? Performed key pieces of work? Add these under publications and portfolio to showcase the breadth of your art. Visuals as we know tell as much of a story if not more than text.
Connect LinkedIn with your professional twitter or facebook accounts to allow for more communication of your successes and interests, and contributes more to the community.
 
Add LinkedIn to your business practice.
When you go to a conference, meeting or event, and leave with a business card (or stack), add these individuals on LinkedIn. It is a way of staying connected beyond the “hi, nice to meet you” email. Join groups (we have our teaching artist group, to start with), and connect with people beyond your reach. 
 
Add button to website, or to a closing survey/flier:
“I’m on LinkedIn”. It sounds silly. But people will click it and learn more about the breadth of who you are, and it may attract more professional engagements. You could also put a “recommend me on LinkedIn” as a flier to give to folks after an engagement.
 
We hope this is helpful to you to get started. Our goal is to share best practices from teaching artists, via video, blog and network. Join our LinkedIn group, and ask for feedback on your profile!
 
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