#THECRAFT: 6 Things Artists Need to Know About Social Media

Art, Articles, Essays, Non-Fiction

By: Steven Underwood

What’s Güd?

A lot of you guys have been asking me for advice on this pro-art thing so I decided why not turn this into a series?

Today, we will be covering social media in this steadily rising landscape. All artists know that exposure is important, but how to use it is kind of a hit-or-miss. What’s SEO? Are metrics important? Should I have a high follower count?

Read sweet babies. Let me guide you.

  1. Twitter vs. Instagram: social media platforms are as diverse as they are specific in execution. The main question artists ask is what they should be on? Maybe you know you should be on social media, but you’ve heard conflicting success stories about both. Essentially, it’s important to look at these mediums for what they prioritize. Writers have gained a lot of success on Twitter due to its idea and written based format; careers are literally defined based on how successful your thoughts are and that’s why it’s so important to apply this to your work. Instagram is far more visual. Just think about it, we’ve all heard the term IG model before, not Twitter Model. Brands and clients pay more attention to what they can see on a platform designed to make what you see better! Graphic designers should pay special heed to this, but not too much. Twitter has a need for Design as a form of meme generation and gif processing. I hear the older folk asking “What about Facebook?” Eh… Facebook as a brand is good for getting news out, or posting updates, but you can get better reach with these other two. It has a use, but as a support to these other two formats.
  2. Network Groups: Networking is 80% of the job. If you don’t know anyone, you won’t get far– no matter your talent. In writing, this means you should be hunting for the DM group chat on Twitter and doing whatever you can to stand out and participate. This includes online Forums and FB groups. Keep your name in their mouthes and betaread! Giving criticism and doing reviews for other writers will not only get your name out, but that translates into more Social Media advocacy. Followers are closely watched by publications. They matter! What matters more is if your posts are being shared by others who might have a larger network than you, or if you’re interacting with someone who has a better standing socially. This doesn’t mean be fake, or lie about what you review, but authentically these people share the same passion you do. The rest is simple to iron out. Visual Artists on IG should go to Meet-Ups, and frequent groupchats as well. Also, don’t be afraid to spam!
  3. Metrics/Avoid Purchasing Followers: This is a big one, and it isn’t top priority because now most people know its bad. Essentially, your follower count is only as good as a Thesis statement in an essay: it’s vital, but not as good as your body paragraph. Metrics are fat superior. For Example, my twitter account @Blaqueword, boasts a pretty 1k in followers, pretty average. However, my impressions range into the 40,000s. How? My followers are frequent and avid users and my tweets “go in”. Basically, more of my followers interact and share my content AND they have a larger follower count than me (boasting 100 active followers with a blue check mark works out soooo well). As long as I use this, my posts and shares will always guarantee me an upward trajectory! However, purchasing followers works out worse for you. If your followers are all not interacting, clients/brands will notice and hold it against you. It makes you a creative catfish. Sure, they should be interested in you because they like your work, but that’s not a good bottomline. They want someone who can guarantee sells or interest. You just don’t. Organically generating followers always works out.
  4. Scheduled Posts: This is probably the most difficult feat. Staying on top of your social media is important and draining. Sometimes, there just isn’t enough hours in a day. Well, not postinf frequently enough in one day can drastically harm your impressions and therefore your metrics. If every 10,000 impressions gets you 2 followers and they afford you 300 bonus impressions with whether they like/share your posts, you miss out on a lot of potential reach. But, being online limits how much art you actually get to do. Ergo, scheduling. For @Blaqueword, I use Hootsuite. It allows me to not only schedule posts, but knowing my analytics, I can better understand what I should be posting about via knowing my audience. CMS (Content Management Systems) is an important factor in all of this. Know your tools of your craft (or pay someone else to).
  5. Analytics: SMM or Social Media Marketing is all about knowing what your numbers are. This is categorized in so much. For instance, my IG: @Blaqueword holds a humble amount of followers. However, I can increase my range of likes and follows by applying posts at the time specific audience members interact. Most of my followers are from Columbus, OH and like Culturally mindful content on Fridays at 9 PM. So, I post those things at the exact time AND include hashtags to appeal to those groups! Starting off, this is difficult and requires a lot of base-setting. You’ll end up using random hashtags just to see which stick and which do not, but it is a necessary step, so if you’re self-concious about a step, feel free to delete and try again. After all, if you failed that means no one saw, right? (Wrong, god and Beyoncé saw, but they forgive you)
  6. Hire a Writer: Not a self-plug, though I do run several Social Media accounts for brands at a retainer fee. You need to know your medium well enough to pull this off and most of it involves proper writing technique. Writers thrive on social media because we can coordinate our thoughts for the platforms. If you can’t, it’s going to take a lot of footwork to get Followers to fall in. And, honestly, that means you’re depending solely on luck. Don’t do that. If you are incapable of reading trends and knowing what to say at the moment, you probably won’t get a tweet that sticks like grits. Take it from me, a man with 7 viral tweets under his belt, knowing when to say the right combination of words is key!

If this all sounds very business-like, welcome to Art: it’s 60% business. You just got to know how to play it to your advantage. If

Any more questions? Comment! I’m happy to answer.

Steven Underwood (@Blaqueword) is a writer from Columbus, Ohio, where he reigns supreme as the original Urban Bohemian. He received his Bachelor’s in English: Creative Writing and now wanders fiction shelves employing his academic powers to investigate where it says exactly that Black kids can’t be wizards.

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#TRENDSETTER: Kanye West’s YE Album and Kim Kardashian

#TRENDSETTER, Art, Articles, Culture, Music, Non-Fiction

By: Steven Underwood

You have an opinion on Kanye’s new album?

Dope. I don’t.

Over the past year, Kanye West has found some justified criticisms, and the fact that he leveraged that criticism into publicity is no one’s fault but the consumers who fell for it. Me? I wasn’t into it, I didn’t buy any of the outrage and any issue I took to his comments were mine own. I very pointedly stated this to a specific twitter account for fine art and art cultivation:

“When I cancel someone for being hazardous to our culture, I don’t mean it ironically. A man stands by his word, and an artist stands by their heart.”

It could be because I wasn’t that much of a fan of Kanye’s to begin with. I know of some who would skin their baby sister alive to breathe Ye’s backwash, and that inflates the legend that was Kanye West for me, but there was really not that much satisfaction I reaped from him.  I bopped to “Jesus Walks,” and “All Falls Down”; I know that College Drop-out was a defining moment for Hip-Hop. I know Donda raised better, and deserves better than what this minstrel show is presenting to us, but I don’t care about Kanye West. Never did. And probably never will.

Speaking of Donda – Kim Kardashian sustains herself on being a trash person and making “ignorant” comments just to increase her revenue that consists itself on drama, negativity and the outrage generated by the stupidity her family perpetuates, so I will NOT be focusing on the Donda’s House scenario much. What I will do, is say I am excited to donate to the advancement and mission of the new community support and outreach program that fills the voice of Donda’s House with the staff that has done such a terrific job at empowering the Community Kanye West once hailed from and Kim Kardashian flies over on her way to some sadidy penthouse.

There are too many underground rappers out here to cape for Kanye West.

Check out the single, “Jungle”, by Villenz from Columbus, OH.

https://open.spotify.com/album/0xabwsZqgrSuaTq419Wqom

https://itunes.apple.com/us/artist/illy/1017166404

For more music by Villenz, follow their SoundCloud.

https://soundcloud.com/anunnaki-villenz

 

Disagree? Change my mind below in the comments.

#TRENDSETTER: CONGRATULATIONS TO ‘STREET SERENADE APPAREL’’s GIANNA ROSS @ the #WCWFashionShow

#TRENDSETTER, Fashion

By: Steven Underwood

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#Wcwfashionshow set it off with Gianna (or Gia, as she is affectionately called)’s ode to the Streets.

Yesterday, New Jersey native, Gianna Ross, released her street inspired collection for Street Serenade Apparel. Her line focused on the dynamic looks of rap, hip-hop and black culture, celebrating the fierce nobility in our nouveau noir generation. The bold Centenary University Alum’s showcase stunted, featuring several of her sorors as models for her collection.

“Heart Beat Of The Streets”

An ode to the Streets, Culture, & the People that arose from it. Using the streets as our muse & embracing our journey, from the ground up🥀✊🏻✊🏼✊🏽✊🏾✊🏿

Do what Janelle Monae said: Femme the future and follow her Movement!

IG: streetserenadeapparel

IG (Owner): Gia_lizz

Like, Comment and Follow for a close look at this artist’s journey!

#LOOKS: STEVE, HEIR OF SLYTHERIN

Fashion

By: Steven Underwood

Crappy Camera quality and grimaces are all a part of College Life.

I guess it started with a comment. Sorted into Hufflepuff with the release of the Pottermore test, I’ve always expected to get the normal flack most people throw:

Ha ha, you’re in the useless house!

Aren’t you guys, like, the “special” case wizards? Like the high needs student organization on campus?

I never expected the sideway glance of everyone and the astonished confusion in a: “Huh, you should retake the test, you’re clearly a Slytherin 🐍”

I wanted to be insulted, but they’re right. From my attention to cunning, ambition, viciousness and abandon to collateral damage in my pursuit of Honesty, I do evoke the very visage of a Slytherin. Since then, I’ve noticed my clothing choices have swung away from a neutral Fall coordination and right into an provocative inclusion of sharper colors of agile and ferocity: of Emeralds and Teals. Specifically, my interview attire (seen below) is something that channels the cut throat calmness of a Lawyer: an energy that says murder isn’t something i like or dislike, just something I have to do on Tuesdays

Maybe I should retake that test, and just accept the tact my compassion might be dwindling as I age.

Thick Dad Bod, But Make It Fashion — Slytherin.

Featured Look: Thrift Store Find (Gap Vest); Amazon (Allegra K Men Long Turtle Neck – Black); ASOS Pork Pie in Forest Green

#LOOKATTHAT: HOWARD GOT FINESSED BY SOMEONE HONESTLY NAMED TYRONE HANKERSON

#TRENDSETTER, Articles, Culture

By: Steven Underwood

Maybe if they weren’t clocking Blacks at PWIS who only sin was wanting to afford a cup of ramen noodles every once in a while, instead of selling a kidney for a degree, Howard would’ve realized someone’s nephew was running off with their Housing Grant.

After, what? Four years? Four years of being finessed by someone’s boat shoe wearing Blavity black, the total sum of financial loss snatched by Mr. Hankerson amounts to about $500k. That’s 500 stacks. That’s maybe fifty times my current amount of debt I’ve amassed being “finessed by the white man.”

I’m shook. Not shook like Howard’s CFO by the IRS, but I’m shook like a Wakandan watching the Civil Rights Movement from the comfort of my rhino: saddened by the audacity, but otherwise unaffected.

I guess this just means I made the right decisions. You know? Maybe, I did sacrifice an “Authentic HBCU experience” for bein dicked by white men. But you know what didn’t happen to me? I wasn’t scammed by a mink coat, designer bag slinging undergrad in white rubber boots.

I wasn’t scammed by Curious George’s unscrupulous cousin.

I wasn’t scammed by someone named Tyrone Muthafuckin’ Hankerson.

Do I sound petty? Comment below with what you would’ve done with the $500k your pre-law/pre-med/home health aid major cousin took out a personal loan under your auntie’s name with? I’m sure it would’ve been half as nice as what Hankerson did with it.

#INSPIRE: LOVE FOR GQ

#TRENDSETTER, Articles, Non-Fiction

“I want to be an authentic, unapologetic warrior for black culture and the culture of the street and how it moves. My thing is most importantly to change the narrative of the black race. I can’t relate to anything that isn’t about that.” — Love, formerly Sean Diddy Combs, for GQ April 2018.

Here are a few of my favorite pictures from his shoot. Got any favorites? Comment below!