“The whole point of social media is continuity and continual engagement.” -Clara Shih
As I talked about in my last post, I consider myself a freelance illustrator, and though it may be a part-time job for me currently, I make a commitment to give my full effort and passion to it. One component of my daily schedule that is very important to me is making time for social media, and I want to share with you why it is so important to me and my habits in making time and creating content for my various outlets.
Being an illustrator can be a very isolating profession. You work in your art cave all day, taking breaks to eat, sleep, get some fresh air and occasionally interact with your fellow human beings. And unless you are in school, living on a campus full of like-minded individuals living a similar hermetic life, or in a large city where you can attend “drink n’ draw” events or other art-related social events, for the most part you are probably pretty isolated in your creative universe. Thus, social media becomes a very appealing way to connect with other illustrators, fans/admirers, friends, family (and any combination of the aforementioned), share our work and get a peek into the lives and work of our peers.
Social media is a weird, multifaceted creature – it is used by A LOT of different people with MANY different intentions. Businesses use it to market their products, artists use it to share their work, teenagers use it to share their selfies, YouTube-r’s use it to share their personalities on video; I mean, I could type out all the different ways social media is used until my fingers fall off. With so many different outlets for sharing so many different intentions, there is a huge spectrum from informative professional media to content bubbling with color and personality and everything in between.
Being a freelance illustrator means you get to run your own business. Most of the time, you are your own boss. Your job is producing the work, marketing the work, connecting with clients/customers, managing finances, customer service, etc. all rolled into one – all under the umbrella of your own imposed time management and schedule. So social media plays this interesting piece in the puzzle in a lot of those ways – and therefore the business side of what we do needs to be addressed without losing the playful side and letting that shine through.
I have quite a number of social media sites that I post this varied content to:
- Snapchat – username: allisonranieri
I have four main goals or categories that my social media content fits into:
- process work
- professional updates
“Fall in love with the process and the results will come.” –Eric Thomas
My process work ranges from timelapse videos of patterns in the making to commissions in progress, to static shots of drawings and crops of illustrations. I love sharing process work because it is a little insight into how I make my work – and then when you can go view the final piece once it’s finished, looking back shows an interesting evolution. It is also interesting to have documentation for myself and my own reference to see how a piece changes over the course of its creation. If I liked the way a part of it was going and then mess it up later, it’s also a good way to have recorded that portion in at least some form. Timelapse videos I find especially fun to make, and I create more of these while working on digital illustrations or patterns. It is incredibly easy to turn on screen record, and then speed it all up in iMovie. I usually post my process work to Snapchat (allisonranieri), Instagram and Tumblr.
“If you have knowledge, let others light their candle in it.” -Margaret Fuller
Having platforms to share what I’ve learned on this amazing and often unexpected journey through art and of life is an incredible thing. I fully believe resource sharing with other illustrators and artists is the best way we can create a community and improve ourselves. I try to contribute to this resource sharing occasionally, and I love sharing knowledge I have discovered through trial and error that helps make me a better, more efficient artist. Some of my favorite useful information on working as a freelance artist I have read on illustrators’ blogs, and I don’t know if I will ever have truly inspirational knowledge to share! But I do hope that it can be of some use to somebody. I usually share informative posts on my blog. I will then “promote” (share that I posted these blog posts) on Tumblr and Snapchat (allisonranieri).
“Without promotion, something terrible happens – nothing!” –P.T. Barnum
As my art is not just my passion but also my business, so promotion is also a part of what I do. It is definitely not easy in my opinion, as someone who tends to generally play down my own accomplishments. As your own PR person, you tend to need to not only believe in the quality of the content you are sharing, but be comfortable sharing it with the world as well in order to run your business. “Promotion” for me ranges from everything from simply sharing a finished piece to actually posting about a sale I’m having in my shop. I use many different channels of my social media in promotion, and generally use a different form of social media each time I am promoting something. These sites include Instagram, Tumblr, Snapchat (allisonranieri), Facebook, my Newsletter, Patreon and of course my stores.
So as you may have noticed, there naturally is a bit of overlap in the four general kinds of content I post. Professional updates, for me, constitute posting finished illustrations. I generally post these to both my Tumblr and my Website Portfolio. New, exclusive illustrations that I finish each month I post to my Patreon for backers to see – read more about that here.
As you can tell, I have put a bit of thought into my social media presence. I consider it part of my job to stay connected and update my accounts, and at the end of the day, when I work it into my schedule, it becomes less of a burden to keep so many different sites maintained and a lot more fun sharing for me. Realizing, too, the frequency with which I would like my content to appear in different feeds has been an important part of having fun with it as well. There’s definitely nothing scientific about this formula – it is one that I have largely created myself from observing how frequently others’ work and promotions appear in my different social media feeds. For instance, I try to post to Instagram once a day, Tumblr every 1-2 days, Snapchat (allisonranieri) 6+ times a day, Facebook 2-3 times a week, my blog once every 1-2 weeks, Patreon once a month and my newsletter every month or so.
Obviously the relationship to social media and the particular sites with which one engages are different for everyone. But these are the ones I have found to be useful to me in particular. I hope this article has been at least somewhat useful to you if you are trying to figure out how to manage your social media presence! The main thing to remember is – you don’t have to put much work into it, other than setting a simple schedule for yourself, and from there work in your posts as a seamless integration of your daily routine. And don’t forget to have fun – share content that is interesting to you and makes your heart dance with inspirational glee. See you out there!
If this is helpful to you, you can download my free weekly planner page from here.