How I am trying to build an audience that cares

How I am trying to build an audience that cares

Sharing an identifiable message with my audience

I learn something new every day about social media and online marketing. 

One of the most important things I’ve been learning in the new year is about how to build an audience that, not only can relate to you, but is also willing to support you. 

The largest audience I currently have access to online is on Instagram. The past few years, I’ve tried to focus on curating when I share on Instagram. I want to create and share interesting and useful things with people who truly care about what I put out into the world.  

I’ve built up the account so much more than I ever thought I would, but I know I still have endless amounts of growth possible. I watch a lot of what other people are doing, and I’m slowly learning what small tactics I can apply to continue this growth. So far, I haven’t began to promote my lettering as a business that people can be part of or purchase from, so I know there is a ton more work to be done there. 

So the goal of this article is to share with you a few of the things I’ve learned about building an audience on Instagram, along with the things I’ve learned but haven’t applied yet.

Curate what I share

When sharing online with the specific intent of reaching more people,  you want viewers to very quickly be able to tell what you’re about. At first glance, they should get an immediate feel for who you are by the content in your feed. 

For me, my whole goal is to share my love of hand lettering and illustration with people, so that’s what I choose to share. I know I still have a lot to learn when it comes to nailing down exactly what people want to see. From my perspective, I’m really satisfied with the way I’ve curated my profile so far. Someone can see right away that I’m a hand lettering artist, without thinking twice.  

The other thing I’ve learned to consider is whether the thing I’m sharing provides any value to anyone. It’s nice to share pretty pictures and art, but what is my audience getting from it? I’m working on this day-to-day, but I think providing value is the most important thing if you’re trying to build an audience!

But don’t curate too much. Be a human! 

Instagram stories are an amazing and non-permanent way for people to see the back end of what you’re working on. I use my Instagram stories to share my two Great Danes, my travels, and just fun things that are happening in my life.

Although I usually keep my photos consistent with only pieces of art I’ve created, I like to let my captions be more free-flowing. I use them almost like a blog post, and I like to think this can also help people relate to the person behind the screen. 

I’ve even heard some people say lately that you should occasionally show your face on your account. I personally haven’t done this (because I can’t imagine anyone would want to see my face). It’s terrifying, but pros like Jenna Kutcher say that it helps people relate to you and put a face to a name. When people see you, they can start to make a connection between you to the work and life you portray online. 

Talk to the ideal person

Think about a person in your life that would love to be part of the thing you’re creating. Whether that’s purchasing something, learning from you, or just enjoying the things you put out, this is the person that looks forward to everything you post, and loves everything you create. 

I know I have a few people that show up in my Instagram feed that I feel this way about. Annie Mertlich is one of them. Every time she posts something I stop what I’m doing and oooh and ahhh over the photo or video and read the caption word for word. She shows up as such a relatable and sweet person, and makes amazing work that I am just crazy about. I’m so on board with her work that I’ve specifically bought online summits, JUST to take her course within them. 

That is what you want your true fans to be like, and I’m working to create work and a story that will attract true fans like this one day at a time!

Share the process

The one request I get from people all the time is that they want to see VIDEOS. People seem to love watching the process of the way things are created. There’s something about being able to see the break down of the finished piece that humanizes artwork. It gives people more context to relate to you and your process. It shows that these things we create aren’t just a few minutes of computer work. They’re actually hours and hours of practice and work to create a beautiful, finished piece!

I’m actually really bad at this right now. I get so excited to share a polished final piece, that sometimes I don’t think to snap a photo mid-drawing, or set up a tripod to film myself as I’m working. 

I’ve started to think about how I can incorporate more process into my Instagram content, and if I get into that mindset, it will actually give me a lot more content to share! I could almost double the number of posts I have to share by adding in unfinished drawings and sketches. I just have to remember to snap photos or screenshots mid-project… which can be challenging, but I’m going to try to incorporate it into my process!

Engage to create engagement

We all know that Instagram has the annoying algorithm that makes it so hard to get people to see the things we’re sharing. The positive side of this is that there’s SO much to be learned from the algorithm. 

Instagram has so many specific rules and timelines it goes by to help you see the best and most popular content. I’ve learned a lot about these rules from reading around online. Apparently, Instagram actually only shows your post to about 10% of your audience within the first 10 minutes you share it. After that, depending on how your post does within that smaller audience, it will open up impressions to more or fewer people. 

This means that Instagram favors those who actually participate on the platform. The more you like, comment and direct message people, the more opportunities you have for other people to see your name, profile and content. 

Because of this, it’s super important to not just “post and ghost”. You’ll get much better results if you start to focus on being a team player and uplifting as you’re trying to get your own content seen. 

I literally could write a whole post on this, so I’ll have to share more details in a future post!

Basically, the more you engage the more engagement you will receive! 

The takeaway

If you really want to build an audience, you have to invest in the people you’re trying to reach. Learn what the love to see from you and participate in the community where you’re sharing. Be relatable, human and give them a story to follow and people will pick up on it over time!

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