Know The Reasons Artists Fail On Social Media So You Can Avoid Them
The annals of art history are littered with the stories of tortured artists struggling in hard, often impossible conditions.
By comparison, social media may seem like a piece of cake.
However, posting on social media is more complicated than you might think.
It isn’t as simple as Tweeting out whatever thought you think.
As we’ll see, that can be a recipe for disaster.
Making it big in art, music, literature, and the humanities and entertainment sector is hard enough, as is maintaining a presence on social media.
You don’t want to hinder your efforts, which can happen if you aren’t careful and don’t optimize your social media posts.
With that in mind, let’s look at the Seven Deadly Social Media Sins and how to avoid them.
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1. You Aren’t Focused In Your Posts
A good work of art must be focused, be it a painting, musical composition, or anything else.
The same goes for social media posts.
There is a lot of content out there in Social Media Land.
If you don’t get to the point or people read your post and don’t see the point, you are wasting your time and your fan’s time.
Make sure there is a point to every post you make.
That doesn’t mean every post has to be super serious, but it must have a purpose.
Posting to post has many harmful side effects.
For one thing, it wears out your audience’s patience.
They’re subscribed for art, literature, or musical content, not random ramblings.
What’s more, posting without a clear focus is an algorithm loser.
While less isn’t always more in Facebook and Twitter posts, more can be “too much.” A glut of posts can dilute your statistics.
If anyone bothers to engage with them, they’ll be so diffuse and related to such random topics that any analytics has taken on who’s engaging with them may be useless.
Finally, there’s the fact that posting so much in an attempt to get the word out there can backfire by burying your most important posts and Tweets beneath an avalanche of dreck.
You don’t want essential announcements about concerts, exhibitions, new releases, works of art, and other vital information to be buried beneath a deluge of ruminations on politics or what you had for lunch today!
2. Advertising Too Much
No one likes feeling like they are being used as a cheap tool for getting someone else rich, and that is precisely what can happen if your platform or channel suddenly becomes a glut of advertisements.
Would you continue to watch a TV channel if 75% of the content were commercials?
Most of us don’t sit there watching infomercials eagerly awaiting the following sales pitch, and it’s much the same with advertising online.
There are additional reasons why this is such a cardinal sin of social media posting as an artist, not the least of which is that it gets in the way of the real reason people are there – your art.
Unless you’re a regular Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec and can combine the two, advertisements are more often than not a distraction from your art.
What’s more, a bond of trust and a sense of understanding exists between social media users and the pages to which they subscribe.
That relationship varies from page to page. Users expect ads and sales pitches from a company, sports team, or theatre group since they are viewed as customers and fans, and they understand that.
However, when it comes to a personal page for your art, people expect a more personal connection and, well, more art than ads.
If the opposite is true, people will turn and flock in the opposite direction, away from your page and possibly your art.
3. Not Posting Enough
YouTube’s algorithm is notorious for how it prioritizes regular frequent updates.
What “regular” and “frequent” mean naturally varies from person to person, and what it means is a closely guarded secret by YouTube.
That said, enough accounts from users exist to show that uploading at least once a week is critical for staying “relevant” to the site’s algorithm.
You don’t want to go through all that work to create a quality video and then have nobody see it simply because YouTube’s algorithm doesn’t list it in their Suggested Videos due to a lack of activity on their page.
The same holds for other social media platforms.
If you do not post frequently enough on Facebook, Twitter, and other platforms, your work may not rank as highly in search results, leading to fewer people seeing it.
Then there’s audience alienation itself. Whether you post on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube, or any other platform, people tend to forget about you if you don’t post enough.
A couple of ways to help prevent this include automating posts with a social media management tool.
If you feel too busy to post or Tweet at the moment, this can be a good way to plan posts ahead of time.
You could also plan to post using easy, recurring hashtags on Twitter that give natural prompts and an increased chance of gaining traction.
#ThrowbackThursday trends every Thursday, with old photos and videos abounding. #WednesdayWisdom and #MondayMotivation likewise trend on those days and are great for motivational posts and quotable lines you think people may find inspiring.
4. Confusing Quantity for Quality
It’s understandable why you might feel obsessed with your engagement figures.
When you see public figures, companies, and sports teams with followings in the hundreds of thousands or even millions, you can think that your few dozen followers are a horrible start by comparison.
But that isn’t necessarily true!
While the size of your following does matter, engagement matters just as much, if not more.
That isn’t a recipe for success if you have a few thousand followers but are apathetic and don’t engage with your content.
On the other hand, if those few dozen care and Like, Comment, and Share your work on Facebook, Instagram, and beyond, you can spread your art faster to more people. This, in turn, can lead to more growth.
It may take a while, but organic engagement beats unengaged larger followings every time.
5. Awful Photos
Newsflash – it isn’t 2005, and your photos shouldn’t look like it still is, either.
One of the most significant ways to turn off followers on any platform and for any medium is by having blurry, unprofessional-looking pictures.
This is significantly damaging in the Age of the iPhone.
Now, everyone has a camera that is, with the right lighting and positioning, capable of taking photos that are at least clear and crisp.
However, bad photos go beyond mere fuzziness.
A bad photo can also be a boring one.
Engagement is the goal here, so for people to share your content, you must make it engaging and worthy of sharing.
Dynamic poses, expressive faces, and action shots make for more exciting and Internet-worthy content.
6. A Picture’s Worth A Thousand Retweets
The pen may be mightier than the sword, but on social media, there’s no denying the supremacy of the image, moving or otherwise.
Posts with pictures get as much as 35% more traffic on average as those which feature just text.
If you are not posting pictures with the majority of your posts (especially as an artist!), you’re making your posts far more invisible than they can.
7. Giving up
This is one of the biggest reasons artists fail on social media.
Far too often, people start a page, are disappointed they don’t become a social media celebrity or have a ton of followers and action overnight, get bored, and then leave it to gather cyber dust in some corner of the Internet.
You don’t want this to happen to you, so this advice is the most straightforward yet most difficult at the same time – don’t give up!
Social media can be powerful, but it can also be a notorious grind to get going, and algorithms can be fickle.
Sometimes you do everything the way you’re “supposed” to do it, and it only doesn’t affect you.
While some people go viral, many more social media accounts become successful through months, even years, of careful building and planning.
Things likely will not blow up overnight, so don’t be discouraged.
Whether you paint, draw, sing, act, or pursue any artistic endeavors, an excellent social media presence is essential nowadays for sustaining yourself.
By avoiding these social media sins, you can prevent torpedoing your account while slowly building it into something you can be proud of and which might eventually help you turn a profit.
Final Thoughts On The Reasons Artists Fail On Social Media
The best way to learn is by studying someone successful and knowing why others are failing.
Learn from these common mistakes artists are doing online and start focusing on strategies that will grow your fan base and increase your art sales.
After all, you are on social media to sell your original artwork.