Shout out to Katherine for her fab question in one of the Facebook groups (MATS Bootcamp holla!) for inspiring this post and blog series which I have decided to call Social Snippets. These will be short, to the point blog posts about using social media as a creative. I love chatting with other artists and makers about how to use social media so if anyone has a question about any of the social platforms feel free to message me or comment below and you could be the inspiration for the next Social Snippet!
Instagram is one of the best social media platforms for art engagement due to it being led by visual content. It is basically a photo sharing app that is mobile phone based but you can also access it via desktop. Most users however are on smartphones for the ease of snapping a photo or recording a short video and then uploading it instantly to Instagram. It does what it says on the tin!
For creatives, be they illustrators, photographers or designers, Instagram is the perfect place to share your story about what you do and how you do it, whilst also sharing what you are making.
Find your tribe
Every month there are photo challenges to take part in, from the epic #MeetTheMaker led by Joanne Hawker to the refreshing #freeupmyinsta by the lovely Allison Sadler. By taking part in these challenges (or should I say prompts as "challenge" sounds a bit imposing and scary - they're not scary just lots of fun!) you not only get to share your creations with a wider audience but you have the opportunity to find your tribe by connecting with others who hold similar interests.
Tell your story
The stories feature gets more visibility than feed posts (at the moment of writing this - social media is an ever changing landscape) so if you can do both.
Try having a regular feed post and then mention "new post!" in your stories to partner it. This will drive traffic to your account feed or to put it simply, viewers of your story will think about checking out your account, especially if you tease a post in your stories.
A quick way to do this would be to post your main feed photo or video then take a screenshot of your account feed with your phone. Pop the photo into your stories and use the pen tool to scribble over your recent post. Type up a short caption to entice people to check out your main feed, e.g. "You won't believe what happened today! Check out my latest post!". Jazz it up with a couple of fun animated GIFs, a relevant hashtag and connect with some new friendly faces!
Tag, you're it!
Tapping into hashtags will open up yourself and your work to various online communities.
Some of my favourite are:
So be sure to make use of hashtags and if you can tag a location (obviously be wary of sharing your house location if you work from home but great if you are visiting a gallery or exhibition). Location based stories and live videos are highlighted in the search area on Instagram so more people are likely to come across your account this way.
The most valuable thing about having a business account for me is that it allows you to track analytics. I think that's the best argument for the business vs. personal debate of what type of account should you have. It also links through to your Facebook page which is great for cross-platform advertising. That leads me nicely on to my next tip...
Hello? Is it me you're looking for?
I'm going to be totally honest. I wouldn't bother with paying to boost posts as these tend to play more to a users vanity than actual results. For instance, if you have a business Facebook or Instagram, how many messages have you had that pop up saying "pay £xx to boost this popular post to xx number of followers"? Recently I've had one every day. It's feeling quite spammy Mr Facebook!
The number of followers you have doesn't matter, it's the engagement with your community that counts.
Social media is all about communication, being social and creating and maintaining relationships with people you follow and those that follow you. I took a break from my alternative embroidery business a few years ago not knowing whether I'd return to it but with 6500+ people following my Facebook page I didn't want to leave it to wither and die. I've continued to keep those lines of communication open during my time off, posting personal updates and relevant content that I know my key audience loves. It's like a mini community of Cheshire Cat loving, sci fi addicts with a love for tattoos and anything with skulls on. If you know me you might say that I've just described myself! That connection, those shared passions, that's what makes social media awesome!
When it comes to advertising using Facebook/Instagram in my personal experience I've found that a strategic, fully thought out advertising campaign reaps more rewards than a spur of the moment prompted boost. With the Ad Manager in Facebook you can really dig down into the details of who you want to see your adverts. Having the level of control where you can define a target audience by age range, location, interests, and many more options means that you can make sure your quality content is getting in front of the right audience. To me, boosting posts is like throwing mud at a wall and hoping it sticks. That said, do keep an eye out for the occasional offers from Facebook where they give you £10 credit (woohoo freebies!) to try out advertising with them. Just be sure to keep an eye on the budget and timing so that you don't get charged for an ongoing advert after you've used the credit.
One important strategy to consider is to always have your target audience in mind when you post. Before you hit that share button just think about whether your photo and caption will be useful for your ideal customer, and what value will they get out of it. If you are trying to sell a product or service don't just have a shouty caption screaming "LINK IN BIO". Continuously share your creative story and if you're at a loss on how to create engaging content check out my class on creating flatlay photographs.
Also, try not to post in haste but don't feel bad if you do. We often feel pushed for time and social media can make you feel like every post must be perfection. Be yourself! Check out the #freeupmyinsta tag for more on being true to you when using social media.
The best part of being a creative is the journey and exploration so share the adventure with your tribe!
If you'd like to hear more of my top tips on managing your social media as a creative then please sign up to my newsletter. If you'd like to book a social media consultation where we review one of your social media accounts looking at everything from crafting the perfect bio, utilising external links and making the most of your creative story then get in touch here.
Don't forget to post your social media questions below or via the contact page for future Social Snippets!