Have you ever started a social media account, made a handful of posts, and just kind of forgotten about it? Perhaps you’ve let your Instagram collect cobwebs for 40 weeks, or your Facebook fan page sit idle for months. Well, it’s time to revive those neglected areas of your online life. With the holiday shopping season kicking into gear, the best way to ensure you maximize your sales is by getting out there on social media and spreading the word about sales, new products, and more. But you can’t do that without an active social media presence. So even if you’ve ignored your channels for months, you can still shock them back to life in time to get in on that sweet Holiday action.
For Redbubble artists, having a social media presence is crucial, and often it can feel awkward to come back from a lapse in social media maintenance so we’ve collated all the biggest dos and don’ts so you can perform social media CPR and bring your online presence back to life. Read on for a run through some easy strategies you can implement today to improve your social media presence for the Holidays.
Understand the Impact
If you’ve had a consistent social media presence, built a loyal following, and made connections online and then just dropped off the online map, a few things will have happened in your absence:
- You might find that the fans of your artwork have moved onto other artists. This is entirely normal and happens all the time – audiences want engagement, and if you stopped providing it, you might find that when you return to your social media accounts there aren’t as many people listening as there were in the past. Don’t freak out though. This is totally normal and can be worked through.
- Realizing you may have potentially lost fans or the number of views on your work can be a bitter pill to swallow, but you can re-establish connections if you stick to it over time. If you can understand this initial shift in what a social media hiatus can mean you’re already making huge progress in making a sustainable social media comeback.
Make Tough Calls Early On
- If you want to change anything about your personal brand, do it before your social media comeback. Make tweaks to your cover images or Instagram bio before you start posting to your accounts again. Think of this as a fresh start and an opportunity to spring clean your presence and if you desire, to re-vamp some of your wording and images.
- If you’re trying to perform social media CPR on a specific account, really take a moment to consider if it’s worth saving. Most of the time it probably is — but if you’ve only posted 5 photos to an Instagram account 23 weeks ago… perhaps consider deleting it for a totally fresh start. This is a tough call to make (to delete or to not delete, that is the question), but generally if you’ve collected followers then keep the account so you don’t throw away your followers.
- If you decide to apologize to your fans for being away from social media make it simple, fast, and sincere. Don’t dwell on it or extensively explain your online absence. Also if you have only been away for a short time (less than a month) don’t apologize, just continue posting as normal.
- For example try tweeting:
“I can’t believe it’s already October, three busy months have flown by! So good to be back.” This is better than, “I’m so sorry I’ve been away for 12 weeks, I’ve had glandular fever and my aunt’s cat got diagnosed with epilepsy but I have new work on the way! So sorry again!”
- Most importantly, don’t keep mentioning that you were away, don’t keep reminding people of your social break when they may not have even noticed themselves.
- Make sure you come back on social media with new content to show, share new artworks or WIP shots. Show the world that you have been making and continuing to live as an artist. Having something to share with the world distracts from any absences.
- Reach out to old online friends and acquaintances. Tweet at that one guy who always liked everything you posted, start conversations and ask your peers questions to get the social ball rolling and test the waters. In short, be active again with online acquaintances to see if they’re still out there to re-connect with.
- Come up with a few reasons you want to talk to your fans and re-engage with them using this strategy. You could set up an email list and shout out to your social channels about a sign up page. You could think of a question to ask your Facebook followers or share an Instagram WIP post and express how much you’ve wanted to show your behind the scenes shots for some time.
- Consider a collaboration with another artist as a project to jump start your creative presence online. If you’re actively working on a piece, especially with another artist who can help keep you accountable for your actions, it can give you endless material to post about. Try reaching out to peers to see if they want to plan a creative collab so you can schedule that into your social media posts. You can read our post on why collaborating and sharing other people’s artwork is a great idea here.
Keep Things Sustainable
- Once you’ve implemented the steps above you’re well on your way to a social media comeback. There’s only a few more things you need to consider to cement your presence back in the online world. Firstly be realistic about how you are going to ensure that you don’t mysteriously drop off social media again in the future. This is not easy and may require some honest self talk, and a real assessment of how much time you’re willing to put into your social presence.
- Use a social media dashboard like Hootsuite to plan your posts ahead of time. This makes life easier for you and increases the likelihood that you’ll stick to using your social media accounts. Check out our article on planning a successful future social media strategy.
- If you need more structure, utilize already existing social media tropes to encourage yourself to post more. For example, make use of the #WIP (work in progress) hashtag, or #TBT (throw back Thursday) kind of posts, and schedule months of posts for Wednesdays and Thursdays ahead of time.
- Above all else, be consistent with your social media presence. As a general rule, most of the time, it’s better to be predictable on social media. Being consistent with the amount of content you post will ensure you look like a reliable, stable, and well informed artist. You can use social media to build your personal brand and consistency and reliability of posts are absolutely key to this.
Write Out A Plan
If you’re really committed to making sure you don’t have to have another (and another and another) social media comeback, it’s a good idea to write out a plan. Write a one, six, and twelve month social media plan where you ask yourself the following three questions to try and formulate for yourself an understanding of what you want to achieve versus what you need to do to achieve those goals.
- How much time are you willing to put into checking, responding, writing, posting, and scheduling new social media content each day or week?
- How much of an increase in followers and social media engagement are you aiming for, as a goal, over the next one, six, and twelve months?
- What speed do you expect to answer to the above questions?
Just by asking yourself these questions you can see any cracks in your plan that might lead to another social media drop off. Following rates usually grow gradually if you’re consistent with your presence — so make sure you adjust your expectations to the speed at which you accrue followers in relation to how much time you are willing to invest in actively engaging people.
Answering these questions can also bring to light any fallacies you might be unknowingly slipping into, for example if you only have the time to check in on social media once a week for an hour, it’s probably unlikely your following on Twitter is going to escalate quickly in six months, as Twitter requires a lot of little, regular interactions to garner more followers.
If you’ve followed some of the steps above we’d love to hear about how you went in your social media comeback. And lastly don’t forget to be consistent and reliable in your posting. It’s crucial to creating an ongoing social media presence and lies at the heart of a formidable online artistic personal brand.