Using Social Media to Grow Your Business! 

Throughout my time as an illustrator, I have always needed social media to promote myself outside of an art fair/convention setting. Unbelievably, social media can be a tool to help small businesses and artists to grow! This may not be the case for everyone, but this has certainly been the case for me and my fellow peers at Columbia College Chicago in the Illustration program. 

One of the skills I learned was learning how to play the algorithms of different social media platforms. Each one differs based on its audience and what is trending at the moment. One key issue most creators have on social media is the changing algorithms. It can be overwhelming for some people running their accounts by themselves but here are tricks that have helped me navigate the mess that is most platforms. Keep reading to learn more about social media advantages and disadvantages!

Instagram: Find ways to keep follows and viewers engaged! This can be a carousel of photos, reels, or process photos! Funny how a photo sharing app did a complete 180 and shifted to mostly video, but not all hope is lost for photo sharing. Likes are not the main metric for boosting someone’s post. Sharing stories and bookmarking/saving posts are the way to go to get more traction on posts! 

Twitter/X: I mean, who even calls it X. I sure don’t so I’m going to be referring to it as Twitter…Twitter can be tricky, but hashtags have been working as of late! Especially with something that is trending! Creating threads on Twitter has also been a huge grab for accounts on the platform as well, creating a pseudo-forum of sorts. You’ll also find success by boosting other small businesses and artists in threads. This way people viewing the thread have a collective place to find new content to follow!  

Facebook: Even though Facebook is under the same umbrella as Instagram, it does have different vibes and atmospheres. Facebook is more family and connection oriented. A lot of businesses use Facebook to connect to an older generation of social media users. It is great for leaving reviews, comments, and sharing/supporting other businesses in the same ecosystem. And with the connection to Instagram, it can blend seamlessly into another algorithm as well! 

TikTok: The beast itself… TikTok algorithms are built solely around what the user watches, like most social media. But how TikTok gets you is that they are really good at feeding on your special interests and creating a “For You Page” based solely around that. This can be a wonderful thing for small businesses! Engaging with a small business’ post adds you to their curated selection of videos, boosting their views. Posting on TikTok is another can of worms. The way to boost yourself on TikTok is to get the viewers’ attention and keep it! Hashtags also help expand reach to people that you want to see your work or content.  

LinkedIn: LinkedIn is an interesting one because it is made to promote yourself in a professional setting. However, it gives you some wiggle room to play around and promote your freelance or small businesses as well. Having a professional presentation of your work is just as important as having a more fun and casual presence. Having a balance of both aspects has huge benefits! 

There are so many platforms to use to promote yourself. You just need to find what fits your niche and your style of business! Testing the waters and using engagement tactics is the best way to organically grow an audience without being in person! What are some social media advantages and disadvantages you have experienced?