I’ve received several excellent questions recently, so look for yours in a column in the near future. And keep sending them in! You guys rock.
Today, Arnie G. asks:
After years of being “out of the game,” I am currently rebuilding a young career as a freelance artist. I find myself with outdated material [showcasing] outdated skills [in terms of] what i have to offer. Facebook, Tumblr, Blogger, DeviantArt, Freelance Dot Com, Twitter, [and] PHP are all the rage [to the point where] it seems no matter where you turn, everyone swears “this” is the one to use. Not wanting to be left behind, it can get confusing with all these accounts and becomes easy to neglect a few. I ‘m wondering what is the best way to organize them so any information is shared across platforms? [W]hich of these is best [for a] portfolio, networking, sharing with my peers, etc? What [are their] advantage[s]?
Props to getting back in the game! These first steps are the most difficult. As for retooling your social media presence, I hear you. It can get crazy. The cool thing is that most apps will let you sync posts across several networks (i.e. something you post on Instagram gets posted to Facebook and Twitter). I would enable that in your profile settings and use it… judiciously. You will want to maximize the number of people that see your work—different people may follow you on different platforms—but it’s possible to seem excessively promotional to people that follow you multiple places if they’re inundated with the same post over and over. I prefer to split the difference and cross-promote big items on multiple networks while tailoring normal content to different outlets. I’ve assessed the major networks below according to my use. Your mileage may vary.
Facebook: Ubiquitous and personal. This is just the default network and you can’t avoid it. Anything I need to amplify gets posted here, but otherwise I’m not terribly proactive on it.
Twitter: This is what I use the most. Almost everything gets posted or re-posted to here because it’s A) super popular and easy to connect with strangers and B) fast-moving. The downside is anything you tweet gets buried fairly quick—there’s a real impermanence to it.
Tumblr: If you’re going to start a blog, I would forego Blogger at this point and just make a Tumblr blog. Tumblr is great for collecting your WIP, finished artwork, whatever. Of the social media platforms, this would be the one I would curate as an informal portfolio. Use it as you would DeviantArt.
Instagram: Other people use this as their main outlet for WIP shots, and it certainly works great for that. It’s a public photo album.
My last bit of advice concerns how to use social media effectively. Try to post something a couple times a day, and make it interesting. Don’t be afraid to express your personality and thoughts, but remember that anything you say could be viewed by potential employers. And remember to put in the work of searching out other artists to favorite/follow/retweet. The only way good karma comes back to you is if you put it out there first.
Thanks Arnie! And thanks to the rest of you for reading. Tweet me @devinafterdark with the hashtag #FAQDevin to see your question answered in future columns.The header is modified slightly from “y u no social media” by Sean MacEntee, used under CC BY/ Text rearranged from original.