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Being

Social

Online

There’s a lot to be said about being active on social media. Both good and an endless list of bad things, nevertheless, we are on social media every day – scrolling through our feeds and lurking there because we are either bored, at work or bored at work.

With that being said, having an active presence on social media can be good for you as a brand and will help immensely in building your reputation.

 

Firstly, to start getting active on Social Media, you will need an account for the platform you choose to use. I have too many so I have let most go and have been working mostly just on Facebook(including Instagram), Twitter, Behance and linkedIn.

I do have profiles on Artstation, Pinterest, Youtube, Patreon and Deviant Art as well as Dribbble and many others like Society 6, Etsy, InPrnt and Teepublic, but the truth is, I mainly post only on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

 

In actual fact, I should be more active on platforms like Teepublic, InPrnt and Society 6 – they are platforms that enable you to sell your artwork online and they take care of the business.

Facebook is also a good place to sell your work, on Facebook Marketplace you can upload photos of your prints and so forth, but you would need to take care of packaging and shipping and so on.

 

But being social on social extends further than just choosing a platform and spamming the platform with your work. Like all good things, and just like any other business venture, you need a plan and a good one if you want to make your voice heard in the digital noise of social media where feeds are flooded with kittens, puppies, babies, people’s dependence on caffeine, vegan recipes for meat replacements and trolls. Ugh, trolls.

 

So with that being said and us jumping into this with both feet first, there are some tips I have for getting your social media presence running just like the big corporations do – the difference here is that yours will have an actual voice. Your voice.

Make sure your platforms are consistent.

Branding and tone of voice are two key factors when putting content out online and the more personalised they are to your character, the better. People online want an authentic experience and a genuine connection with the pages and profiles they engage online.

That’s a big reason why a lot of corporations have more complaints on their social media walls and actually struggle to keep up, where others have a high volume of comments and shares, mixed in with the high volume of complaints, but they keep up smoothly and convert the negative comments into positive experiences. But that’s a story for another day.

 

Make sure your platforms are named the same across the board, or as close as possible. You’ll notice my platforms are all named nealstrydom or strydom.
I used my own name for my brand, because I am my own brand. Yes, I am also the Co-Owner of a wonderful hub called Pixelsmithstudios, a hub tailored for South African artists in various fields, and I maintain a presence there as well, where I produce and upload content for promoting the South African artists, but that lives outside of these blog posts and you will notice that here, I write as I speak – on Pixelsmithstudios.

 

I need to keep it more under control and make sure that I am careful in what I say and how I say it, because I maintain a different tone-of-voice and persona, than that of Pixelsmithstudios.

Get involved.

This is such a sensitive one, nowadays when someone says you should get involved, it is followed by a sales pitch of some pyramid scheme on how you can save the oceans if you sign a petition and give a starving child a Facebook like.

 

In actual fact, getting involved means getting your hands messy in your art as well as getting active in groups and forums.

Here you need to be a bit thick skinned. Okay, not a bit… you need to have a skin so thick that the BFG in Doom can’t penetrate it.

 

Most people online are armchair generals and in a lot of cases, completely ignorant to their words. You need to make sure that when you are active online, you take precautions. Like avoiding a situation about a controversial topic because you have better things to do than get into an argument online with someone who is very likely just being a royal turd.

In the groups, it is expected of you to share your work but also provide feedback to others’ work. Share a thought or two, an article or two that’s useful and relevant. Relevance is key here, you have to be relevant. There’s nothing to be gained from sharing a picture of a unicorn in a thread about how artists are starving, unless it’s a gif that has something to do with the thread, or a meme.

 

Memes are amazing.

 

Look at me talking about relevance and going on  a tangent about memes… haha

Only be online for as long as you need to be.

You’re an artist, your craft takes long and your work is not quick. Nor is it cheap. It is definitely quality though and that is something you must always remember when you open up your social feeds.

 

Spend more time making art than you spend online looking at art. I try and recommend the 80/20 rule.

Spend 80% of your time working on your art and 20% of your time on Social Media.

Or rather in this case, break up the 80% to at least 50% making art, 10% admin, 10% planning your online activity for the next week/month and 10% on marketing research and then lastly 20% doing social media stuff.

 

This one is short, stop procrastinating and get back to work.

Play nice.

There’s enough of the bad things online and there are enough trolls online. We don’t need more of them. Play nice and be nice, it will not only pay off for you in the long run, it will make more people WANT to talk to you and work with you. If you’re an introvert, there is absolutely no harm in saying “I’m away from my desk right now, I’ll reply as soon as I am back”

 

I understand, introverts need their space away from people, I also encourage my friends to tell me straight up “Dude, I’m tired, I don’t feel like this right now” I wish my clients would be this honest with me too.

There’s far more value to be gained in being free to manage your own schedule, than to be micromanaged into sitting behind a computer and getting no productivity out of someone. This is a whole new discussion for another day. Also, unlimited leave, that’s another topic that has two views. Definitely worth a read.

 

Another example of playing nice online, is when you deliver a critique on someone’s artwork.

I heard of this thing a long time ago, called the Critique Sandwich.

 

How this works, is that you layer your critique with something nice(slice of bread) about the art piece, followed by the critique(the filling of the sandwich) and then end it off with something else that’s nice(slice of bread) as well as an overall compliment about the art piece(the plate the sandwich is served on).

Lastly. Be authentic. With a little caution.

Be yourself, be all of who you are and never let anyone else tell you otherwise. Just keep in mind that certain things online, will trigger certain audiences. Be careful of what you say to who, just like reading a room, read the thread, or article, BEFORE you comment ANYTHING.

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