I'm so tired of social media.
Regardless, it's become such a necessity for artists who want to spread their brand... or has it? Maybe it's a good tool for spreading the work around, but it shouldn't be the main tool. I don't want to be a content creator, after all; I want to be an artist.
This blog post isn't about how to kick social media or my solutions to balancing your online and real life, because I don't know the answer, myself. Are you also struggling with this idea? Cool. I'm struggling with you. This is more of a rambling in which I talk about the "1,000 True Fans" concept and think out loud about how I would achieve that for myself.
1,000 true fans
I first heard of this concept in one of artist Jake Parker's videos, but it was originated by Wired Magazine writer, Kevin Kelly. He wrote that if someone could just gather 1,000 "true fans," aka people who will support the artist by following their work and engaging in purchasing $100 or so worth of art a year, that artist would be more than set for success. I was recently reminded of this idea in a video by struthless, and it got me thinking: How do I find my 1,000 true fans?
And how do I find them without falling victim to the "content creature?"
I want to focus more on making my art and engaging with people who like my art. The "content" isn't my main goal. Art is. People are.
I want to totally reorient how I engage with social media and all my Studio Hannah touch points. As of now, I have Studio Hannah accounts at Instagram, YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, TikTok, Dribbble, Bēhance, LinkedIn, Upwork, Patreon, and several more I can't remember right now. Most of these I don't even touch, except maybe once a year when I upload a couple of things and then immediately forget they exist again.
Social media round-up
Instagram is where I engage most often as both a consumer and a creator. YouTube is another daily consumer venue for me, but I rarely make videos for it. Still, these two are my top favorite public social arenas.
Then there's Patreon. I see the use in it, in having supportive fans paying me for just being someone they like and enjoying my work. But I am not good at updating it, and the few loyal followers who continue to throw money at me are just... angels (and my mom, who is also an angel). But should I use Patreon as a gage for who my "true fans" are? Should I aim for 1,000? What kind of things would draw people to be interested in it?
There's also my email newsletter, which I also don't update nearly enough for my liking. What do I say in there that I don't say on Patreon, or in this blog? How do I make signing up for my newsletter... interesting? Worth it?
How do I provide real value, not just "content," to the people who support me, or who may support me in the future?
I've been thinking a lot about this lately. There's some impostor syndrome in effect -- Is what I could provide valuable enough? Will anyone pay attention? Is it worth the time? -- but, practically, what steps do I need to take to build valuable content in a way that's sustainable in my life? If I'm working full-time, how many hours can I dedicate to Studio Hannah? How do I get enough sleep, exercise, and healthy food to sustain myself? Do I have time for friends? (Answer: yes, friends are important, even for a crazy loner artist type!)
And on top of that, I do have some chronic health issues that can make me fatigued, meaning that what a healthy person can do in 1 hour may, on some worse days, take me 2 hours. I burn out quickly. I'm finding solutions for these issues, but that also takes time, and time is what I need to work on Studio Hannah and do all those other things above. I know I'm not the only one who feels this way, but there never seems to be enough...
Figuring out how to spend one's time is kind of like budgeting one's money. You have a finite amount of it, so you have to make decisions about how to use it. Your time/money budget can change as needed, allotting more funds to one thing or another as needed. This week maybe I need more rest because last week I spent too much on freelance work. Maybe I need more administrative time this week because I'll be away from my computer a lot next week to get some much-needed inspiration time.
But I know I don't want to spend my time just "creating content" that has to depth to it or that I'm only making because I want to please an algorithm. I don't want to make art for an algorithm, I want to make it for people! For me! For anyone who enjoys my artwork and my thoughts and gets something from them that makes their life better!
Mmkay, so here's the idea
Take this with a grain of salt because I'm just talking off the top of my head here and may change my mind if I find better solutions:
CASUAL FANS: I'd like to officially cut back to just Instagram, YouTube, and TikTok, in that order, for my public social platforms. I will worry less about making my timeline look pretty or posting consistently and post things that I think are actually valuable to my viewers, either in entertainment or education, or both!
SERIOUS/TRUE FANS: Patreon and my email newsletter will become the gathering spots for my serious fans, those who want to really keep up with the inner workings of Studio Hannah, and I will reward them for their attention by providing them with unique value opportunities (TBD). My hope is that my 1000 true fans will start here and grow with me over time.
PSST... wanna be a true fan? Sign up for my Patreon! Tiers start at as little as $5 per month OR per post, and higher tiers can get you some even cooler stuff. If you don't have the funds for that right now, you can get other cool free perks by signing up for my email newsletter.
Now go make today a good one!