December 1st, 2016
Our man in America, Michael DeVellis, returns this week to discuss the rise of the social media and how best to harness it as a business tool. Considering it didn’t even exist 10 years ago, the phenomenal rise of this platform has been a game changer in every way, so over to Michael to take you through how to use it to grow your business – one follower at a time.
Who would have thought, just a decade ago, that our phones would play such a crucial role in our success and visibility as a professional make-up artist community? Well, as social media becomes a more and more important part of our ability to get noticed by our industry, peers and potential clients, we have to step up and give this area the love it needs.
As we, as a global make-up community, begin to use terms like Insta-artist and Insta-brow to describe an entire genre of artists and style of make-up, we need to take notice of how we ourselves are using the social media world to get the same level of notice for our own work.
When ‘baking’ and ‘strobing’ – terms that originated on social media – become something that brands and clients are referring to with straight faces, we need to understand the good and the damage these amazing tools can create for us and our careers.
As YouTube sensations are taking in tens of thousands of pounds in contract fees for talking up products, we as a pro make-up community need to think long and hard about how we use social media, and how we don’t; what we want from it, and what we want to avoid.
Social media, whether you find it a blessing or a bother for your business, is here to stay. Long gone are the days when it is possible to ignore the social media world and still build your career. Even the most established artists who, for decades, have worked on the most iconic projects, productions and photos, are finding that they need to up their social media game to keep up with the business, make their clients feel supported and stay relevant.
While social media could be an all day discussion, it’s overwhelming to wrap our heads around. I’ve broken the art of successfully navigating social media into some basic tenets that will help us digest the massive topic and help us create a to-do checklist of sorts to help us make the most of this incredibly complex topic.
One of the main ways we use social media is to connect to others. Checking in with our best friend from University, our sister living abroad, or that flirty guy from the party last night are convenient and easy ways to stay connected with others. One of the blessings in this is that the amount of commitment to these connections can be as low or as high as you’d like.
Pro: Easy and non-committal way to ensure you maintain visibility to others.
Con: You can get lost in the mix of many others doing the same.
Tip: Be sure you are connected to all of your clients, potential and current and ensure that they see that you are connected to them through regular interaction.
Promote and Publicise
Never has there been a bigger opportunity for self-promotion for businesses, large and small, than social media. Aside from paid advertising, which is an entirely different conversation with it’s own set of benefits and pitfalls, social media gives you the opportunity to promote your work, your clients’ businesses, programs and events that you are participating in – all for free. Creating online business pages, sending invitations, posting promotional materials and event invitations are all as easy as a few clicks.
Pro: You can reach a broad section of your potential audience with little or no cost.
Con: Unless you use other means to promote your work or events, the information will get lost in very busy social media feeds.
Tip: Promote across multiple platforms and always link back to a proper website or email address for follow ups.
Bolster Your Branding
One of the many benefits of social media is the opportunity for us to share our brand with the world. This branding should include a full range of your branding elements, from your logo itself to showcasing your work and your brand’s voice. One of the mistakes I see most often is people not using a screen name or handle that reinforces their brand – but one that they think is interesting or clever. While showing your sense of humour or personality is important in social media, it should be done through content not your online name. For me, it’s a non-negotiable that you use your full name, or in the case that you have a product line or studio with a different name than yours, that name, as your online name.
Pro: The more you post, the more your branding can be seen and noticed.
Con: If you are using stock images or formats for your branding pieces you will not come across as unique as others will also be using the same formats or templates.
Tip: Use customised branding materials and always include your brand’s full name in all materials.
Establish Your Expertise
Using social media to show your industry, colleagues, and potential clients that you are an expert in your area of work should be a key element of your business strategy for your social media use. Showcase what you know and use social media to tell your story as a passionate part of the make-up artist industry, by posting about things other than your own work. Talk up new products, the work of other artists, even a film or photograph that you love the make-up in. Showing yourself in photos or posts with other artists, celebrity or otherwise, is a great way to show how connected you are, hence what an expert you are as well.
Pro: You can show your expertise and also showcase the brands you want to get noticed by through tagging and linking websites.
Con: There are a lot of non-experts acting like experts so there is a doubt cast on much of what people read online.
Tip: Never speak as an expert on a topic you are not an expert on as you will get caught in a web of comments contradicting your message.
Do Your Homework
While everyone isn’t built to be a Tweeter, Blogger, Vlogger or YouTuber, these – and all social media – can be used as a research tool even if we are not pushing out our own original content. Not sending an original Tweet is not an issue for me. Instead follow all the brands and artists who you want to know about, connect to, and be an expert on, and use social media as a research tool.
Pro: You can learn a lot about brands and artists through their social media posts and use that in creating deeper relationships with them.
Con: It can take a lot of time and energy to research and record all this information.
Tip: Keep a spreadsheet or document with special details, projects, events and other details for each of the most important artists or brands you are following, for quick reference when the need arises to use this information.
Great Minds Think Alike
There are many opportunities in social media platforms like Facebook and Pinterest. The use of groups which share a similar interest, career or purpose can be incredibly useful to building your network and connecting to others who are working toward the same goals or career success.
Pro: Online, social media communities provide an opportunity to create expertise and visibility to a community of your peers.
Con: Spending too much time in the communities, or online at all, can have a reverse effect of making it seem you are never working but always just online commenting.
Tip: Keep it positive. There are many of those who use forums and online groups to speak their mind and let their emotions get out of hand. People are watching – play it cool.
Tag – You’re It
The art of tagging, and hashtagging, is one that, when mastered, can truly help to grow and nurture an authentic and meaningful social media audience. Hashtags can be used to get noticed and followers, yes, but you should also use hashtags to add content, voice and energy to your posts. When overused, or misused, these tools can result in a counterproductive result of your message being overlooked, or worse – people unfollowing you.
Pro: Using tags to thank a brand or artist for their support, or to promote another artists work or a brands products is a great way to show you are part of a bigger community.
Con: Over-tagging and over-hashtagging will result in you coming across as inauthentic and as someone trying desperately to get noticed or get followers.
Tip: Keep your hashtags limited to four or five per post if you are trying to use them to add content to your message.
Find Your Voice
Hopefully you have invested quite a lot of energy and time creating a strong voice true to yourself and your brand messaging. One of the biggest mistakes that I see in social media for freelancers is to think that their online voice is not relevant to their business voice. This could not be further from the case. If anything your online voice has a much wider reach than other places where potential business colleagues and clients would learn about you and your brand, how you conduct yourself and what it’s like to do business with you.
Pro: You can create a stronger and stronger voice by posting regularly and being true to yourself.
Con: There will inevitably be some for whom your voice does not resonate – potentially resulting in lost client opportunities.
Tip: Always stay positive in your voice – never argumentative or aggressive – even if discussing issues that are potentially divisive.
Consistency is King
While showing you are a diverse person and have varied interests, when using social media as a support for your business development, showing consistency is critical. It shows you are solid and clients can know what to expect when doing business with you. Images are one of the most important areas of consistency, especially when showing your own work.
Pro: By showcasing your energy, likes and dislikes in a consistent way, we can avoid any surprises once we start working with someone as a client or colleague.
Con: Being too consistent and not showing any diversity in your interests could work against you for some clients or relationships.
Tip: Mix in your personality to even the most business-focused posts to show that you are interesting and know about more than just your work.
At the end of the day, social media is about engaging with others and creating visibility to you and your business. If we don’t know you exist then it’s impossible for us to hire you, work with you or recommend you to others. On the other hand, if we see you often, whether physically or digitally, you become top-of-mind and the first person we think about when we need a make-up artist. Creating visibility requires more than liking or hearting others’ images, comments and tweets. In order to create visibility – and get noticed – we need to comment, share, retweet and so on. But do so with limitations and with integrity, lest you come across as desperate or abusive of the medium.
Pro: By using your proper branding (your name or business’s name) when you comment on others’ posts, you create a high level of visibility for your brand and to those you comment to.
Con: Many businesses abuse the comment function and use it solely to be noticed by the others who see, or comment on, the post. This results in a loss of credibility for those abusing the function.
Tip: Always be authentic in your engagement with others in social media. Abusive patterns are noticed by others and it can do much damage to your brand and business.
You can follow Michael DeVellis, The Powder Group and On Makeup Magazine on Facebook and at: