Why You Should Let Your Followers Get to Know You

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.

Please leave questions and comments below while commenting is open or reach out to me directly through Instagram or email. I’d love to hear from you! Make sure to sign up for my email list below to never miss a blog post. New posts are published every week (kind of). And if you’d like to see more content like this in the future, consider becoming a Patron of mine! (See details below.)

-Kelly

@messyeverafter

Do want to help me create more blog content? I want to keep providing content like this for free, but I need your help. If you enjoy my blog posts and gain any inspiration from the content I put out there, please consider becoming a Patron of Messy Ever After on Patreon. Pledging just $1 a month enables me to keep helping artists like you. Plus, you get extra little perks!

Further Reading:

Don’t Let Your Art Be Too Precious

Breathe life into your art and then release it.

I was talking to a fellow creator today about the risks of getting too close to your work. All creators form a bond with their creations. You have to feel something for your work in order to pull creativity from an authentic place, but there comes a time when you need to detach from your art. You need to cut ties and let it fly free. When the work is done, kick that art out the door and make room for a new creative cycle.

When you find yourself obsessing over every detail, reworking a single piece of art, or seeking countless outside opinions–your work is becoming too precious and it will be the creative death of you. That art is too needy and it will drive you insane if you fixate on what you could change.

You might be thinking, “But Kelly, shouldn’t I dedicate my love and energy to my work?!”

Yes–you should–but not all of it. A little love is good. Giving all your love and energy to a single creative project is irresponsible. Everything you create will allow space for improvement, evolution, and growth, but each individual project has finite growth potential.

If you spend your lifetime writing a single novel that you rewrote 50 times until you got it just right, then you will have wasted years of energy that could have brought 50 other novels to life.

You have to settle for “complete” and not “perfect”.

What are the risks of your work being to precious?

It’s harder to start new projects.

If you never finish the piece you’ve dedicated all of your energy to, you will never start anything new. If this doesn’t bother you, then by all means, keep that precious mentality. Though, if you want to carve out a path to a professional creative career, you need to produce. You need to grow and evolve. Each new project is an opportunity to improve upon the last work of art.

It’s harder to hear criticism.

If you create one piece of art, it’s easy to feel emotionally bonded to it. When you hear negative feedback, it’s like an attack on your sense of self. Someone is critiquing an extension of you. They aren’t actually, but when you’re work is too precious, it definitely feels like that.

All of you creative eggs are in that single art basket. Don’t let your art have that much power over you. It isn’t a part of you anymore. Yes, you created it, but you have to detach from it. Once you send it out into the world, it’s on its own. The more art you push out the door, the more you’ll detach.

It’s harder to abandon something that isn’t working.

Look, I get it. You’ve put all of your energy into a huge project, and you can’t even fathom the idea of it failing–but it might fail–and you have to be okay with that. You have to be willing to move on for the sake of your sanity. When your art is too precious, abandoning it seems like betrayal.

That’s how you know it’s time to walk away. Betray the art. Move on to something new.

Time’s a wastin’.

What should you do if you’re work has become too precious?

I’ve been here. There’s no shame in the overly precious art game. But now that you’re aware of it, you have an opportunity to change.

Walk away. Get distance.

Once I lose the flow in a work of art or writing, and suddenly my momentum screeches to a painfully critical halt, I toss that creation in my dud pile. I leave it for another day. A day where I might have a different perspective.

Some of those works get attention in the future, and some get scrapped entirely if time didn’t help. The important thing is that you have the ability to walk away.

Start something new.

Once you walk away from something that became too precious, immediately pour your energy into a new project. I split my time between writing and art. Writing requires more labor and I have a tendency of getting too close to that work, so I write a little and then walk away and start a batch of new paintings.

When I get stuck on one, I move to another. When writer’s block hits, I paint. When my hands get tired or paint needs to dry, I write.

Keep the momentum going and spread your creative energy around to multiple projects.

Focus on quantity over perfect quality.

Your work will never be perfect. It will be good enough. It will be complete. It will be ready for the world to see. But it will never be perfect. Ever.

Don’t get obsessed with a single piece of art. View your creative life as a whole. Fill the years with as many imperfect works of art that you can, because you will become a better artist as a result. You will create more opportunities, discover more about yourself, and increase your odds of success by being a prolific creator.

Now, abandon that precious, energy sucking, needy work of art that is torturing you. You can’t give it the perfection it demands. That will take all the heart out of it.

***

(Need more convincing? I highly suggest this helpful piece by The Oatmeal. Kill your darlings.)

Please leave questions and comments below while commenting is open or reach out to me directly through Instagram or email. I’d love to hear from you! Make sure to sign up for my email list below to never miss a blog post. New posts are published every week (kind of). And if you’d like to see more content like this in the future, consider becoming a Patron of mine! (See details below.)

-Kelly

@messyeverafter

P.S. You probably know by now that I am here to help artist’s with these posts. If you need help with your online branding, Instagram account, or just want a creative accountability coach, then check out my consulting services. You can easily add a session to my online calendar now.

Read more about my consulting services and book an appointment today.

Do want to help me create more blog content? I want to keep providing content like this for free, but I need your help. If you enjoy my blog posts and gain any inspiration from the content I put out there, please consider becoming a Patron of Messy Ever After on Patreon. Pledging just $1 a month enables me to keep helping artists like you. Plus, you get extra little perks!

Further Reading:

Can You Make Art if You Are Not an Artist?

Are you socially isolated and bored?

If you’re being a responsible member of society, you are staying home and are quite possibly bored out of your mind already. Damn this Coronavirus. If you’re like me, you also probably ate all of your quarantine snacks. (Poptarts, why you so tasty?!)

I am no stranger to staying away from people, but to all my fellow introverts, check on your extroverted friends. They probably aren’t okay. You should also convince them to pick up a new hobby–like art!

Now is the perfect time to make art and to flex your creative muscles. Whether you’ve done art in the past, consider yourself a professional, or believe you have zero creativity, you should make art.

And I know some of you might be thinking, “But I’m not an artist.”

Can you still make art?

Maybe this isn’t your career and maybe you are terribly unskilled–but you can make art, and you should make art.

Plenty of pretentious creators and art aficionados will try to convince the world that the creation of art is reserved for elite groups. That you cannot just be an artist or make art without a grand purpose or meaning. I get why. This practice drives the price of art up and inflates the value–but it also discourages a lot of people from trying to create.

I have been discouraged many times through my experiences in the art world, because I didn’t think I could live up to what an artist should be. And there was a long stretch where I did not believe I was an artist at all. During those years, I wasted too much time not creating.

Artist or not, you can and you should make art. To help any creative newbies out there, I put together a little list of Don’ts for getting started on making art.

1.DOn’t live by the rules

The art world has rules, but this is the world where you can and should break them. It’s always funny to me when creative people have rigid mindsets, because I see creativity as a fluid practice. Rearranging the things in your life to make new and surprising combinations is where creativity thrives. The moment you get stuck in your ways, is the moment creativity starts to fade.

Everything in your life can be used to make art, and art can be everything around you. You don’t have to make art a certain way. You don’t even have to use traditional supplies. Just make things.

Make sculptures with bubbles from your bubble bath. Use art stencils and cinnamon on top of your morning latte to make edible art. Fold and stack your bathroom towels in a new way. Organize your fruit bowl by color. Use tea and a watercolor brush to make earthy monochromatic paintings in a sketchbook. Fold your junk mail into origami flowers. Anything! The possibilities are endless.

There are no rules that you have to follow except to make art in anyway you can today.

2.Don’t listen to the naysayers

I’ve heard from so many people over the years that they quit making art because someone said something negative to them. That they weren’t good enough. That they would never be able to make money from art. That they were doing the wrong kind of art. That what they made wasn’t even art at all.

I know a lot of these negative comments can come from a place of good intentions, but it is amazing how quickly you can steal someone’s artistic light with a careless critique or judgment.

So I am here to tell you that those comments mean nothing. Nobody has an objective truth about your potential or what will happen in the future. If you feel the urge to create something–do it. Defy the limitations put on you and make all the art your heart desires.

3.And Don’t be your own Naysayer

Negative comments from others are bad, but negative comments from your own internal dialogue are even worse. Choose to only listen to encouraging thoughts, because they will move you forward. Positive thoughts are creative. Negative thoughts are destructive.

Now is the time to create. You can do this. You should do this. Having or not having the label of “artist” does not matter.

All that matters is that you create.

***

I hope you follow all of your curiosities and make the art that you want to make. If you found this post helpful, feel free to send it to anyone who needs a little encouragement today!

Now go make art and share it with me on Instagram using the hashtag #messyeverafter 🙂

Please leave questions and comments below while commenting is open or reach out to me directly through Instagram or email. I’d love to hear from you! Make sure to sign up for my email list below to never miss a blog post. New posts are published every week. And if you’d like to see more content like this in the future, consider becoming a Patron of mine! (See details below.)

-Kelly


Do want to help me create more blog content? I want to keep providing content like this for free, but I need your help. If you enjoy my blog posts and gain any inspiration from the content I put out there, please consider becoming a Patron of Messy Ever After on Patreon. Pledging just $1 a month enables me to keep helping artists like you. Plus, you get extra little perks!

Further Reading: