We’re not talking about annoying self-promotion here: These are tips for creative ladies—whether artists, photographers, crafters, bakers, teachers, actresses, stylists, writers, or budding entrepreneurs—who want to use social media to share their skills and passions to more people online.
1. Push your what, not your who.
The most compelling stories on social media are the ones that push ideas, creativity, and unique points of view—versus purely self and selfies.
If you’re really serious about creating a brand on social media, shift your focus from your who (the me! me! me! mentality) —to your what’s: your skills, and things you create.
Tip: If you’re not yet sure what these are, make a list of skills you’re currently honing (lettering, baking, film photography) and your interests (surfing, learning languages, environmental issues).
Pick 2-5 main topics, and brainstorm post ideas from there.
Better yet, combine these: why not share interesting foreign words you’re learning by hand-lettering them? It’s unique, it’s very you, and can you see the important difference between saying, “I like lettering and foreign languages,” and “Here is a fun French word I learned, and hand-lettered myself”?
2. Know your goals: What is it that you want to achieve?
I’ll give you an example: There are hundreds of thousands of fantastic photographers on Instagram. Now, you can be one of the more popular ones with 20,000 followers. That’s amazing.
Popularity is not a bad thing, but my question is -- what now?
More concrete goals for a photographer on social media can include: growing your brand to get job opportunities as a travel photographer, or to get apprenticeship with your dream mentor, or to get published in Kinfolk Magazine.
Setting better goals (i.e. not just, "get more followers") will help you become more intentional about your brand and growth.
Put together your goals for growing your online brand using the worksheet below. Click the image to download.
3. Use social media to get better at your craft.
With the abovementioned goals in mind, the next step is to get even better at what you do through regular and consistent creation.
Challenge yourself to post something original on a regular basis.
Share process photos if you’re an artist: I love seeing the process photos of my friends @abbeysy, a letterer, and @choleil, an illustrator.
Just keep creating: Illustrator couple @googlygooeys create new Instagram comics on the regular, @lifeafterbreakfastph creates the most amazing craft projects for fun, every single day!
When you put in regular practice, not only will you get better, but you’ll also be able to develop & determine your distinct voice and style much faster.
4. Social media is not a megaphone: It’s a place to interact and connect.
The #1 thing I am most grateful for about social media is how it connects me with like-minded people.
If you consistently put out great content, you will attract equally awesome people on the same wavelength.
The most important thing though, is to not just talk AT them, but to engage WITH them. Respond to comments, check out their feeds, ask them questions, and you know what? Keep a nose out for possible collaborations! Join the conversation, or better yet, create it!
One of my favorite online creative entrepreneurs is @heykessy. It’s fascinating to see how she uses Instagram not just to grow her business, but she was also able to build a passionate crafter community around it.
Another great example is Danah and Stacy Gutierrez of @Plump.PH: they were able to build an online community of ladies who share the same empoweringbeliefs on body love and confidence.
5. Be authentic—it’s the world through your point of view.
With the fluidity and breakneck pace of the Internet, I don’t think there are hard rules to social media, except for being as authentic as possible.
The last thing you want is to overthink your content, because you want everything to be perfect.
As much as we love a polished well-curated feed, genuine and raw stories are still the ones that will resonate with your audience the most.
So don’t be scared to share personal tidbits: your dreams, fears, and your little oddities. It’s these stories that people relate to and remember, not so much those gorgeous photos you grabbed from Pinterest.
These stories are what makes you human, and not just some stranger with a perfect feed.
Originally published in MEG Magazine, October 2015 issue. Text by Arriane Serafico.