Social Media for Artists
Social media for artists and creatives is essential to the success of their creative career. As we have mentioned in our blogs and online courses, artists and creative professionals working and creating today have unprecedented opportunities to leverage social media to get their work seen and sold. The deeper and more practical question is how? How do I use social media in a way that prevents me from being swallowed up by the potential black hole it can become?
I sometimes think creatives feel the same way about social media that Lord Grantham felt about Downton in the British TV show Downton Abbey, when he said:
“I claim no career beyond the nurture of this house and the estate. It’s my third parent and my fourth child.”
None of us want to be so ruled by the demands of posting on social media, that it feels like a parent nagging us when we neglect it or having it be like caring for a small child. Social media is supposed to help us get exposure and sell our work, not be a task that is creativity draining and a time suck. My favorite saying to the artists I mentor is “It doesn’t have to be that way”. It’s true. You can have a rational and more importantly a profitable experience using social media.
So let’s take a deep breath, reset our expectations, give our anxiety to the Lord and reengage social media in a healthy way.
Reengaging Social Media for Artists
1) First, why is social media a critical component of a successful art business or creative career?
Because it gives you direct access to your fan-base and helps you find your audiences. According to Statista in their survey in 2020 over 3.78 billion people in the world use social media. That means that through social media you have access to about 48% of the world’s population. It’s mind blowing to realize that statement. In the past we had to rely on others to promote and champion us as artists and creatives. That means your audience, fan base, buyers and investors are on social media.
2) If social media is worth my time as an artist, how do I engage without it sucking the life out of me and taking time away from creating my art?
As with all entrepreneurial tasks as an artist, you start with mindset. View social media as a vital communication outlet and one component of a successful art business. It is a necessary part of “doing business” as an artist. And read on to learn the strategies to keep social media from devouring your time.
3) Where do I start?
Don’t overwhelm yourself by starting out utilizing too many social media platforms at once. The key to get eyeballs on your work is consistency. It’s more important to be consistent than to erratically post to every platform available. I always recommend my Catalyst students begin by choosing 2 social media platforms to master before they expand their reach.
To handle more platforms, you must:
a. Be comfortable on the platforms you are currently using
b. Maintain a regular posting and engagement routine
c. Have the TIME and ability (possible intern or assistant) to expand
You must NEVER expand at the expense of losing consistency of posting and engagement!
Choose Your Platform(s)
To start your foray into social media- choose two platforms your audiences use. Most visual artists and actors prefer Instagram, filmmakers and performing artist often like to use YouTube, writers tend to like twitter, but there are NO hard and fast rules on which platform is perfect for the type of art or entertainment you do. I have seen performers and filmmakers thrive on Instagram and visual artists teach classes on YouTube.
Find Your Audience(s)
The key is not to necessarily follow the crowd, the key is to find your audiences. And don’t forget about Facebook. Whether you like it or hate it, most of humanity is still very active on Facebook. It is still one of the least expensive places to advertise. With 2.32 billion monthly users (as of 2018, so you know that stat has increased) Facebook maintains it’s position as the market leader in social media. There are many other platforms, like LinkedIn (a favorite of mine for artists, lots of potential art buyers and patrons there) TikTok, Clubhouse, Parler and others. Once you have chosen your platforms, it is time to make some decisions on how you will be consistent.
Essential questions you need to answer:
1) What day(s) and time(s) should I post? (Once a week? Twice a week? Three times a day?)
Remember to start off with realistic goals. If you are rarely posting now don’t jump up to three times a day, because it’s likely an unrealistic goal. The very bare minimum is to post twice a week. Start with an attainable goal and build from there. You don’t want to stay at posting twice a week, but it’s a good place to start and get your footing. It’s important you learn the platform thoroughly and get comfortable it.
2) What types of postings should I do?
This depends on the type of art you do and the platform you are using. For example, on Instagram there are 5 ways to post- a regular photo(static)post, a reel, an IGTV video (live or prerecorded), a carousel(multiple photos), or a story. On YouTube it’s a prerecorded video or go live. Facebook, like Instagram has many ways to post and twitter is a written post with a picture, clip or just your short tweet. Each platform has unique ways to communicate. Find your sweet spot—a social media platform you like to use and where your audiences are engaged.
Then experiment and diversify the types of posts that work for you. There are some known facts to each platform, for example Instagram reels right now are being bumped up in priority because Instagram wants to crush TikTok, so if you create some reels, you may get more traction than a photo post. Facebook likes live video and both prefer story posts. Be careful though not become a slave to the current algorithms. It matters more that audiences are being reached. I don’t encourage chasing the algorithm as much as I encourage finding your audience. If your audience isn’t watching reels, then maybe posting reels is not the best for your social media marketing. I always encourage some experimentation and watching your insights/analytics to see what gets the most engagement so you can sell your work!!! Or get some gigs!
Types of Posts for Social Media for Artists
Once you have chosen your platform(s), and decided the types of posts you will utilize. Get it on the calendar! Figure out when you will create and post to your platforms. You can do it in real time(hard to maintain), or you can schedule your posts(ideal). You can use outside services to help with that like Hootsuite or others. And now on Facebook if you have a business account you can go to creator studio and schedule both Facebook and Instagram posts, stories and videos. (I use this all the time). Just don’t rely on your memory or willpower to get it done.
Schedule it! Intentionally integrate the process into your workday.
In one of our other blogs: Time Management for Artists, my husband shares three time transforming principles to use your time wisely. He suggests artists: prioritize, ritualize and calendarize. Using these principles to have a consistent and intentional social media marketing plan is the best, most efficient way to get the job done.
Connect with Others
Finally, remember social media isn’t all about you. Social media was designed to connect you with others. That means the final important part of this puzzle is making time to comment and interact with others. Look for your audiences and befriend them. Connect with them both about your work and their lives. It’s person to person. Not cold or salesy. Always be friendly, engaging, and professional. In all the hustle to manage your art business and creative career, we can’t lose the reality that God really has us here to glorify him and love others. So especially on social media let’s take advantage of our opportunities to glorify him through sharing our work and connecting with others.
If you’d like to know more about social media for artists and how to have a successful creative career and art business, check out our Catalyst Program. RIGHT NOW we have limited spots available for our FREE Masterclass and we’d love to have you join us!
Let us know your thoughts, comments and ask questions in the comments below, we look forward to hearing from you!
Copyright © 2021 Joel & Michelle Pelsue. All Rights Reserved. Used with Permission.