TRANSCRIPT: Ep. 221 Death of the Instagram Influencer


Speaker 1:
It’s the Inspiration Place podcast with artist Miriam Schulman. Welcome to the Inspiration Place podcast, an art world inside a podcast. For artists, by an artist where each week we go behind the scenes to uncover the perspiration and inspiration behind the art. And now your host, Miriam Schulman.

Miriam Schulman:
Hey there, my friends. Welcome to another episode of the Inspiration Place podcast. I am so excited that you’re here. This is our round up of Artpreneur flash briefings. In case you don’t know what that is, Alexa has this news app called flash briefings, and I created a channel over there called Artpreneur.

The way you go and find it is you go over to Amazon. You can type in Artpreneur and choose skills. Then you enable it in your device. And if you don’t have an Alexa device, no worries. You can download an Alexa app to your phone for free. So that is how you can listen to these flash briefings on a daily basis, well, Monday through Friday. I drop a new one each day for your daily dose of inspiration. But of course, if you prefer, you can always wait till Friday and listen to the roundup right here.

This week we have a very juicy week. I’m focusing this week mostly on social media. Instagram, TikTok, but also the death of the business card and what the heck we’re supposed to do about all the social media changes. So for that, stay tuned.
Oh my, the slow death of the business card. Which by the way, is not completely true. I actually recently had brand new business cards made up because I was getting asked for them so frequently at networking events.

I forgot that without Zoom with my name across the screen, then people figuring out who you are by Googling when they see your name, that they needed that little piece of cardboard. But let me tell you what people right now are using instead. Kind of shocking. Okay. Well, first we’ve all seen the QR code. Perhaps it’s displayed in a loose like frame at an art show.

But what about the QR code as jewelry? Or this idea, this is the shocking part, which I found fairly horrifying, a chip embedded in your hand. Yes, you heard me right. In, not on, in your hand. So you need some sort of syringe to get it in there. And I don’t know what happens if you change your phone number, if you can reprogram that chip that you had embedded in your hand. And meanwhile, the person still needs a special app on their phone to scan it. So thanks, but no thanks. Even with in person schmoozing on the rise, a lot of folks, not the ones who are asking for my cards obviously, they’re not thrilled about exchanging germ contaminated cardboards that create an annoying task later to enter the details into their contact list.

I was recently at a She podcast’s meet up in New York City when one podcaster presented a QR code on her phone. And I thought that was pretty cool. I pointed my phone at hers and voila, her info magically got added into my contact list. And then I spent the next 10 minutes not networking, but with my head down downloading the same app, which was HiHello to my phone. But I’ve since forgotten that it’s there and I’ve failed to use it on several occasions, that’s why the business cards are in order. But also, just so you know, the downside of that is that I don’t remember this podcaster’s name. Why? Because when she inserted her name in there, now it’s added to a list of 7000 contacts. I don’t remember who it is. But we’ll get to that in a moment.

For those of us who do not want a chip embedded into their skin, can get jewelry with the chip, like a ring or a key chain. Although I have heard that these devices are a bit finicky as you have to get the phone to scan the chip just so. You know when you’re at the grocery and they have to turn a package over and over again, imagine doing that for your hand. Okay. So also some people are paranoid about using QR codes in general. And if you are one of them, you’re not far off. The FBI has warned that cyber criminals can redirect codes to fraudulent websites. So much for adding a QR code inside of my book. I am actually trying to get my publisher to let me use the URL instead or an addition for the QR phobic among us.

I’m actually among the QR phobic. I am one of those old fashioned people. It’s not that because I’m afraid of the technology, although now that I’ve learned about this FBI warning, maybe I should be. But I just find it kind of annoying, especially if I’m at a restaurant and I’m trying to enjoy screen free time with my family or friends. So I always ask for physical menus because I don’t want to spend the first few minutes sitting down with a friend with us staring at our phones.

Now there’s a huge advantage for using analog methods, analog meaning physical business cards. Because first of all, you can always jot down notes on the back of the card or on the front of the card about why you’re taking the person’s contact information in the first place. Now I do tell artists, though you should know that business cards are not the best for making sales. When you’re in a selling situation, when somebody asks you for their card, it’s usually their way of politely saying goodbye instead of making a purchase.

However, there are times like at dinner parties or other schmooze events where you’re exchanging cards, and in that case, being able to write down why you’re taking the person’s card is an advantage. And instead of trying to remember their name and search for it, again, like I said before, in a contact list of thousands of names, it’s much easier to have something like a piece of paper, like a cardboard piece of paper, with their name and your handwritten note on it.

I also encourage artists to put a picture, a photo of themselves on the card, because that does help people when you exchange cards, even if they don’t write anything down, they’ll at least remember what you look like. Unless of course your picture is photoshopped, like mine is, and you posed without your glasses and now you wear glasses. So you don’t really look exactly the same anymore as the picture, as the photo shoot you did in 2020 pre-pandemic.

All right. So what’s the answer? So a lot of people are adding the QR code to the physical card so people who do want to scan them later, can, which makes it easier for them to add you to their contact list. And that’s what I plan to do with those business cards I ordered.
Technology is changing how companies market the launch of everything from soap to sneakers. The soap one is pretty hilarious. Hold on, you’ll hear in a moment. Now this drop strategy is something I teach inside of my programs as well as in my forthcoming book, Artpreneur, because artists should definitely pay attention to this strategy. Now I’m going to give you a little synopsis now. The product drop has turned any release, whether it’s for your latest art collection, a batch of pottery, a new online class into an event worthy of a rock concert, complete with countdown timers, limited editions, influencer collabs, and an addictive cycle of new releases.

Here are some of the oddest drops that I’ve heard about. Remember I said the soap? Okay. Chipotle, that is the Mexican fast food chain, they dropped the cilantro soap. And Serta, you know the mattress maker? They created a drop of pillowy sneakers. Yes, pillowy sneakers. The origin of this concept dates back to the street wear shops in Tokyo in the 1980s and spread to the US in the ’90s. At that time, people would line up in person in front of stores to grab items before they were sold out, and often eBay resellers snagged them, selling them for huge profits.

I remember trying to get, was it Missoni or Vera Wang or one of those at Target. They put out a collab and it was not easy to get anything. Now the same psychology is at play in the tech world with exclusivity. And by tech world, I just mean internet world. I don’t mean releasing technical stuff, although that is part of it too. People are releasing the new Apple iPhone and things like that. But the same psychology is at play on the online world with exclusivity, anticipation, and a mad rush to buy. Now this is good news. The trend, especially on TikTok, is that young people are less interested in brand named celebrities like the Kardashians, and more interested in everyday people, which means the playing field is more level.

Well, Instagram is trying to keep up with TikTok. And Instagram creators, well, we’re not exactly happy about it. In the summer of 2022, over 300,000 people signed a petition complaining about the changes. Artists and other e-commerce sellers who enjoyed the ease of sharing pictures of their products are not happy about Instagram’s focus on emphasizing video content. Why? Because it’s time consuming to create it. And there’re more reasons about why we’re not happy about it, which I’ll be sharing soon.

So photographer Tati Bruening, her handle is @illumitati started a movement with the hashtag make Instagram, Instagram again. Which by the way, for some reason vaguely reminds me of the MAGA slogan. I don’t know if that reminds anyone else of the MAGA slogan. Anyway, but here’s what the real problem is. Here’s the real problem, folks. You are relying on social media to sell. That’s the real problem. It’s not whether Instagram does it one way or a different way, you are in control of how much you sell. I’ve been nagging you and getting on your back about this for years. Build that damn email list and you won’t have to worry about the algorithm changing. So will Instagram continue? It’s pressed to be Insta Talk.

A new report highlights the decline of Facebook and Instagram as TikTok becomes the new king of home entertainment. So are you using Instagram way less than you used to? And this is not about whether you’re using TikTok or not. I’m not using TikTok, but I know I’m using Instagram way less. And part of it is because it keeps showing me content from people I don’t follow. The other half of it, is that the content that I create does not get very good engagement. So I find it way too much work to be on that platform creating things, and it’s way less work for me and much more profitable for me to write an email and send that to my list instead of what they want me to do, which is create a reel. Now, I’m not the only one who feels this way. Kylie Jenner and Kim Kardashian are not happy about TikTok’s video centric style. But here’s the real problem for Meta. Instagram is failing at this. They are struggling to make reels a real competitor to TikToks. I got some numbers to share.

First of all, a lot of the reels you do see on Instagram have been reposted from, you guessed it, TikTok. On Instagram, the document says that users are spending about 17 million hours a day, so that’s all the users times the amount of time they’re using the platform, 17 million hours a day watching reels, which sounds like a lot, but on TikTok, they are spending 200 million hours a day. That’s more than 10 times the amount of time that users are spending on TikTok. So Instagram is really failing at this.

But here’s the thing, Instagram is definitely to blame for this as well, because the people having success on TikTok and people you would think would be happy to repost their videos from TikTok to Snapchat, YouTube, and Instagram, are being penalized. Instagram penalizes people who repost it. TikTok creators will notice that their Instagram reels get way less views and their TikTok videos, because Instagram wants us to post original content. But who has time to create separate content for every single platform? Not me. So even popular TikTokers aren’t bothering to repost their best stuff over on Instagram. So what’s the answer? Can you guess what I’m going to say about that?
So we’ve been talking about TikTok taking over the internet world and the decline of Instagram and how that hurts artists that use that platform. But what’s the answer? You know what? I actually wrote about that in my forthcoming book, Artpreneur, and here’s an excerpt straight from chapter one. Ready? Okay, you’re getting this early. When I started my art business, we did not have social media, which is why most of my marketing still relies on time tested principles.

Yes, social media has its place, but we are to spend enough time on our phones and our creative energy is best saved for creating our beautiful art, rather than more content with the Zuckerverse. Social media is a fickle friend and constantly changing. You’ll learn how in the book Artpreneur, how to tap into the power of using social media for direct messaging. You’ll also hear about it on my podcast, The Inspiration Place.

However, I see too many artists and really entrepreneurs in general spending more time than is necessary on social media to build their businesses. Here’s some research that I want you to know about. Research from Agency Analytics shows that email marketing is more effective than social media in nearly every category. For example, the average rate of someone clicking on one of your emails is 2.5%. I know that doesn’t sound a lot, but on Facebook, the average click through rate is 0.07%. That’s not 7%, that’s not 1%, that’s 0.07%. And when it comes to profit, you can expect to earn $38 for every dollar invested in email marketing, whereas the return on investment on Facebook is only 28 cents.

The book Artpreneur focuses on traditional list building over social media, not because I’m old fashioned, but because it’s what works the best and will make you the most money as an artist. I don’t know if you know who Marie Forlio is, but Marie Forlio teaches thousands of people to build online businesses, and she shared, I think I heard this on Amy Porterfield’s podcast, “I do think that people are spending less time on social or recognizing some of those negative impacts. There’s going to be a move away from social even more in the upcoming years. I think it’s critical that people up their ability and understanding of email marketing and how to make it effective.” In other words, the future of marketing is not social media.

If you’ve been waiting for my book to come out, we are building the anticipation as well. Complete with our own launch, countdown timers, influencer collabs, and of course bonuses. It is available for pre-order now, and because the book isn’t actually out until January, one of the pre-order bonuses is a course that you’ll be able to get in October.

Each of the chapters is an affirmation, and I created an art journal page for each affirmation. To watch these videos and hear some extra behind-the-scenes content about each chapter, you don’t need to head over to TikTok or Instagram because I’ve got a video for you over on that will tell you all about these bonuses. Now, to get your hands on them, all you have to do is purchase one paperback book, which is a less than $20, and then enter your order number on the page, That’s it, and you’ll get access to this course as soon as it’s released.

All right, my friend. Well, that’s it until next time. Until then, stay inspired.

Speaker 1:
Thank you for listening to the Inspiration Place podcast. Connect with us on Facebook at on Instagram @schulmanart, and of course on


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