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Collaboration and community are some of the (only) great things about social media and it seems we forgot this somewhere along our never-ending scrolls through the wormhole of content available to us.

Brands have cottoned on to this to great success. Think Pokemon Go and The North Face, Final Fantasy and Louis Vuitton, Hajime Sorayama and Dior, Saweetie and McDonalds, Fortnite and literally everyone. The list goes on. These supposedly unrelated and contrasting entities banding together to make something cool is exciting and inspiring, and not just because of the scale at which they are doing them.

We should all take a few leaves out of their books and apply this kind of thinking to our own attempts at expanding our reach and increasing engagement with our artistic endeavours.

So let’s take a look at how we can do just that.

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Step 1:

Reaching out

Making contact can be daunting and a little scary. The fear of rejection is one of the prime motivators, or un-motivators, of the human experience that can cause us to completely cancel out opportunities and run in the other direction entirely.

Firstly, if you’ve identified a page or person that you’d like to collaborate with and think are a good fit, don’t bombard them with your proposal all at once. Start off by smashing that follow button (lol) and engaging with their work a little bit. Ease into it.

It’s also helpful at this stage to identify people with similar followings to your own so that you start off with equal footing. This applies to audience demographics as well as audience size. Some pages might also think you’re requesting to pay them to appear on their pages. If you’re using the words ‘promo’ and ‘collab’ interchangeably, you should probably define what it is you’re looking to do.

When the time is right, slide into their DM’s and come from a place of appreciation and intention, and see how you could help each other out.

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Step 2:

Define content

There are so many ways you could go about creating content together, but in terms of overall effectiveness I would suggest the following, due to their capacity to show off both camps and tap into the spirit of collaboration as well as the potential reward:

  • Mutual Page Takeovers

    These can be done in a fun and creative way, like trying to draw in each others’ styles or drawing each others’ OC’s in your respective styles and things like that. If the two of you have a good rapport you can even joke around and mess with each other’s pages a bit. Spice it up, make it fun.

  • Work on a single piece together

    And film it every step of the way! This actually got me thinking, is there a way to live draw on a single file ala Google Docs?

  • Do a giveaway!

    Guys, I know they’re exhausting and a little bit of a cheap ploy. But they WORK. They actually work, I say to myself in mild disbelief. Try running a giveaway of some sort that enables you to leverage demand for more followers, and at the end, one lucky person gets not one, but two adorable new pieces of art. No losers here, right?

  • Join forces on a brand sponsorship

The entire exercise is about sharing the love, right? Why not let others in on your paid content and extend the favour by letting them ride along on your promos. This shows that you care beyond a simple metric exchange and that you’re invested in the community you find yourself in. There’s so much jealousy and comparison taking place all of the time, why don’t we try being a little more inclusive with our achievements and create some space for one another at the table. Okay TEDtalk done, thanks for coming.

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Step 3:

Stay in touch

It’s really easy to become overzealous when trying to shackle up with some cyber buddies and launch a collab. Try to remember that the same rules of conversation and politeness apply to digital spaces. In the digital realm, however, they have even more weight as you don’t have the awkwardness of having to reply instantly and save face. If people can smell that you’re trying to snipe their followers or use them for clout, prepare to be ghosted for good.

The same thinking applies to after the collab is done. Stay in touch, chat with them and see what’s up. You never want to close the door behind you for good or burn a bridge, so try to stay on top of your reputation management and be the kind of person you would want to encounter on the internet. :)

Hope this helps, and as always, if you want to collaborate with us drop me a mail at [email protected]. Happy drawing!

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- Dante Ludolf