I like to try new things when marketing art on Facebook. This includes trying out some of the marketing features that are on offer there. Here are some of my thoughts on what works well. Please note that I am not an expert, just an artist who has tried out many of the things on offer through Facebook.
Marketing Art On Facebook
Lost In The Crowd
Marketing art on Facebook feels a bit like being in the middle of a football pitch full of people. I am jumping up and down and waving my arms around trying to be seen above them but everyone is doing the same! Ultimately as an artist I want sales (see my blog on developing a marketing plan) but to get sales I need my work to be seen.
Making Best Use Of Fan Pages
I used to have several public fan pages, now reduced to one, my main fan page, so that I can give it the time it deserved. Having several fan pages did allow some benefits in separate marketing and cross-posting. However, with the changes made to the Facebook algorithm (see below) I decided to rationalise these fan pages down into one, my main fan page.
I sometimes have a video at the top of the fan page instead of a header picture. That is more engaging than a fixed image and attracts more attention. I have also made sure that all of the information is filled in on the page and that there are links to all my sites as well as an activated ‘shop’ button.
There is a facility to link your Instagram account and WhatsApp as well as set up your own shop. I have not done any of these as I don’t have an Instagram account and I am happy with the existing shop tab taking people to where they can purchase my work rather than uploading individual items for sale. However, I know some artists have done this successfully.
Have you invited your friends to like your fan page? Facebook provides a facility to do that and you can pick them individually so you can avoid annoying the ones you know won’t be remotely interested! Another little feature for getting people to like your page is when people like a post. You can click on the list of people who liked your post and invite them to like your page. Once you have done that of course you have to let it go, they either will like your page or not, it is up to them.
There is also the marketing opportunity to write your ‘Story’ which tells people about you and your work with links and it shows prominently on your page so new visitors can get a real feel for you and what your fan page is all about. I confess something I rarely use but a lot of artists use it to good effect. I know one artist posts all her sales in her ‘stories’.
Meta Business Suite
It is worth getting familiar with all the opportunities afforded by what is now called the Meta Business Suite. There is a planner, publishing tools and more. There is also something called ‘insights’ which gives you all sorts of information and stats about your page. You can select pages that are similar to yours to compare with your own performance too.
Remember The ‘Facebook Algorithm’
It is important to remember that a fraction of your followers see what you post at any given time. That is unless you pay for ads. Facebook constantly pushes for you to take out paid ads and when you do one of the audience options is … the people who are already following your page. Excuse me? Shouldn’t they see your posts automatically? In theory yes, but it is not how it works in practice. I estimate only ten per cent of my followers see my posts without any further promotion. It is what it is.
I pent $10 on a one week promotion to see how it worked. I did get a final reach figure of 1,046, with 573 people actually watching the little promotional video and two link clicks. No sales but then I was experimenting – a sale would have been nice of course. Would I do it again? Yes, I might consider it if a particular opportunity arose. But I think as an approach to attract new people there are better ways.
So what else can Facebook offer to help with marketing art? Actually quite a bit.
An Important Route to Being Seen
There are a lot of groups on Facebook and I belong to several. I tend to focus on a few key groups rather than a scatter gun approach. Posting in groups potentially brings your work in front of a wider audience. Remember the group posts are also only seen by a fraction of the people following the group (my point about the algorithm above). In addition, many of the people looking, posting and commenting are other creatives. While groups are an important route to get your work seen it is not the only answer and using them brings some potential issues.
One way is to look for groups that are interested in what your main subject area is or perhaps a really specialist area. But it is important to follow the rules of the groups and many stipulate no sales posts. Friends report that engaging with the group and showing your work without links to sales the interest gradually builds and some report good sales through that route.
Unless you join a group as your page you can no longer share from your page direct. You have to share as yourself. Note that not all groups will allow you to join as your page. I find I have a mixture of shares from me as myself and my art fan page.
Threat of Suspension
There is the threat of being suspended and banned from Facebook. This happens if you are seen to be misusing the groups, ‘spamming’ (for example posting the same post to lots of groups) or because you have broken the rules of the group. This is why it is so important that you read the group rules before you post there. There is also the assumption that you will interact with the group which is not easy if:
a) if you belong to a lot of groups as interaction is time consuming.
b) if you are also trying to do the same thing on other Social Media platforms like Twitter and Instagram as well; and
c) if you are not a social beast by nature.
Think About Specialist Groups
Facebook groups have a role to play but I have found that finding specialist groups and writing to the administrator asking if it is okay to post something may work better in trying to reach a wider audience. I posted a cat picture with no links (obviously copyrighted) into a general cat group and it received nearly 1000 likes, endless comments and I was approached for three potential commissions.
A video of my cat art was allowed into another specialist cat group which raised some interest in my work. I was also allowed to post a video of my classic motorcycle artwork in a specialist motorcycle group.
Administering A Group
I used to co-administer a Facebook group and that was very helpful in raising my profile and getting my work seen by more people. It taught me a great deal about how to run a group and what to expect from group members. I have also been able to see how other artists promote their work (or not) which has been very valuable experience.
I guess it is a question of developing a group strategy that works for you – I know I am still working on it.
Creating an Event Notification on Facebook
Creating an event notification is one of the options on the Facebook page. I mention it here because at once stage I introduced a monthly online exhibition on my art website. I thought it was the ideal opportunity to post an event on my Facebook page.
Creating the event notification drove me crazy as it is really geared up to physical events rather than a 24/7 online exhibition. I got in a dreadful mess trying to set the timings for my ‘event’. However, it added an extra degree of interest to my page and does get publicized more widely by Facebook. It is certainly something I will try again in the future.
Arrange Your Tabs
A last thought. Don’t forget to rearrange the tabs on your page (via settings) so the things you want people to see first come up higher on the list. The option comes up under ‘Templates and Tabs’.
That is just a quick summary of some of my experience of marketing art on Facebook. Any tips you can offer are welcome in the comments.
This article was originally published in 2017 and updated and republished on 22 May 2022.
Before you go
My name is Dorothy Berry-Lound an artist and writer. You can find out more about my art and writing at https://dorothyberryloundart.com.
Thank you for reading!