A little thing about numbers (Follower counts: Quality over quantity)

Without being a borderline troll by commenting on people’s posts just to get attention or paying for followers, getting a fan base on social media is HARD. Shout outs and features are a nice way to help new people to connect with one another; which is the whole reason why social media exists! But when an artist (who may or many not have “a lot of” followers) features other artists (who have fewer followers than the feature poster), the intent to spread a little positivity but — as the trend seems to go — people get offended.

These people don’t deserve more followers! My art is better!

Why do they get a shout out?? They’re already popular.

Wtf they already have thousands of followers???

I’m sorry that you — someone who would say some of the statements above — see a post (which was meant to be generous) as a personal attack. That’s unfortunate someone could see something so kind and selfless in such a shallow and selfish way. Honestly, though, who cares how many more followers they have than you? Is their work any less valuable or interesting because of that? Should there be a limit to how many people can appreciate one person’s art?

If follower counts of other artists bother you or affect your happiness in some way, here is a reminder: social media and art are not about competition. Jealousy over arbitrary numbers doesn’t help anyone.

 

THEY ARE PEOPLE TOO

Also just be kind. Everyone starts out somewhere. We all work to be the best, be seen, make a living, etc. Someday you may have more followers than someone else and that person will say the same nasty things about you not “deserving” them — without considering who you are, what you’ve done, or how you contribute to other people’s lives. It’s fairly simple: if it doesn’t feel good when they do it to you, don’t do it to anyone else.

 

NOW THAT’S WHAT I CALL SUCCESS!

Before getting involved in the pissing-contest and self-pity-party over who has the most followers, think about yourself and your values.But you say that you really want those followers. That all it will take to make you happy is having a big fat number at the top of your account profile. Well, there are ways to get them without trying hard at all. You could just take advantage of those “get free followers accounts” or just buy followers. But that’s selling yourself short for a shallow cause. There’s more to you than that!

What is it that you value most about social media? What do you want to get out of it? The meaning of success on social media for you may come from something that may be the least of someone else’s concerns. Personally, if I lost all of my followers on all of my social media accounts — BOOM! wiped clean! — It doesn’t matter if they all come back. I just hope the ones who care about me, enjoy my work, and want to support what I do would find their way back.

So what do you want out of your social media? Do you want to get better at art? Make friends? Be famous? Just do your best every day, don’t sweat the small stuff, and stay positive! With art, try a bit harder to do something new and different. Show some compassion towards others and dedication to what you do. People will gravitate toward you in time! Are you trying to be seen by more people in order to make money? Post exciting content regularly and keep a positive image (that means less of this complaining to the world and more hard work towards being seen!)

Take a minute to consider these two artist account scenarios and where they might place their value – which one is more successful?

  • A full-time artist with less than 300 followers, most of which are from their hometown.
  • An art hobbyist with hundreds of thousands of followers all over the world who just sketches and doodles in their free time.

Trick question: They’re both successful but neither relies on their follower account or number of likes their posts have. Each person’s experiences and goals are different but both are happy because they don’t put too much importance on social media numbers.

For the professional artist, their profits aren’t contingent on the quantity of followers they have. They do what they love, share with their hometown, and do a lot of legwork to get connections and be seen in the professional art scene outside of social media. Social media is essentially an afterthought because they put their efforts where they could establish themselves professionally with art shows, consignment, wholesale, or licensing deals! Their social media is for the potential to branch out of a local scene and for their fans that want to follow the artists’ work.

The hobbyist may have just wanted to post their artwork to their friends and slowly grew a fan base with which they can interact with on their posts. Whatever they’re doing to accumulate followers, it mostly comes down to doing what they love with their free time and not sweating the small stuff.

 

QUALITY OVER QUANTITY

You may just see follower numbers on another person’s social media account and think “why not me?” But if you want to talk numbers in art as a profession, don’t look at follower count. For follower numbers on any account, you can break it down into types or qualities of followers. There are plenty of dead accounts, repeat accounts, and accounts that just want you to notice them – these don’t mean much for profits! A few followers actually like you as friends, a few may love your work but never have the funds to commission you. And VERY few of those followers will save up the money to commission you. The more followers you have, the odds of getting commissioned increase… but from a professional standpoint, there are better numbers to evaluate your success:

  • How many years have you been working on your craft?
  • How much progress have you seen in that time?
  • Do you have a well-established professional network outside of social media or do you rely heavily on social media?
  • How many conventions, stores, art shows, etc you’ve sold at?
  • How many commissions are you pulling in a month and how much do you charge for your work?
  • How many quality posts do you make a week (not just memes or personal life updates)?
  • What is your ratio of happy customers to unhappy ones?

 

SPREAD THE LOVE

As for the people who are putting the time towards helping others up rather than tearing others down, thank you. These people are thinking about someone other than themselves, which is a rarity on social media and they are doing it with the best of intentions. Posts that selflessly feature other artists do a lot to make people happy – not just the artists that are featured but the people that never knew these artists were out there and got the opportunity to fall in love with their work! And if people get upset because they don’t think the artists “deserve” more attention, that is their unfortunate loss.

The social media art community needs more connectivity and support. What goes around, comes around. And if you’re dishing out that good good, you’ll get more of it in return. But if you go around begging for free things, stealing art, and complaining about successful artists, you can only get so far. Change starts with each of us. Thanks to all of those who operate as a beacon for good!

Now try to focus on YOUR OWN GOALS – and don’t worry yourself over the successes (or perceived success) of others… best of luck, have FUN, and be positive!


If anyone has comments or input to share, I would appreciate your comments below!

Much LORF!
Crazdude




Do you enjoy Crazdude’s Art & Advice Blogs?

Consider “tipping” by creating a new account at Crazdude’s Catprint.com Referral link at no cost of your own
Catprint will award my account $10 off my next order for each person who creates an account through the link!

Also support Crazdude on PATREON or contribute through KO-FI!




 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *