How to social media like a pro
Social media is everywhere. In buses, on the street, in cafes…you can’t help but see a sea of faces looking down at their devices. And while that sounds pessimistic, it’s not meant to be.
Social media and the Internet has become a digital gathering place for people to share their world, connect with like-minded people and find out about events. So, what does this mean for artists and the art market? In their Audience Atlas New Zealand 2017 report which detailed research on the art market and arts audiences in Aotearoa between 2014 and 2017, CNZ noted that while traditional sources of information (word of mouth, TV, newspapers) are still the most common ways of finding out about the arts, their influence has decreased. People are now moving more towards the digital world to find out about artists and cultural events.
This move towards digital is a good thing for artists, whether you like social media or not. For one, you can reach your audience more effectively no matter where they are, and secondly, you can also grow an audience for your work outside of Aotearoa; something which was a lot more labour-intensive before the digital age.
Using social media to promote your creative works doesn’t have to be dry and boring or hard work. Here are a few tips to help you make the most of social media for promoting your work:
1. Bring your creativity to social media: people tend to rely on the standard formula of posting short updates with images, or links to relevant articles, which is great. But you can take your social to the next level with posts rooted in your own inherent creativity. My friend Chrissy Sparks is an artist and not only shares her works, but she also likes to post time-lapse videos of work in progress and test swatches of brand new paints in her watercolour journal. Many musicians like to share a public playlist of their musical inspirations on Spotify. I’ve seen choreographers working through works in progress by videoing themselves and posting on social media. You can make your social media just as creative as you are.
2. Be selective: you don’t need to use every single social media platform to connect with an audience for your work. Choose between 1-3 platforms you feel comfortable using regularly. And remember- when it comes to your audience, it’s about quality, not quantity. Don’t drive yourself crazy over how many people follow you and how many likes or comments you get.
"Ultimately, you are in control of your social media, and it should be a space and a place that you enjoy as opposed to an obligation."
3. Consider having an e-mail newsletter: an e-mail newsletter is a great way to encourage people to attend your events or gigs, and keep your audience updated on things that are happening with you and your work. I’ve found that having an e-mail newsletter is a great way to alert my subscribers to workshops I am doing, films I’m helping to promote, or crowdfunding campaigns I’m backing, while also providing hints and tips to help them with their social media and publicity efforts. Let your audience know about your tour dates, film screenings, exhibition dates or crowdfunding campaign. The possibilities are endless.
4. Don’t force it: you don’t have to post at certain prescribed intervals. You don’t have to share things you don’t want to. Ultimately, you are in control of your social media, and it should be a space and a place that you enjoy as opposed to an obligation. If it doesn’t feel right - don’t force it! Things which are posted out of obligation won’t resonate as much as if you posted things which are meaningful to you. For instance, I really love NZ author Cat Connor’s social media. Amidst her delicious graphics for her novels and images with glowing reviews, I look forward to seeing pictures of her sumptuous-looking baking and quiet moments with her adorable guinea pigs (named Timmy and Bucky Barnes). Have fun with social media, and you will be rewarded for your efforts.
Lynnaire is a publicist and social media marketer and the founder of Film Sprites PR, a publicity and digital marketing consultancy for film. Film Sprites PR has worked with filmmakers in the US, UK, New Zealand, Australia and Canada since 2014.
All images via Unsplash.