Having enjoyed some solid success with marketing my own art through Facebook I thought it was about time to share the tips and tricks that have helped me. I’ve just returned to art these past few years, and am genuinely amazed at how successful I’ve become through Facebook. However, I do have a secret to tell. . .
Before returning to art, I spent fifteen years as a professional marketer, working across a number of online platforms, but specialising in Facebook marketing. While I wouldn’t describe myself as an expert (that’s a little too immodest for me) I am a specialist.
So you see, I’m coming at this from a very different starting point to most artists and therefore perhaps it should be no surprise that I am making new sales every month—just from my Facebook page.
I’m a huge advocate of sharing knowledge and want to offer a few key tips to you if you’re finding it tough to get some results from your own efforts on Facebook. Clearly this first article cannot dive into the more sophisticated elements of Facebook advertising, as it’s a big subject and goes several layers deep. However, even if you’re not a marketing specialist, these ideas will certainly help you to get better results and quickly. I hope you’re already using some of them.
Let’s begin by busting some Facebook myths:
“I’m an artist, so I’ll set up a Page on Facebook and start getting noticed”—wrong, very wrong!
Just like creating your own website and then doing nothing to promote it, you’ll quickly find that it feels like you’re shouting down a deep well with nobody listening. As you may already know, Facebook doesn’t show all your posts to all your friends, or “page likers.” We’re told that only 5-7% of your posts ever reach other Facebook users.
Some of us believe that figure to be even lower, around 3-5% if you’re lucky.
So out of the 100 people who have liked your Facebook Page, only 3-5 people will actually be shown your posts in their timeline. If you’re getting almost no response or engagement on your Facebook Page right now this is almost certainly the reason.
Why is this the case?
Because Facebook is a commercial marketing tool (and one of the most successful globally today). It is not “free.” Yes of course it’s free to use but it’s a business driven by large revenues from advertising. And with this comes a very powerful marketing tool, if you’re prepared to learn how to use it correctly.
Putting whatever moral, ethical or even political viewpoint you have on this, here’s one simple fact: if you want to make Facebook work for you, and make regular art sales, you’re going to need to invest a little bit of money in Facebook adverts.
The really good news is that when you know what you’re doing you can make a small budget go a long way. Every month I generate enough art sales to qualify for the 10% cost-of-acquisition rule.
This means that for every £10 ($10) I spend, I make back £100 ($100) and more in sales. Now that’s a pretty good return on investment, and one that any business would be pleased with.
Before we get into this let me set out some other key points that you need to remember first. Facebook is social media, and the clue is in the name—if you want to be successful on social media then you need to be sociable, you need to engage. You need to be human, not digital.
When you are getting engagement (like comments) with your posts you need to respond. A simple “Thank you” goes a long way and besides, it’s the same good manners your mother always taught you. So show your appreciation to those who take time to comment on your posts and answer questions.
“I don’t want to use Facebook Adverts because I don’t want to spam people”—wrong again.
The key to using Facebook and using the advertising feature (even if you’re just “Boosting Posts”) is to make sure that you select an audience that fits with your given message, offer or theme.
There’s little point in spending money to advertise your artwork to people who have no interest in art. You need to share the right message with the right people—which is a fundamental principle of all good marketing.
And this is where Facebook gets very clever. If you are poor at matching up your post (which is your advert) with the target audience then you’re going to find your advertising costs are very expensive.
This is because Facebook sees that your adverts are getting a poor response and will actually penalise you for poor results. However, when you’re getting the right message to the right people Facebook actually drops your pricing and your adverts become much, much cheaper and become a better value.
I often run adverts that I’m only paying 2-3p per click for. I’ve even hit the magic 1p-click a few times. This is why a small budget of £10-20 can go a very long way in just one day or over a weekend.
So where do you start?
1. Set up your Facebook Page
If you’ve not already done this, Facebook will walk you through this process. The main thing is don’t attempt to skip things or miss these out. Like everything in life (including when we create art) you need to prepare correctly.
You’ll want a good Facebook Page Image, also called a masthead. This is the image that sits at the top of your page. It can be anything that fits the allowed dimension (and complies with Facebook’s rules) but don’t just add a photo or image. Use this space to also present a title and some extra information. Explain what you offer and who you are by overlaying some text on your photo. You can use a simple program like MS Paint to do this, or Photoshop if you’re a bit more IT savvy.
The same is true of your Page avatar (that’s the little square image that appears next to every post you share). Remember that this image is often viewed at very small scale, especially on smartphones, so don’t use an image that gets lost at small scale.
My advice is always to use a photo of yourself for your Page avatar. People like to see people, they respond well to faces and make sure your photo shows you looking at the camera (i.e. the viewer).
Also make sure to add a good biography and details in the relevant sections of your Page. Add contact details, a link to your main website, and generally complete everything you can, so that your Page information is correct and people can contact you.
Oh and one last point on this: yes, you need a Facebook Page, not just your own personal Facebook Profile. A Page has far more options and, in essence, represents a mini-website for your artwork. In fact, you could even market yourself online with only Facebook.
2. Invite all your friends (on Facebook and beyond)
Don’t be bashful; tell all your friends and ask them to support you by “liking” your new Page. You’ll be surprised how supportive your friends, family and colleagues can be.
Ask for “shares” too—like anything in life, you just need to ask. So also ask your friends to help you by sharing your page with their circle of contacts. If you have only 100 friends on Facebook, but each one of them has 100 friends, the numbers will start to multiply rapidly. So go ahead, ask for help.
Also add some good images to your Page, especially if you’re just starting it. People want to see your artwork and you. Essentially the Internet is a visual medium and that’s really good news for artists, photographers, etc, because you have lots of images to share.
When you’ve got your Page fully tuned up with some interesting content you can start to work on creating good posts, and then take your first steps into Facebook advertising!
So if you’ve enjoyed this brief insight, please look out for part 2, coming soon, where I’ll be giving you tips on what makes a really good Facebook post and much more.
In the meantime if you want see how I’ve been using Facebook to progress my own art career, please take a look at my own Facebook page, Big Norfolk Skies.
By all means do reach out to me personally if you’ve got any questions! I’ll do my very best to help.
Special thanks to artist Nial Adams for sharing his Facebook expertise. Do check out his Facebook page, and stay tuned for part 2 coming up soon!