For week two of the virtual apprenticeship challenge (and if you are reading this and aren't one of the 90 participants, don't worry, this is for you, too) I want you to start using social media with discipline.
Now most of you are probably thinking about the discipline of not spending hours poking around in the explore section of Instagram or not checking your facebook updates like a nervous tic. And we'll get to that. But this is about building your craft and laying the groundwork for you to start building a platform for yourself and for your craft, so I'm actually talking about the discipline of USING social media.
Since all the participants found me through Instagram, I'm going to talk about that, but really what I'm about to say can be applied to any app, any social media.
Starting tomorrow, I want you to start posting something EVERY DAY. If you already post every day, I want you to post twice a day. Whatever you are doing, double it. Already post three times a day pretty regularly? Make it consistent and then start using Stories and Live features on a regular basis.
The thing is, carving spoons (again, this is the basis for the challenge, but it can apply to WHATEVER you want to be doing with your life) can't make you a living in a vacuum. You need to build a following. This following will be built on the basis of your skill (hence you will continue to carve every day), but it will also be built by just being present.
Posting every day will build your photography skills, something I will go into in my podcast over this next week (if you aren't listening to my podcast, Emmet Audio, start. It's available on every major podcast platform and covers topics that are relevant to this challenge. It's short, it's daily, and it's just me talking). But a good photograph is not enough. You need to have something to say, also. Writing, "this is the spoon I just carved" is not going to get you to where you want to be. The good news is that the caption doesn't need to be just about what the photograph is of. You can talk about ANYTHING. Your grandma. Your philosophy. What is hard. What is surprising. What you love to eat. What bugs you.
You also need to start using hashtags, and be thoughtful about which you use and how to rotate them through so you are showing up in lots of places. Using hashtags is another podcast, I can feel it. Suffice to say, you get to use like 25 hashtags. If you don't have 10k followers, you should be making use of every single one on every single post. Check out people you think are doing a good job and see what hashtags they are using. Copy that. You want a medium sized hashtag, one that gets enough traffic to have your photo be seen but not so many that you immediately get buried. You will need to type them in each time, and this sucks, but it's also how you build a following. Suck it up.
Be mindful to not just post pictures of spoons. Remember that someone is following you because of the spoons, but they bond with you over you as a person. Be real. Be varied. Be interesting and honest. Don't get pigeonholed. Don't let your feed get monotonous. Pay attention to how your feed looks to someone just going to it and checking it out for the first time. Delete the weakest photos from time to time to improve the caliber of your feed.
And now, the hardest part for almost all of you, but I think the most important in the long run: change your handle to just be your name. Trust me. You want to be known for you. You want people to think of your name when they think of you, not some handle that sounds like a million others. I know this because I started out with a handle that reflected my tree farm, and then when I finally switch to my name I felt free, free to be ALL of what I am, free to interact openly with people, and they felt that shift. Things started to change. If you don't do anything else, do this. I will do a podcast to talk more about my thoughts here, but I cannot stress it enough.
Okay, so you are going to continue carving every day. You are also going to start posting every day. Make the photography the best you can, and be thoughtful about what you say. Use hashtags! Lot's of them. And make sure you interact with every single person that reaches out with a comment. You are building the community that you will serve and that will serve you from here on out. Carving is not enough. You must master this also.
My blog has evolved into a series of short essays on the nature of entrepreneurship, craftsmanship, and their overlap. If either of these topics is something you think about, you will probably like this.