How to Create More Content for Social Media

You can grow your audience with loads of quality content.

(And no. You don’t just have to create more art.)

Nearly every time I do an Instagram assessment with one of my consulting clients, I hear a little gasp of disbelief when I get to the part of the session where I say “You need to post 1 to 3 times a day, 7 days a week.” That’s a big ask, and at first it’s assumed that I’m saying that you need to have 1 to 3 different pieces of art to post a day. Don’t panic.

Posting 1 to 3 different photos or videos a day on Instagram does not mean you need to create a ridiculous amount of art. It means you need to get creative with your content. In this post, I will give you a plethora of ideas to expand your content and get ready to up your Instagram game. Instagram is my main focus here, but you can easily post the same content on your other social media accounts like Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and more.

Why do you need to post so much?

The most common questions I get on this topic is “Won’t people get tired of my work?” and “Doesn’t this seem spammy?”

No and no. Social media moves quickly, attention spans are short, and people are following you because they like what you do. When you are an artist operating online, you are providing a service when you post. When a follower finds enjoyment in looking at your work or reading what you have to say, they will happily consume 1-3 post from you a day. Happily. If someone gets tired of you, then they probably aren’t your target audience (or you’re asking too much of your audience–I’ll write another post on this in the future).

You are not being spammy by posting up to 3 times a day on Instagram. You need to constantly show up and remind your audience that you exist online. Make it easy for them to interact with you by showing up in their feeds every day.

Here’s how.

How to Create More Content for Social Media:

1. Post the same piece of art multiple times.

It’s okay to reuse pieces of art in your profile. It doesn’t have to just show up once. In fact I encourage you to post a piece multiple times to help create a cohesive color scheme throughout your social accounts. The important thing to do is to photograph the art differently and have a variety of photo compositions.

Here are six photos that are currently on my account all using the same piece of art:

And I could easily have created more posts with the same piece of art by recording time lapse and real time process videos. See how I changed the photos by using different angles and including myself in the shot? It’s all the same piece of art, but each photo has a different feel.

  • As a general rule, limit yourself to posting the same piece of art no more than 3 times in the first 9 photos of your profile.
  • If the photos are similar, stagger them with different photos between so you give the appearance of more variety.

2. Include photos of yourself with your art.

All of your posts should have a purpose, and posting photos of you with your art helps to tell your story, connect with your audience, and build trust.

Staging photos of yourself working on your art, moving around in your studio, casually sitting in front of finished pieces, and more will give you great content to fill your social media accounts without posting ‘selfies’. (Don’t just post a selfie! Your art needs to be involved in the photo.)

Tip: Use the timer feature on your cell phone, voice activated pictures, or DSLR camera with remote or timer to capture more natural looking photos of you with your art. This is personally what I do for all of my photos of myself (including the ones pictured above).

You can use any smartphone or camera to take photos for social media as long as your lighting is good and the resolution is decent.

Here are a few of the products I use for staging photos: (*These are Amazon affiliate links to products that I currently use and love. If you make a purchase, I earn a commission.)

You can also ask someone to snap a few pictures of you if it’s convenient, but I spend most of my day alone and prefer not to have anyone witness the variety of expressions I make in front of the camera. (Because, Hi, I’m awkward!)

3. Use a variety of photo compositions.

I have already shown you a few examples above for creating a variety of compositions with your art and yourself, but there are more options. Using a variety of photo compositions will help open up your profile and keep each post looking interesting. I always encourage artists to avoid posting the same photo composition over and over again.

  • Stage your art with other complimentary pieces.
  • Do close up shots of details.
  • Photograph straight on shots.
  • Stage your art with home décor and plants.
  • Take angled/dynamic photos to create depth.
  • Take photos of your art in different scenarios like holding the art outside, or even staging your art with photo staging apps.
  • Include your hand or parts of your body in the photo to create perspective and a human connection.
  • Show your art in action: photo of you hanging the piece on the wall, or moving a canvas around in your studio.

4. Reuse the same exact photos/videos.

Yup. You can use the same photos or videos you have posted before on your profile. I don’t recommend doing this often, but it can work in a pinch.

  • Archive the older appearance of the photos in case someone decides to scroll through your profile so it doesn’t look like you are recycling the same photos.
  • When I recycle old photos or videos, I wait about 3-4 months. You’ll have a new batch of followers by then and enough time will have passed where your current followers may have forgotten about that piece/photo.

5. You can photograph older works and post them now in new staged compositions.

You don’t have to just post new work. It’s a good practice to bring old pieces back to your audience’s attention. Especially if the piece is still for sale.

Every few weeks, I do a mini photo shoot in my studio. I take out pieces I haven’t seen in a while and stage new photos. I also use this as a chance to create more photos of me with my art. Always remember that the same piece can show up multiple times in your social profiles as long as there is enough variety in the photos or time between the new post and the last appearance.

6. Record the process of your work.

I can’t say this enough: creating and posting videos of your art on social media has more of an impact on your audience growth than photos typically will. If you follow me on Instagram, you know how often I post videos. Not only do videos give me more content to post, but they get shared more easily.

Here are the supplies I currently use to record my process videos:

7. Capture your studio space, supplies, and artist lifestyle.

Selling your art often means selling your story and your life as an artist first. Make your audience feel like they can step into your studio space. Bring your viewers into your life with your photos.

  • Tell a story through videos: @lindstrom.emma
  • Show a view of your studio and supplies while still showing your art: @jessswan_art: here, here, and here.
  • If your studio space is hideous (like mine), create a photo corner with a drop cloth, white sheets, fence panels, or whatever other props you can find to make the space look clean and branded to your colors and then stage photos there.

8. Use quotes.

I don’t often recommend posting quotes as your graphic, but if it is appropriate for your brand, then it’s a good way to maintain a color scheme, show your personality, and provide value to your audience all while giving you extra content to post.

Just make sure that the quotes you post have a purpose beyond being ‘filler’ content. Whether it’s a quote from you, or a quote from another creative person, it should be connected to your brand.

When you post quote blocks, try to sprinkle them in your feed naturally instead of posting all in a row or in a geometric pattern.

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So there you have it. 8 Different ways to create more content for your social media presence without actually having to create more art. Realistically, you can get 5-10 unique photos/videos all using the same piece of art. That means if you are just posting the bare minimum of once per day, you could create enough content by working on one piece of art a week. Sprinkle in a photo of you, a photo from past works, a compilation photo of complementary pieces, and maybe a quote and you can see how quickly you can get into a content creation groove.

I hope that gave you some ideas for your own social media accounts. If you’d like one-on-one guidance of how to give your Instagram account a make over, check out my consulting services. My schedule is limited as I’m usually covered in paint in the studio, but I’m always happy to help other artists.

As always, leave your 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! Also, please subscribe to my email list if you never want to miss a blog post, and consider becoming a Patron of Messy Ever After on Patreon to support the creation of these posts.

-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 blogs 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:

Should You Watermark Your Art Online?

To Watermark or not to Watermark–

This is a question I get asked often, and I actually have some strong opinions about it. I am all about breaking the rules though, so don’t feel pressured to adopt my opinions as a new rule.

Personally, I loathe watermarks most of the time. I feel bad about this, but I have good reasons. First, why do people use watermarks?

  1. To prevent their art from being stolen and copied.
  2. To make sure if their art is shared without credit, viewers can trace back to the original creator.

That seems reasonable, right? So why do I dislike watermarks?

For one, a lot of people have used watermarks in such a distracting manner that it ruins the viewing experience of a photo. Two, depending on the way a watermark is used, it sends an unintentional message from an artist’s ego and fear. I’m all about being intentional about the message you communicate to your audience, so—this is a problem for me.

My opinion on the rhetoric of watermarks:

Everything you do as an artist sends a message. Deciding to use a watermark, and how that watermark is used tells me something about you. No matter what, using a watermark says “I think my art may be stolen or shared without credit.” And although I think all artwork has value and is worth stealing, when coupled with an artist’s personality, the declaration of “I think my art is worth stealing,” can leave a bad taste in the viewer’s mouth, because their ego or fear may be speaking to the audience before their art has a chance to.

Example: Picture me standing in front my art at a gallery and every time someone approached, I loudly said “This is MY art. It’s worth stealing. But you can’t steal it because I put my name on it. Look! LOOK AT MY NAME!”

That’s what a giant watermark on your photo says.

What would you think of me as an artist if I did this? Maybe “Wow, she sure thinks highly of her work. Pft. I don’t think it’s worth stealing.” When you present your ego, it evokes a response from the viewer’s ego as well. That’s probably not what you want to do.

That’s an extreme case, but check out these two contrasting examples:

A large watermark across the whole photo says: “I care so much about protecting my art that I did not consider how this will affect your visual experience of my work.”

Or with stylized text: “I at least wanted you to think my declaration of ownership of this art is pretty, but this work is still mine and good luck stealing this photo and reprinting my art.”

See how both images scream for you to look at the watermark and not at the art? Unless that is your intention, I’d avoid using that style of watermark.

Subtle and hidden watermarks say: “I know my photos/videos will get stolen and I want to make sure I get credit for them, but I don’t want to interfere with the quality of the photo.”

I’ve seen a lot of artists use this watermarking style and it’s my favorite. (@biophilicart, @jenaranyi) See how it doesn’t distract your eyes from the art? Do that. It’s basically like signing your photograph. It does not yell at the audience that they shouldn’t steal the art. It just credits the origin of the image.

So, should you watermark your art photos?

It’s up to you.

Small watermarks can be tastefully done. Big watermarks may be a distraction. Regardless of how you protect your art online, if someone is motivated enough, they will find a way to rip off what you do. Whether that’s through Photoshopping your watermark out, or just replicating your art and taking their own photographs.

A watermark can only do so much in the digital wild west.

No matter what, be smart about how you post your content online.

Protecting your content online is a good idea (Thieves be thieving), but there are different ways to go about it. You can do a few strategic things when posting your work to protect your art without distracting viewers. Big watermarks aren’t the only option.

  • Use lower quality photos if you post a straight on shot of your art. Don’t give a thief the ability to print your work easily by providing a high res, perfectly edited photo on your website. If you want to show details of a piece, zoom in on individual sections for multiple photos.
  • Take advantage of angles and dynamic shots of your art for social media. It’s harder to reproduce art from an incomplete view. Plus, dynamic shots make your art and your artist lifestyle look more interesting in photos.
  • Only use small subtle watermarks in your photos/videos. You want your art to be seen and shared, so make sure your photos look good and sneak in your mark.
  • Sign your work. Your signature can be your watermark.
  • Work on that original style of yours. Building brand recognition for yourself is the ultimate watermark.

***

I don’t watermark most of my social media posts, and it’s honestly out of laziness. Once you get into a routine of creating enough content to post multiple times a day, the fear of someone taking a photo or two really decreases. Like, go ahead. I’ve got 50 more where that came from.

The only time that I really make an effort to watermark my content is when it comes to videos. Videos have the potential to be shared and spread around with viral intensity, and I just want to maximize how many people see my brand when that happens.

So how about you? What do you think about watermarks? Leave your 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!

-Kelly

Do want to help me create more blog content? I want to keep creating content like this for free, but I need your help. If you enjoy my blogs 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:

Why Bad Art Gets Attention

Every artist at some point has viewed a piece of art and thought “Wait, people like this? People think this is good? Why is this art getting attention? Even if you aren’t an artist, you may find yourself staring at a $10,000 red stripe across a canvas in an art gallery while scratching your head and thinking is this art really worth that much?

The art world constantly struggles to assign a consistent value to art. I’ve gotten into arguments with classmates in college over “bad” art and whether the artist deserved attention. I’ve witnessed too many online trolls asserting that someone’s art was in fact lacking in talent, skill, and attractiveness even though thousands of people were double tapping the sh*t out of that post. Some art gets seen. Some art doesn’t. Some art gets approval from the masses, and some art gets a handful of likes and maybe a heart emoji for a comment.

It doesn’t appear to make sense.

When you are trying to become a successful artist yourself, it can be really frustrating to see art that you don’t respect get a lot of attention while your art collects digital dust.

Well, I have a few explanations as to why ‘bad’ art gets attention. But first–

There is no inherently good or bad art.

What is “bad” art to me is another person’s favorite style. What you see as “good” art is 100% being ripped apart in comments somewhere on the internet. Many people have tried to define what makes art good or bad, but it’s a waste of time to do so.

When you find yourself declaring a piece of art is bad, I encourage you to unpack that. Obviously, you don’t like the art, but why? Is it the colors, the perspective, the subject matter, the technical skills, the style, etc.? Is it just because you’re jealous of that artist’s success and want to devalue what they do so you can protect your own ego? (Deep, I know, but it’s worth asking.)

It’s okay to not like someone’s art, but don’t ever fool yourself into thinking you have a universal definition for bad art. Everyone has different taste in art.

Moving on.

Why “Bad” Art Gets Attention

1. It’s new, different, or reinterpreted.

I’ve personally looked at art that was sold for millions and let out a “psh, I could do that.” And yeah, a lot of us probably could replicate the art that we deem as “bad”, but that’s not the point. It doesn’t matter how many people are capable of creating that same composition. It doesn’t matter how simple the art is or how easily it can be replicated. It’s about who did a new thing first.

The creative world loves to re-imagine old techniques. To combine elements that haven’t been seen together. To shake things up and go against the grain. Maybe the end result doesn’t look attractive, or maybe the artist didn’t have a lot of technical skill, but the fact that it’s something different can create a lot of buzz in the art world.

2. It’s about the message.

I used to sit through a lot of critiques in my art classes, where an artist would show a very, let’s say interesting piece of art. I personally didn’t like the art and naturally labeled it as bad in my head. Then the artist would give their reasoning for what the art means and suddenly everything shifted.

Art is often not just something to look at. It’s created as social commentary. As a means to discomfort an audience or make the audience think critically about whatever the artist wants them to focus on. Why it was created sometimes means more than the creation itself.

It doesn’t have to be pretty, or technically skillful. Art that makes us think and shifts our perspective is effective art.

3. It’s about the artist.

I tell all of my consulting clients about the power of their brand and their story as an artist, because it can matter more than their art. Think about the artists you love. Once you get to know the artist behind the work, it changes how you see their work, right?

Think about Banksy and Andy Warhol. Their art alone isn’t what draws in a massive audience. It’s their story. Banksy for being a veritable mystery and Warhol for manipulating the commercialized aspect of art and turning himself into a celebrity. Once the artist becomes more interesting than the art, anything they create will get attention. Good or bad.

4. It’s about showing up and making art.

Sometimes a piece of art will get a crap ton of attention just because an artist was in the right place at the right time. It can seem like luck, but it’s actually because an artist continued to show up and make art even when people weren’t paying attention.

Last fall, one of my Instagram videos took off out of my control. The original video on my account has over 800k impressions and it was shared on numerous big art accounts. I will be the first to say that the art isn’t anything special. It’s not better than other art and it didn’t necessarily deserve that much attention, and yet it was seen and liked by many.

Make art. Share it with the world. Do it consistently and do it often. It’s not the artist’s job to be concerned with whether the public will think it’s good or bad. The artist needs to make art and put it out there. I promise you, if you do this, the chances your work will get attention will increase dramatically.

5. Sometimes people are just nice to artists. (Weird, right?)

Last week, I wrote a post about why you should support other artists and I mentioned the power of kindness. There will come a time when you see a piece of art that is technically bad, its subject matter is tired and overdone, the artist’s style isn’t developed, their story isn’t interesting, and overall the piece really is just ‘meh’, yet it will have loads of positive feedback.

Why? Because some people are just really f**king nice and want to encourage that artist to keep doing what they love. Don’t get your undies in a bundle because someone is being nice to another artist. It’s a miracle in this digital time where trolls run rampant.

Art doesn’t have to deserve or earn kindness. Positive feedback can be given freely. Surround yourself with a positive community and be kind to other creators and you’ll likely get the same positive encouragement with your own art.

Finally, be careful how you ask “Why is this art getting attention?”

You can ask this with an open mind, or with your ego. When you genuinely wonder what elements made a piece of art successful in the public domain without judging the art as bad, your mind is open. You can actually hear the answers to questions like why is this art interesting? What is the message? What is the story? Why is this meaningful to so many people? And then ultimately, how can you replicate this success with your own art?

When you ask this question with your ego you’re not actually open to the real answers. Your ego is primed and ready to tear that art and the artist down to protect itself. Your ego turns it into a competition and I want you to catch yourself when that happens. Artists don’t need to compete with each other. Don’t elevate yourself by standing on the crushed feelings of other artists.

Bad art getting attention and good art being ignored is part of being an artist, but you just have to keep putting your work out there until the spotlight eventually moves to you. But if you waste your time judging other artist’s work, you’re only distracting yourself from the cool stuff you could be making.

***

What do you think? Leave your 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!

-Kelly

Help an artist out: I want to keep creating content like this for free, but I need your help. If you enjoy my blogs 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: