November 6, 2017

How Do You Create Social Media Content?

My first of several seminars this month was a success! Lots of information was shared and excellent questions were asked. One specifically stood out as something I should give a little more attention to because I imagine many of you are wondering the same thing. We’ve talked about where to post and how often. We’ve discussed best practices for posting, but when it comes to sitting down and creating social content, how do you get started? For some of us, this comes naturally. We’re always keeping an eye out for what would make a good post (occupational hazard). The good news is, you too can learn this mindset. With the right inspiration, tips and tools, creating Social Media content can be a breeze (or at least a lot easier than it has been). Just as many of you see opportunity in a blank canvas, I’d like to help you see the same in a blank Social Media calendar!

Revisiting the Social Media Strategy:
  • GOALS - Your social content, where you post and who you’re hoping to reach should all trace back to your goals. Social Media itself is all about building relationships and providing value, but in service of what you want to accomplish as a business. Make sure you have those higher level objectives in mind to guide you - On or Offline Sales, Commissions, Gallery Representation, Licensing, etc. You’ll then translate these to smaller steps that Social Media can help you achieve. For example, if you want to drive sales, you first need to catch people’s attention and get them to your website or event. 
  • TARGET - From here you should spell out your ideal audience. This should dictate which channels you choose, but also the tone of your posts and type of content. If you have multiple segments, plan for each of them; You’ll likely need to tailor your content. 
  • BRAND - The way you represent yourself, the professionalism and consistency, will determine whether or not your content is recognizable. Your brand voice and the look and feel should play a huge role in creating content. It needs to sound like you and look like you.

Building Relationships:
Social Media is designed for two way communication. Pretty much any other channel is focused on broadcasting to an audience with little opportunity for feedback (think radio, television, print). But with platforms like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, you’re now sharing your message with people who have tons of options at their disposal to tell you what they think. They connect with you because they’re interested in what you do and want to know more. Here’s your chance to befriend them, tell your story and find out what they like. Your content should be made with this in mind. How can you build a relationship with your audience? What do they want to hear? How can you involve them in your art? You've likely heard that you need to balance promotional content with other formats; No one wants to be sold to 100% of the time. When they do buy, it’s because they like you. Think of your social content like a wingman helping your audience see why they should say yes when you ask them to support you.

Providing Value:
The other side of posting on social media is sharing something that educates, informs, entertains, etc. essentially providing some kind of value. Your fans will follow you to show their support, but they want something in return. Think about the friends you have on Facebook. You connect with the ones you want to keep up with so you can see what’s going on in their lives, and sometimes you follow people because they are funny or take awesome trips or make really neat things. Think about how this can translate to you and your fans. You want to make sure your content serves some purpose in their lives by providing value. You can evaluate what you post by what you think it has to offer.

Creating Content:
As we’ve talked about before, having a Social Media calendar makes your planning and posting more efficient. I don’t recommend trying to come up with content each day on the spot. You’ll waste time and miss opportunities best seen when taking a longer term perspective. We’re not taking about mass producing content, but small batch is ideal. I work on monthly calendars, but you may prefer weekly or even quarterly. Find a format that suits you best. Now let’s talk about actually filling this baby in!

>> DATES - Start by noting the important dates in that month - Events, Sales, Holidays. These will be guide posts for other content. Work backwards from events for example to include a couple reminder posts leading up to the actual day and then a recap after the fact. Same with any promotions so people can anticipate and plan. Then add in any relevant holidays, from the major to the minor. I love the site for all of the random Little occasions that might match your business.

Brian Phillips    |     Mckinley Mizar     |     Hodgson & Hodgson

>> YOUR WORK - As an artist, the most unique content you have to offer is examples of your work, and people love to see what you're working on. Plan to share lots of photos of completed projects, works in progress, inspiration, tools, anything involved in your artistic process. Some of you may prefer teasers with just a hint of what you're working on, and that's fine. This actually offers a great chance for engagement by asking your Fans what they think you're making. You can also ask for opinions, naming options, etc. Photos catch people's attention better than most other formats on Social Media. Then any chance for engagement helps get them invested and caring about the finished product. The main caveat here is that no one wants to see 100 pictures of the same piece in progress. Make sure you are varying what types of images you show and aim to only post progress shots with significant differences. Time lapse videos can be a fabulous way to recap a whole project. Videos can really suck people in and impress them with your attention to detail. If you've never made one, I highly recommend trying.

Liz Hermanson    |     Robots in Rowboats    |     Lindsay Designs

>> TOOLS - Assuming most of you create your Social content on your smartphone, here are some great Apps to help you (free ones only). I recommend testing a few to see what suits you best. The most important thing if the quality of your work and photography that shows this, so make sure you don't overdo the glitz to make up for a bad picture. Your fans will be able to tell.

>> PROPS - While you can overlay text, create collages and add other effects on your phone, you may want to stage some of your photos with a handful of relevant props. I highly recommend using the tools that are part of creating your art. There are lots of different ways you can feature them, whether it's with a work in progress, as a trusty partner you name, in a "Guess this tool" post to name a few. Beyond that, you might want some signage you can play around with. You've probably seen people using chalk boards or mini marquis signs to add statements to their posts. These can be very fun and easy to customize. Other than that, it will depend on what you make. Your photography should help people envision owning and using your art. If you make etched glasses for example, you may want some acrylic ice cubes and bar props. If you make journals, I would have some pens and stickers. Learn more about staging here.

Monster Dance Designs     |     Katie Holland Designs     |     Jamie Spinello 

>> BACKGROUNDS - Props are a great way to tell a story, but sometimes you only need the right backdrop. You can go with a simple color or pattern that fits your work for example. You might also consider a place that's suitable. Work smarter not harder!

Amanda Jones     |     Katie Cowden     |     Monster Dance Designs

>> ARTICLES - When it comes to educating people and helping them understand your process, articles are a great type of content to share. If you get press, you should definitely share. As for other writeups, if you pick from good sources, you can build up your credibility as an expert. Just be sure these articles are relevant to what you make and the people you expect to buy from you.

>> SHARING - Another great way to "create" content is to share posts from peers and related organizations. There's no need to duplicate posts if someone you know has already put it out there. Just share and add your own take on the post to make it your own. Facebook and Twitter already have this feature built in. On Instagram, you'll need an app like Repost, but it works just as well. The added benefit is that you maintain the credit for the person who first posted this content and show your support by extending the reach. If you're lucky, your friends and fans will share your content as well. The best way to find sharable content is to curate who you Like and Follow. On Facebook, you can use the Like as your Page feature to see a feed of this content. On Instagram and Twitter, it's all in who you follow.

>> QUOTES - Who doesn't love a good inspirational quote? There are plenty of times I feel like someone else already said what I want to communicate and they did it better. So I find that piece of content and share it, often with added context. is an excellent and trustworthy source with great search options so you can find the statements that work best for your brand.

>> PERSONAL - Last, but not least, you may have a few personal updates you want to share. As I've mentioned before, you should plan to keep your personal and professional presences separate on Social Media, but there are some things that can cross over. Big life changes are definitely work posting on your business Social Media. This makes you more relatable as a person and a business owner. Just make sure you keep the minor updates to your personal accounts.

Kuhdoo Soap Co     |     Rebekah Vineyard Jewelry

So many options! I hope this list helps you start thinking about the type of content that's out there for you to share. If you're still struggling and would like to brainstorm together, I'm happy to consult. As you may have guessed, I love coming up with content! Happy Posting!