Top 5 Social Media Artist Mistakes
I’ve been a visual artist on social media for about 10 years. I mainly started when Instagram first came out. Back when the feeds used to be filled with grainy photos of mediocre plates of food. I’ve seen a lot of changes and I have interacted with hundreds of different artists and thousands of fans/ viewers. Here are a couple things that I’ve noticed over the years that stunt artist growth and reach.
1. Not speaking about your work
These days, it’s not enough to just post and go. Yes, you may have spent hours and hours creating this piece of artwork, but the work doesn’t stop there. You have to think of yourself as the viewer. Will a stranger understand what this piece of art is without any context? Bring the viewer into your world. The thinking behind the art is just as interesting as the art itself. I have used this with my Young Disney Villains series. I also include an explanation or backstory for the character. What does this do? It allows readers/ viewers to come up with their own guided conclusions. They can agree or disagree about the choices you made on the art piece. You don’t have to be scared of people disagreeing. If someone leaves a comment, it is more valuable than a like (although we appreciate both) . It is not enough to say “this is ____. I drew it.” Who cares?? You spent all this time creating it. Introduce your baby!
2. Not responding to comments
This goes hand in hand with the previous observation. It is not enough to like someone’s positive comment. It’s lazy. Show appreciation to the person for taking their time to comment on your work. What does this do? It invites them to comment on your art all the time (for the most part). It invites them into the topic of discussion in your comment section. It also prompts other people to respond to them as well if they see that the “author” has interacted.
This is a weird analogy so bear with me. Imagine walking down the hallway at your job and you see a person that you have a crush on. You say “hey it’s good to see you!” They look at you and smile and walk away. Sure the smile is nice, but what if they stopped and said “Hey it’s nice to see you too” accompanied by a work friendly fist bump or hand shake. This interaction would make you want to say “Hi” to them every single time you see them. This is the same with the comment section. For the most part people just want to be seen. A like is cool, but a comment is better. I don’t want to hear about “I dont have time”. If you didn’t have time you wouldn’t be reading this. Make a post and go respond to every comment. Try to vary the responses a little. Show your personality. (except spam, delete those)
Of course if there are 2,000 comments, you don't need to respond to all of them, but if you have that many comments, you are on the right track.
We all knew this observation was coming (or did we?) There's no way you can grow your page by only posting once a month. You can eventually do that once you’ve gotten to a following that’s big enough, but as an up and coming artist this will not work.
I went super viral for my Pridelands drawings, because I posted almost every day for at least a month straight. I also posted at the same time everyday. (I did this on instagram not TikTok. One of my biggest regrets is not moving to TikTok sooner, but we’ll get to that later). Had I not been consistent for that long, I wouldn’t have seen that huge influx of people. During that period, whenever someone new discovered my work, either the same day or the next day, they would see a new addition to the Pridelands Squad, which invited them to join in on the conversation…in the comment section. This prompted people to request new characters as well as back stories. Everything is connected. Now, having said that, I would not have been able to do this without practice first. My practice was doing Inktober. If you don’t know what Inktober is, it was started by an artist named Jake Parker. Basically this is a drawing challenge consisting of drawing prompts to follow for everyday in the month of October. It was used to encourage artists to draw or ink everyday, even if it’s something small in order to build consistency. Try drawing and posting something for at least 3 days straight.
4. Late adapter
“I’m not downloading another app” “I’m not learning how to do reels” Good luck. Things change every day. If you don’t get with the times, you will get left behind. Of course you can’t be “all in” on every new thing that comes out, but thankfully a lot of these new apps and social networks are just duplicating concepts. Post your reels to Tiktok and your TikToks and Reels to Youtube Shorts (I’m speaking to myself…yes you Marco…post them to Youtube Shorts) The benefits far outweigh the wasted time if said app doesn’t blow up or gain popularity.
5. Being a perfectionist
Marco, being a perfectionist is negative? In a way, yes. In this day and age, no one is 100% correct. It is almost impossible to get people to agree on a singular topic. I know you are familiar with analysis paralysis. You can look at a piece for ever and still find something wrong, or something that you could have done better. If you are doing professional work, by all means, do your best to be as accurate as possible, but in that case your client will correct you if needed. On social media, there is a new trick that I started to incorporate. Be divisive or wrong on purpose. People love to correct others. Plus if they find something, they will leave a comment and that’s what we want. Just thank them and keep it pushing.
My art philosophy is to be remarkable.
If you look at the word remark it means:
1. say something as a comment; mention.
2. regard with attention; notice.
I want people to stop and have thoughts whenever I post something: Positive, negative, nostalgic, hopeful, confusion etc. Let’s go be remarkable.