how to rock social media (creatively)

Last week we spoke about being social in a physical way, so this week I wanted to shine some light on the world of being social in a digital way: the ever-popular social media discussion!

 

How social media can help us

 

Love it or hate it, social media exists and it’s becoming more and more a major networking platform for artists and businesses to gain exposure and get their work out there. More exposure means more opportunity for income, and you can’t argue with that.

 

In fact, at a recent seminar on book publishing I attended at NYU, I learned that “being social” is a requirement for authors if they want book agents and publishers to even consider taking on their book! It goes without saying that if you’re self-publishing a book or music or whatever, it’s just as important to cast a wide net of followers so that you have an audience who wants your stuff.

 

So in this light, being active in social media can be lucrative and even fun for creative people! (OMG - I just made a new Instagram friend and she commented on my video!!!)

 

But what about the flip side?

 

Social media can also be a place of ugly comparison and time-wasting, energy-sucking, insomnia-inducing thumb tapping.

 

Signs that you should change your social media habits:

  • you look at other people’s posts more than you post yourself (i.e. too much passive consumption, not enough expression)

  • you get super jealous or depressed when you scroll through Facebook and see that your peers are doing work that you want to be doing (there’s that ugly comparison)

  • you don’t go anywhere without your iphone. even the toilet.

 

If you fall into one of these categories and if constantly seeing other people’s happy photos make you depressed, check out this reminder.

 

What social media can do for you and your creative path (plus some inspiring stories)

 

As you might have already noticed, I’ve been more active on social media this month - Instagram & Facebook in particular - and it’s taught me a lot that I want to share with you.

 

On a whim on May 1st, I made and posted a dance video to Instagram and decided that I wanted to keep it going throughout the rest of the month:

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#dance in the park. much needed. is it finally spring? Just decided I'm shooting a dance video a day through the rest of May. Please join me! If not every day, I dare you to make at least one video this month to welcome in spring. Tag it #ycda for "you can dance again" and let's start a revolution

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Hence, “dance a day in the month of may” was born. (#danceinmay for short.)

 

Here’s what I learned about social media through that project and what it can do for you on your own creative journey:

 

1. Personal accomplishment.

It will make you feel good about yourself. Most days this month, until I made and posted my dance video for the day, I didn’t feel right. Once I did, I felt a deep sense of personal creative accomplishment because I not only stuck to what I said was going to do, but I put out a small piece of my expression into the world. That sense of accomplishment infused my whole being, making me more motivated to accomplish the other tasks and work in my day-to-day.

 

2. Comfort with experimenting...and failing.

If you’re making something every day for a month, there are bound be days when you’re not putting out the greatest work you ever made. So what. Sometimes 50 people will like it, sometimes 2, sometimes zero. The numbers don’t matter, but how you interpret them matters. For me, it was great to experience a range of likes, comments, or radio silence. And it was surprising to see what people responded to. Some of my personal favorites didn’t get much attention, while some that I didn’t care so much about got a lot! (A great way to test market ideas, btw!)

 

3. Connecting with more people.

In doing this project I got more familiar with the world of #hashtags and what they can do for connection. Being slightly social media illiterate before, I never quite understood #why #everyone #adds #thepoundsign to their posts. Then I realized that hashtags (i.e. putting “#” in front of a word or a phrase) makes your post more accessible and searchable. So for example, if someone is bored and searches for #dancevideo on Instagram, they might come across some of my work and - boom! - there’s a random stranger who now saw something I did and maybe even decides to follow me. (Remember, more followers = more network = more opportunities)

 

One of my favorite stories from the whole experiment was when an awesome teenage blogger @theeditingprocess started liking and commenting on my videos. She was inspired by me (*blush*) and continued the cycle of creative energy by creating her own work of art in reply. I was humbled and amazed to see her tag me in this:

reddancer

 { #heartmelting }

As for video responses - 

While there weren’t a whole ton of people who joined in to post their own dance videos, there were a few and they were beautiful and touching. (I don't think any of them will let me publicly share them, so you'll have to leave it up to your imagination)

 

I also heard from many friends about how their babies and young kids loved watching my videos every day. That was enough to make it worth it:

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I have to tell you Jess - Landon loves watching your videos

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I want you to know this video was the only thing that made Kaia happy today (teething drama). I think I played it a million times

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(Hint to parents and caretakers - following Jess Grippo on YouTube or Instagram is a great distraction and alternative to the usual Elmo songs they are constantly playing on your phone ;)

Your plan of action 

So I hope you’re somewhat convinced - or at the very least curious -  that social media can be a positive influence on your creative life.

 

Now it’s your turn to experiment and see for yourself!

 

Here are some suggestions - please share your own in the comment box below:

 

  • Create a daily or weekly challenge for yourself and put it out there publicly! When you tell people you’re posting something, they will expect it, and you’ll follow through with the commitment.

  • Start using more hashtags and see what happens! Also, search for hashtags and like other people’s stuff. The energy you put out is what you get back. Just be sure you genuinely like something before you like it - If you’re just fishing for likes back, it’s not going to be honest and it won’t be good.

  • Seek support if you don’t know how to start. I know awesome social media strategists who I can put you in touch with, so just ask me if you’re curious. On the other hand, if you’re blocked from a deeper place of fear of being seen and putting your work out there, then you and I should have a conversation about how to break free of that. Hit me up.

 

Ready to try something wild of your own on social media?

Tell us what it is in the comments below - for accountability, of course ;) - and then go do it!

 

Whether you’re a Facebook-junkie or allergic to anything that tweets, try putting more of yourself and your work out there and see what happens.

 

The results might surprise you, and inspire you.

 

#sharingwhatcounts,

Jess

 

p.s. it's still undecided whether or not #danceinmay will become #danceeveryday for an entire year. if you're curious or have an opintion about it, speak up below and stay updated by following me here