If you’re an artrepreneur trying to build momentum on your journey to fame and fortune, you probably already know that you need to have a strong online presence. Social media and online marketing are an expected part of the package, and for smaller businesses, one-human-armies, and those at the start this can be both overwhelming and disheartening.
I know this struggle all too well – it took me a year and a half before I really got serious about marketing my brands and creating regular content. But I can assure you that once you get that ball rolling, you’re going to see tangible results in your reach and following. The good news is you can get this show on the road for cheap (or even free!), and content is easily re-hashable across different networks.
Time Vs Money Vs Time
This is the foundational part of getting started and the biggest set of questions you need to ask yourself. How much can you invest in time-saving options? I usually recommend setting aside around $150 to invest in apps and services. There are some things that are so invaluable they are worth the money (yes, I’m talking about Canva).
The truth is if you have the time, you can get all your marketing done easily for free as well. It will require a little more time and work on your end, but there are lots of apps and services out there that offer limited features or a decent trial that can get you going!
What platforms should I use?
All of them, right? Right??
Actually, no. If you want to hop on the fast lane to burnout, having a presence on every single social network is the train you want to get on. But if you’re looking for long-term and sustainable success, then you’re going to want to reel it in to 2-3 that make the most sense for your art. I’m going to break down some of the most popular ones here:
Instagram – For now, Instagram is going to be your #1 platform if you’re operating as a business. Though recent changes to the algorithm have made organic reach a lot tougher to succeed in, it’s still one of the easiest ways to keep in touch with fans. Instagram is great for almost all art forms, specifically apparel, visual arts, and music. Some hot tips – due to the growth slowdown, Instagram is turning into the place you use to interact with and update your current audience. Most customers will try to find and follow a brand on Instagram if they’ve seen you elsewhere. Focus on engagement, and growth will follow. Also, make sure you switch to a professional account.
TikTok – If you’re looking for raw growth potential TikTok is where you wanna be. I made a video tutorial formatted for both Instagram (where I had 170 followers) and TikTok (where I had 15). That same video scored 110 views and 5 likes on Insta vs 510 views and 48 likes on TikTok. It’s very easy to gain traction on TikTok, and it’s great for musicians, performers, fashionistas, and visual arts. ProTip – make an effort to curate the people you follow to avoid getting sucked into the dreaded time sink. Follow other small business owners and artists who are similar to yourself to get inspired and find trends, and find informative folks who teach about marketing and content creation. Then, when you use the app just use your “following” tab and not the “for you” tab unless you’re looking to make a few hours disappear.
Twitter – A classic, Twitter is a great way to interact with and find fellow like-minded folks. Few people use Twitter for shopping, but it’s an ideal community-building service and a great platform to use for customer support and interaction. It’s also a great way to tag larger brands (the software you’re using for instance) in hopes of a like or retweet! Shareability is the name of the game for Twitter, so posting informative graphics can help with reach.
Facebook – If you’re using Instagram as a professional account, then creating a Facebook page is a no-brainer. And the good news is content is auto-published from Insta to FB for you. With the Facebook accounts manager, you can check your replies and engagement for both platforms in one easy place. Facebook is popular with older audiences and has a high conversion rate for sales of apparel and traditional artwork. Protip- check out the marketplace and join groups that allow you to promote your work and store!
Pinterest – Now here’s a sleeping giant of potential. If you’re looking for some real experiential growth, Pinterest is a seriously underestimated platform. People go to Pinterest specifically to find inspiration and shop. Their business account tools are comprehensive, and you can use them both to market your own products and as a way to gain traction on affiliate marketing!
There are of course dozens of others but that’s a rabbit hole of options for farther down the line and a future post. My recommendation is to choose 1-2 to focus on creating direct content for and link your accounts to auto-push content to other platforms for some extra views. I also recommend If This Then That which is a service that will auto-post content across almost all major publishing platforms like the above list, as well as Tumblr, WordPress, Google, and many others.
Start with anything and record everything! (I’m serious)
The hardest part about getting going is literally step 1 – just do it. In the very beginning, don’t worry too much about the quality of what you’re putting out just yet. Getting into the habit of creating and posting is the most important piece of the puzzle to starting out. Set a publishing schedule for yourself, and make it reasonable to your lifestyle. Once a week is fine. Once every two weeks is fine. Just do it and be consistent.
And to that end, record everything. And I mean everything. Take progress pictures every step of the way. Point your phone camera to your hands while you sit down to work. Talk to yourself – pretend you’re streaming or hosting a class. Audio can always be removed and replaced later! Take your work out into the world and snap pics of your pieces in a tree, by a lake, hanging out in a train station, next to your pets (plant babies definitely count). Document your resupply trip. Record some commentary while scouring the internet for the perfect item. Just pretend you’re a Kardashian of the art world and get it all on camera! More footage and fodder is better – even if you don’t have a direct use in mind yet, you’d be surprised how often you find a sudden need for some of this down the line.
The next step is to plan out, say, 2-3 topics and record them all in one go. For instance, a 1-hour photoshoot with five pieces can guarantee at least 5-10 different posts. And for video, you can definitely do at least 2-3 in one go as well. Since most platforms are looking for shorter videos (60 seconds to 2 minutes depending on app limits), it’s easy to just babble about a few things in one session and have the raw footage ready to go. Get dolled up and press record, and in some instances, you can break down a topic into multiple parts to spread out the content.
And remember that you can re-purpose your stuff for multiple platforms!
Topic Cheat Sheet
If you’re still struggling with ideas, I got you. Here’s a handy chart full of topic ideas to get started that applies to almost anything you might be making:
Do you have ideas for social media content topics? Are there any tips or tricks you’d like to share with us? Be sure to comment below!