5: My Relationship With Social Media
Updated: Dec 21, 2021
Howdy! Social Media has been a big part of my life since 2013 when I took up a tattoo apprenticeship. My then mentor/s(long story) made it clear I needed to be on Instagram if I wanted to build a fan following, or more practically, a list of clientele to survive in the industry. Tattooing was ultimately the wrong field for me but I’ve stuck with Instagram because it makes sharing my art easy. That said, it was a billion times easier to gain followers when they thought they were interacting with a BAMFy tattoo artist, than a far-less-edgy painter. Getting 4K followers was a breeze. Now that I’ve changed what I do, maintaining them has been an issue. Wannabe tattoo artists, apprentices, tattooers, and clientele will happily follow somebody making flash every week, but might not be as interested in a fine artist.
Regardless, I’m working on interacting with my fellow painters and galleries more, so while I’m losing tattoo fans, I’m gaining followers who share my passion. I’ve used my Instagram to market my Redbubble Shop(which repurposes my tons of old tattoo flash as Tshirt designs) and my writing Twitter.
I wasn’t on Twitter much before I started taking my writing seriously. It was when I decided I’d done all I could for Stem & Stone, and gone so far as to hire a professional line editor to proofread the final draft, that I finally made a writing twitter(or really, took my barely used political twitter and repurposed it for my writing career). The writing community on reddit made it clear Twitter is the better host for writing tips/news, and the all-important pitch events (Pitmad, Pitdark, etc). I take part in every Twitter pitch event that’s relevant to my work. I’m still political, but I’ve cut down on retweeting every heart wrenching tweet that’s critical of our(the USA’s) government/military industrial complex. While I will swear, I don’t tweet about sex or drugs. Those aren’t topics I want associated with my author brand. I also promote my art on my artist Facebook page, and Twitter. Every new Instagram post mentions my blog, as do my Twitter and artist Facebook page bios.
My artist Facebook page promotes my art (with minimal mention of my other social media profiles in the bio). I don't use my artist Facebook to promote my other social media accounts, in the same way I use those to promote each other, because without using Facebook ads, the only folks aware of my artist Facebook page are Facebook friends I’ve invited, and those few Facebook friends of friends who share my posts. I can easily search my related tags in Instagram or Twitter to connect with people who share my passions. Facebook, short of by joining groups and participating in those conversations, or by spending money on ads, does not offer intuitive means of interaction. The people following my artist Facebook page know me in real life. That's less true for my Instagram and Twitter accounts. However, It’s loads easier to sell work locally than to deal with shipping and handling abroad. So I only list prices on my artist Facebook page and I encourage potential buyers to message me there, or via email.
I also have a Pinterest which I started using to keep art resources and products organized for myself, but which I have come to use as a marketing tool. Every painting I post to Instagram, I also link to my “Paintings” Pinterest folder. That folder actually used to be for Illustrations I’d found and was using for tattoo inspiration. It had amassed 70+ followers quite naturally by the time I deleted the contents and inserted my own work therein. This isn’t the most honest means of getting more eyes on my work and I can't say that it’s gained me many followers but I did it. I also used that same method of marketing for my Redbubble (& Amazon Tshirts). I emptied a folder of collected art samples from around the web, and refilled it with my Tshirt store links. I did the same thing with one of my popular Amazon lists, removing the contents and inserting links to my Amazon T-Shirts.
Not much of a nonfiction writer, I don’t see any reason to promote my projects on LinkedIn, and while I have portfolios on Behance, it’s too much work to maintain that on top of everything else I’m doing. As it is, there’s a reason I have a simple portfolio on this site and not a picture of every new painting I knock out. It’s a lot, updating everything all of the time. It’s work, and I like working. I like creating, but I’ve got to spend my energy where I feel it will go the farthest.
I’m not going anywhere near Youtube nor TikTok with my marketing. I’m super awkward in person, which is only amplified by the camera. Hard pass.
Once I have pre-order links available for my books, regardless of whether I traditionally or self publish, I will create a writing Instagram which I expect will include my fanart of my characters, my dream cover designs, and hopefully pics of my books in the wild. Marketing goes nowhere if there isn’t a means for buying the product yet. I’ll also post my better fanart pieces to my artist Instagram.
I hope this blog will one day help me promote my fiction writing, and perhaps, my art career. Regardless, I can tell it’ll help me keep organized with my querying progress and whatnot, which is nice.
Thanks for stopping by! I put out a new blog post every Monday. Toodles!
TL;DR Social Media Advice: If you’ve got a lot of imagery, use Instagram. Like & comment, genuinely, posts with hashtags you're interested in. Follow people whose posts you want to watch. If you're a writer and you want to take part in pitch events or to stay aware of big industry happenings/drama, use Twitter. If you're willing to spend the money for Facebook ads, have a product to sell, and know people in real life who’d be interested in your product, make a professional/product Facebook page. Without the ads, growing your Facebook page might be hard. If you write nonfiction, LinkedIn is a good app with which to familiarize yourself for posting your articles/book links. Take whatever social media accounts you have and make sure they promote your others. Link your every imagery-laden social media post to Pinterest. If you already have a popular folder on Pinterest, consider inserting your social media images/links there. If you’re comfortable with video editing and like being in front of a camera, consider being a Youtuber or TikToker, especially if you want to reach a younger audience. Be real when interacting, and remember, the internet doesn’t forget. Don’t post anything you’ll regret in five years.