Making Art Work: Social Media and the Artist (Part Two)
“Welcome to the Making Art Work Series! Through this accumulating and growing collection of resource articles, we hope to give insight and suggestions to artists in their journey to becoming their most successful creative selves!”
Part Two: Algorithms and Authenticity
This follow-up segment will be highlighting and further detailing how to navigate social media use as an artist. If this is helpful to you, be sure to check out the first installment here.
Social Media is a constantly evolving medium and can require a lot of adaptation and quick thinking.
Don’t forget the “Social” in Social Media:
Cranking out content is a great way to help build your digital footprint, but exploring your platform of choice and interacting with other users is a massive part of building your fan base and developing connections in your field. Follow accounts that interest you, and actively engage with their content. Commenting, reacting, or messaging another artist or creative about their work can be a great way to build your presence up.
Keeping your online worlds separate:
It may sound counter-intuitive, but having separate accounts or pages for your life and your art can benefit you more than using your personal pages to push your brand. Not everyone you know will be interested in your work, and if you don’t allow for your self to shine through, you can risk alienating people that may only want to socialize with you instead of patronizing your work. Separating your worlds can also help in allowing time for both yourself and your work. If you make your entire online presence about work, you can suffer from burnout and feel intimidated visiting your own pages for fear of not being productive. Sometimes it’s good to have those worlds compartmentalized a bit to save your well-being.
Divide and Conquer:
A great tactic to help build your online presence is choosing which kind of content you want to share on which platform. Do you want to keep your Instagram content based solely on your personal work? Do you think your Facebook Art Page is better suited for your commission work? Do you want your website to showcase your fine artwork and upcoming releases? Classifying your content not only helps you organize your online presence but gives your patrons multiple sources for your artwork. Now you have three different bodies of work to gather a wider audience instead of one source of content that may only satisfy a third of your audience.
Authenticity is the new social currency:
In today’s day and age, everyone is tired of advertising. Commercialization, spam and the constant onslaught of ads have eroded the social acceptance of the sale. Everyone is trained to avoid ads. The creative world caters to the invitation, the option of participating or contributing to something sacred and real. Being genuine is where you, a real artist and person, comes into play! Being yourself and making genuine, real connections with people is how you get the most out of your content and reach as a creator. How you do that is up to you!
Adapting to Algorithms:
Algorithms are a BIG component of social media and are a frustrating one at that. Most popular platforms have algorithms that moderate and control how your content disseminates to your followers and the platform at large. Most times it changes without alerting its users, and this causes a LOT of issues. The best way to handle these changes is to analyze your content, its reach, and see how to adapt to how it disperses. Depending on the platform you are using, you can pay to “boost” your content, but that is not always a guaranteed way to get your work out to your followers, and unless you can afford to have that kind of reach, it may not be your best option, especially if you are not getting returns on your investments (i.e. sales, commissions, etc.). The best way to find out if your algorithms change is to check with your settings on your platform and big business news (typically there are algorithm change communications at annual tech summits, help desk, or other direct connections with your platform of choice).
Play to your exclusivity:
Manufactured Exclusivity is the biggest opportunity for artists with Social Media. If you make a consumable piece of art, only make a single printing of a low number and advertise it as such. Make a “Secret” Facebook Group that only your most respected and devoted fans can access. Create your own Patreon and reward your paying followers with exclusive content. Create your hashtag and get your friends to contribute to it. These are all options that cost you nothing and reward your creativity. It is, once more, the idea of creating personal connections, building community and establishing an audience that feels important for patronizing you. It requires some personal confidence, but it can work if done correctly.
We hope this has been helpful to you as we conclude this series (for now), but if you have any questions or feel like we forgot something, be sure to let us know in the comments! We hope this is helpful to you, and be sure to check back for more tips and tricks at thalo.com!