Artists and creatives being themselves on social media.
When you operate on social media as a creative person, it can be hard to show your genuine self to your audience right away. Though, this is one of the most important things you should do. It can take time and persistence to get comfortable putting yourself out there, but the benefits are worth it.
If you are a creative person it’s likely that the world has tried to stuff you into a box so many times that you actually hide the best parts of you. The parts that are a little weird or eccentric, or the struggles you experience. I’ve been there. I hid a lot of myself. In the past, I felt so “other” that I would shrink around new people–but then I met a friend years ago who was confidently weird and eccentric. By being herself, she gave me permission to do the same. After that, I continued to evolve into my own weirdness and loved it. When it came time to put my artwork online, I took that love and ran with it.
I had a goal to be me and speak my truth as a creator and business owner and I’m glad I did. I write these blog posts to help artists and creatives succeed in their businesses and in creativity, but this topic is relevant as just a regular human in society as well. Here’s why you should let your followers get to know you and your true self on social media:
You Can Build trust and make sales
Clearly, making money is a main goal for creators online. Sometimes we put our work into the world just for kicks, but selling it is often a focus. When you allow your audience to get to know you, it is more likely they will buy from you.
When your followers can see that you are a real human they can relate to, they will feel less hesitation to give you their money. It’s easy to support people you know and like. Online transactions take a lot of trust. A customer will wonder if their money or their personal information is safe, if they will even get the items they ordered, or if you will be there if they have questions, etc..
When you share who you are, what you value, and why you do what you do, then customers will be eager to support you if they relate to you.
Be cautious though. Don’t share too much. Being yourself while running a business does not mean airing dirty laundry or being dramatic. Nor does it mean sharing everything about where you live, your family, your children, or anything that leaves you vulnerable to the creepers on the internet. It only takes one request for pictures of your feet in your DMs to realize the necessity of some privacy.
Keep yourself safe and make sure that you are giving your audience something valuable while sharing your story.
Do good in the world.
Being yourself creates a ripple effect through everyone you interact with, and gives them permission to do the same. Just as my friend from years ago gave me permission to be a weirdo, I try to do that for others with my online presence.
When you open up, show your quirks, your sense of humor, share your life, your struggles, your triumphs, or your humanity, it inspires others. We attract the energy we put out into the world and we amplify it in others. Good and bad.
I feel like this should go without saying, because I’m assuming if you are reading this, you aren’t a genuine asshole–but if you are an asshole and you like to be mean and get people riled up, then ignore everything I am saying here. The world has enough assholes right now. Though, if you can do it in a delightfully snarky way like @effinbirds or @whiskeyriversoap and manage to make people laugh, then carry on with your salty sentiments. I, too, like to say “fuck” a lot.
Be yourself. Be kind. Own your weirdness. Or if you are an asshole, at least be funny about it. Please and thank you.
Connect on a genuine, human level.
It is refreshing to come across real people doing cool things online. The internet is full of weird stuff. A lot of good-weird stuff, but a lot of bad-weird stuff too. The internet allows us to craft an identity that might have some truth to it, but unfortunately it’s easy to lie. It’s easy to pretend to be something you are not and social influencers do it all the time. I even do it when I’m staging photos. You think I wear jeans all the time? No. I’m wearing sweat pants, two sweaters, a cardigan, bed head, and fluffy socks that would make your grandma swoon. But if I cringe when I catch myself in the mirror, I’m not putting that on the internet to live forever. Maybe an IG story though…
Anyway, there is room for real people online. There is a place for genuine, down-to-Earth, good people to exist and thrive in an online space. I have met many people through Instagram that I would consider true friends, because I made the choice to be open and invite people into my life. I have shared enough about my life and struggles that long lasting friendships have grown within my DMs. I’ve been a shoulder to lean on for people who are struggling, and my followers have often been there for me. When I was deeply depressed in early 2020, one of my friends from France sat with me on the phone one afternoon and made my life a bit brighter when I needed it most. I wouldn’t have met him without being myself online. This part has little to do with running a business, but everything to do with feeding the human spirit.
It is up to you to decide how much of yourself you want to share with your followers. You don’t need to be vulnerable and share everything, but I can promise you that if you have struggled through something and found a way out, sharing your story can help your audience feel connected to you and feel less alone in the world. Even if that struggle is spilling your coffee on your laptop or your kid sticking gum in your hair. Life is interesting. Share the quirks!
Personally, I share what is relevant to me as an artist and my creative process. Which means I am open about struggles with confidence, depression/anxiety, battling with my internal critic, and more. I always try to share with a positive tone, and I try to encourage others. Social media can be used to actually connect deeply with others, and it’s beautiful when that happens.
Embrace your voice as a creator.
When I decided to become a professional artist, I lacked confidence. I had a dream, and I wanted to succeed, but I also had a really loud internal critic that told me I wasn’t good enough all the damn time. Somehow, I still put my work online. The desire to create was stronger than my fear of sucking. Over time, the more I shared, the more confident I became in my voice as a creator.
When you show up, be yourself, and focus on your craft, you get feedback from your audience than can help you gain more confidence in yourself as a creator. I know it’s scary at first, but this is where faking it until you make it comes into play. Well, not even faking it. Just ignore the fear and internal critic and put yourself out there anyway. Easier said than done, I know, but the benefits can be amazing.
When you open up about your creative process or something relatable in your life and have followers respond positively, it helps you trust your own voice. That positive reinforcement feels damn good. Even when your art still needs work, you can evolve in the open. I honestly cringe at some of the work I created a couple of years ago, but having a mission of being honest and vulnerable to my audience kept me accountable to the creative process. The more I shared, the more I painted, the more I grew and found my voice.
I want the same for you. Do your thing. Put your creations and yourself as an artist out into the world. Watch yourself evolve over time as you interact with your audience.
I wouldn’t be here writing this without the positive feedback I’ve received from my audience over the last few years. Your audience can help you find your voice and embrace it. And then you get to continue the cycle and inspire other artists. It’s pretty cool.
Now get out there and be yourself! Open up and start conversations through social media. You never know who you will inspire when you own your weirdness and connect with others.
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