Social Media and The Creative: Part One
Social media. I literally abhor that word. Why? Because it speaks to the method you share content, not the content, style or anything else that goes along with it. In today's world where we are "odd" or "unsocial" if we don't participate in at least one social media platform, we forget that we don't need to follow the rat race to succeed.
In this rendition of "Social Media and the Creative" we are looking at the "rat race". The feeling like you have to conform in order to succeed. Just about everything about that sentence is wrong. Wrong because as an artist and a creative, conforming is just so against what so many of us stand for. Part of communication arts - the method of using visual design to communicate a message - is to portray something more than just an image. But does a social media account have to portray a business message in every post? Do we have to use hashtags to get noticed? Do we have to post our own design work in order to stay relevant? Do we have to post x times per week to keep up with the masses? Do we have to include video or stories?
NO. F NO is all I can say to those things. You can define your own path and own method and mode. By using the platform or choosing a platform that works with your best attributes, then you will feel more comfortable creating content, and then therefore create better content because you are tied to it.
So let's go through those guys a bit:
Does a social media account have to portray a business message in every post? - nope! Half of the reason to use social media for a business or an artist is to get the behind the scenes look. A little privy pov into your daily work as a creative. This can be your workspace, your view from a run where you clear your head, your cat who sleeps on your feet while you write emails, whatever. This personal connection to your audience shows people your style, and the kind of person you are. If you are more of a multi-person business maybe you show your team outings, fun lunch breaks, inspiration boards. It doesn't have to be stale, and it doesnt have to be an announcement. By getting to know you on a personal level or team level, you will share your work-style, personality of your business and more - which helps the audience connect to you.
Do we have to use hashtags to get noticed? This is a yes and no. If you are only using instagram or twitter to get noticed (aka: no blog, no other mode of reaching out like newsletters) then this is your only chance to grab new viewers. If this is true then you might want to consider using hashtags methodically. A few tips: don't use the same ones over and over, try to think about how and when you have searched a hashtag. Don't add on superfluous hashtags if no one is ever going to search them or land on them to find your content. And consider not using them every once in a while. You don't need to hashtag everything, just the ones that might fit in a specific search.
Do we have to post our own design work in order to stay relevant? This goes back to the first question. No, it does not have to be your work. If you are a designer, show us your sketches or your favorite notebook. If you are a calligrapher, show us your black stained fingers after a great day of work. These things show us more about you than only your work. You can show bits and pieces and then keep your portfolio on your site if you wish!
Do we have to post x times per week to keep up with the masses? This is a toughey. I always say, a post per week is totally fine when clients ask me - I am not a huge fan of the "necessity to post". If you post just because is it showing anything that will really help new people find you or connect to you? I doubt it. BETTER content less often will most likely be more effective. My rule is- if it's out of business hours and I didn't get to it - don't fret. You have a life to live, not just instagram to keep up with.
Do we have to include video or stories? SO HARD. So the best part of stories is that they don't HAVE to be video, they can be stills. So start there and then consider video. I can tell you 300% that more people connect to my work through video than through other medium currently. I could give you 830 stats about why video is better, but the key is this- if it's not your cup of tea, and you hate it, then you don't have to do it! Find your method and way you succeed and go with that!
So what's the key here? The key is not worrying to much, and just posting what you are connected with. Posting "just because" someone said to post 3x a week isn't going to produce great content, just ... content. Don't get me wrong, you need to get in front of people and get your brand/business/studio in front of people to remind them you are there, but the more you like and want to create the kind of content you share, the more your followers will be "your people" and the more ENGAGED followers you have, the more fun social media will be!
--> the challenge:
For the holiday season, from now "cyber-monday" through the New Year, try let's commit to posting things that matter. Feel free to prep posts and add them to your favorite social media scheduler, or not, but do me a favor. Let them be all 100% your creation, and don't actually schedule them. Let the schedule + the caption come in the moment. Join us in the challenge by adding your hashtag to your posts #simplecreativesocial