How to gain a following on social media - @kianamaiart highlights the tips she finds most helpful.

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How to gain a following on social media - @kianamaiart highlights the tips she finds most helpful.

social media, Twitter, influencers, writing


I've been answering a lot of questions today about how to gain a following on social media and am starting to get repeat questions so I thought I’d just make this doc to highlight the tips I find most helpful!

Disclaimer: Everyone’s social media “journey” is different and this is coming from my experience as a character/comic artist who does primarily fanart. There are a lot of factors that go into garnering a large following and the advice I’m giving is based on my own experiences.

Profile Pictures, Headers, Usernames, Bios, Pinned Tweets and Media Tabs

Whether it’s a movie or a book or a commercial, one of the most important things about grabbing people’s attention is a hook. On social media, your hook is typically your profile picture. It’s the thing people will see as “your face” it’s what they’ll associate you with aside from your @. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve been talking about an artist with someone, forgotten their username and then describe their profile picture so they know who I’m talking about.

I’ve found a lot of artists that I currently follow through my comment section. If they have an art profile picture that I think looks neat and a professional or art related username I am always inclined to click in order to see if they make art like what I saw in their pfp. Never underestimate the power of a good profile picture! It’s really fun to change profile pictures but I’d suggest not changing them TOOOO much. Again, that’s “your face” and what people associate you with! When I’m mindlessly scrolling down my twitter feed and I see the profile picture of my favorite artist in the corner of my eye, I always stop to see what they’ve posted.

Once someone clicks on your pfp they’re taken to your profile! This is your second impression! Having your own art as your header is nice. Not as important as a pfp but might as well show more art and what you’re about right? Bios are a nice place to put the stuff you’ve worked on, your interests, what people can expect to see if they follow you, etc. I’m personally drawn to people with silly bios, but if you’re looking for work, keeping it more professional is probably the way to go! Other than your header and bio, the next thing a person sees is your pinned tweet or if they’re on desktop, your media tab! If you’re an artist looking for work, having your pinned tweet showcasing some of your best pieces with a link to your portfolio site and contact info is ideal (also mention what kind of work you’re looking for). If you’re an artist that does commissions, your most recent commissions sheet makes for a good pinned tweet.

Then there’s the media tab. Currently on twitter it shows your 6 most recent media posts. Early on while I was trying to grow my following on twitter I did my best to make sure I wasn’t clogging up my media tab with anime screenshots, gifs and reaction images. You can use social media however you want and do what’s fun for you, but if you’re here I’m assuming you probably want to use your account for getting work and promoting your art and using it more like a portfolio of sorts. Make it as easy as possible to scroll through your media to see your art! If that’s not what you want to use twitter for, in your pinned tweet or bio, put your art tumblr/insta/portfolio links (which leads to my next point)!

Cross Promoting

Being on EVERYTHING is exhausting but it really truly helps. Sometimes your work will perform much better on different platforms and it doesn’t hurt to have all your bases covered. I started exclusively on deviantART and gained a huge following there. Once I sensed that I was starting to outgrow it, I began linking my instagram, twitter and tumblr in the descriptions of my drawings. The people that liked my art and the other things I was drawing moved with me despite the content being different. Their likes, retweets, and engagement helped boost me when I was starting on everything else (which I was really grateful for). To this day, I still have my tumblr linked in my twitter and insta bios and use twitter and insta and tumblr to promote each other platform.

I also recently blew up on tiktok (which is a REALLY good place to create a big following fast if you’re interested). It was partially due to getting a boost from the people on twitter I told about it and also having a couple videos randomly go viral due to tiktok’s weird algorithm. I then got another influx of followers everywhere else because I made a video telling people to follow my insta/twitter/tumblr if they wanted to see more of my artwork. Idk if tiktok’s dying (in the US) soon or what but fr if you’re trying to go viral, tiktok’s the place to do it.

Tags and Trends

I feel like this goes without saying but I’ll put it here anyways. DO THEM!! It’s always fun seeing people’s different takes on trends and tags highlighting marginalized creators do wonders! My showrunners found me through #drawingwhileblack.


Being a nice person goes a long way. There’s a lot of bad people that still have audiences but they definitely attract a Very Specific Crowd. Interact with other artists, say nice things to them, encourage them! I’ve followed a lot of artists who frequent my comment section just because I genuinely like them as a person (whether they post art or not).

Make Personable/Relatable Content

As someone who doesn’t have the most fantastical, eye catching style, getting a following at first was really hard. Drawing characters standing at a ¾ angle every day was not cutting it. So I made up for it by sprinkling in more of my own personality, humor and experiences!

I did this by making comics or on deviantart/tumblr, drawing a scenario and writing up a little mini dialogue in the description. It makes your work so much more engaging to the viewer. This is why there’s cartoons or movies out there that, while they maybe don’t look super appealing, are successful because they have good writing and lovable characters! (I’m looking at you Jimmy Neutron).

A lot of this comes with honing your drawing with skills. I could only draw characters a ¾ angle before but now I can get so much personality out of a pose, body language and facial expression!

Algorithms and Understanding Each Platform

An artist’s worst enemy or best friend depending on how you play your cards. Learning and knowing how the algorithms on each site works will give you a massive advantage. Learning how tags work, what could get your art suppressed, what could boost your art and what little tricks you can do to get your art to the top of feeds is so helpful.

For example when I started on twitter, retweeting your own artwork didn’t work that well (it works better now) but I noticed that other people were boosting their art by replying to their original post. The reply would act as a new tweet but it was attached to the first tweet, and put it at the top of my feed. I later noticed that when I saw mutuals talking under a post, it would boost the tweet again. This sounds so shady but when I started out I would post my art, I would not reply to any of the comments until later in the day to boost my artwork again. I would also space out the time where I would reply to people so my art would pop up throughout the day. Just manipulating the algorithm LOL.

It’s also good to note that when sites roll out new features, they will typically boost posts that use said new features. For example, people found out that on instagram, if you used their in app filters or “slide for more” feature, your work would get more engagement. So, people would put the filters on (but really low), and post their drawings but with different close ups in the “slide for more” images. I don’t know how well these work nowadays but it’s good to keep an eye out for these sort of tricks.

The usefulness of hashtags varies for different platforms. I’ve found them to be helpful on instagram and tumblr (just know that on tumblr, only the first 5 tags are searchable). But then on twitter, hashtags do literally nothing unless it’s for a specific trending tag. On twitter, tagging #characterdesign, #art, #fandomname, etc, doesn’t help and if you put a lot of tags just kinda makes you look like a bot. So be aware!

Most sites’ analytic features will also tell you when your followers are most active. It’s good for finding your peak posting times. Always post before your peak!!! If you post right at the peak the amount of people online goes down resulting in less engagement. Posting before will give you momentum and you’ll have more engagement by the time your peak hits to really get the post going! Looking at your analytics will also tell you what pieces are performing better than others. From there, if you’re really trying to build a following, you can lean more into the stuff that’s doing well and cater to what your followers like. I’ll talk about this next!


Branding yourself is probably one of the most important things (I’ve found) when trying to garner a following. It’s an unfortunate, but somewhat necessary thing artists have to do in this day and age to bring people in. I’ve seen a lot of big artists that are aware of this and take advantage of branding and I’ve also seen big artists that kinda just fall into branding themselves unknowingly. The nature of social media favors those who are consistent in uploads and content. (a lot can be learned by how popular youtubers and influencers brand themselves).

When I first started drawing on the internet, I drew for the Pokémon fandom. I enjoyed just drawing Ash and Jessie and James but it felt personally limiting and I wanted to branch out and make OCs but I still liked drawing the main characters. So, I started doin

Tags Social media, Twitter, Influencers, Writing
Type Google Doc
Published 29/04/2024, 02:17:18


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