We want to show you why it's good to separate yourself as a person and as an artist on the internet.

Illustrator and Graphic Designer Maya has graciously allowed us to demonstrate what we mean by using her two separate Instagram accounts.

Maya the Person

Maya the Illustrator

Maya is a cool person. She lives in San Francisco, has a cool job, goes to Beyoncé, got a cute boyfriend and an adorable dog. All excellent Instagram fodder.

But Maya is an insanely good illustrator. That's what makes her stand out, above all the other dog-owning, boyfriend-having, Beyoncé-going, gotta cool job Californians.

A lot of people have dogs, not everyone can draw a bottle of Olive Oil and make it adorable.

We Like Sharing Our Lives

The nice thing about Instagram, Snapchat and Facebook is updating friends and family about traveling, relationships, and they're happy to be spammed with adorable photos of pets.

We also share things that make us come across as cool and interesting. Like going to a concert.

If we're normal, we do this because we like it. It's nice to meet friends we haven't seen in a while to have chats like "I saw you went to insert-city-here, it looked amazing" and "wow, your dog is so cute".

It's nice to get these personal updates from people we know.

What The Audience Likes

The thing is, if we're in the position of building up an audience – they like us for a specific skill or trait that makes us stand out.

For Maya, it's excellent illustrations.

It's rare to come across talent that we like, so this is exactly the type of thing someone would like to follow on Instagram. Pretty posts. Done.

It's easy to imagine a scenario where someone comes across that photo of the adorable bottle of olive oil and think to themselves "I want more of this in my life – let me press follow on that". If Maya didn't have two separate Instagram accounts, the next photo she might post would be of her and her boyfriend hanging out on the beach.

To someone who is a fan of the work, but not particularly invested in the person behind it, they're now literally looking at a stranger on their Instagram feed. "Who the hell is that?" they might think to themselves, and then just unfollow the account. Photos of people we don't know are not particularly interesting.

This Is What You Came For

Our friends and family might know we're doing "that music thing" or "some drawings", but not really care about it.

It's hard to get people to follow you based on a variety of different things that you are posting. Not everyone is interested in my design, photos of artsy-things or photos of my face.

Viewing my profile from a design aesthetic and slightly OCD perspective, when it had a mix of life and illustrations made me a bit crazy.
– Maya

If the intention is to build an audience, it's best to separate our identity on the internet into two:

  • One is for friends and family about our own lives.
  • The other is for the audience and fans, and is about our work
    – even if it's only a prospective audience at this point.

Friends who care about the work can follow us on those accounts if they so please.
The audience that likes us for our work, gets exactly that. The work.

So Two Instagram Accounts?

Creating an Instagram account for just my designs, was one of the best decisions I could have made

Maya has got almost five times as many followers on her illustration account, even though she's posted way fewer posts there.

Same Goes For Facebook

We have had numerous conversations with musicians who are getting started about the importance of having a Facebook Page.

It doesn't even matter what's your platform of preference, Facebook, Instagram – whatever, it's this separation that gives your audience space to grow without involvement in your personal life.

The Audience Demands It

At the end of the day, it communicates to the world at large that you're ready to take on an audience. They literally demand it if there isn't an official channel, as we saw so clearly with Eleni from #PMJsearch.

The Results

I really wanted to continue to work on my craft and Instagram gave me the channel to show people who were specifically looking for that kind of content, to see what I was up to.
I didn't expect much out of it, but it has lead to me interacting with some of my favorite designers and also landing a couple of freelance gigs.
– Maya

So It Goes For Design, So It Goes For Music

After having this exact conversation with a local musician about six months ago, we decided to check in. Her platform of choice was Facebook. She had to split her presence into two: 1) her profile for friends and family, and 2) a page, for those who follow her music work.

She now has 1200 likes on her Facebook page and counting. In the last six months she's been contacted by three agencies and she's been performing consistently all summer.

Having an official online presence for your work,
means you're considered as a pro. It opens doors.