Social Media...Yay?! or Nay?!
I have not been on social media in about a year or so. There are a few reasons that I have chosen to do this, but more or less I don't feel like I am missing out on the world for doing so. However, many of my professors and fellow artists have told me that it is ABSOLUTELY necessary to have multiple social media platforms in order to be noticed, let alone professionally considered by anyone. Personally I never really got any attention from posting on facebook or instagram.
What is your experience with it. Why do you think it's nessicary for an artist to have an account? Please Let me know. THANK YOU friends.
Randi Gordon last edited by
My understanding is that Instagram is the primary source art directors utilize for finding new illustrators, at least here in the USA, followed by Twitter. Obviously one needs to have a website to back up what is posted on Instagram—IG is just an introduction—so I wonder, for those who say social media has never had much of an ROI, are they linking their posts to a solid, easily-navigated, professional portfolio?
To be completely honest, im not good enough to be noticed on those platforms. With that out of the way, something i really hate is the anxiety of posting your things and waiting for them to get "liked". I feel far better when im not up there comparing myself with such a huge amount of amazing artist, craving some sort of artificial metric for recognition.
I'm voting no just because i feel that i can work better and happier when i don't care about the perception of others and rather enjoy the proccessof learning the craft.
I voted yes but not necessarily being absolutely necessary. If you don’t want to, then no sense in forcing yourself. Social media is one of those things that you excel in when you’re interested/enthusiastic about it.
Social media is important because it makes it easier to build an audience/fan base vs. hoping people find and go to your website.
Coupled with social media is running an email newsletter. Email has been declared dead every year yet it still seems to be the number one channel for engagement.
All this social media and email newsletter means you need to create content for them. And content takes a lot of time to produce. It’s part of the business of art which is what I’m learning from the book, “Real Artists Don’t Starve”, which @jakeparker mentioned on his YouTube channel recently (thanks Jake! This book is helping me a lot!).
If you’re not up for spending more time creating all this social content (after all, we want to draw!), you can always produce minimum viable content — just enough to have some meat on your profile. For instance, only post your best work along with a few works in progress, maybe participate in an Inktober here and there.
No matter what, you’ll still need to hustle and network/promote yourself and get the right people to see your work.
@Ghartark all in all I agree and I think I can sum up your comment. "Get good before you post" which is interesting because I feel like I have an illogical need to have other's recognition to know that I'm headed in the right direction. But that honestly makes no sence now that I write it out loud LOL.
@Randi-Gordon I see. You know I always thought social media would be a great thing for that but I was just getting stressed about how many people have seen me. But I think I am going until I get good enough before considering making an Instagram account
@danielerossi Your post makes lots of sence. So you're saying YES but only when you are ready. With a side note that it'll be absolutely nessicary to get work. Along with email threads.
@Kori-Jensen Absolutely necessary maybe, maybe not (full disclosure, I’m not targeting art directors nor is my Instagram account meant to). On one hand, we all have our own journeys and networks. If you aren’t up for social media, you won’t end up doing it. I’ve seen this many times outside of the illustration community. ‘I’d like to start blogging!”, then they stop after three posts. ‘I’d like to start podcasting!” And they stop after two episodes. I guess it’s like choosing the client/project. If you don’t want to do, say, horror illustration, you won’t enjoy working on horror genre projects.
First create a strategy then choose the network. Part of your strategy can also include not necessarily counting likes. ‘My goal is to post X number of illustration by Y number of months and meet Z number of art directors” or something like that.
To completely contradict everything I said (I’m learning all this, too)... Something just occurred to me as I was writing my reply — while I’m not an art director, I first found out about Jake Parker via social media. I then came across Inktober. Or maybe it was the other way around. Then by coincidence, I discovered the 3 Point Perspective podcast and thought it was cool that the guy who invented Inktober was one of the hosts. It was through the podcast that I got to learn about Will Terry and Lee White’s work. It was also through the podcast that I learned about SVS. And it was through the SVS forums that I learned about many artists who I now follow on Instagram.
Probably best to contact a few art directors and ask. Perfect strategy right there. You get to meet them and they check out your work early in your career Just keep contact with them after that if you go this route.
Definitely check out the book “Real Artists Don’t Starve”. It’s not social media specific at all. It uses examples from artists across history (from Michelangelo to Hemingway to Jay-Z).
This was a fun question to answer and ponder!
@danielerossi HOLY SMOKES that is a long and passion filled essay lol but I appreciate your perspectives and how they both work. I'm just uncomfortable with using it and was hoping it wouldn't be necessary. But due to my skills I think I'm going to wait until I get good lol. I'm in no hurry to be on the train track of the mainstream lol. Thank you so much for your awesome input!!!
Iain Davidson last edited by
Bear in mind @Kori-Jensen ...
Any social media will likely take significant time to develop an audience/engagement/recognition. Start now and at least you can start building that straight away. Start when you reach a certain level, and you'll be starting at square one whenever in the future that level is reached.
For it to work professionally, you have to invest time in it consistently to achieve ROI.
Is social media professionally necessary? More often than not these days. However, it depends on your goals... I use mine for personal accountability, not fussed about building an audience at the moment.
@Iain-Davidson I have enough personal accountability, however I believe that I will recieve the attention I need when I need it. Call it a belief in fate. With a big side of hard work my friend. I get what you're saying though:)
@Kori-Jensen not really. Most of the artists I know get work through their agent. Tho it’s still very helpful if you have a huge following. But building one on sites like Instagram nowadays has become almost impossible.
@Nyrryl-Cadiz exactly, doesn't it make you look bad if you don't have a following, despite not having that following?
@Kori-Jensen i don’t think so. I don’t have a huge following. After 3 years I only have 900 followers. That’s really abismal. But I do still get jobs. But then again, the jobs I get are not really big so maybe there is something to it.
Jake Parker was telling us in a recent vid through CBPro that industry pros are finally learning that having a large following on social media does not translate to more sales. He used his own Kickstarters as an example. He has over 500,000 followers on Instagram, and if even 1% of those followers actually backed his kickstarters he'd have 5,000 backers. It doesn't happen. It has never happened.
In film and television, there was a trend for a while to consider casting actors in movies and other projects based on their social media following, thinking that it would enhance the project's promotion. But it doesn't prove true. Having more followers doesn't translate to more ticket sales and doesn't negate the need for promotion.
So I'm not sure whether having a large number of followers actually translates to anything relevant anymore. I'm not sure whether it's good or bad in the end.
What is effective is actual connection. Real conversations. Relevant comments. Authenticity. Increasing your numbers may actually work against you if it blows up your community and causes you to become less connected to those who are actually interested in your work.
Many artists are actually turning to Patreon and other subscription services like Ko-fi or Buy-Me-a-Coffee to put some element of their work directly into the hands of the people who like them. They are eschewing the idea that they need to generate "a profit" from Patreon and are settling for authentic interest. I know lots of artists that have developed communities around their work by simply having a single $1 membership tier and nothing else. This ensures that the people who are actually interested in your stuff are getting samples of what you're creating and are part of something more than a pretty something in their feed when/if it ever reaches them.
Some have found this more effective than a newsletter, as it's more in-depth and requires an actual commitment of interest on the part of the patron subscriber, making future endeavors more likely to be supported because the community is more substantive than simply following on a social media feed or getting a once-a-month easily deleted email.
But it takes time to grow an audience that is willing to support your efforts with $1 a month, and it takes time to sustain a community of interested followers once you have them.
And no Art Director or Agent is going to subscribe to a Patreon just to see your work. That being said, with Instagram's new algorithm priority, unless you're doing something in video they're probably not going to see your work anyway--it simply won't get pushed out to get any reach. I suspect finding new artists will become much harder on Instagram, so it will become less of a "go-to" tool for AD's to use. I suspect the age of Postcards will see a resurgence, and artists/illustrators will have to reach out to ADs & Agents instead of hoping to be discovered by them on social media.
@Coreyartus Excellent point! So excellent that I bookmarked your reply as a reminder to myself to keep thinking this way. I still find myself focusing too much on the numbers rather than the community. Thanks for the reminder.
Asiyah Pham last edited by
It is hard to live without Social medias
Alzamon last edited by
Anyone can use social media. Building a sizable audience that responds to you from it —or if you are into Seth Godin's books, your tribe— is HARD. Unfathomably hard. All in an environment where you're just a pawn for the almighty social network's algorithm, which decides whether you get seen out there or not. Unless you pay them cold, hard cash for sure. (for this very reason, some cartoonists I know are rather pushing their email lists, encouraging their fans to sign up in order to receive their content through email).
You can throw in a lot of content, following all the engagement rules in the book, and there still won't be any guarantees that will automatically turn into more visitors or more sales.
But at the same time, if you want some traction happening with your career, you have to put yourself out there. Be searchable, findable. You never know how people who'll love your work will come to find it. One exception though: these days, rather than keep throwing stuff into the void, I'd rather be finding, following and contacting ADs/rep agents on Internet directly — since after all, these are the connections that can make a difference for you. They're the gatekeepers to the book deals and job opportunities you really want to have. Deep down you don't want a huge number of followers, but an amount of seriously engaged followers that will likely patronize you or shop from you.
If you have a sizable amount of work to show, you can try recycling it from time to time so you don't feel pressured to come up with something new (and spend precious hours of your time you'd rather invest doing something else). Chances are few followers, if any, will notice it in the long run.
carlianne last edited by
I voted "yes" but I think it depends on what you want out of your art career. If you want to work for an employer, like in a game or animation studio I don't think it matters at all. I got gigs in that field without a social media presence and I don't look for that when I screen for potential illustration hires at my current job. For kidlit, it could help, but honestly doesn't matter a ton, it's good to post, it might help you get found, but I don't think it'll make or break your career unless your following is really large.
However, if you want to be a contract or independent artist and make a living selling prints, or your own products or commissions, even a small following with just friends and family will get you sales, and is vital! I have gotten a lot of gigs from referrals from friends to legit great jobs, as well as other contacts, even when my social media was tiny, or was just posting to friends on facebook.