Social Media for Artists Who Hate Social Media

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You’d rather be writing, painting, performing, singing, acting, dancing, sculpting, crafting…

Be honest, tell us that social media is getting in the way of your creative flow? It is, isn’t it?

You’re not alone.

If you’re an artist dabbling in the world of social media you may quickly grow overwhelmed with all the platforms, coding, plugins, rules, etiquette, tips… the list could go on, but we’re trying to avoid that overwhelmed feeling right? So I’ll stop there.

Adjust the Attitude

I used to loathe social media. My first tweet, back in May of 2009, expresses my early sentiment about Twitter:

Twitter Hate

Even after learning much about it and doing a little ghosttweeting for others, I can’t say that I love it. But then again, I don’t love auditioning either. If you’re a painter, you might not love the clean-up, or purchasing the crazy-expensive brushes.

There are always elements of what we do that we don’t love. But we can use those ‘unlovies’ as fuel to get to what do do love: creating.

[box options]As we delve into the practicalities of social media for artists, we’re all asking ourselves the question: is it worth it?[/box]

Think of it this way: if 80% of the population is using the internet (for real) why would I want to limit sharing my craft so drastically by not taking advantage of the power of social media?

Social media, for artists, is a great way for our voice to be heard and, equally as powerful, shared.

It’s a matter of being smart, using social media effectively and not letting it overtake your creativity.

Plan Your Launch

Those words sound daunting don’t they–“plan your launch.” Like we’re at Cape Canaveral about to shoot into social media space.

In a way, we are.

Many creatives grow disheartened with social media simply because they don’t understand how to implement social media for artists.

“I started a Facebook Page but no one will follow me.”

“I’m on Twitter but no one buys my stuff.”

“Blogging seems like a waste of time. I don’t know why I even bother.”

Ever felt that way?

As with any creative venture, planning is essential.

  • Actors: you wouldn’t go to an audition without a headshot, resume, sides of the script, and having done your due diligence on the production.
  • Writers: you wouldn’t write a novel without any thought to structure, form, or characterizations.
  • All creatives: you have tools you use to create, but we’ve got to know how to use these tools.

Planning your social media launch is paramount. We’ll get into nitty gritty specifics in subsequent posts, but here are two basics for now.

  1. Professional and/or engaging profile pictures. Don’t send anyone to any of your social media outlets without one and without any basic contact information. Your picture is your calling card, your page your resume. Make is polished.
  2. Make it sharable. Believe it or not, there are people out there just looking for something to share via social media. Make it easy for them to do so by including something like Add This by your content.

By planning your launch and getting the proverbial ducks in a row before ‘going social,’ whoever visits your platform will be more likely to engage with you. Fight the urge to do the sign-up, share-one-thing, get-frustrated dance.

Engage, Don’t Sell… Yet

Finally, if you’re goal is to sell your work or offer a service don’t jump right into your sales pitch.

No one likes to be sold to, but people love to buy from people they know and trust.

Before offering your product or service…

  • Get to know your audience.
  • Develop trust (takes time).
  • Offer something for free first.

I’ll take my own advice with this. If you’ve read this whole post, you’re serious about learning about social media for artists, building a platform, and using it to enhance your creativity. If you’re thinking of using blogging as a platform and wish to maximize your creativity, you may want to start the planning stage and delve into self-hosting your own blog.

But it’s not easy. I’m no programmer and I don’t know code, but the site you’re reading now is self-hosted and you can do it too. I’ve developed a 27 page e-book about starting your own self-hosted blog and normally it’s $2.99. (Read more about it HERE.)

What is a Self-Hosted Blog?

But I’ll give it to you for free. Just Subscribe to this Blog today, follow me on Twitter, and share this article by clicking that Tweet button to the left. I’ll direct message you via Twitter to get your e-mail and send you the book. Completely free.

Happy creating! Happy communicating!

[box options]”Social Media for Artists” is making it’s debut with this post. In subsequent posts we’ll be exploring various platforms such at wordpress.org and wordpress.com, content management, Twitter, Google+, and Facebook as a means to help artists manage their own social media to get exposure, share their creativity, book gigs, make money, and have fun doing it. Social media for artists shouldn’t be a drudgery–at it’s core, it’s communicating creatively.[/box]

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Author: Andrew Zahn

I'm a son, husband, dad, business owner, actor and good sleeper/eater. On this blog, I pave a highway for creative growth by providing food, water, and shelter for those wishing to live, work, and play with creative zest.

  • Jim

    Social Media can be great and it can be terrible. One day I LOVE Twitter and the next day I dislike it.

    I think the real problem is with so many different ways to communicate (each with their own “rules”) it makes it harder to communicate. It feels a lot like the Tower of Babel. Then the next day you will connect with someone like Andrew Zahn and it makes it all worth while. I think the thing to keep in mind is that Social Media is really in the infant stages. In a few years, things will be completely different.

    • Andrew Zahn

      There’s so much good about it. It’s like food: if we use it correctly, it’s awesome for us, if not, it can rule our lives.

      Pleasure knowing you too Jim!

  • I think the technical aspects of social media slows down the creative process.

    Ignorance is NOT bliss, however.

    If you’re going to learn how to swim, you’ve got to get your feet wet.

    I feel like I’m just learning how to doggie-paddle. Just when you’ve mastered one portion of the social media monster, a newer-greater-better tool comes out, or they update the crap out of the software that took you a month to figure out!

    I love your Twitter post! Mine is very similar. I claimed “skottydog” on Twitter back on March 15th, 2009…just in case Twitter “got big”. (Wish I had the same vision for gmail!).

    My first tweet: “Wondering why I signed up for this silly nonsense.”

    • Yvette Carol

      I agree with Skottydog. It’s especially hard for someone like myself who has taken about a decade to get up to speed with technology at all, every time I think I have a handle on how to operate social media the rules change! It’s truly baffling. I approach it with the greatest of respect and care.
      Andrew, I enjoyed this post. I too believe we need to use it to our advantage and be wary not to let it use us.

    • Andrew Zahn

      Be it known Scott, you got me introduced to TweetAdder. (It’s been helpful!)

      I love your first tweet! Hilarious 😉

    • “I think the technical aspects of social media slows down the creative process.”

      No kidding. It takes at least as much work to stay visible as it does to do the writing I really want to do.

      But Andrew’s right. It comes with territory. No point in working so hard on something you’re not going to share.

  • I just jumped into Social Media because I wanted to keep tabs on my kids. Then it was a game. I made more than my fair share of mistakes and ticked a few people off. Now, I realize it’s part of my platform.

    • Andrew Zahn

      “Ticked a few people off…” Sounds like a good story Larry!

  • That reminds me I have to jump back into twitter…

    • Andrew Zahn

      Hey Andy!

      I hear ya.

      I’ll be talking about how to make twitter easier for artists like yourself so you can spend 5-10 minutes a day on it and get busy doing your other creative stuff.

  • I love and hate social media. I really love the fact that my work can be shared with others. I hate the fact of how consuming it can become which causes me to lose focus of creating.

    I’d love to read your book!!! I’m already subscribed to your blog and will make sure to Tweet this post and get the word out about your book!!!

    • Andrew Zahn

      I just sent it to you Dan!