How to Advertise Yourself on Social Media (without being obnoxious)
Instagram. Twitter. Facebook. Pinterest. As a hardworking creative in today’s day and age, these are some of your most valuable assets. Don’t believe me? When asked the number one way that she has advertised herself, Jordan-Paige Sudduth said, “Surprisingly, I would say through Instagram, Facebook, or the casting websites I use to cast my projects. Social media really has such big potential for anyone trying to get their name out there, it’s mildly scary at times.” Jayna Jennings added, “Pinterest has been a wonderful tool, and Twitter hours such as #MusicHourUK have been an awesome help in getting my music to new people.” (Jayna also gave me some invaluable help with my social media over lunch one day!) And as an author, blogger, and freelance writer with a fairly large platform myself, I’ve seen firsthand how much social media has enhanced my career. You’ve probably heard over and over that you need to advertise yourself on social media–but how do you do this without being obnoxious? That’s what I’m here to tell you.
To effectively build a platform on social media, you need to build authentic relationships. This does not mean randomly following hundreds of people hoping for a follow back; this does not mean gushing comments all over their accounts; and this does not mean spending hours searching through hashtags that are relevant to you and obsessively liking every photo you see. This does mean following a few fellow creatives whose work truly interests you, and then beginning to slowly (more on this in a minute) interact with their accounts. This approach will take time, but wouldn’t you rather end up with 100 followers who actually want to support your work than 1,000 who follow you just because you followed them–meaning they likely scroll right past your posts? Even though my “fan base” isn’t made up of thousands of people, I’m proud that it is made up of people that I call true friends.
Less is more.
Don’t post every day. Don’t comment on someone else’s post every day. Don’t even get on social media every day. This may sound backwards, but I have two big reasons for this advice: first of all, people who are constantly on social media–whether with incessant posts or incessant comments on your posts–are annoying. I unfollow people who post a lot and clutter up my newsfeed. You don’t want people who will potentially consume your creative work in the future unfollowing you, so keep your posts to a minimum. (Wondering exactly how often you should be around? Check out the bonus content at the end of this post.)
The second reason to stay off of social media is simple: if you’re constantly on social media, how will you ever get any work done?! Social media is important to advertise yourself, sure–but if you don’t work hard on your creative career, you won’t have anything to advertise. There’s a reason most social media platforms offer you an option to schedule posts ahead of time–so you can schedule everything on Monday morning, then put your phone away and get down to work.
Be humble. Be funny. Be human. Yes, by all means, advertise yourself–tell people about the book you just self-published, the photography discount you’re currently running, or the new song you wrote. But think about how you’re doing it. No one wants to read a boring sales pitch. If you tell us, “I just finished painting a pet portrait that’s for sale on my website now. For only $40, this beautiful painting can be yours. Email me to claim this discount. $10 shipping and handling,” we’re probably not going to care. But if you say, “Did I stop painting approximately thirty-seven times to go give this good doggo the hugs he deserves? UM YES, you bet I did. Listed on my website now!” We’re all there. It’s always nice to realize there’s a person on the other side of the screen.
Free bonus content? Yes, please!
“Don’t post too much” is not very specific advice–and the amount of times per week you should post on social media varies according to which social media platform we’re talking about. If you want more details, enter your email address below to receive an exclusive cheat sheet listing how many times per week you should post on each social media platform for optimal results.
Hey fellow hardworking creatives, do you utilize social media to advertise yourself? And if so, how do you do it? What other tips would you add to this list?