First up, I want to run through some of the acronyms I’ll be using here and were used in my articles in The Artist magazine.
SEO: “Search Engine Optimisation” is designed to make sure that your website appears high in the rankings of the correct search terms.
Hashtags: Words proceeded with the ‘#’ symbol that identify messages on a specific topic on social media platforms
Tag/Tagging: Tagging is a way of creating a direct link to a person, business or location that is relevant to your post.
Crossposting: Crossposting is the act of posting a message or post to different social media accounts, keeping a link back to the original producer.
SMMs: “Social Media Management Platforms” are a way of managing all your social media accounts in one place, enabling you to post to all platforms in one go.
Why Use Social Media to Promote Your Art?
My gallery online sales soared from 23% to 35% in 2016-17, so I’m living proof digital sales are increasing, like it or loathe it. You should first have a web sales platform set up (website, ArtRehome/Etsy/ArtFiner account) so you can make the most of your posts, so when that’s ready, you need to promote it.
Social media platforms are phenomenal for this but you need to be consistent and committed. Posting something just once a week or posting irregularly won’t cut the ice. Once you decide to go for it, only Consistent Committed posting will bring dividends. So here’s a beginner’s guide to a few I use and how how to optimise the use of them.
With nearly 1 billion users, it would be crazy not to set up a business Facebook (FB) account as soon as your sales platform is ready.
You need a personal account to have a business one, but I highly recommend you don’t use a personal one for business, as there are strict rules that could see your account closed, losing everything you’ve built.
Creating a FB business page only takes a few minutes and all you need is a regular FB profile and an image to use for your business page. A logo or a pic of you works well for this and needs to be fairly small but don’t worry about exact measurements, Facebook will kindly resize it for you.
Start by going to the Facebook Page creation page. You will see something that looks like this:
You have 6 choices available to you but of course, you’ll choose the 4th, “Artist, Band or Public Figure”. Next you’re taken to a screen where you can upload that image I mentioned, fill in your about section and decide on your Facebook URL (that’s the website address: facebook.com/yourpagename).
When naming your page, try to stick as close to your business name as you can to ensure people can find you (e.g.: Joanne Bloggs Artist, or Peter Smith Painter). For your ‘about’ section, you can make the information hyperlinked (contain a clickable link) to your website or sales platform, essential so your fans can see more and buy, Buy, BUY!
After that, you’re good to go. It’s worth taking a moment to read the instructions provided and follow along to get the best start on things. You’ll need about 15-30 minutes for the whole process.
It’s an idea to take advantage of the unpublish feature. It lets you temporarily hide your Facebook business page from viewers until you’re happy with what it looks like. This is a great feature to take the worry out of having an “messy” page that everyone can see and gives you time to source your best work and cover photo.
To enable “unpublish”, click on Edit Page in the top right hand corner, then Manage Permissions and click on the Unpublish button as shown below.
The nice thing about Facebook is that you may already be familiar with some of the lingo. You can’t be in cyberspace for long without noticing the “like” and “recommend” boxes.
A “like” of your page (different to a post like) means that someone has asked to see your updates to them in their newsfeed: the start of hopefully a long and beautiful relationship.
Encouraging “likes” is often a primary goal but there are many other strategies to help you actually grow you bottom line instead and I’ll take about those here.
Your business page works similarly to your personal profile. You can post updates about the artworks you’re working on, receive questions from your followers, links to various helpful items you’ve found online or pictures, videos and events/milestones in your professional life (try to avoid too many personal thoughts here unless your confident they won’t offend.)
Growing Your “Likes”
When your page is new, you will have no likes. We all start somewhere, so don’t worry. Growth takes time but there are a few steps you can take to get yourself started.
Share your page with friends and family, then encourage them to share your posts, at least in the beginning. That will find you new followers and fans.
Next, do some Facebook research. Head off and find other artists and like their page. (You can Like something as a page rather than as a person, just make sure to toggle this option on in the “Edit Page” section at the top.)
Liking another artist? That’s barking, right…? Not at all… it is social media after all. Many of my artists crosspost other artist’s work. There’s a lot of love in the art community and the more we share, the more we all benefit: A rising tide lifts all boats!
Liking others will not only make others aware of your page, but it helps populate your news feed so you have ready access to articles, posts and pictures to share with your growing audience. Every time your share a post from your news feed, the owner of that post is flagged.
If you consistently share other businesses and organisations’ content, you begin to develop relationships on Facebook that can be very lucrative for your business, too. So like, share and get stuck in!
Engage With Your Audience
You’re an artist, so be visual! Your job is to create visual content for your page that stands out on your newsfeed and what better way than with images and videos of your work, old, current and on the easel.
Interaction in the form of “likes”, “comments” and “shares” is more important than total number of page “likes” because it shows people are interacting with you. And if they comment, so should you. At the very least to thank them for their comment.
Your business page won’t show up in someone’s news feed if you don’t have interaction. A recent survey looked at 4000 Facebook fan pages and only 17% of posts were actually making it into news feeds of fans. Shocking isn’t it? That’s why interaction is vital to your page growth and marketing success.
Increase Your Facebook interaction
As I said in the intro, only Consistent Committed posting will bring dividends. Nothing puts a visitor off faster than a business page where the tumbleweeds are cascading through.
Post about your own work but being a source of helpful information is as useful and likely to be interacted with. For example, if you’ve seen an interview with a famous artist or a link to an interesting arts news article, post it. It’s great for your followers to see your page isn’t all me, me, me!
Manage Facebook on the Go
Speed of response is helpful for increasing FB interaction. Timely responses to questions and comments helps increase interaction on your page (making sure you show up in news feeds more often) and it makes your page more lively.
Facebook Page Manager App for iPhone and Android means you don’t have to wade through all your family’s photos to get to your Facebook page. You can get instant notification if someone posts on your page and you respond to it from anywhere. Get it and use it.
In short, if you’re serious about creating a fun and exciting page for your business and for your followers, you need to dedicate time. Art is your business as well as your passion, so using all the platforms out there is only good business practice. Yes, you can shy away from it and leave it to your gallery/s, but if you’re serious about growing your business and want to make sure your work is out in the ever-growing digital domain, my advice is to buckle up and learn it. There are many artists I know who keep 100% of their sales because they’re great at it. Now, doesn’t that sound good?