How to Choose Your Social Media Accounts
If you’re just starting out on your creative journey, knowing which social media platforms to use can be overwhelming. There are many options already and more platforms get launched every year, each of them strong in different areas. This post aims to help you decide which social media platforms are right for you and your creative business.
I always recommend picking 1-3 social networks to dedicate the majority of your online social time. There are a couple of reasons for this:
- Trying to dedicate time to too many profiles will spread you thin. It could end up diluting your brand, message and content. Focusing down on the most important tools is key to building a strong presence.
- Not all social networks will serve you equally. Relevance is often a factor. If you are a creative, chances are you want to show the work you create. A text-heavy platform like Twitter might not serve you as well as a visual platform like Instagram.
- You should limit your time on social media anyway. Too much exposure can be bad for your health, especially if you choose a platform where strong opinions are dominant (i.e. Twitter!).
Saying that, it’s OK to have additional accounts where you can cross-post content and support your engagement and reach. But these should be secondary. To make updating multiple accounts easier, people often use automated posting services such as Later, Buffer or Tailwind. I recently switched to Tailwind and so far I’ve found it useful for setting up posts, curating content and organising how I want my social feeds to look. You can do quite a lot with a free account, although the subscription service allows you many more options.
At the moment these are the accounts I’m actively using, although as noted I don’t spend a lot of time on all of them. I picked two primaries (Instagram and Pinterest) and one secondary (Facebook), with the rest serving as tertiary accounts.
Instagram – My main social venue where I probably spend most of my social time online. This is a place where I have made friends and valuable professional connections and because it’s a visual site it suits a visual business perfectly!
Instagram is great for art and design, crafts and DIY, small brands and entrepreneurs. Plus it has Stories, 24 hour posts organised into a separate area at the top of your follow feed. Stories are fantastic because:
- They allow you to post frequently without spamming your followers. Basically your followers can choose to click your stories and view them, whereas if you post twenty times to your feed each day your followers will have to manually scroll through all of those posts.
- You can save popular or special stories as highlights which show at the top of your profile. This prevents them from self-destructing after 24 hours and allows you to organise them into categories.
- They make it super easy to share other people’s work and recommend posts. This is a fab way to network and make new friends. You’ll notice a far better engagement by sharing others’ posts as much as your own.
If you set up a Business Account you can schedule your posts using tools like Tailwind or Later. Plus, the interface is attractive, with your main posts organised into tidy rows. You also have the option to view Instagram in light or dark mode which is great if you tend to do your networking at night.
Even if you hate social media, as a creative I highly recommend at the very least having an Instagram presence.
Facebook (Page) – I’m still getting to grips with using a Facebook page for my business. There are so many options and functions, it can be daunting getting started. But there are courses available online to help you navigate through Facebook’s business capabilities. I often go to Skillshare for this, but you can find free tutorials on YouTube.
Facebook offers free marketing tools to help you grow your small business. Here are a few of them:
- Facebook Messenger – This makes it easy for customers or clients to get in touch and enables you to help them in real-time.
- Groups – I’d say this is a must for anyone trying to scale their business. It doesn’t matter what your niche or genre is, there is probably a group for like-minded people. Groups allow you to connect with people in your specific field and grow relationships with them. Just make sure you’re active and you support others (rather than simply self-promote, which is generally frowned upon).
- Ads – There is an interface dedicated to creating ads with a lot of options and the ability to A/B test. You can specify your audience and promotion goals.
Facebook also owns and integrates with Instagram, and you can manage your Instagram account from the Facebook dashboard.
Consider that Facebook has a humongous audience, many of whom could be potential clients, customers and fellow creatives to connect with.
Pinterest – Pinterest is an interesting and unique marketing tool that I use for both designs and blog content. It’s more of a visual search engine than a ‘social’ place (i.e. I don’t spend time chatting on Pinterest) but it’s incredibly useful.
One key thing you need to remember is that it’s not all about pinning your own stuff all the time. As a general rule of thumb, you want to be pinning your content 20% of the time and re-pinning other people’s content 80% of the time. This keeps a nice balance where you’re not being too self-promotey and, as often proven across social media, supporting others can lead to a much higher engagement for your business. But always be genuine about this, and only share content that you like and believe in.
Pinterest is also a great way to link people back to your website or blog, and using social media management tools like Tailwind enable you to organise your posts and populate your pins with relevant tags and links.
Twitter – I recently resurrected my old Twitter account and revamped it to be consistent with my other pages. I mainly use Twitter as a place to share other people’s content through re-tweets. Twitter is far more geared around conversation than many of the other social networks, so if the majority of your communication is text-based, it might be a great choice for you.
One thing to keep in mind is that Twitter can be noisy and, uh, passionate. I tend not to use it too much because sometimes it can get a bit political. There’s nothing wrong with political, but if I’m trying to be productive it can become distracting.
Behance – Adobe’s visual social network. Often used by professionals in the creative fields, it covers many areas of design, from illustration and graphic design to motion graphics, advertising and branding. The quality is generally high and projects are curated by the Behance team. Refined and polished work is always encouraged!
I predominantly use Behance for inspiration. You can also easily find new artists and designers to follow.
Dribbble – I have to admit, I don’t visit Dribbble often at the moment and I haven’t figured out the best way to use it yet, but it has a sleek interface and the work I see there is overall high quality. Recently Dribbble acquired Creative Market, too, so if you sell your work on Creative Market it’s probably worth at least setting up an account and keeping an eye on what’s happening. I imagine there will be tools and integrations between Dribbble and CM in the future that creators will find useful.
Of course, there are many other social networks you can choose. YouTube, DeviantART, LinkedIn, WeHeartIt, Tumblr… and more. Some are more active and relevant than others, so choose carefully and do some research. Try to find out where your target audience is hanging out, because that’s where you want to be.