Social Media

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Social Media

Postby Neb » Mon Jan 13, 2014 1:34 pm

Hey gang! I've been working on building an online presence for about 2 years now. (My goal is 1000 "likes" on FB!) I'm about a third of the way there, and I'm hoping to hit 1000 by the end of this year. I just don't feel like I'm really 'doing this right', and that I should be further along than I am. There are people that I really look up to, for their handling of social media, and the way that they accumulate fans/followers/etc.

The reason for this 'lofty' goal of 1000 likes, goes back to articles I've read about 1000 'true' fans, and while 1000 'likes' on facebook doesn't quite translate to 'true fans'... I figure at that point, my stuff 'should be' seen by enough people that a decent percentage of them 'should' be able to help me make any project I'm working on commercially viable. Some of that has played out already, some hasn't. But for every successfully Kickstarter campaign that I've seen, it seems to be that the ones who's creator has approx. 1000 or more 'likes' or 'friends' or whatever you want to call it, turns into a successfully funded project. And oft time they exceed their goals.

To achieve this goal, I've been doing more and more 'commercial' work... prints of recognizable (not my own) characters, as those are easier for people to get behind, and purchase, and ultimately build my audience. Yes... I admit that this is 'selling out'. And I know that not everyone is really interested or supportive of that. It was a struggle for me to come to that decision, as I've always been ONLY interested in drawing my own stuff. But I had to accept, that for me, the ends justified the means. In order for my own projects to be successful, I needed those people behind me... supporting me, and ready to purchase MY own work, even if it wasn't a 'well known property'.

I realize that I used the word 'successful', and that word means completely different things to different people. I don't in any way mean to suggest that what I mean by successful (generally speaking - financially) is or should be the definition that everyone else strives to achieve. We each measure success in our own ways, against our own scale. Personally, I NEED my projects to at least pay for themselves, because I can't afford to take the costs of production from other areas of my life (I have 3 kids... all who enjoy regular meals - and I can't really justify spending money that needs to otherwise go toward the care and feeding of them kidlets.)

But I digress...

My real question for the forum... for all of you... is what steps do you take to build your audience online? What tools do employ to get your work seen by people... Is that even a goal for you at all (and if not, why not??)

I want to hear your thoughts on building your audience... what has worked for you, what hasn't? Are there pitfalls that you can warn against so that others don't make the same mistakes? What percentage of your overall presence is made up by local (people you've met at cons and such) vs. online?
Ben "Neb!" Girven
Artist / Creator / Illustrator / Shifty-Eyed Dreamer
FB: www.facebook.com/nebjustarted
Blog: www.ipoopart.egocomics.com
Instagram / Twitter / Tumblr: @theredneb
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Re: Social Media

Postby Pete_Z » Mon Jan 13, 2014 3:49 pm

Great question! I most def do not have 1000 fans but I know a few people that have insight. I will ask them to chime in. They are friends of 7000 BC that work the social media mojo. I'll see what they have to say. I'll get back to yah on their thoughts.
Last edited by Pete_Z on Mon Jan 13, 2014 10:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Social Media

Postby Pete_Z » Mon Jan 13, 2014 9:57 pm

Answer by Jeremy OwenBurly Press.

"Hey there... Not sure if I'm really the guy to ask. I have yet to crack that coveted 1000 likes in FB (am 5 away from 1000 on IG though... Tumblr has been harder to crack and twitter eludes me almost altogether) and it has taken me 3 years to get there. but here's what I've found about social media and what seems to work for me:

1) pandering seems to work... Drawing recognizable characters and "fan art", or pieces that incorporate recognizable elements, seems to get more attention and shares than anything. One of my most active posts last year was a piece I drew gender-swapping the tub scene from Nightmare on Elm St.

2) contests work. Every time I do a giveaway I always have a small spike in likes or followers. Some unfollow when they don't win but most stick around. Especially if you are pandering to people's vanity... I had a massive (for me at least) spike of followers when I did a "5 random likes get a free portrait sketch" giveaway on IG.

3) hashtag the shit out of your posts. Enough to get more looks but not enough to be annoying (if it's a 4" block of tags no one wants to see that) :). Also keep in mind on tumblr only the first 5 tags are indexed for search so make them count. This also ties into the pandering... Tagging the character or theme you drew will get fans to look at it through tag searches.

4) this may be my biggest draw I'd followers... collaboration. I ask other artists to do pinups for my new book. That way when it is up online they share it post your stuff and vice versa and everyone says to follow the other person... You get seen by more eyes that may have not known you existed yet. Also if not a published thing maybe do character swaps and draw each other's properties to make posts of the same kind. It seems to be mutually beneficial.

5) post lots... Finished stuff, process, etc. this is something I'm working on myself as I haven't been super productive the whole last half if last year. But people love to see you work. They love to see your rough stuff as well as finished stuff. They wanna know what kind of pens you use, what programs you use, how you go from blank page to finished piece. And answer questions if asked... Don't be one of those people that are "well I figured it out, so can you". If someone asks you a process question give them an answer. Doesn't have to be a book, but informative and succinct, and/or some links, is always met with a positive response.

6) always include your web presence address on your pics even if it is a small tiny font. That way you are always credited even if people download and repost.

7) if you can get someone popular to talk about you :) I got a huge spike when a couple of well-followed guys posted pics of themselves wearing nothing but my art over their no-no bits :) there's not much you can do to control this last one without sounding like a beggar (post my stuff pleeeease?!) but it's nice when it happens.

My audience is primarily people that have encountered me online or word of mouth. I haven't done a TON of cons yet so u would say at least 75% of my customers/fans are from online.

Anyway that's my 2¢ I guess? Hope that helps."


Answer by Jeremy OwenBurly Press.
Last edited by Pete_Z on Tue Jan 14, 2014 2:06 pm, edited 5 times in total.
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Re: Social Media

Postby Pete_Z » Mon Jan 13, 2014 10:32 pm

Brian Miller—Creative Director and Owner of HiFi Colour Design will share his thoughts on this topic soon. Watch this space!
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Re: Social Media

Postby Pete_Z » Tue Jan 14, 2014 1:52 pm

Answer by Brian Miller—Creative Director and Owner of HiFi Colour Design

"I think the typical answer is to build your fan base. I believe that to be true no matter if you are talking to someone in person at a comicon or using social media networks. The same way no one wants to deal with a "sleazy used car salesman" type in person people don't want to be shouted at or spammed online. In a perfect world your fans become your network. Your fans follow you and broadcast your work on your behalf merely because it is cool and they want to share it with others. In this scenario it doesn't matter what social networks are popular or not because the fan base moves and flows organically and you are not tied to one social platform. A creator like J. Scott Campbell is a very good example of this. He merely shares his art and projects at the right time and his core group of fans share and broadcast it all over the place... many times with professional sites blogging and re-sharing too. I'm not at the J. Scott Campbell level but I recognize that is the best place to be and the type of goal to aim for."

Answer by Brian Miller—Creative Director and Owner of HiFi Colour Design
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Re: Social Media

Postby Pete_Z » Tue Jan 14, 2014 2:03 pm

Scott P 'Doc' Vaughn—Owner of Vaugn Media and artist of Warbirds of Mars will share his thoughts on this topic soon. Watch this space!
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Re: Social Media

Postby Pete_Z » Wed Jan 15, 2014 12:46 pm

Answer by Scott P 'Doc' Vaughn—Owner of Vaugn Media and artist of Warbirds of Mars

"I'm afraid my answer will actually be a bit mixed, as I feel I don't have enough knowledge where it might really count (facebook and other online promotional-type sites), despite the fact that I keep bangin' away on so many fronts." "...First and foremost, I post my newest art as much as I can (unless it's as-yet unpublished or private or what-have-you) on deviantArt.com. Fans of some my my niche subjects seem to find me/commission me through there more than anywhere. On deviantArt I use the different groups I am a member of to help show off each peice to fans of each subject (ex. I run the 'Monsters and Maidens' group and co-run a Dieselpunk group). Also, you can 'share' the art you post on dA on other social media sites. To that end I'm on TUMBLR (which I'm still figuring out), Facebook and one or two other sites. Facebook is the other tool I use so much, but am still trying to decide how much it pays off. In any case, better to use it than not have it. I'll friend almost anyone on FB, especially if they're into art, artists, writers, into similar interests, etc etc. I post when I have time, sometimes just to be clever or personal, but mostly art/creativity related stuff. Then I share that where I can with Groups that are on FB (Art groups, writers, promotional groups, etc). My friends I'm linked with on any given projects I shout-out to, mention, link, etc... It all keeps me feeling relevant, networked (when I'm not actually at a Con or whatever), and sometimes that maybe I've made a sale or a future customer or 2. Finally, you can see everything I'm linked through on my personal website, vaughn-media.com, which I use as a personal hub. Hope this helps!"

Answer by Scott P 'Doc' Vaughn—Owner of Vaugn Media and artist of Warbirds of Mars
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Re: Social Media

Postby Droakir » Wed Jan 15, 2014 2:16 pm

All very good insights. On a quick (somewhat related) side note, I've created a new thread where we can list various member's accounts on different social networks. Hopefully it will help with member cross-promotion.
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Re: Social Media

Postby bramjm » Wed Jan 15, 2014 8:23 pm

As a designer, my first question always is — "what are you trying to accomplish?" Who are you talking to, what do you want them to do?

Without a goal, you never know when you get there. And the steps you need to take.

Do you want to sell art without having to leave the house? Do you want people to invite you to leave your house to sell art? To speak to them? Assemble an army of minions to some day support your Kickstarter? Have All The Followers on Facebook? Become internet famous so that everything you do is retweeted?

I don't think this contradicts anything posted. Just hope it focuses.

And — and this is in no way a shot at Ben or anybody else, you're doing great stuff — the first step in doing work that gets shared on social media is doing work that's worth getting shared on social media.
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Re: Social Media

Postby bramjm » Sat Jan 18, 2014 6:25 pm

The Problem with Facebook

No solutions offered — well, his solution seems to be YouTube, but he makes videos — but does a good job of summarizing. If you're using FB to promote yourself, you should be aware of how they work.

Ties into a discussion over on another thread about RSS. Which I see as a big part of the answer.
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