Social Media and the ArtistAug 03, 2022
BOLD ARTIST PODCAST
Should Artists Quit Social Media?
Social Media and Artist Websites
Is there a trend of artists leaving social media?
Maybe you're an artist who is considering leaving social media. If so, you are not alone.
I've been listening to some art YouTubers, reading some blogs and seeing IG post where there appears to be some frustration with social media platforms and what they can and can not offer artists.
In response I've had some questions
Q. Are artists truly leaving social media platforms?
Q. As artists, do we really even need to be on one or more social media platforms to succeed?
I like to think I use social media like Instagram to connect with other artists and obviously to share my work with the hopes of selling it. I've listened to a lot of experts who say that exactly what I should be doing. But seriously, it doesn't seem to work very well most of the time.
I don't know about you but I feel like most platform are saturated with amazing art which means mine gets lost in the feed.
Some days I go on there to get some inspiration and I end up completely distracted and down a rabbit hole which might as well be teaching me Flat Earth Theories.
And I haven't even mentioned the attempts I've made at learning regulations and algorithms which seem to never favor my art.
Am I alone in this? Somebody yell AMEN so I know I'm not the only one.
The frustration is real and it is valid. The problem is, if you as an artist are truly considering leaving the platforms where you currently display your artwork and advertise your products, where will you go instead? For all its failings, social media does offer the benefit of a free online space to connect your art with art lovers. If you remove your art from these sites, how will you make connections and market your work? Even if you intend to use paid ads, those ads themselves run on social media platforms.
Q. What about a website? Is it enough to run your art business directly and solely from your site?
Although websites are essential for professional artists, there is some learning to do to ensure your artist website is discoverable within Google's search engine.
So maybe those artists who insist they are leaving social media are really making clickbait statements. I have to say that is actually my conclusion.
I think a combined approach of running an artist website while also taking a balanced approach with social media interaction might be the best alternative for artists wishing to get their artwork seen.
Maybe it's about finding the platform that's best for you. If what you mean when saying you are leaving social media is "Instagram is not working for me but YouTube is so I am going to leave Instagram and put my energy into YouTube" then you might just be on to something. Every social media platform is different, and while many people say artists need to be on every platform, that is a good way to run yourself into burnout.
Finding the Platform You can Focus On
Know the differences
First, it helps to understand the distinctions between different social media platforms and to understand how social media works. There are multiple books an artist can purchase which fully explain social media and all the different options. A more common learning route is trial and error.
Set Up Profiles
It doesn't take long to set up social media profiles on major platforms such as Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and even TikTok. Putting your art out there on these platforms and then regularly adding posts to your social media is a bold way to find out which social media platforms suit your own personality, meet your art business goals, and work to bring you new connections, fans, and art sales.
In the beginning you'll have to focus a lot of energy into testing out all the platforms but after you give it enough time to see results you can slow down on posting on the ones that aren't working for you and focus on the main one or two that are.
- Each different social media platform is designed around algorithms that interpret your data.
- Social media algorithms determine which posts are featured by the platform to the most consumers. This is one way to find followers.
- You do not need millions of followers to run a successful art business. You need genuine followers who truly enjoy the content you are posting.
- The best way to find genuine followers is to be authentic about what you post.
- There are social media trends, such as dancing on TikTok, for example. If this is something that appeals to you, these trends may bring you new followers. Artists do not need to play to the trends, though, if this is not a true representation of who you are as a person or as an artist.
You Don't Need To Be An Influencer
You don't need a million+ followers
You simply need to make genuine connections with those who do follow your artwork. Ever read the book "1000 True Fans" by Kevin Kelly? The book claims that's all you need to make it in business! Just remember to get 1000 TRUE fans you'll need a few more than that. But you seriously don't need a million.
What to post
You do not have to put every facet of your life on public display in order to post to social media. Neither do you need to post in ways that make you personally uncomfortable. Some artists post images of their art exclusively. Other artists share family details or scenic images or travel stories. There is no right or wrong answer to how much of yourself you choose to reveal to the world through social media. That is a personal choice. Followers just want to know you are still alive and well and at work on your next project.
Social Media is a tool
Use social media for the benefit of your art, not for the benefit of the social media platform.
Being on social media is only a tool. Keeping that perspective and also operating an artist website where you have control over every bit of content, can put all your relevant information about the type of business you are running, can add your full portfolio, and can send people to a base location that shows you are a serious professional artist helps you find a healthy online balance.
An extension of your business
Think of your social media posts as an extension of your business model. There are third-party platforms such as Later, Planoly, and Buffer which allow you to schedule posts from outside of the social media platform itself. These take a minimum amount of time to research and to set up and can then free up a lot of your time. Posting from outside of the social media platform can help artists avoid the distracting temptation of scrolling for hours through the social media posts of other people. Just remember to check in and interact with any comments made by your followers so you continue to build connections with the followers of your social media sites.
Remember the true fans
The person you want to follow you on social media is the one who genuinely is moved enough by your work to speak about your art, or purchase your art. Find those people, and you have a business.
You are looking to find those who truly love what you do -- and that is enough -- rather than deliberately looking for those ambiguous, uninvolved million followers. If there is a small group on social media that is meant to find your art, then those people will be better because you found them. You will be better because they found you.
That is the healthy, balanced, freeing way for artists to use social media.
It is my humble opinion that if you decided to not be visible online you will inevitably become irrelevant as an artist in today's world. Take it or leave it. You do have a choice.
On Episode 23 of the Bold Artists Podcast we're digging into this conversation. Come join in the discussion and let us know if you've been tempted to leave social media!
You can also listen in on your favorite podcast app. Don't forget to subscribe!
Curated from content sourced from the Bold Artist Podcast Episode 23 with Charla Maarschalk, Marijanel Knight and transcribed by Leigh Macfarlane
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