Loving these interviews! It's always great to see an insight into another's journey.
Australian Digital Marketer looking to make the change to fulltime illustrator and independent artist. Currently working on my art foundations :)
Posts made by Nathan
RE: Social Media: 2019 Update
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.
RE: Social Media: 2019 Update
A couple of tools I use for social media marketing, particularly if you are time poor, or like automation.
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.
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 IFTTT.com 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)
RE: Social Media: 2019 Update
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.
RE: Any Australian Artists Here?
@daviesdesignated Cheer mate. Yeah, I'm spending about 2 hours a day drawing and refining my craft. I've got a couple of IP ideas, and will likely start them next year.
I'm not 100% sure what area I want to go, but I'm consistently trying stuff, seeing what I like and what I want to pursue. So far, I definitely prefer illustration over traditional fine art (where I started). I love storytelling, evoking emotion and exploring experience.
I definitely want to get studio work, at least at first, but ultimately I want to live off my own IP eventually. With my experience with digital marketing and running my own business, I'm confident I can do this, I just need to refine my art skills.
Next time I'm in Sydney, we should catch up for a coffee. I'd love to hear what you've been up to and where you want to go.
RE: Any Australian Artists Here?
@daviesdesignated Nice. Yeah I grew up in Castle Hill (when Kellyville was still farmland). Where about in Sydney?
Brisbane looks like it has a pretty good animation and illustration scene. I'm looking to use my management and marketing experience to pivot into a role in some of the creative companies there. Once I've built a portfolio, I plan to pivot into a more creative role.
RE: Personal Branding: how would you describe your Ideal You
@smceccarelli looking great. I think you can refine your first sentence a bit more to make it clear what you are about. Something like "I'm a professional children's illustrator who loves to explore color, global cultures, and storytelling."
You can still include the concept behind coffee that you explain, however, I think it might be too vague to present within your brand...
Again, come back to other people saying the above sentence about you. If people say, oh he likes coffee, its more about the coffee rather than the concept of working hard, hitting schedules and balancing it with a social life that you were trying to convey.
Regarding LinkedIn, I don't really have enough experience with using for completely career changes to give advice, however, if you create a new forum thread (so not to derail this one), I'd be more than happy to brainstorm
RE: Personal Branding: how would you describe your Ideal You
hehe, something I can help with.
Firstly, we all know personal branding is important (so we've been told)...but why?
Before you start to reach out to people and tell them why you are worth hiring/buying from, you need to be clear who you are:
- What makes you and your work unique?
- What value do you bring to the world?
- Why should the right people care?
This message should be clear, and it needs to be consistent. Whether its
- On your website
- Within your social accounts
- Any books and prints you make
- Any conventions you attend
- Any interviews you give
- When you reach out to people
When coming up with your personal brand you want to be able to make it as easy as possible for the rest of the world to spread your work. For your work to spread, your personal brand needs to be Remarkable. That is people need to be able to remark on your work/brand. IE. 'Worth telling others about.'
A personal brand is designed to make it as easy as possible for other people to describe what you do. People are going to talk about what you do anyway, however, if you aren't clear in your message, they will get it wrong, half right, or wont get it at all.
If you aren't clear on what you do and what makes you unique, how do you expect others to?
So in short, the way you should think of a personal brand is:
- What people say about you and your work when you are not around
- What people can expect from your professionally
- What people come to know you for.
The reason people say "create an anchor statement" is one sentence is easier to remember (and share) than a whole convoluted story.
So how do you come up with all this. Here are some things you should ask yourself:
What is your background? List unique professional talents, insights, defining moments in your life, what you respect in others, unique perspectives you have, expertise, what people come to you for advice about.
What are your values? List core values, what you are passionate about, beliefs, loves, hates, character traits that are important to you, what you stand for
- What is your body of work? List what you have already created, what you are proud of, what you have learnt, stories/messages you want to tell, themes/genres etc that show up, what do fans know that are going to get, what fans will never find, unique attributes, why they should seek you out over others
- What is your legacy? List what people can be sure of when they hire you, why you want to be known for, your impact on audiences, unique value, where you want to be in five years.
Go through all these and write and go into as much detail as possible. Start to look for patterns and repititions in what you write. List down the patterns and repetitions. What are the themes of the repititions and patterns. What is consistent throughout what you have written?
Hone all this down till you have a small group of words and phrases that sum you up. Bring it all together to create a susinct sentence that you want other people to use to describe your and your work.
How does it feel to you? Does it feel right? If you think there is something missing, then go back and fine tune things. Once you are happy with it (or if you are a perfectionist - 90% happy with it) then you are done. You have your "anchor statement". Your personal brand in a nutshell