Give fans a reason to leave social media and subscribe to your newsletter

If you want people from Instagram to subscribe to your Substack, understand that you are competing with an app built by a company with over 60,000 employees.

The motivation of Meta employees is to keep you scrolling, engaged, and plugged into their ecosystem of products – Instagram, Facebook, DMs and messages.

Your fans on social media are navigating an unending fast-food drive-thru experience, sitting comfortably in their vehicle, all while algorithms serve them as much content as they want through their digital window.

That’s what you’re up against, so trust me when I say the following ain’t gonna cut it:

  • “I’m writing on Substack now. Click the link in bio to sign up.”
  • “I’m starting a newsletter. Sign up to get updates.”
  • “Hey, social media sucks. Sign up for our email list.”

Like the Merovingian says in The Matrix Reloaded, “this is not a reason, this is not a why.”

Ask yourself: why do people follow you on Instagram (or any social media platform)?

It’s the photos, the stories, the art, the design, the stories, the visuals, the sass, the cats, the dogs – there’s your “why.”

You’ve never had to tell people to follow you on social for “the updates.”

You told everyone to follow you because you’d share photos of your journey, your artistic process, and upcoming projects. You made sure everyone knew to follow so they’d “see” your rants, good taste, and well-curated whimsy.

And – people could see it on your social media profile right there in the open.

(This is why I recommend Substack so much because when you send out an email with something like Mailchimp, it stops there. With Substack, everything you send is also on the web for anyone to read and share easily before committing to signing up.)

You must tell people what they’re getting (and show it) if you want to have a chance of moving a sizable number of people from social media to your newsletter.

Then you must do it consistently.

Oh, I know – we creative types hate asking too often and appearing like we’re desperate.

I’ve seen folks make grand announcements of their new email list, then never utter another word about it several months later.

Friends – these are desperate times.

In case you haven’t noticed, the art you create is needed now more than ever. The world is on fire, and we need art, music, magic.

We need hope. Your fans need the hope you bring.

And if we surrender our offerings to the algorithmic gods, it’s easy to lose hope.

Hope needs to spread to have a chance, and making sure that the people who appreciate your brand of hope even see what you’re making is the most essential part.

Again – if even your own fans can’t see what you’re work, hope is lost.

Tell your social media followers what they’re getting, and do it often.

Two, three times a week.

Remember – you’re creative.

You can find creative ways to get people interested in learning more about you and your art.

Do the math: if you post about your Substack once a month on social media, around 10% of your total followers might see it.

Of those 10%, maybe 2-5% will click the link to see your Substack.

From there, hopefully, 1-2% subscribe.

If you do that once a month, you’ll get crap results, then say, “yeah, I tried email marketing, it just doesn’t work.”

Like anything, it works if you put in the effort. You can’t just send an email every six months and expect a huge impact.

The hard part is done.

You’re already an artist, a photographer, a musician, a poet.

If you write, you’re a writer. If you draw, you’re an artist. If you create, the world needs you.

All you have to do now is tell people about your newsletter creatively and consistently.

You must.