What’s Your Social Media Exit Plan?

From 2014: here

Someday you’re going to log into Facebook for the last time.

Same with Twitter.

Someday you’ll uninstall Instagram.

And so will your fans.

What’s your social media exit plan?

People don’t dump their email. And email will outlast whatever zany social media platform comes along in the next four minutes.

Look, you’re a songwriter, not a social media manager.
You’re a photographer, not a marketing guru.
You’re an artist, not a content creator.

You should be spending your time working on your magic, not increasing shareholder value for mega-corps. Every time you post on social media, you build value for that company. That’s why writers get paid to write for website – their articles and interviews get posted, which brings people to the website.

Hey! You should be getting paid!

So slow down on posting everything to social media, and save it for your email list.

Start an account with Mailchimp, Substack, or MailerLite.

(Sound intimidating? Look for the blue box below)

The magic is this: send out an email, and it goes to all your fans. All of them. You can’t do that with social media unless you pay money.

Then, every two weeks or so, send out an email to your fans. Yes, you’ll have enough material to send every two weeks.

Include some of the photos you posted to socials (chances are 80% of your followers didn’t see ’em), write a few words about them. Talk about your new work, your new project. The things you’re passionate about.

Tell people you’ll be sharing your recording process. Your behind the scenes work. Your unpublished work. Lyric ideas. Maybe share some tips on how you create some of your magic.

“I want to share my magic with you; sign up here.”

“I’ll teach you something that I learned the hard way in each email.”

“I love horror movies, and each week I break down my three favorite scenes from the best (worst) horror flicks.”

It’s time to think about social media exit plan.

I’m starting one on one coaching / teaching with email / social media / website / strategy for creative types who don’t want to think all the time about all this stuff. Sign up here for a quick 30 minute chat, or shoot me an email: hi@sethw.com

Be Where You’re At

It’s okay to not want to get signed to a label. Or be a famous photographer. A big time public speaker.

The big brands, the follower counts, the clout, the hype – it’s not either / or. If you’re not the next big thing, on the cover of magazines and on billboards, you don’t have to fighting to be next.

It’s okay to be where you’re at. It’s okay to have 100 followers. Or 1000.

Hell, you don’t even have to be on social media.

We figured out how to sell a shit ton of CDs and sell out shows before social media came along. We’ll continue doing it long after they’re gone.

People can discover you on Bandcamp or Spotify by chance. You can post a gorgeous photo on your website and someone could post it on social media. A video you helped with on Vimeo can resonate with the world.

So much is right place, right time. Who you know. And if there were a map, everyone would have followed it and become a star.

There’s room for magic, chance, luck. And there’s room for not being a world-wide super star. There’s room for not being the current hyped thing, or buzzing stardom.

Where you’re at is where you’re at.

Most People Haven’t Heard Your Album

It’s okay to not have a brand new album on Bandcamp Friday, or ANY FRIDAY. There’s a lot of people in this world who’ve still never heard your album. There’s people that still haven’t heard Metallica’s “black album!”

So talk about the thing you do on social media. Don’t hide it. It’s not “gross” promoting your work. You don’t roll your eyes when you’re painting, doing another vocal take in the studio, or delivering your final design concept to a client, so don’t you roll your eyes when 99.9% of the world doesn’t even know it exists.

You are the caretaker of this art, and it’s not going to market itself. Be proud, include a link, send it to some friends. Don’t hide the potential joy of someones life for another minute.

Also…

I posted this video on Twitter, which has a shelf life of about 10 minutes. Blink and you’ll miss it. And without paying up, most of my followers won’t see it anyways.

But the video lives here, on my own site. We’re all renting on social media, but our websites are our homes. Two months from now it’ll be near impossible to find the original Tweet I made. It’ll be a lot easier for someone to find this video via a link, on the open web, and via search engines.

Daily Loop #38

“No one has talkers block,” says Seth Godin (in 2011). I’ve been on a tear lately with writing, producing, making. Objects in motion, really.

When I think of putting more of me on Twitter, my social network of choice, I just think of all the people not there. And the wide open web, accessible by the other 99% of the world with a smart device connected to the internet.

Lots of thoughts. Lots of ideas.

LIKES

“There’s no reason for an artist to feel like they can’t share “old” work for all of time, while we sit here and actively let art from the dead be our teachers. art is timeless, including yours,” @afroxvx

“Anyone else feel like they’re spending more time on twitter to just banter and have rando conversations like we used to in the before times when you’d run into folks at Phoenix and Pour?” @danmoulthrop

Adam Firman on Twitter
Conor Anderson on Instagram

You Don’t Have to Start a TikTok

Oh, no. You’re missing out if you’re not on TikTok.

“TikTok’s average monthly time spent per user grew faster than nearly every other app analyzed, including 70% in the US and 80% in the UK – surpassing Facebook. TikTok is on track to hit 1.2 billion active users in 2021.”

Social Media Today

Every social media network has an audience, just like every television channel has an audience. And you don’t have to be on the History Channel to be relevant.

You don’t have to be everywhere.

Have you mastered Twitter and Facebook and Instagram? Probably not.

If you have 58 followers on Twitter, those are your 58 people. Cherish them.
Only got 100 followers on Instagram? Would you be okay with 100 people at a show on a Tuesday night?

Work with what’s in front of you.

If the thought of starting from zero followers and learning a new social media network fills you with dread, don’t do it. It’s your art, your music, your career. You make the rules.

Have focus, have a plan. Schedule some social media posts (use Buffer), start an email list (use Mailchimp), and work on your art.

Social Media is a Job

You’re not overwhelmed with managing your social media, you’re over worked.

“Comedian in 1985: i made a joke about how women shop and now i am famous

Comedian in 2021: i do sketch, standup, improv, satire, i make dumb lil videos on tik tok, i have a podcast, a web series, 3 features, 5 pilots, i’m on twitter 22 hours per day & can’t afford rent,” @Brittymigs

And then this:

“As an ex-social manager, idk who needs to hear this but CREATING the social media content and MANAGING the social media content needs to be two separate jobs,” Health Magazine Associate Editor Taylyn Washington-Harmon.

People have full time jobs, with benefits and vacation time and an HR department to make content for companies. Like, for-real paychecks, and paid time of for when they’re sick.

So are you feeling lazy that you’re not writing, planning, designing, and scheduling content a week in advance? Do you feel like a failure for not growing your audience by 10% week after week?

You’re not bad at this, it’s just that you’re one person. One person can only do so much.

The common strategy these days is to create a few versions of each piece of content, and then post across several different social media platforms. Let me tell you, that’s work. That’s a job. That’s a paycheck.

On top of your creative endeavors, or small business? Yeah, that’s a LOT.

So do what you can, and be proud that you’re even doing what you’re doing – even if it’s not a lot. Because, dammit, social media is a job.

Embrace Whimsical Links

This from a recent Twitter exchange, in response to the wonderful “Algorithm is Gonna’ Get You” article, written by Danielle Evans.

“Been thinking of dropping off IG for awhile. I gotta build up my own art sites and creator spaces. Just wish there was a positive online pool of people that congregate outside of algorithms and ads. That fosters connection and drives people to my art and projects. Maybe ello?”

@shootbydaylight

I just feel like leaving everything up to that “community pool” is a rough these days. It’s too centralized. Remember DIGG? StumbleUpon? Is the answer sites like Dribble, or Vimeo, or Flickr?

My dream is we get back to our websites, and letting the whimsy and awe of links do their thing. That happened for me recently with one of my daily loops. I noticed one video got a few more plays than the others, and discovered it was linked from another website – neato!

There was a time when we didn’t drink from the “content firehose” for hours everyday, bombarding our eyeballs with fear and dread mixed in with “oooh, a pretty picture of a sunset!” I think for our own health and sanity we need to back away from cramming everything into one site, one network, one silo.

Stop Handing Out Flyers

There was a time when we didn’t spray a firehose of images, videos, and words into our eyeballs for multiple hours, every day. Around the clock.

During that time we still made albums, published magazines, made videos, and everything else.

The thing I hear a lot, if we abandon social media, is how will we be found? How will our music get heard? How will our videos get watched?

Look, they will.

Back in the day you’d hand out flyers for the show you were playing that night. Put the flyers in the local music shop. Hand them to anyone wearing Chuck Taylors or a nose ring.

Social media is where you hand out flyers, but at a certain point you gotta head back to the venue and play a show.

We’ve all bought into the 24/7 social media marketing life style, heading both directions; both as the consumer and the advertiser.

But there comes a time when you gotta put the phone down and work. You’re going to have to miss that meme, or that person who did the thing, or that random video.

Trust that the wonderful people in your life will send you some of the highlights. Also be okay with missing shit.

Like, how many memes have you missed when they first came out? Then you discovered it three months later. Still funny, right? Great. What’d you lose? Nothing.

Get into your studio, your space, put on your headphones and make your art. That’s the thing that people will discover three months from now. That clever Tweet or funny IG story is nice and all, but it’s gone in a day. Poof.

Put your top stuff on a site. Your writing, your photos, your music, your whatever. Give it a home where people can find it. And keeping filling it up. Keep adding. Make it your home.

People will find you when they find you, and it’ll probably be for your art, the magic you bring to the world.

Photo by Mick Haupt from Pexels

Delight Your Current Fans

The fantastic Andy J Pizza gives some solid, practical advice in this podcast, talking all about using social media for your benefit while being mindful of the cost.

One of the biggest take-aways – stop focusing on new followers and instead put effort into engagement. People who follow you are the fans at your show, the friends at your gallery show, the people who bought a print.

Keep putting out killer work so you’re top of mind for the people who already raised their hand and said, “I want more of this.”

Let Your Work Cook

During a recent Instagram Stories doom-swipe session, I noticed Kendriana post about one of her posts being removed because IG thought it broke some rule. A physical trainer I follow had their entire account wiped out because of some unknown one-and-done rule breaking (thankfully they got their account back).

With each day that passes, it’s never been more important to move your followers to your website. To your email list. Get your biggest fans to follow you to a platform you own.

Social media is so enticing for artists, photographers, musicians, etc because of the instant feedback. The interaction. The release of endorphins that come from instant validation.

The entire system is built on that, but it’s a system to benefit them, not you.

You feed their system day and night with content, with engagement, with interaction. In turn, they harvest your user data, habits, track what you look at and like, and sell it to advertisers.

So long as you keep feeding social media your time and effort, they will make lots of money.

The alternative is update your own website. Send an email to your newsletter subscribers.

Neither give you the instant feedback, but stop and consider that instant isn’t alway better.

Sometimes you need to let your work cook.

Make your site something that’s so rad that people would miss it if it were gone (via Seth Godin). Make it something that is a part of people’s lives. Something worth typing into an address bar (or even bookmarking).

Make your thing so great that people will trade you their email address and the sacred access to their inbox just to keep up with you.

When you spend four hours a day on social media, you helped sell a lot of ads.

When you fill your site with two years worth of content, you had a body of work. Anyone with a web-browser can see your talent.

Your magic.