So you're an artist. You've realized that one of the best ways to grow your business is to get an audience for it. How do you do that? Social media of course! Man, it can be a confusing AND frustrating undertaking. Where do you start? Why am I not growing at the rate I want to? How can I improve? Well, I'm not an expert, but I think I can offer some advice and support. Let's get started.
1. Figure out what you want to do and WHO you are. Are you a hairstylist? A painter? A designer? Model? Are you interested in creating content for others? These are all important questions to ask yourself. If you are a shop owner, it depends on if you are selling things at a brick & mortar, online, or both. Ideally, both, but I understand that the overhead costs, time, etc. can effect that. If you are trying to book clients or get them into a physical location to buy your products, simply just existing IRL or doing the bare minimum online will barely cut it. You need to advertise yourself and build a need/incentive. Why would clients choose you over other options? Maybe you're a fun personality, offer services that others don't, have great business ethics and are charitable. Find what makes you stand out and drive that point again and again. Talk to people about yourself, post pictures, go live, show your creative process. Millennials, Gen Z, and newer generations are educated consumers and they want a reason to go with you AND sometimes even develop a personal connection. On the other hand, it's smart run ads (some options are amazingly affordable) because even though platforms like Instagram and Facebook are technically free platforms, they are businesses and favor paying participants.
2. Who is your audience? This is a tough question because sometimes, in the early stages of your venture, you don't actually know until you put yourself out there and see who is responding. With Tiny Bangs, my approach was to keep things simple. We were a creative (mostly faceless at the time) clothing option for kids. I didn't anticipate how much our audience would be interested in getting to know us. Putting yourself out there is kind of a scary thing to do, especially if you have been burned before. The fact of the matter is that a lot of young people, online in particular, are disillusioned with big, impersonal companies. It's the information age and anyone can look up anything about you and what comes with that is a new era of transparency. Be honest, be willing to adapt to your audience within reason to find what works. Do they want to see your products in action? If you are going the influencer/content creator route, what is your audience interested in? Maybe it's an outfit of the day with the brands or your products tagged, a tutorial on how to create something, or a giveaway.
3. Try on a lot of hats. You may think you have a clear sense of your skills going into this, but you don't TRULY know until you try things. The bonus aspects of doing that is not only figuring out what you can do, but it looks good to prospective clients/followers AND you are fully taking advantage of all that social media has to offer. Go live, write a blog, post a video, do a before and after, show things in different locations, and work with other creators. Make sure you are using EVERYTHING.
4. This algorithm thing, I don't get it. Honestly, most people don't. If you've been in the game for awhile, you will start noticing patterns. These are always subject to change because of the powers that be at the social media development team level. Here's what I've observed. If you post more, you'll be seen more. Okay, that can make a lot of people nervous, but hear me out. Some people want a beautiful, curated feed and while that still is possible, don't be afraid to give yourself a break. Some content is better than none at all. I like the 3 post rule (which can be time consuming but worth it): I try to post 3 times a day on my feed leaving ideally 4 or more hours apart. Why would you do that? Well, back to back post can compete with each other and exhaust your audience. If you love updating your page, try stacking your stories with however many you want or using a website to expand on things you want to talk about. I definitely slip up, struggling to even do a post a day. Those are the days I need to reset and get my creative juices flowing again and I don't beat myself up about it. Some ideas for content: videos (even boomerangs) because these have a higher chance of ending up on an explore page, being commented on, or shared, a throwback photo, a funny meme or image that pertains to you or your brand, a WIP (work in progress) of something you're working on, an update about available products or upcoming events or giveaways, A SELFIE (let people get to know who's behind everything), customer photos, or simply a photo with a prompt in the caption to engage with your audience.
5. COMMUNITY. We've talked a lot about you and your audience, but what's often overlooked is your community. It sounds like the same thing and it can overlap, but I want to get more specific. You, by just being human, are already a part of a community, often many. What field do you work in? What field do you want to work in? REACH OUT AND BUILD CONNECTIONS. For the love of goddex, don't go in thinking you can take advantage of anyone. That's a good way to ruin basically everything you've been working on. It's so easy to find people and businesses like you online. In fact, when you follow a page, it serves up recommendations for other pages like a silver platter. Do you look up to a certain person or brand? Listen to them and support them. You will hear them talking about their favorite companies. They will talk about their own business too! GO OUT AND INTERACT AND/OR BUY FROM THEM. Even if it's something you'll never post about (but especially as an influencer, I'd recommend it), it's good to be hip to what trending. If you do post and it's good content, chances are, they will interact back or even repost you! That's cross promotion and mutually beneficial. There is room for EVERYONE (excluding assholes of course) in art and social media. If you support your community and are genuine about it, you will get that same support back in tenfold.
6. Comparison will kill you. This is a rough one. Everyone and every brand is on display on social media. While you can learn by looking at others, modeling yourself after them, recreating their image, or putting yourself down because of their perceived success or your lack thereof will ruin you and the whole experience. We do interact and see other pages, but when stuff really started thriving for us was when we threw ourselves into the world we created. You're going to come up with things no one has ever seen, feel motivated to share it all because you did it for you, and really hone in on your goals and concept. It's important for you to know that we all struggle no matter the following count, sales, or image we have. You will find what you are good at, you will fail and succeed and do that forever, but you will, at your core, know that you are doing you to the best of your ability. Take pride in that.
I think I covered most of what I wanted to convey. Do you have more questions or suggestions? Let me know in the comments or on social media. Happy growing!