Hanna Luna

Hanna Luna

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March 2, 2024 | Hanna Luna

Why artists hate social media

Photo of an artist using social media.

I went viral (and it made me hate social media).

 

Before that, I’d spent years posting to 150 followers.

 

So when I finally had my “big break” last year, I was over the moon!

 

But I didn’t want it to go away.

 

I’d wanted to be a full-time artist for so long and this was my shining moment — my chance to make that dream come true.

 

So what did I do?

 

I doubled down on the content that was going viral, and I stopped making the content that wasn’t.

 

This was my first mistake (though, I didn’t know it at the time).

 

This strategy worked for a while. I had several reels go viral, and that was great.

 

There was just one problem: I was starting to lose interest. Most of my reels were the same.

 

Same clips

 

Same topic

 

Same format

 

I grew tired of making the same thing over and over again.

 

So I started experimenting with different types of content.

 

Unfortunately, that didn’t go so great. My new content wasn’t performing as well (and this was a problem).

 

Why?

 

Because I’d spent weeks creating content for the wrong reasons.

 

This made me rely too much on the numbers for motivation. So when the numbers dropped, so did my desire to create.

 

This was my second mistake.

 

Looking back, I understand why some posts went viral (and why others didn’t).

 

There were two reasons for this.

 

The first was that my viral posts followed a viral-worthy format.

 

It consisted of reels that were:

  • 5-8 seconds long
  • Educational
  • With long, informative captions

The second reason was that I lacked experience making longer reels (so I didn’t know how to capture and hold attention with them).

 

That’s why it’s important to study the content you want to make (see the Inspiration page inside my content planner).

 

Then apply what you learn to your own content.

 

That’s exactly how I learned to make my viral reels.

 

Over time I’d lost touch with that truth so when my posts began to under-perform I’d take it personally.

 

That was my third mistake.

 

Why I Made These Mistakes

I spent hours searching for the answer.

 

Then one day it hit me.

 

It was perfectionism.

 

“But, what does perfectionism have to do with hating social media?”

 

I’ll tell you, but first, let’s define it.

 

Perfectionism is the striving to meet impossible standards (while basing one’s self worth on how well they’re achieved).

 

In other words, my self-worth depended on my ability to make every post go viral (the impossible standard).

 

Perfectionism created the perfect environment for making all 3 mistakes (which made me resent social media).

 

Those mistakes were:

  • Creating content solely for the algorithm
  • Relying on extrinsic motivation (i.e. the numbers)
  • Obsessing over the performance of every post

After a few months of doing this, I burned out, lost touch with my “why”, and ran out of motivation to create.

 

This forced me to drastically reduce my content output.

 

The Solution (how to enjoy posting on social media)

If you want to grow on social media (and enjoy the process) you need to overcome perfectionism.

 

This is something we all deal with on some level.

 

But don’t take my word for it.

 

Put it to the test.

 

1) Challenge your perfectionism

Perfectionism is like a weak immune system.

 

Creating content for the wrong reasons is the virus.

 

You become immune to the “virus” by overcoming perfectionism and your fear of failure.

 

I’ve created a simple process for doing this — it’s what I’ve used to slowly overcome my own perfectionism.

 

It’s the reason I’m here writing this — my first article.

 

Is it perfect? No, but that’s the point.

 

Nothing is perfect at the start, but we must do it anyway.

 

This process will help you do that.

 

I’ve divided it into 2 phases.

Phase 1: Observe

1. Notice how perfectionism shows up for you.

 

2. Set an intention to notice when you’re being perfectionistic.

 

This will allow you to catch perfectionism “in the act”, and see how it’s affecting you.

 

Below are some examples of how perfectionism can show up:

 

  • Creating content you hate in search of external validation (more likes, more views, etc.)
  • Feeling anxious about creating content (or posting it).
  • Making excuses for not taking social media seriously (even though you want to).

As soon as you notice the behavior, move onto Phase 2:

Phase 2: Transform

3. Notice and sit with the painful emotions that come up (until you feel some relief).

 

4. Identify the belief that’s fueling these emotions (Ex: “if my post doesn’t get X amount of likes, I’m a failure”)

 

5. Challenge the belief & find evidence that proves it wrong.

 

6. Replace it with a more empowering belief.

 

7. Then look for evidence that supports your new one.

 

Make this a daily practice.

 

The more you do it, the less power perfectionism will have over you.

And the safer you’ll feel to make mistakes and experiment with your content.

Your self-worth won’t be on the line.

 

2) Identify your why

“Happiness comes from what we do. Fulfillment comes from why we do it.” – Simon Sinek

Your “why” is your anchor.

 

It’s what will keep you aligned with your values when making content (and looking for growth strategies).

 

Without it, you’re more likely to make the mistakes I made (and hate social media as a result).

 

To discover your “why” (and whether social media is right for you), ask yourself the following questions:

 

  • Why do I want to grow on social media?
  • Do I enjoy creating content? If not, would I like to?
  • Is there a better, more enjoyable way to get what I want (without social media)?

A lot of artists force themselves to post on social media.

 

They hate making content yet they do it anyway.

 

They believe it’s the only way to sell their art, or make money doing what they love, but it isn’t.

 

There are plenty of ways to do those things without social media.

 

3) Make content you love

The doing is more important than the finishing. The magic is in the journey. If you don’t enjoy the process, you won’t fully appreciate the result.

– Bruce Van Horn

This is how I was able to gain 10,000+ followers in 3 months on Instagram.

 

It was by making content I enjoyed making (this was before I’d made the mistakes I mentioned earlier).

 

This is what every successful artist on social media has done (and continues to do).

 

They make content they want to make (and refuse to make content they don’t).

 

This is the key to growing on social media (without hating it).

 

You have to enjoy the process as much as getting the outcome (more followers, sales, etc).

 

This also applies to anything you pursue — building an art business, growing on social media , improving your art, etc.

 

  • Make the art you want to make.
  • Take the photos you want to take.
  • Tell the stories you want to tell.

“But how do I know what content I’d enjoy making?”

 

The short answer ? Experiment and be willing to fail (a lot). I know it’s easier said than done, but the process is simple:

 

1.  Make a collection of content that inspires you

 

2. Analyze that content (for this you can use the Inspiration page inside my content planner)

 

3. Then apply what you learn to your own content

 

Will that last step be uncomfortable? Yeah.

 

Will it take some effort? Yep.

 

But that’s the only way to learn.

 

We need to be okay with trying new things, and with making mistakes.

 

Success doesn’t come easily. If it did, everyone would do it. It’s why most of us give up on our dreams. The process is uncomfortable.

 

But we need to understand that success (in any area) will come with challenges and discomfort.

 

The sooner we accept that, the sooner we’ll take the steps to achieving our goals.

4) Notice yourself drifting

You are present when what you are doing is not a means to an end, but fulfilling in itself, when there is joy and aliveness in what you do. – Eckhart Tolle

Your content won’t always perform well.

 

This is when you’re the most likely to make content for the wrong reasons (to compromise on your values).

 

Your job is to notice yourself drifting from your “why” i.e. creating content you don’t enjoy making for a desired outcome.

 

And that’s the trap you want to avoid.

 

It’s when making content becomes a means to an end (rather than an end itself).

 

I call this doing things “so that”.

 

So that you gain more followers

 

So that your content gets more likes

 

So that you feel good about your art

 

The list goes on.

 

You avoid this trap by setting an intention to notice yourself drifting (and bringing yourself back when you do).

 

Summary

The 4 steps to enjoy creating content (and posting on social media):

 

1. Challenge your perfectionism (and fear of failure). This will help you develop a healthier mindset to avoid common pitfalls when creating content (and trying to grow your account).

 

2. Identify your “why” for posting on social media. This will be your anchor (what you look to when your content doesn’t perform well). It’ll ensure you stay aligned with your values when creating content.

 

3. Make content you love. If you really want to grow on social media, it’s going to take time and patience. That’s why you need to enjoy the process (because it can be a long one). If you hate the process you won’t be doing it for very long.

 

4. Notice yourself drifting. Your content won’t always perform well and sometimes you’ll want to take shortcuts (Ex: making content solely for the algorithm). Setting an intention to notice yourself drifting will help you avoid that.

 

Thank you for reading, my love.

Until next week,

Hanna

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Hey, I'm Hanna

I’m an artist who’s obsessed with helping artists thrive by sharing tips on mindset, creativity, and social media.

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