As a creative entrepreneur, social media can be a great friend, but also a ruthless enemy. Studies show that effective social media presence can help to position you, and your brand very effectively towards your market, at the same time, however, it can be a huge energy and effort drain, for uncertain results. Building up your motivation in order to grow your business or your personal brand through social media is a challenge, and that’s why we created this post to help you figure out if one of these goals (or hopefully more than one) can help you focus your efforts towards a practical, short-term goal.
Here are 10 things your social media presence can do for you as a designer\musician\creative.
This is the first and most important thing of all. Creatives need an audience. Your social media presence finds one of its most effective contributions in helping you build an audience. This is essential, as you could think about your community, a little bit like if it was your long-term employer. Your audience over time will be made up of all the people who support you and appreciate your work, as we will explore this concept further throughout the post, to see all of the benefits that come with an engaged and interested community of followers.
Remember, in the words of the Cluetrain Manifesto: “All markets are conversations”.
As you build your online presence, you will be required to develop a good balance between your product-orientation and your market orientation.
It is not uncommon that creators, spend a lot of time developing their own unique vision, which can be a reflection of some many personal and professional input. Understanding how to foster an online community takes an extra challenge, which is finding that fine balance between providing something new, yet give to your community an experience which connects to some degree of familiarity. Being able to balance these two different types of content, is good, empirical proof or your understanding of the market, of where you come from and where the canons of your industry are going.
The more your vision is authentic and unconditional, the more you may need to achieve some type of proof of concept. This again is where your social following will give you an additional edge. In showing the following you developed with your content, you’ll be able to validate the size of the market you’re operating in and how interested and engaged your community is. This is an essential component of a well-structured business model, where the need to validate your business vision comes as a priority.
When dealing in the creative industries, it is not uncommon to struggle when putting a price on ideas. As creatives, our work and value can be perceived as intangible, and this does not make it easy for any of us to put a price on our skill, expertise, time and effort. This is when a social media following can be a good proxy of the value of our work, which is to some extent much harder to argue with as numbers count.
Your audience will be very helpful in terms of collecting feedback. As you develop new and creative ideas, your following will be able to give you all sorts of opinions, encouragement or discouragement. All in all, the creative process can be at times very lonely, and a group of fans, who are happy to provide some insight into why something works, or doesn’t’ work is invaluable. With a large following, come diverse opinions, experiences and ideas, and if you put in the work to look at the feedback and learn from it, there’s a lot of value that can be found.
It’s not easy to talk with thousands of followers at one time, and as for many parts of life, practice makes perfect. Building an online brand, or an online persona is a tricky endeavour, requiring time and patience. Developing things like language, tone of voice, vocabulary, expressions, and overall digital experience can come with a little trial and error, but it will constitute the code of your future brand communication, if or when you decide to scale up.
As you progress in your career, your social media platform will become some form of a time capsule which will show your growth and evolution over time. More specifically, it will allow you to build that distance and perspective that over time can help identify your creative DNA or that part of you that is present in every work. This is a very important component of your creative language and committing the time to build this timeline by uploading and sharing your work will be useful as soon as you have developed enough material to create a narrative.
Like-minded individuals seek each other, and through your social media following, you can create a much wider network than the one you would find in real-life. It’s a small world after all, and through social media, you can build a great nexus of connections that can help your inspiration, and show your contribution to the industry, through the conversations you are building and the value you’re delivering to your audience.
One of the most difficult questions creatives can be asked revolve around their creative process. How do they do what they do, how do they get from nothing to something? In this sense, your social media feed can be a quick and easy way to respond, by showing the actual process that creating your original work entails. From wherever your inspiration might come, your social media feed can show that, and help your audience understand the uniqueness of your method or the nuances of your language. These materials will really deliver a lot of value and give out some insight on how your work finds a way into reality.
Last but not least, your social media votes will help you identify what are some of your most iconic\successful creations, and help you understand, in better business terms what could be some of the horses in your stable that you can decide to invest on the most. No creator wants to be remembered for just one piece, but sometimes, simplicity can help, or at least it doesn’t harm.
That’s it! Let’s wrap everything up in the conclusions.
As we’ve seen there are plenty of reasons to build a social media following if you’re a player in the creative industries. As we’ve seen from our bullet-points many of the benefits of building an online community will make themselves incredibly useful if you decide to pursue a more entrepreneurial approach to your profession, as your following will be a great sounding board for your initiatives and strong market validation for your craft.
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