I’d put money on the idea that many serious introverts, including a number of authors as well as artisans and artists, are the majority of the no-social-media accounts population. Problem is that social media has become a go-to space to be visible to an audience for your books or jewelry or paintings. Years ago, we were often restricted to a local network centered in a shop or had to get a literary agent or traditional publisher to pay attention to our great story. But no more!
The Social Media Exposure Myth
Well, maybe. Social media was originally touted as an easy way to promote your wares worldwide. But the ad-based social media model has built-in incentives to only give access to the largest audience if you are willing to pay for ads. Even then, you might only reach a small percentage of your followers on FB or wherever unless you are willing to pay big bucks. So, we are in some respects back to the TV commercial model. Yuck! Yeah, I don’t want to do a bunch of commercials/ads, nor do I think I’ll get enough of a return on investment to make it worth my effort.
It’s the Engagement That Counts
For small-scale entrepreneurs, mass exposure is likely to be overwhelming. Like the painter from the Renaissance, what you need is at least one patron, and in today’s world perhaps a tribe of fans to follow your work and buy your stuff. And for that, you need to build real relationships and reputation rather than blanketing the social media world with ads. Also, introverts tend to value in-depth one-on-one relationships anyway, so social media may seem rather alien with its focus on numbers of followers and broadcasting of personal information to what amounts to strangers. So, let’s scale this down to a level that introverts might find more comfortable.
Get Organically Social
I was the social media maven for my introverted husband’s coin ring business a few years ago. I noticed that artisans on Etsy.com, where hubby had his shop, tended to feel overwhelmed with what they perceived as social media obligations. All the stuff of marketing and relating to customers is something many makers would rather avoid.
The good news for anyone who wants to avoid social media overwhelm and still be visible:
- It’s about engagement, not advertisement.
- You don’t have to be everywhere or compromise your personality or ethics.
Each social media outlet has a slightly different demographic and “culture” for sharing and connecting. Very few engage using posts that are just product promotion. If they put out lots and lots of those in repetition, people will ignore them. Just begging for customers all the time is definitely a turnoff.
Instead, use social media to let us get to know you, the maker or writer. It’s more about you as a person than the product itself (surprised?). Remember that you are the real product; your talent is what sets you apart. We’d like to know about your process. No, dear artist, you don’t have to give away all your “secrets.” We just want to know what it’s like for you to make cool stuff with your own tools and talents.
If you are a strong introvert and just want to make stuff, it’s likely best to work with a partner on the social media stuff. You can also do some of the marketing stuff that does feel comfortable to you. My hubby always wrote a personal note to each customer on parchment paper (his idea) and included a history of the coin that he’d turned into a ring. This was his way of connecting and adding story to his product.
Social Media Outlets
So, read up on some of the blogs about how the different social media outlets work and see what seems to fit your style best. Following are some brief impressions of mine on the major players:
Patreon might not be strictly thought of as social media, but it is. It gathers people with a common interest (your work). Most social media is about collecting people around common interests. With Patreon, though, patrons consciously support you with regular funding to create more work. Unlike crowdfunding sites like Kickstarter, Patreon is designed for a deep, long-term relationship with your fans. Just keep in mind that you will commit to creating work for them and the general public on a regular basis. It’s a major commitment, and it can take time to build a patron audience.
Twitter kind of expects people to be engaged several times a day (but not necessarily hundreds of times, thank you!). To me, Twitter is definitely designed for extroverts to take advantage of. It requires too much activity even for me. 😉
Facebook is not a fav of mine for biz, but it can work for others. It is a good way to keep a small audience of regular fans apprised of your work. Keep in mind that a Facebook Page by itself will not just bring hordes of people to you. Facebook sets it up so most people won’t see your posts or even paid ads unless you already have a large following (I know, Catch 22). That’s because they, like all public corporations, are primarily interested in making money for their shareholders.
As a quieter and much more privacy-focused alternative to the old FB, you can build a tribe over at MeWe. I like that I can separate personal friends from fans by starting over, basically. MeWe doesn’t work on the ad model (they have basic stuff for free and then charge small amounts for extra things, like having a business page or fancier emojis). I like the vibe and the greater impact of my presence because it’s got users in the low millions so far instead of billions.
Pinterest can be good for artists and artisans because it focuses on visuals and doesn’t require a big story behind everything that’s posted. Especially if you are creating for collectors (of genre fiction or jewelry or seashells or paintings or photos, the list goes on), Pinterest can be a good place to get extra visibility.
Instagram (owned by Facebook) is also visually oriented and expects very brief posts. I find it a timesaver just because I can post to both it and FB at the same time.
A Simple Social Media Strategy
Pick two or maybe three outlets (two’s enough) that seem to match your personal style. Share yourself and your making process (video, for example, can be a great way to share what you do if you make stuff) regularly. Pick a frequency of posting that works for you (weekly or monthly are best options), and then be very regular with it.
Keep in mind that sales are not necessarily highly correlated to social media directly. So don’t despair if you don’t see direct connections, especially at first. Most folks still buy because they search for something they want, or because an offline friend recommended something. Social media is just a way to increase general visibility over time and reach some people you might not have otherwise.
Always remember that your own marketing territory, whether it’s a brick-and-mortar shop on a street in your town or a website of your own (or ideally, both) are your most powerful tools for being visible. Social media will always be extra, mainly because you don’t own the territory.
Go forth and create in peace and joy! And if you want to create or enhance your very own web presence, I’ll be right here. 🙂