Creating and sharing your work is just the beginning, as Chase Jarvis explains in this 6-minute ‘tough love’ video for his RAW series. Building a community is the long game. Sure, it’s hard work, but it pays off.
“How do I network?” is a question Jarvis frequently receives from photographers who are frustrated that people are not engaging with their work on social media. His advice? Do 100% of the work!
Simply putting your work out there and hoping that people will find it is not going to get you far. In fact, Jarvis claims that creating and sharing your art is only the first 50%, and yet “most people think that that’s where the work stops,” he says.
It’s not… at least not if you want to be successful.
So, what is the other 50%? How do you get people interested and engaged with what you are doing? Like anything worthwhile, it takes hard work, and those with followings like Jarvis have gone that extra mile.
To summarize his advice:
- Reach out and engage with your target audience before, during, and after creating your content.
- Participate in conferences, meet-ups, events, and establish rapport with people face to face.
- Engage with others online—follow photographers you admire and comment on their work; participate in forums, on blog posts, and make yourself present.
- Make your name synonymous with not just the great work that you do, but also with your level of participation in the community.
- If your work does start taking off, don’t just sit back and enjoy it. Success can be fleeting—you have to continue working hard and build on it.
Jarvis stresses that building a following this way is the long game, and it requires a constant cycle of content creation, promotion, and engagement. Most of all, you have to be patient.
“Don’t get frustrated; be super patient,” says Jarvis. “Don’t be afraid of the work, put the work in, and it will come back to you—it’s just not going to come back to you overnight.” In the age of draconian social media algorithms and ‘influencers,’ this advice is more important than ever.
Check out the whole ‘rant’ up top to get your full dose of Monday morning inspiration. And if you want more tips, tough love, and inspiration from Jarvis, check out his weekly RAW video series, which explores “creativity, hustle + other stuff you want to know.”