01 December 2022
Why I'm Building a New Social Media Community
Stefan Chao, Co-Founder of Artfol
Stefan Chao has created a community-focused social media platform for artists - Artfol. He shares his top tips for creating a positive community.
Social media is a powerful tool, especially for an artist. As a freelance artist, your main source of revenue is from commissions, and how you market your brand may be just as important as the quality of your work. Recognising this, I wanted to create a platform where artists could both express themselves and their brand as well as engage and network with the community; including other artists as well as followers. Because Artfol is solely focused on art, we’re able to cater our features towards artists to ensure our platform can promote artists in a healthy and positive way.
There are three crucial factors that got us to where we are and helped us in our goal of creating a positive community. These factors are necessary for any community to flourish, though I will be conveying them through the lens of Artfol and my own experiences.
1. Founder-Market Fit
Perhaps the most important is that as an artist myself I have a good understanding of the struggles other artists may have, especially as I have been posting art and growing my brand online prior to Artfol. I have a good idea about what artists look for in a platform. Not only is this important in ensuring the features we push out are things users would like, but also shows our users that we have their best interests in mind and hopefully this is conveyed in the features we release as well as the direction we're taking Artfol.
At Artfol we place a heavy emphasis on engagement because that is what creates a community. I believe that artists not only need a platform to express themselves and their brand, but also to talk and interact with the art community at large. That is why we built Artfol by adding more features which boost engagement such as community challenges, events and sharing posts. These features allow artists to not only join and interact with the community in a fun way but actively encourages users to share others' work.
3. Thinking Lean
Last but not least, we spend time listening to our community and collecting feedback. This allows us to not only understand our users better but also lets people know that they can easily reach out to us and contribute to shaping Artfol. I believe this collaborative atmosphere plays a major part in Artfol's sense of community because as much as users can help each other, they can also reach out to us rather easily with feedback or suggestions.
A healthier platform
While building a positive community is important, it's also essential to focus on the individual users of Artfol. Not only have we taken measures to create an active and positive community, we're also considerate of the mental health issues surrounding social media usage. Whilst growing my brand as an artist online, every artist I knew was hyper-focused on increasing their numbers, such as likes and followers, and most if not all artists would stress about getting a certain amount of likes on their posts. However, in our goal to create a healthier space for artists, we've decided to opt for features which obfuscate these numbers, such as making likes and follower counts harder to access. This not only takes the focus away from this unhealthy culture of likes and follower counts, but also pushes users' focus onto other actions such as commenting and sharing.
A good community should see positive engagement. If you can understand what your users want, you can leverage that to encourage users towards taking the steps to create those interactions. At the end of the day, my goal is to show our users that we care about them as artists and hopefully the impression they get of Artfol is that it's a stress-free space to post art and engage and meet others.
I joined King's 20 with the goal of gaining the skills and knowledge to continue growing Artfol. King's 20 has been a great opportunity to speak with a team of experts to help define Artfol's direction as well as meet other founders and hear about their journeys. Both of these have been invaluable experiences that have shaped a lot of decisions we've made going forward.
Stefan Chao, King's Alumnus, Faculty of Natural, Mathematical & Engineering Sciences