Social media is all the rage today, and has been for a good number of years. People love sharing their lives with friends and complete strangers alike, and rightly so, for social media gives us the satisfaction of knowing that our lives haven’t gone unnoticed.
So, why should an artist bother updating several different profiles, as opposed to having their audience just visit their website, or one social page? The answer is simple: Not everyone will remember to. Surfing Facebook or Instagram is (more often than not) a lunch-time task, or an end-of-the-day relaxer. No one’s really putting any effort into it, apart from content creators. This means that no one’s going to take the time to consciously visit your website unless they’re truly devoted to your work.
This is where the magic of social media comes in. Because mindless scrolling has become a favourite escape from the stress of reality, a lot of our audience assimilates content without really paying attention to it. The trick is to get these absent-minded likes and shares to bring you the audience you really want.
The people who genuinely want to read or see or hear what your mind comes up with are out there; they just don’t know you exist!
Here’s a list of my Top 3 favourite social networks that have truly helped my work get out there, and continue to bring me my dream audience!
I know several people have been put off by Instagram due to the whole ‘selfie’ culture. Truth is, Instagram is possibly the best tool available, to expose your work to a huge audience! It relies on striking visuals, and as a visual artist myself, I find that my art is honestly allowed to do the talking here.
As far as I know, a lot of the recent panic about the algorithm changing was unnecessary. Instagram will still show your posts on your followers’ feeds, just not entirely chronologically. It displays the more popular posts from a certain time period first.
This could, however, mean that your audience might never scroll all the way down to your post if it’s peak post time for everyone else they’re following. The best way to deal with this is to run a couple of tests.
Try posting at different times of the day, on different days of the week.
Make note of which posts get the highest initial reaction (I like to measure this as the number of likes within the first 15 minutes of posting). A high initial reaction could either mean that:
a) Your audience is most active at this time, or
b) Your competition isn’t very active at this time.
There are several infographics out there about the best times to post on various social media. I find the Instagram ones to be the most accurate.
I honestly wish I’d run into DeviantART a lot sooner than I actually did. I didn’t know a single person in the online art community, didn’t even know there was an online art community, and finding dA was an amazing revelation!
DeviantART isn’t so much exposure in terms of the general public, as it is making incredibly useful connections with other artists.
It does require a bit of work with uploading your art and socialising (d’uh! Social media!), but once you get the ball rolling, there are so many lovely people on there who are more than happy to have a look at your work, give it a fave or a comment (or both!), watch you, and even possibly feature your work to other artists!
Also, a lot of people looking to hire artists often use the dA job forum to post offers, so that’s a big plus! Definitely go check it out, it greatly helped me improve my art skills, as well as learn new ones!
(This might turn into a mini rant. You have been warned!)
Now Facebook is not remotely one of my favourite platforms, but it bears mentioning here because a lot of your audience will almost certainly have a Facebook. It’s a great place to redirect your fans to, because they will likely be logged in already, and dropping your page a “Like” takes less than a minute!
So why don’t I like Facebook so much? It’s the recent algorithm changes. In order to bring about a more “user-friendly” feed, Facebook shows your audience only the most popular or “relevant” posts. Not many people navigate away from their feed, simply because it is the central hub of social activity.
Well, what does this mean for your page? Basically, a very small fraction of the people who have liked your page will see your posts organically on their home feed to begin with. If these people don’t engage with your post for whatever reason, you can be almost certain that not many other people will ever see it, unless they navigate to your page (which, as I said before, very few people are bound to do).
This is incredibly frustrating for an artist or small business who can’t afford to pay for Facebook promotions every single day, because it essentially ensures that your business remains small. The changes are noticeable, because a lot of my older posts (back when I had a much smaller audience and my uploaded images were not even remotely attractive) got a ton of engagement, and now when I’m finally at a place where I love what I’m putting up, hardly 5 or 6 people are actually engaging with it on a regular basis (one of whom is my dad. Yeah, I said it.). Frustrating, eh?
There are definitely many other platforms, and many businesses are also adding social components to their own websites via forum sections. However, the three I’ve mentioned are completely free and definitely the easiest way to get your work out there.
Having said that, an important thing to remember is that there is a life outside the internet. People are much more likely to engage with or purchase your art if they can physically see it. Word of mouth is definitely the best form of promotion, so go reel your friends and family in and ask them to spread the news!
As always, I hope this has been useful to you lovely people, and I do wish you an incredibly fun, social week ahead!