How to Make a Successful Social Media Strategy
Do you have a plan for promoting yourself on social media? If not, it’s important to draft up some kind of strategy for how you will manage your Redbubble shop across Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and elsewhere. Strategy might seem like a scary word, but all we’re really talking about here is sitting down with a calendar to work out exactly what you will post, when you will post it, and why, so you can better spread the word about the amazing RB products that feature your wonderful work.
We’ve made up a mock-up weekly outline of a social media strategy that we think can be effective. But remember, there is no hard and fast rule when it comes to social media. As you’ll read below, there is a lot of trial and error involved in figured out which plan is right for you.
1. Pre-Plan Your Strategy
Starting a social media strategy may seem like a daunting task. But if you break down your plan of attack into small modules it makes posting consistently on social media achievable and easy to integrate into a daily routine. Taking the time now to prep the mechanics of how your strategy will work over time (not just the first week) will increase your chances of using social media to boost sales and grow your community of online fans. Before we begin, please consider answering these three questions:
How many minutes per day can you realistically afford to spend on social media?
Try to aim for at least 10 minutes per day. If you can do more and find it’s effective, that’s great, but know that social media community building is a slow process. Plus, you want to make sure you’re devoting the proper amount of time to creating said beautiful art that you need to self-promote.
How long should your pilot strategy last?
If this is the first time you’ve created a consistent social media plan for your online artwork, how long can you commit to it before reviewing and re-calibrating? Try to aim for one week at least. Or if you can, try 30 days, with the understanding that you can stop and re-evaluate to make things more sustainable for yourself.
What does your social media output look like now? What will you do with the information you’ve gathered at the end?
This is very important to ask yourself as it forces you to consider what your greater goals are for doing this exercise to begin with. Once you’ve posted consistently, take a look at data in Google Analytics to see how things are performing.
For more: Why Sincerity in Social Media and Self-Promotion Matters
2. Make An Outline and Posting Calendar
Take the time to create an outline for your social media strategy for at least a week. You can follow or modify the general plan below to get you started on a regular posting schedule. Try using a spreadsheet or calendar so you can easily visualize what you have lined up.
Follow the general rule that a third of your social media output should be directly about the content you create—your finished artworks and links to where they are sold. Another third of your output should highlight other artists, thinkers, or leaders in your creative field that you look up to and want to align your personal brand with. Networking is huge on social media so it’s important to devote time to this. The last third of your output should be filled with personal touches and behind the scenes shots, work-in-progress details, and insight into how you work as an artist.
Below are some ideas below on the types of posts you could try.
- Facebook: Share with your community any upcoming events, conferences, plans or exhibitions you have in the next month.
- Instagram: Share a snap of one of your works with links in the bio to your Redbubble shop so followers can easily buy your work.
- Twitter: Link to a relevant article, video, or talk by someone you look up to in your creative field.
- Facebook: Use Facebook as a platform to easily link others to your artwork as it becomes available on new products like Leggings, Duvet Covers, or Pouches—especially if we’re running a promotion!
- Instagram: Share a photo of your “behind-the-scenes” progress, whether this is your workspace desktop, your studio, or art materials. (Keep on eye on RB’s Instagram for great examples of artists who do this well.)
- Twitter: Mention or re-tweet the work of fellow artists whom you consider peers or inspire you. Try to choose artists you’d like to foster a professional relationship with that have a similar aesthetic or style to you. You can try to crossover fans or followers if you share styles in the artwork you create.
- Facebook: Ask your community a question that you’d like to have answered about your artwork. Need advice on a new direction? Want to know if people would be interested in artwork on a certain product? Engage by asking questions.
- Instagram: Post a work-in-progress shot (WIP) from your studio desk and include a caption about how you’re feeling about the artwork. Ask for feedback.
- Twitter: Post a photo of what you’re up to today that’s related to your creative work. Ordered some of your own work and it’s arrived? Got new materials to play with? Share the daily goings-on of your creative life.
- Facebook: Share a topical link to a discussion that’s going on in the arts that you’re passionate about. Try posting articles about creative issues that you can have a discussion about. Most importantly, choose a topic that you genuinely care about and are interested in chatting about.
- Instagram: Share a #throwbackthursday (#tbt) image and share any old images of you starting out making artwork—be creative with this one and consider showing you in your first studio, your first painting, or any old school visual goodies.
- Twitter: Try re-tweeting or beginning a conversation with other like-minded creative people on Twitter.
- Facebook: Share an image of your artwork in the real world. Printed on a t-shirt or a poster on a wall, if you have photos of your artwork occupying spaces or lounge room walls, share them online. You could ask people to send you photos of any artwork they have of yours in their spaces as well.
- Instagram: Post a snap of how you unwind in the studio, or an artwork you’ve particularly enjoyed making. Posting something fun and carefree on Friday afternoon with a caption of what you’ve been enjoying lately is a nice, low-key way to end the week.
- Twitter: Share a finished, beautifully polished artwork you’re really proud of this week.
For more: How to Make a Social Media Promo Image
3. Diversify Your Posting Platforms
Ensure you take the time to analyze which social media platforms you’re posting on. You can use a social media sharing dashboard like Hootsuite, Tweetdeck, SocialOOmph, or others to help your organize your campaign. Using these tools allows you to see the links that will be posted onto different platforms so you can check your content isn’t too similar. You can always schedule your posts in the future so you don’t actually have to be at your computer (or on your phone) to be present online.
Most importantly, use this step to take stock and reflect on how many different platforms you’re using. If posting on three platforms at least once a day is too much to handle, consider scaling back to one or two. Consistency is key here, so if you can only post each day to one or two platforms, make that call and stick to whatever you can manage. You can consider cross-posting, where you post the same content on a range of different platforms to make your presence felt, but if lots of fans follow you on many different types of social media this could start to feel redundant. Keep it fresh.
For more: The Importance of Having a Facebook Fan Page
4. Keep It Consistent
Like all things social media related, we urge you to be consistent with what you’re posting. Keeping your content thematically consistent and relevant will make a difference to the engagement of your posts. Make sure you really consider who is actually looking at your posts and what they would like to see more of. Make sure you don’t abandon or behave unpredictably on social media, like having erratic posting times or long gaps between lots of posts, especially on platforms like Twitter which can result in you inadvertently clogging your followers’ feeds. If you think of your social media strategy as a very long game that requires you to chip away a tiny bit everyday, it makes staying consistent a little easier.
For more: How to be the Most Interesting Artist on Twitter
5. Look Back On Your Findings
This is probably the most important point to discuss in terms of successful outcomes of your first social media strategy. If you’ve been posting regularly for a week, 30 days, or a few months, you’ll have a lot of data to look at. If you use programs like Google Analytics or Hootsuite (and the like) you can review post engagement to see what has been popular during your posting schedule. You could then create more content that is especially popular, as you can use this information as a way to grow your community by giving them they kind of posts they like to see. This is tricky work that requires a tremendous amount of trial and error, but utilizing data can help you learn valuable information to grow your successful social presence.