#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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#WATCHITALLFALL: SNAPCHAT EARNS $800MILL DOWNFALL FROM RIHANNA

Articles, Culture

By: Steven Underwood

This past week, SNAPCHAT came under fire after featuring a tasteless ad comparing two photos depicting singer/icon Rihanna with the caption: “”Slap Rihanna” or “Punch Chris Brown.”

Rather than taking person offense, Rihanna’s commentary on the controversy was instead in defense of all survivors of domestic abuse: “Now SNAPCHAT I know you already know you ain’t my fav app out there!” Rihanna stated in a brief Instagram caption. “But I’m just trying to figure out what the point was with this mess! I’d love to call it ignorance, but I know you ain’t that dumb!”

Chris Brown also responded in an amazingly tactical fashion, through attorney, Mark Geragos. “Whoever posted this at SNAPCHAT needs to be slapped.”

According to Vanity Fair, since the controversy was exposed, the ad has since been taken down and SNAPCHAT has suffered a  $800 Million dollar loss: another nail in SNAPCHAT’S growing coffin.

 

Featured Photo Courtesy of New York Times

#BLACKBUSINESS: Black People You Should Pay

Articles, Fashion

By: Steven Underwood

Everyone talks about supporting Black Businesses until it is actually time to pay for the things from a Black person: especially for fashion. In the past, location was the issue, but in a digital age like the one we live in now, it’s hypocritical to pretend we can’t. That’s why over time as a professional windowshopper and a certified citizen of Black Twitter, I have compiled a list of places and people who you need to run the check to:

Best of Afropunk Brooklyn 2k17

Articles, Culture, Fashion, Uncategorized

By: Steven Underwood

Featured Photo courtesy of  Don Fonso (@fonzfranc) Stylist , Look Innovator and Fashion Icon for the Digital Age. 

Every year, around August 26th, there is a weekend of pure Black joy and happiness: Afropunk.

Afropunk is a festival that is part celebration of the alternative blackness, part exposition of black music in its numerous forms. The life that isn’t paralleled to the commonly understood black experience, but in fact goes perpendicular — actively intersecting with our very life.

#BlaqueTwitter: June 26th 2017, THE BET EDITION

Articles, Culture

Photo Courtesy of Hypebeast

By: STEVEN UNDERWOOD

SPOTLIGHT

JOE BUDDEN ruins another peaceful interview with another rising talent in Hip Hop, TAKEOFF of MIGOS*. At the BET Awards last night, JOE BUDDEN interviewed the Versace-décor’d trio along with DJ Akademiks and [whatever that girl name was] for the EVERYDAY STRUGGLE podcast. DJ Akademiks started the interview confusingly antagonizing TAKEOFF in a scene that felt reminiscent of a Chappelle Skit (WHAT?!). JOE BUDDEN, being allergic to successful black rappers younger than himself, immediately start barking like the pitbull he looks just like. Little did Budden know, MIGOS are always ready to square up like they’re rooted.

Follow the Birdie for the Tweet!

Summary, the situation escalated into a fight, because MIGOS obviously had the power advantage. No one turned for confirmation in the trio. QUAVO stood, OFFSET stood, TAKEOFF didn’t even break his gaze, just eased on out of his seat, didn’t even stop to take off the very expensive jewelery around his neck. I didn’t know OFFSET was still a gentleman. Homie just got to rolling up his sleeves. And way to go TAKEOFF, the underdog is always ready to bark. Never doubt MIGOS is the next incarnation of the Three Muskateers: Blouses and all. Budden took the L in this situation, he’s just looking sad. Almost as Sad as DJ Akademic shoving a girl in-between himself and the situation. The next day, JOE BUDDEN took to Twitter, saying something about not liking MIGOS attitude. But, when you not only a fashion Icon, immune to the consequences of rampant homophobia, and the hottest rap group out, you can afford to have an attitude. To this situation, I refer to the Crissles philosophy: “Ain’t Yall too rich for this stuff? Don’t yall got a yacht to buy?” Joey, go host your podcast and stay silent. We get it, you’re talented and mad you get no respect. It ain’t our fault, it’s your own. Chalk it up to the game and go home. *TAKEOFF, QUAVO and OFFSET are all members of MIGOS. No, MIGOS is not one person. Pay attention to American culture.

Lesser News

MIGOS also fought CHRIS BROWN, but this is like a normal Sunday evening for CHRIS BROWN. I won’t be satisfied until either he gets folded like the lawn chair he looks like, or he ends up in prison. There’s girls won’t let him go broke. Homie gonna be 16 to them until he 80 in a retirement home threatening to fight his nurses and getting into dance battles with his own reflection.

Follow the Birdie for the Tweet!

TREY SONGZ had another mediocre performance. The TL is still confused about why he still making music about all the sex he has, and still somehow makes the same song over and over. I just want someone to break his heart, or for him to have some character development. He needs to have his LEMONADE by Beyonce (this is the only accurate way to refer to THE album). I want to like his music like I liked LAST TIME, YOUR SIDE OF THE BED, and BOTTOMS UP, but he just…doesn’t give me a reason to? Maybe he can make an album about his dog, the true talent in his family.

SOLANGE, the Moon Goddess, won the Centric Award last night. Some people got made she thanked the Universe and not God. Some people also aren’t aware that not all Black People are Christian or Religious. She made the bop for Depression, which most church folk think is just an imaginary illness you can pray away without actual therapy or medication or actual, I don’t know, acknowledgement. So boo.

REMY MA, stole an award. Let’s not dwell on her speech – which she made about a feud and not about her own development, growth, abilities, appreciation, etc. The TL didn’t say NICKI MINAJ should’ve won the award (they screamed it from the rooftops), but REMY MA certainly didn’t do everything all the Runner-ups did to possibly win over her. MISSY ELLIOT has put in so much work this year that she has certainly earned that win. CARDI B has actually shook the pedestal that Nicki Minaj twirls 5 inches of Indian hair on. YOUNG M.A. has brought a dynamic flow to the game. All of them have done more thank REMY MA and her need to tear down other female rappers. REMY MA is just Joe Budden with two X-Chromosomes and a ghost writer (Guess you needed a, PAP). It’s a shame, because I really WANT to like her. She a Potterhead, she a carefree black girl, she’s rude. All things I love in people.

SZA was a carefree black girl on stage living her dream, and we loved her for it. KEYSHIA COLE stayed for the celebration of what is apparently her favorite album about her life and then left. We love this girl and her crown of curls she turns into this magical prop. Honestly, SZA is Rapunzel and I love her.

People still thing CHANCE THE RAPPER is a new artist, and he isn’t. But I think the qualification for this award just means you were recently signed. Which means one year Chance will one day receive the Lifetime Achievement Award along with his Best New Artist award, because he ain’t -ever- gonna sign.

BIG SEAN continues to be the example all Rappers should follow. Fashionista, Philanthropist, Poet, Artist, Professional Own-Business-Minder, Good Boyfriend. BIG SEAN, keep laying down the blue print.

GettyImages-800854920

LUKE JAMES tried to steal everyone girlfriend on stage in front of the most violent men in Hip Hop and got away with it. NEW EDITION also performed with the -entire- cast of their Biopic. That stage was all white blazers and Motown choreography. I enjoyed what I could see of it (I couldn’t tell who was who, at all. They could’ve been lipsynching for all I know).