Season 4 – epiBLOG 12:

I hated social media! For years. Sincerely… I mean that just in case you don’t believe me. It felt like the biggest waste of time for any artist – ever! I fought and justified why it was a waste of my time as a writer – or for anyone, really.

Posting images of food at a restaurant. I mean, who cares about your gigantic veggie burger or your $100 worth of sushi perfectly organized on a plate? And don’t get me started on the vacation pics… Or random thoughts that are “trying” to be profound or funny. I just didn’t understand how any of that would help my career as a writer to go to the next level.

The thing is, my marketing and technologically savvy fiancé kept reminding me that social media is how I will share what I do, connect with others, and build a community of people who will care about my work.

Turns out… she was right. Annoying to discover how wrong I was at first, but honestly… would you rather be right or would you rather be successful? I choose to be successful.

I dipped my toes in the social media waters, slowly eased my legs in, and now I’m fully submerged. It did take me some time to feel comfortable with this entire process.

It’s okay to feel overwhelmed. To feel annoyed because you believe what you’re doing is a waste of time. To feel inadequate because you believe you’re doing it wrong or that you need to hire some social media guru to do your social media for you (you don’t, by the way). It’s okay to feel scared, and perhaps angry, that you believe that you’re never going to get your artistic career off of the ground if you don’t figure out “social media.”

Whatever you’re feeling right now… it’s okay.

We all feel things. Feel the way you need to feel. Even when you try to make yourself feel the opposite of the way you truly do, it doesn’t work because you simply feel the way you do. I’m here to hold your hand as you dip your toes in the social media pool. It’s okay to be afraid. I’m here.

Today’s topic is on removing the barriers that are hindering you from using social media consistently and on taking baby steps to using social media.

BARRIER REMOVAL AND BABY STEP #1

Instead of thinking that social media is a waste of time when you are on there, think of it as a way to share your talent and work with the world. Don’t post pictures or words that don’t support what you would like to be known for. Share what is important to you about your work. You can share an ongoing process from conception to completion on a project or simply share what you’ve completed.

Sharing with others is what will allow your work to be “out there” without having to wait on some traditional form of publicity. You will be able to connect with other people, and after a while, you will build a following of people who will support what you’re doing. THIS IS NOT AN OVERNIGHT PROCESS. This is a matter of consistently creating your art and sharing it with others over a period of time.

If you’re a photographer, a chef, an interior designer, a fine artist, or a filmmaker, Instagram and YouTube are wonderful places to visually share what you’ve created with the world. If you’re a writer, an entrepreneur with a service, or an academic, I would recommend Quora, LinkedIn, or setting up a business page on Facebook to share.

OLD BARRIER: “Social media is a waste of time.”

NEW MINDSET: “Share my talent and work.”

BABY STEP: Choose platforms that have a track record of successfully supporting the type of artist that you are and begin sharing your work on those platforms.

BARRIER REMOVAL AND BABY STEP #2

Once artists embrace that they can share, they often run into the concern that they don’t have enough to “say” in order to remain consistent. In other words, they run out of content to provide or things to talk about and are fearful that they will have to resort to posting pictures of their food. Unless you’re in culinary or photography of some sort, you probably are not interested in posting a picture about food. Don’t post things just for the sake of posting them. You want to place material that represents how you want to stand in the world as an artist. When you feel like you’ve run out of something to say, you want to always remember that you want to provide content that shares more about who you are, what you’re about, and what’s important to you as an artist. Share the “good” and the “bad” in a tasteful and authentic way because people will be able to connect and relate to you. Being relatable is what will help to build your following.

OLD BARRIER: “I have nothing say.”

NEW MINDSET: “Here’s who I am, what I’m about, and what’s important to me.”

BABY STEP: Choose to provide one of the following anytime you’re ready to post: a quote that you find online, a personal career tip that’s worked for you in 1-3 lines, a recent career experience — bad or good — that can help another person to gain perspective on their career situation, a recent accomplishment, an image of your art, or an image of you in the middle of creating your art.

BARRIER REMOVAL AND BABY STEP #3

Many entrepreneurial artists whine about not having enough time to be on social media. They claim to be busy either creating their art, busy with their day job, or simply just being too busy. Social media does have to be a consistent activity that you integrate into your career. Obviously the more posts you have on the more days that you provide on a consistent basis, the more likely your following will grow a little faster than someone posting once a month. Whatever you decide to do with your social media presence, you want to choose to be consistent within the time frames that work for you. If you choose to post once a day five days a week on LinkedIn and three times a day over three days a week on Twitter, then commit to doing that no matter what. Your following wants to know if they can trust you, and trust is built on consistently providing content. Maybe you simply want to post once a week on multiple platforms, and if that’s what you feel you can fit into your schedule at this point, do it. Just be consistent and make sure you post no matter what is going on in your life at the time. Being “busy” can’t be a reason or an excuse to not be able to post.

OLD BARRIER: “I don’t have enough time to be on social media.”

NEW MINDSET: “I’m committed to finding my own consistency on social media.”

BABY STEP: Create a time in your schedule each day or week to post on the different social media platforms that are conducive within your career, and actively commit to that schedule until it becomes a natural habit that you do no matter what.

Today’s LESSON is to embrace social media with new eyes and an open mind in order to move your career forward.

FUN ASSIGNMENT: Study what other similar artists in your industry and area of expertise are doing on social media. Write down a list of what you like about what they are doing and write a list of what you don’t like. Review their content (not to copy it) to see what catches your attention and what doesn’t. Study and learn. Remember, you don’t need anyone to do your social media for you. You simply need to be yourself, but in a strategic way that helps you to share and connect with others.

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