First of all, what is social media? The “dictionary definition” from Merriam-Webster is “forms of electronic communication (such as websites for social networking and microblogging) through which users create online communities to share information, ideas, personal messages, and other content (such as videos)”, which covers the basic idea pretty well.
And frankly, if you are reading this cookbook, you’re most likely already familiar with at least some social media platforms, whether you use them to promote your artistic work or not. Usually in common conversation the term “social media” refers to the biggest, most popular platforms such as Facebook, Instagram and TikTok. But of course the world of social media is constantly changing and evolving with people being active on different platforms depending on what’s trending or even to completely new platforms if a popular one emerges.
A platform for promotion
So the basic idea of social media is to share content, possibly created by you, with other users of the platform – kind of like presenting your work to an audience. When thinking about how to use social media in promoting your artistic work, this is probably the best way to understand its possibilities. You have something you’ve created, whether it’s a live show, a video performance or something else, and you want to reach out to a wider audience so that they discover your work and hopefully even follow your future projects. What are the platforms and content strategies you need to use to reach this goal?
The most popular social media platforms (2022) in order of amount of monthly active users:
- Facebook (2,9 billion)
- YouTube (2,2 billion)
- WhatsApp (2 billion)
- Instagram (2 billion)
- TikTok (1 billion)
- Snapchat (532 million)
- Pinterest (444 million)
- Reddit (430 million)
- LinkedIn (250 million)
- Twitter (217 million)
(Source: Search Engine Journal, https://www.searchenginejournal.com/social-media/biggest-social-media-sites/)
Establish your digital presence
From a performing artist’s point of view, the most important ones to establish a digital presence in are Facebook, Youtube, Instagram and TikTok, as they are the ones that provide a possibility to post pictures and videos of one’s work, sell tickets to shows and do various kinds of other promotion. For some, LinkedIn might be valuable in a professional sense, but as a social media platform it’s a bit different than the others as it focuses on networking, so the same practices that work on other platforms are not as useful there.
The same goes for Twitter, which works primarily as a platform for discussion and not promotion, but for some it can be relevant. If you feel that your work would benefit from having an active presence on Twitter, go ahead – but keep in mind that as a mostly text-based medium it requires a different approach than the social media platforms that are more focused on visual contents, so you might also need to figure out a different content strategy.
And again, when you are reading this cookbook, it’s possible that some totally new social media platform which didn’t even exist at the time of writing this has appeared from the depths of the Internet! Don’t worry though, just check out what it’s all about and see if it could be interesting to use. The most important lesson after all is to learn how to recognize opportunities and possibilities of the platforms and figure out how they could be useful to you and your work.