With each new year, social media changes the way that we interact with one another, making us even more connected to the people and interests we love most.
But finding your place in a world full of endless chatter seems nearly impossible. Here are 10 social media tips to reinvigorate your strategy as an artist online.
1. Find Your Community
Where do I belong?
A simple, yet powerful question, and the answer that lies to these four words is transformational. Finding where you belong online can reap incredible rewards for your art career. However, you'll face many challenges and frustrations along the way.
So... where do I belong then?
The answer to this question is actually quite clear. Where you belong is in places you already frequent. We have this misconception that it's important to have a profile on every single social network that's out there. But as you collect networks, you start to spread yourself out so thinly that it becomes nearly impossible to juggle them all.
Prioritize your work to only a few social networks. Get to know the ones you love the most and study any potential strategies specific to that platform.
Here's a list of social networks you can join. Limit yourself to only a handful that you can manage and update often.
Top Social Networks
Art/Design Communities, Portfolios, & Inspiration
2. Photos Rule the World
Who run the world? Photos.
Who run the world? Photos.
Who run the world? Photos.
Even Beyonce's got nothing on photos. Pictures are amongst the most shared content across social media. So why are you still posting just links?
Take a moment to really think about it. We live in much lazier times. And if you're scrolling through Facebook or Twitter, the last thing you want to do is click a link that opens up a new window.
Upload your art directly to social networks. This makes it more likely to be shared. You can always include links to higher resolution images in the post description.
Adjust Your Image Size
Speaking of poor resolution, not all social media sites are great for art. Facebook, for instance, compresses your art to a point that is bleak and unrecognizable.
Follow this tutorial on How to Get the Best Image Quality for Your Timeline to make improvements on how you upload art to Facebook.
For all the social networks you use, get familiar with their allotted image sizes. Keep them in mind when posting new work, so that you can adjust them yourself instead of letting the site do it. You can avoid awkward and unnecessary clipping by cropping them ahead of time.
3. Tag Everything
Tags + your art = people seeing your art.
Repeat this formula in your head. Hashtags are like that friend who introduces you to everyone at the party. Because images aren't made up of codes, it's imperative that you include some form of description. Hashtags serve this purpose.
Whenever you post a new work online, tag your art with as many associating words as possible. This helps search engines cluster images together, and narrow down which ones are the perfect fit for your search results. So by tagging your work appropriately, you can greatly increase the chances of landing new followers.
Did you know: Instagram now allows you to preview the number of posts associated with that hashtag.
Take advantage of anything you can learn about tagging your art, SEO, and ranking well online. Hashtags are just one small step to an effective online marketing strategy.
4. Shorten Your Links
Do your links look like this?
Here's the problem with these types of links:
- The link looks messy/too long.
- The length makes it difficult to organize multiple links on one post.
- The link shows any affiliation ID codes.
There's nothing uglier than a long URL. Instead of focusing on what really matters to your post, they distract the eyes with all their weight.
An alternative to shortening URLs is to post a link to the main website. A favored technique amongst many, posting the main website not only helps to reinforce your brand, but also keeps visitors longer on your site as they search for a particular post.
5. Building Consistency Does Matter
It's important to be real with yourself along this journey. Hypothetically speaking, if you had one million people ready to follow you at this very moment, would it even matter?
The last post on your Twitter page was three years ago. Your best work to date is not updated to your portfolio. And let's just say, socializing is just not your forte.
So, even if you had one million people lined up at the door right now, the truth is...
You're not ready... yet.
We can scoff and mock the people of popular pages, but in all reality, they show their faces, and art, and opinions to the world every single day. It takes a lot of work to build consistency. And if you think about it, why are you online? To learn? Escape? Or for entertainment? So imagine your own disappointment when you stumble across a dead profile.
Be someone other people want to follow. Become that escape or inspiration for your audience. Post regularly. Pick one platform you can easily manage, and challenge yourself to a simplified schedule until you build the consistency to post even more.
6. Turn Off Your Inner Salesman
Telemarketers make hundreds of calls per day. They have only seconds to convince the recipient to stay on the phone much less become an actual customer. But for many of us, the most natural reaction to a telemarketer is to simply hang up. After all...
... We all know what a sales pitch sounds like.
We are bombarded daily with so many ads that we naturally try to ignore anything that even smells like a sales pitch.
Don't let your fans see you as a salesman. Post your thoughts, sketches, or details of work you've done to break up the moments when you're pushing for a purchase.
And you don't have to stop selling your art. All I'm saying is to treat your fans like normal people―not endless streams of cash. Your followers know when they're being sold to, so relax your approach to establish more meaningful connections.
7. Do What the Popular Kids Do
Sure, they have the most beautifully presented lifestyles, are best friends with anyone else you follow, and their doors are always open to endless opportunity. But beneath all that glitz and glam, you can find incredible social media and marketing tactics from the popular people you follow online.
What I Learned from Popular Instagrammers
Consistency is key, remember? Check out the Instagram profile of anyone with 100k+ followers. Now count how many posts they average per day. I found that some of the most popular people on Instagram post anywhere between one and ten times a day!
But I'm an artist, and I don't like selfies.
This is the moment when you should definitely take advantage of WIPs, or Work-In-Progress posts. Instead of posting one finished piece outright, create a cliffhanger. Make people wait a couple hours between each update as you slowly unfold your masterpiece. Continue to engage your followers by including short process videos showing the complete evolution of your work.
Throwback posts are also great for bringing your art back from the dead. As addicting as social media is, you can't expect each new follower to have already seen all of your work. Remind them of your favorites or relive a great art memory by joining in on #tbt (Throwback Thursday) and #fbf (Flashback Friday) hashtags.
The last note you should take from popular Instagrammers is the quality of their posts. Clean, high quality imagery gives their profiles that instant professional look. Invest in either technology or software to help improve your photos. And make them stand out with unique compositions or vibrant colors.
As I mentioned previously, consistency takes time and serious commitment. But once you master this stage, the rewards are immeasurable.
What I Learned from Popular Facebook Videos
Tyrese Gibson, singer, author, and actor attached to the Fast & Furious franchise, has over 26 million followers on Facebook. And every so often, he posts a candid video expressing his thoughts on success, love, and self-empowerment.
Full of charisma and a dazzling smile (if I do say so myself), he ends each video with a quite effective call to action. Not only does he politely ask followers to "like" and "share" the video, but he also asks that they share their own experiences or repeat positive affirmations along with him by typing them into the comments section.
As you may already know, Facebook now allows us to see whenever one of your friends comments or likes someone else's post on the site. Because of this feature, more and more people connect to new pages simply through their friends' activity.
So what can artists learn from this scenario?
- Relate your message/opinion/work in a powerful way through video.
- Create a personal connection to your audience.
- Inspire call to action efforts without the feeling of being pitched.
- Establish a natural interest for your work, methods, and philosophies.
If you've established a YouTube channel it might seem that you have this area covered. But the best way for videos to travel on Facebook is if they're already uploaded to the site. So if creating videos is a strategy you'd like to explore, study the differences in the types of videos you should upload depending on the platform.
8. Stand for Something
How do you really feel about what's going on in the world? Are you ready to share it candidly?
I know that it seems scary, or controversial, and sometimes even unprofessional to have an opinion. But one of the best ways to connect to your followers is to be passionate about something... that's not just art.
Recently on one of our journal projects we had an incredibly powerful entry by the talented Jacqueline Thompson.
Challenged with the task of making art through fingerprinting, she created a great commentary piece on the subject of police brutality. In fact, you can always find a lot of art inspired by recent events. Art is, after all, a reflection of the world we live in and how we perceive it.
Let your art be the dialogue you wish to inspire. Stand behind a cause that speaks passion into your work. And don't be afraid to take risks.
9. Be Social
Social media has now made it so that we can have friends, associates, and even coworkers in every corner of the globe. But overtaken in a rhythm of endless scrolling, we don't necessarily keep in touch, despite all the convenience.
It's time to put the "social" back into social media.
Are you approachable? Do you respond to comments or emails? A natural tendency to shy away from social situations can have an impact on your online presence.
Trust me, I'm as introverted as they come, but social media is actually quite perfect for the introverted or shy. You can join groups, chat online, and make new friends without all the anxieties attached to meeting in public.
Improving how social you are is important because it directly affects your business. And as an artist, you are the sole creator, marketer, and promoter of your work. Challenge yourself to take on new projects where you collaborate with other people. Strengthen your online connections, and you'll create a whole new world for yourself full of opportunities.
10. Check Your Stats
Last but not least, the only way to know if any of this is going to work is to track your efforts. Some sites include free statistics, while others may not provide any at all.
Keep a note of your stats and check them often. Notice the difference between the types of post you put up as well as any changes in composition, topic, and overall description. Do some tags work better than others? Continue to ask yourself questions in order to find possible solutions.
Also keep track of events that usually lead to a boost in your views. Retweets, either from your followers or popular profiles, always lead to a spike in traffic.
Remember, statistics are here to help motivate you. Even if no one favorites or retweets your post, at least your stats will show that you're still getting views. Study what it takes to craft the perfect post, and you'll be on your way to better traffic.
Yes, your work speaks volumes. But are you putting your work in front of enough people? Social media proves that the world's most popular artists can come from any background, style of art, or difficulty level. It's simply up to you to master social media.
Try out some of these tips and make sure to track your progress. We would love to hear the results!
Your time is now. So introduce your art to the world.