Back in the day (like, two years ago), it seemed perfectly okay to engage in something called “cross-posting” on social media. Essentially, that means posting the same content—the same images with the same text—on multiple social media platforms, sometimes even sharing a post from one platform to another. Today, things have changed. Each social media platform has become known for certain types of content, so the people who are following you on Instagram expect certain things from you while the people following you on Facebook expect something else. Not only that, the algorithms that run the social media platforms are now paying attention to what you’re posting, and when they notice you repeating the same content that you’ve already posted elsewhere, they may not push your content out to as many people. Ugh!
So, how can you make sure you’re keeping everybody happy? Rather than just recycling posts, it’s a good idea to place different content on different platforms, or at least to tweak your content slightly to make it work in each place. Here’s a quick guide to the best types of content for each of the most popular social media platforms:
In the early days, text alone was fine. Then we all started adding images and links along with our messages, and most of us still are. But what can you post to Facebook to get the most mileage from your efforts? Video! Facebook’s founder Mark Zuckerberg has stated that video will become more and more important and will be given more attention on the platform in the near future, as in the next couple of years. That’s great news for artists who can use this feature in a variety of ways! In addition to posting video clips of scenes from your artist’s life, you could also use video to invite your followers to events and exhibitions and even to provide a summary of your latest blog post. Facebook gives even more promotion to live videos. I know that broadcasting live may seem a bit scary to most of us, but just remember that live videos are not intended to look super polished and professional. Casual and spontaneous is the name of the game. And as I mentioned several weeks ago, the Story feature is expected to be the next hot thing on Facebook, so think about jumping on this bandwagon.
Of course, there’s no reason to abandon the classic static-message-with-image post just yet, but you might think about mixing those up some. Try to present a mix of your artwork and other photos from your studio. Throw in a meme, quote, or GIF occasionally. And be sure to share other people’s posts that you think your followers would like to see.
If you’re looking for a second social media platform to use besides Facebook, I think Instagram is the one to choose. Instagram is the home of beautiful, artsy images, which makes it an ideal place to share gorgeous images of your gorgeous artwork. The rest of the photos you post here should also be beautifully lit and shot if you want them to get noticed. Inspiring quotes and fun memes are hugely popular on this platform as well, so again, the secret to success is variety.
And you know how I said Stories are growing in popularity on Facebook? Well, they’re already the feature to use on Instagram, so if you haven’t started using this feature yet, now’s the time to learn how. But please don’t just use it to post single images. Be creative and create photo or video montages to promote events, announce promotional specials, give quick demos, and tell your story.
By the way, hashtags can be used on almost all of the platforms, but it’s more common to see lots of hashtags on an Instagram post than on a Facebook post.
I’m not sure how many of you are using Twitter because it’s mainly the platform for news. Having said that, though, Twitter is a great place for you to announce your news. Now that the character limit is 280, it’s easy to inform people about events, promotions, awards, and the like.
Anybody using Pinterest? The most popular (most frequently pinned) items on Pinterest are infographics and step-by-step photo guides. Personally, I think both of these are a bit challenging for most artists to produce, but if you’re willing to learn to use the tools you’ll need to create these types of pins, this could work for you! And if you’re an artist who teaches, it could be an especially fruitful place for you to promote your classes and workshops since instruction is the core of the most popular Pinterest pins.
While video may be the next hot thing on Facebook, it’s always been the thing on YouTube, which is considered to be one of the biggest social media platforms in the world. Here again, you can get really creative with the types of videos you create and post. Just don’t post your video to YouTube and then share the link on Facebook. Facebook now frowns on posts that contain links to external sites, so if you simply post a link to YouTube on Facebook, Facebook will show your post to very few of your followers. Better to post your videos in both places separately.
The One Common Rule
None of us wants to come across looking like some corporate giant promoting our products, right? We’re people! People making art! Real people engaging in self-promotion through social media! That’s why I still think it’s a good idea to follow the 80/20 Rule when creating content. In other words, 80% of the content you post should simply be you telling your story, sharing who you are, and showing people what you’re up to. The other 20% can be more promotional in nature, and these posts should end with some kind of call-to-action. Tell people what you’d like them to do next after reading your post, as in visit your website, attend your show, register to take your workshop, read your latest blog post, or buy your work.
Bottom line, it’s increasingly important to be more creative with your social media posts by injecting some variety in your content and knowing the best places to share what you’ve created.