Social Media: 2019 Update

  • Pro SVS OG

    @irina Thank you! I’m still thinking about Twitter. Gary Vaynerchuk says it´s an “extroverts” medium - similar to a global cocktail party. That would explain why I never felt comfortable on it.But it´s the place where all the publishing world hangs out, so I’m reluctant to drop it. At the moment I’m not doing anything with it, but maybe not yet scrapping it completely.
    I’m thinking of re-focussing on Facebook and YouTube next year. Maybe try to understand what’s going on on LinkedIn. And yes, get a lot more active on YouTube.
    I´ve actually set my studio up just yesterday to record my working space. I’m playing with the idea of simply recording anything I’m working on one day per week while I chat about the work at hand or maybe some other unrelated topic and edit it down to about one hour, ...something like Will does, but while I work. Not sure I trust myself yet, but I recorded yesterday and the tracks are not too bad....and it was actually quite fun to talk to the void while working 😉
    The problem is, as always, client work restrictions. But I think I can find a solution to that. Build a time-capsule and only use it when possible or something like that.

  • I would love to watch and listen to those 😃

  • SVS OG

    Currently listening to this, thought it was applicable:

  • @smceccarelli I just found your youtube acc. 🙂 I will watch your videos. I would love to see your things more on Youtube but as @Sarah-LuAnn wrote it might only be interesting for other artists. The more compact you are on Youtube the more traction you can get. Maybe show a piece and talk briefly about a few challenges during the creation.

    I am focusing on instagram at the moment and all my posts are forwarded to Facebook too. They work really good together. Not sure how they work the other way around. You can add Twitter too and just reshare all posts there without even looking.
    I tried Facebook's and Instragram's paid promotions. It didn't do anything. I also tried free and paid shoutout pages on Instagram. They can create more traction by crediting you.

    I feel that the most important is a regular posting that people can look forward to. Minimum a weekly post showing that you are still around. There is a momentum after a successful post that can be lost if you don't post for a long time.

    There is potential in instagram and facebook stories. I am still getting used to it. Eg. you can quickly redirect people to your new youtube video.

    As I am not a professional I don't use linkedin, it is too corporate for me. My dream is to put all my work on Behance and use it as a portfolio and create a very simple portfolio site. I started but it is super slow. 🙂

  • I just came over here to ask about Behance, so this conversation is perfect timing for me! I deleted my old Behance earlier this year because it had really old work, and I didn't know what I was doing. I wanted to scrap it and start over after I had a better portfolio of work built up.

    My question about Behance is, what goes into a project? If I have several individual pieces that aren't from one cohesive work, how do I go about presenting those? Or do I wait until I have a book project under my belt? Would something like a set of drawings from a drawing-a-day challenge do well there if the quality was good?

    The thing about social media is, you have to use the one that works best for you. My husband KILLS IT on Twitter. He has 80,000+ organic followers. He says the way to do Twitter is to interact with people, comment on their posts, retweet their posts, etc. He says if you only post your own content and never retweet anything you look selfish. He calls Facebook a family reunion and Twitter a party, which in my experience seems accurate. I've found that participating in drawing challenge Twitter accounts (like Animaloon Collective) helps with Twitter following because the artists that host those share your work when you participate and often follow you, as do other artists that participate.

    I feel like Facebook is a pit, even though I've gotten a really good client there (plus a few smaller jobs). I don't even bother with a Facebook fan page, because unless you pay for priority, no one sees your posts. I just use my personal Facebook page for my art posts and make the art posts public so that family and friends can share my work. I also allow people to follow me without friending me, so that if they like my work they can keep track of it without that awkward "I don't know you" friend request. That way they see only my public work, not what I post for friends.

    The good thing about Facebook is the groups. I'm in a needle felting group, for example, and a woman there posted a photo of a felted opossum pin she made. I told her to go post it in a certain opossum fan group, and she did and got a bunch of orders for similar pins. It's not the best tactic for children's book illustrators, per se, but if you do pet portraits or people portraits or fan art or things like that there's the potential to see a profit. The one steady client I got from Facebook is primarily a graphic design client that I met in a group dedicated to an author called George MacDonald. I've been laying out complex 500-page books for this client for the past 3 years (mostly novels with side-by-side translations), but sometimes they throw illustration work my way, too.

    And Instagram I'm still trying to figure out. I got an app to tell me the best hashtags, and that's helped a little, but I can't figure out what time of day to post to get the most views. A fair portion of my follows from my daily drawing challenge were spam accounts, too, so that's also discouraging. Although a few times I've gotten a follow from a really big account, and I can't believe it when it happens. I'm like, "They have so many followers! And their work is so good! And they're following ME? Wow!"

    Sorry for the book; I guess I have a lot to say about this.

  • Pro SVS OG

    @twiggyt I think your analogy with FB being like a family reunion and Twitter a party is spot on. I find Twitter exhausting 😉
    I find my FB business account hard going too...but I’m reading so much about how FB has the most clever algorythm and the most sophisticated targeting tools for marketing, that I’m seriously thinking of putting some budget behind it. Especially in view of my first book coming out in April.

    Behance - a project should include pieces that at least feel cohesive, even if they don’t come from the same set. Many artists make a „best of the year“ project and these are often really successful. Or a „characters“ project, featuring many different characters. Or „editorial“ with all their editorial work. Things like that work well.
    Another option is to include process shots and mockups, so even if it´s only one illustration, you can show aspects of its creation or show how it looks as an art print. It beefs up the project a bit if there’s not so much art in it. Another option is to design some nice themed typography and use it for your title. All that can make the project look like more than one random image or two is appropriate.

  • Oh man, I'm loving this thread. It's great to hear everyones take on different social media and the way people are approaching it. (The relationship between Behance and Art Directors is really great to know!)

    It's also interesting to hear what people are struggling with. Hopefully, I can help with some of that stuff. I've got a bunch of things I want to cover regarding social media. I'll separate them into different posts to make it a bit easier to read.

    The first thing I want to cover is the foundations. Like art, marketing has its foundations. The main two can be put down to knowing who you are (branding) which I mentioned in @smceccarelli branding post here and knowing who you are trying to reach (your target market).

    The way you would go about getting your art in front of Art Directors and Publishers will be very different to trying to Kickstart your own book. And which social channels are best, and how you use them will depend on who your target audience is.

    So in this post, I want to address target audience and how it will can turn your social media effort from a shotgun approach (spray & pray) to a targeted sniper approach. Which will save you a bunch of time, and money, if you chose to go down to the paid advertising approach.

    Firstly, many mistakes people make is they think that when they come up with a target audience, they think they are addressing a crowd. Even though you might be putting your message in front of hundreds, or thousands of people, the key is to market as if you were talking to one person. Your ideal customer, also known as Avatar in marketing circles.

    Your ideal customer is someone who shares traits to you, gets your work, likes similar things that you like, hires you/buys all or most of your art, gets other people to hire you/buy your art, and is someone you want to make more art for.

    The idea of creating an ideal customer, is instead of trying to communicate with a faceless mass of people, you create value and communicate with a specific person. It is easier to chat to a friend and form a connection, rather than trying to do that to a crowd.

    So how can this apply to social media?

    Part of understanding your ideal customer is understanding where they spend their time, how they like to communicate. If they are an art director, it looks like Behance is a place they hang out to find new talent. If they are an interior designer, maybe using interior design related hashtags or reaching out to interior design blogs to get your work featured on there might be a good strategy.

    This can also apply to Facebook. Many times when people use paid advertising they will list some of the peoples interest as "likes Disney" and "Female", "25-35". You might reach a lot of people, but your message is broad, so people likely won't relate. However, imagine if you had a specific person in mind that you were trying to reach. Lets call her Jane. Jane is 33, female, loves disney, pixar, also loves "Kubo and the Two Strings" (which is great, because thats very similar to your style), lives in LA, has 2 kids aged 5 and 8, is interested in promoting healthy choices to kids (so follows Jamie Oliver's Kitchen Garden Project on Facebook). If you were to put those attributes into your paid advertising filters, and create an ad specifically communicating to Jane, you might not reach millions of people, but the people you do reach will be VERY interested in what you offer and will be more inclined to reach out to you, buy your product, or sign up to your email list. (This is a very broad example of Facebook Ads but you get the idea.)

    So how do you come up with your ideal customer? We are going to use what we are all good at. Using a creativity and imagination to create a character 🙂

    • Firstly, give them a name. Write it down.
    • Next come up with some of their general attributes aka demographics. This include age, gender, marital status, education, location, occupation, annual income etc.
    • List down their interests: Loves, hates, wants, what they are committed to, dreams, hobbies, favourite books, favourite movies, favourite tv shows etc
    • Purchasing/Hiring habits (depending on whether you are looking for freelance work or selling your art): where do they go to hire/buy art?, how often, prefers print or digital, what would stop them from hiring/buying
    • Their source of information: blogs/websites they frequent, social media, events they attend, anything else you can think of.

    Likely as you go through this there will be some big holes. That's actually a good thing. It highlights things you don't know yet. Go and find those things out, it will uncover potential gold mines of information that you can use to reach out to people. (Imagine if you found out that most art directors will attend and likely hire artists who show their work at 1 specific event - and it's in your local town!)

    In the past, I've actually reached out to someone who fits my target audience and asked some of these questions to them. Those conversations have been amazing. I always come from a place of "how can I give value to this person" and it has always had good results.

    Once you have written down all this info, write a description of you ideal customer. Just like you would be describing a real person (hint: they are), or a character description you might receive.

    A good idea is to print it off and post it up where you can see it. Use it to make decisions:

    • What would Jane like to know about this piece?
    • What hashtags does Jane like to follow?
    • How can I use this facebook ads thing so Jane will see my new art and love it?
    • What's Jane struggling with that I can help her with?
    • What value can I give to Jane?
    • How can I make it a no brainer for Jane to hire me?

    The benefit of this is you will have a good understanding of who you are who you are talking to. You will have a better understanding of what you can do to reach and communicate with them, but even more importantly, you will know what you shouldn't do. We all have a limited amount of time, so knowing the most effective place to put your effort, can greatly increase your chance of success.

    Btw, this is not just a once of thing. As time goes on, you should continue to understand your ideal customer more. Just like getting to know a friend over time, you will know more and more about them as your relationship deepens.

    If you can do the work around both Branding and understanding your Avatar, you will have a good foundation to filter through the different tactics and strategies to get your where you want to go.

    Hopefully, I have been clear with this. It is a broad topic, and the idea of doing the ideal customer actions above might seem obtuse, but it is something that will benefit everything you do in your quest to market yourself. Feel free to ask questions if I haven't been clear on something.

  • A couple of tools I use for social media marketing, particularly if you are time poor, or like automation.

    Scheduling software.
    I use Buffer and Tailwind to schedule out social media posts. If you are time poor, these are awesome. You can book a time once a week/fortnight/month, to focus specifically on the content you want to share in the world. This is great if you target audience is on social media at a specific time, but you are at work/asleep/doing art. Here is a quick review of both.

    This is my goto for Instagram and Pinterest. The interface is awesome for both of these accounts and you can link between. They give suggested posting times, based on the interaction of past posts, or niche trends. The Instagram tool also gives you relevant hashtags you can use. You can also save a group of hashtags that you use consistently. I've found this hugely useful. It also provides tracking information. There are a ton of other really great features too. The Instagram tool allows 30 free posts before you have to pay. It's $15US a month for the Instagram tool, and $15 a month for their Pinterest tool (total $30US). Cheaper if you pay yearly.

    Buffer is another scheduling tool. I use it for Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, G+. It also does Pinterest and Instagram but I prefer Tailwind for those social media. Like tailwind, it does give suggested times to post. It is free up to 10 posts, but if you want to schedule ahead it will cost $15US a month. Cheaper if you pay yearly.

    Note: Instagram only allows for the automation of single image posts for business accounts. Videos, slideshows etc aren't available yet to scheduling software. Tailwind has a good workaround - you can still schedule a post with the description and hashtags, and instead of automatically posting it up, you can have it message you everything. You can then log into Instagram on your phone, copy and paste the description and hashtags, then replace the static image with the video/slideshow etc. It's not purely automated, but it definitely helps.

    Automation software
    Want to post something on Instagram, and automatically have it posted to Flickr? Automation software can help with that.

    Automation allows you to essentially create a program that is triggered when you take an action (eg post on Instagram) and then take an action (get that post, and put it on Flickr). It sounds complicated, but the below suggestions make it really easy.

    The two best are and Zapier. Both have limited free tools available, and you can pay for for the advanced stuff. For what most people here would use them for, I wouldn't bother paying.

    The way I use this, is for syndicating my content to places that really aren't worth me actively posting to every week, but if a small handful of people find me there, I might as well automate it.

    And these programs aren't just for social media. If you find yourself doing the same action again and again, see if you can automate it using these tools. It could save you hundreds of hours and headaches.

    A word of warning
    If you do use these programs always double check that it works according to plan. This software is great, but it isn't perfect. Check the results of all your automation to make sure it is working the way you want. Particularly for the first couple of posts.

    Also, I don't recommend automating your main social media accounts. You still want to have some personalization for those. The scheduling software should be enough for those.

    If anyone else has some tools they look, feel free to let us know 🙂 (I geek out about these things)

  • @smceccarelli Thank for this intro to Behance Simona! I will have to look into it now! I also keep thinking I have to dive into the other platforms more. I try to share as much as possible on FB and Twitter, but my number of followers isn't going anywhere (while IG keeps slowly growing). So I guess there are some different strategies I don't understand for these platforms. Linkedln I have absolutely no idea what to do with! I don't even have an account.

    One thing I am always wondering about is - if you have limited time for social media (which we all have!) is it better to focus your energy on one or 2 platforms and have them grow well or to have a presence on all the platforms but not doing good on any of them (or doing so-so)

  • SVS OG

    Wow, thanks for all that awesome I formation @Nathan! Lots to think about.

  • @nathan said in Social Media: 2019 Update:

    • What would Jane like to know about this piece?
    • What hashtags does Jane like to follow?
    • How can I use this facebook ads thing so Jane will see my new art and love it?
    • What's Jane struggling with that I can help her with?
    • What value can I give to Jane?
    • How can I make it a no brainer for Jane to hire me?

    This is great stuff Nathan, thank you.I have come across these ideas in doing some branding and social media branding courses too but your questions are way more clear. It makes great sense. I think in my case my ideal customer/audience might actually be two or three so i might make more characters 🙂

    Great stuff.

  • SVS OG

    Me too Irina... I've come across information on these topics but Nathan spoke in a way that felt more applicable to me... the target audience!

    I think I'll have to have different "target audiences" for each of the branches of my art business--one for print customers, one for book buyers (that one is double layered, because there are the people who will ultimately buy the book, but then there are the agents/editors/ADs that you have to sell the book to first), one for art class students. All are interrelated but still distinct from each other. As I get more clear on those, I may or may not have separate social media accounts for each one, depending on where and how much they overlap. All things I plan to figure out in the coming year... whew.

  • @sarah-luann But do you think one can't do a single socual media account, say a single Instagram account targeted to all your ideal audience personas? Like they are all different people but essentially they are from the same tribe. And one time you post something for tribe person 1 and another for tribe person 2 and 3 but it still is relatable to person 1... I dunno, must think this through :))

    also, how can one find out what hashtags a particular person is following? Is that possible?

  • If you are just starting out, I recommend just having one ideal customer. When you are first starting out, focussed action is far more effective than trying to target multiple different people. It is better to master communication with one ideal customer, than be mediocre with multiple.

    So you need to make a decision - who is the #1 person you want to speak to? Assess your long-term goals. Do you want to be an indie artist? Do you want to be a prolific children's illustrator? (Yes, you might want to be both, but for now pick one - you can pivot later) You need to focus on actions that bring you specifically to this goal. Anything else will have you spinning your wheels - especially at the beginning of your journey.

    A great question to ask yourself, both in the moment, and when you are creating actions for a longer term plan is:

    "What's the ONE Thing you can do such that by doing it everything else will be easier or unnecessary?"
    (This question is from the book, The ONE Thing by Gary W. Keller and Jay Papasan - highly recommended)

    It is not an easy question to ask. And many people feel that by focussing on ONE thing, they are leaving things on the table. This is where the term Return On Investment (ROI) comes into play. It's a business term, but it comes from the understanding that resources such as time and money are limited, so how can I get the most out of it.

    Regarding @Sarah-LuAnn and the idea behind multiple social accounts - I recommend having one for each social media you choose to be on. Projects come and go, and your target market may change over time as your goals change. However, there is one consistency with all of them, YOU. Brand yourself, and market to one target audience from there.

    Here is an example. Note: I have not tried this, but this is how I would first approach things. The key to marketing is to try, test, and refine - I would approach the below example in the same way.

    Let's say that my big goal is to be a children's illustrator and get published. The key here would be to develop relationships with publishers and art directors (I'm guessing here, but for the sake of example, let's assume this is true).

    The first thing I would do is research individuals who fit this bill. Who are the people that make the hiring decisions? I would actively make a list of 50 or so individuals that fit the criteria. I would then list out their social media profiles, and email address - yes, there is research involved.

    This is where social media comes in. Firstly I would fill my social media with things they would be interested in seeing, and knowing about me. This is the opportunity to show off your best work, how you solve problems and other things. Think of it as an informal resume/portfolio - almost a behind the scenes of how you work. The only difference is, instead of trying to sell yourself, you are facilitating a relationship. The content is designed to let your target audience know, like and trust you. They know what you are about.

    Set a schedule to continually update your social media. It doesn't have to be a lot. Once or twice a week to maintain regularity. I would still do the standard social media marketing thing with the posts (hashtags etc), however the focus of all these posts is to build relationships passively - we are not actively interacting with these people in this instance.

    Once I have a handful of posts that represent you and your brand (I would imagine you would already have this content). Go back to your list of 50. You will now need to start actively interacting with these people. Follow all of them on social media. Pick your top 10 to focus on. Reshare some of their content. Comment on their posts (always from the position of adding value). Interact with them. Over time these people will likely start to notice you.

    Once you have started interacting with them (eg after 10 interactions), I would then send them an email. Now this email isn't trying to sell myself. It's the next step to deepen the relationship. Separate myself from the crowd and built rapport.

    Over your interactions, you might start to have a question you might like to ask the person. Or maybe you know of something that you think will honestly help them. Sometimes you just want to send them a message to acknowledge and show gratitude.

    Whatever it is, email them. Mention that you are a children's illustrator and have been following them on social media (to remind them where they may have seen you), and mention something that you specifically liked (to show that you are a real person).

    Then ask your question or show your acknowledgment. (Note: With questions, make sure it can be answered easily in one or two sentences. "How can I get a book deal" is way too broad)

    Keep your email short, simple and to the point. However, don't forget they are a person too.

    Hint: Include links to your social media and website in your signature. It looks natural, and many times they will click and find out more - hence why we filled it out before.

    Continue interacting with these people. If you are happy with how the first 10 are going and can manage some more interactions, go to the next 10 on your list and build relationships with them.

    From these interactions, it is a lot more likely that you will start to get work offered to you. Later down the track, when you have built enough rapport, you can always reach out to these people and let them know you are free for any projects they might have in the works.

    To summarise this example: My goal is to be a children's illustrator. My target audience is publishers, directors etc. So instead of using social media as a billboard, I'm using it as a networking tool to build relationships.

    I am actively reaching out, rather than posting up on social media and hoping someone finds me.

    Hope that clarifies some things.

  • SVS OG

    Oh, I wasn’t talking about doing all that now. I was speaking more of a “someday down the road” way. I guess I didn’t make that clear.

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