In my previous article, How to start selling art on Facebook, I touched on some of the basics—like setting up your Facebook page and asking for your first likes and shares. Now, with this done, you’re ready to start creating some great posts and laying down your digital footprint.
This is where it gets interesting. There’s not enough time to go into every detail, but here are my 4 key strategies for making Facebook posts that will help sell your art:
1. Post frequently, but only when people will see it
Post to your Page at least once a week (and ideally a couple of times, or more) but certainly not every day. Remember, you’re running an Art Page, not a mainstream news media outlet. So don’t bombard your followers with too much and keep yourself focused on the theme of your art.
I find people want to see you work, see how your artworks are progressing and of course what the end results look like. Yes, you also want some “life-style” content, perhaps photos of things and places that inspire you. But stay away from posts about what you’ve just eaten and how cute the family cat is (again!).
Expert tip: Weekends and evenings are the best time to post.
Very few people are going to have the time to sit and ponder your latest Facebook post at 9am on a Monday morning; they’re probably way too busy.
Any time from about 6pm is good, and as late as 10pm. Just think about it, imagine when people are mostly likely to be sitting down surfing the Internet and in a mood to spend time browsing your work.
Weekends are even better; anytime from Friday evening through until late Sunday night. In fact, after a lot of research, I pretty much only run Facebook post adverts at the weekends.
2. Choose your photos carefully—this is critical!
Take time and remember to take some good pictures of whenever you’re working on, as well as your completed work. If you work in a studio (home or professional) set up a tripod and have it to hand so you can quickly grab some photos of what you’re doing.
If you like to get out and about—perhaps you paint en plen air—again take a small tripod or something you can fix your camera (or phone) to and use the self-timer. Modern smartphones are easily good enough to grab these images, you don’t need a full-scale, professional camera setup.
I cannot stress enough how important good images are to success on Facebook (and other channels like Instagram, Twitter, etc.)
Digital “film” costs nothing and is only limited by the memory on your phone or SD card, so take lots of photos. I can easily take 20-30 image of an artwork before picking the best one or two. Then I just delete the rubbish.
Take photos from different angles, with different lighting, try out different compositions and distances. Remember that you can crop and edit photos to improve them but don’t get too enthusiastic with filters. You want your images to look good and be natural at the same time. Sometimes photos in black and white (like the one below) can work really well and I’ve found that people generally like them.
Photos shouldn’t have text on them. Avoid using images in your posts that have text on them (or added to them). There’s a very good reason for this; Facebook doesn’t like adverts that contain text in images and the more text you have the worse this gets, in some cases it will refuse to allow you to run adverts because of this. You can use a copyright statement or watermark, but make sure it’s small.
Lastly, use more than one image in a post where you can. I find three is the ideal number. This is because Facebook displays a primary image (which will be the one you select first) and then adds the extra photos as small images. People like to peruse photos, so this gives them some to choose from.
NOTE: Obviously, only ever use images that you own copyright to. Never scrape images from the web and don’t post images of other artists or photographers without their written consent.
3. Post short, interesting details (and ask questions)
Include useful and interesting information on your Facebook posts. Don’t make them too long and don’t ramble, but be conversational. And talk to the person, not the crowd. Remember each viewer is an individual person, not a crowd of onlookers.
Ask questions in your posts. Ask your viewers for their opinions, what they like and what they think. This is not just about fishing for compliments; it’s about starting a real conversation. You can also learn a great deal from it. You can use Facebook to find out what people really like and, most importantly what they want to buy. Marketing is also about testing out ideas, not just selling.
Check your grammar and spelling, too. I’m going to sound like your old English teacher now but seriously, get it right. We’ve all fallen foul of auto-correct, so always check and double check what you’ve written before hitting the post button. However, there’s really no excuse for poor spelling.
You can always correct text on a post by editing it later, but be aware of something very important; if you run an advert to boost one of your posts, you will not be able to edit its text once it goes live as an advert. If there’s an error in it you’ll either have to accept it, or delete the post and start again.
Above all, don’t just “sell, sell, sell.” Good marketing isn’t about ramming it down peoples’ throats, it’s about building relationships. You want people to want to buy from you, not feel they’re being exploited for business reasons all the time.
4. Add a link at the very end
Always consider adding a link to your main website in your post, but do it last, after you’ve already added your photos. If you add a link at the beginning, before doing anything else, Facebook will automatically generate an image from the page you’re linking to, and you don’t want this. You want to choose your own images.
The correct order is:
• Write your post text
• Add your photo(s)
• Then add your link inside the text
Expert tip: Place your link near the top of your text.
If you always add your link at the bottom of your post, then it may get cut off when Facebook adds its own “see more” link to abbreviate your post. Ideally your link should appear above that, so people can click it immediately if they’re interested.
And finally, always check the link is working. It’s amazing how many people link to content on Facebook posts only to find that the page is down and the viewer just gets a 404 error page.
Each of these four strategies will help you get started and improve the way you’re using Facebook to promote your artwork. As mentioned right at the top, though, there’s still much more to learn about the subject.
If you found this useful please let me know—I am planning on writing one more post in this series, perhaps with specifics on how to run your first advertising campaign on Facebook. If that sounds like a good idea, please reach out to me, and share this article with other artists who you think may find it useful.
And finally, of course, I’m going to recommend you go to my own Facebook Page to see exactly what I’ve been talking about (and hopefully “like” my Page too!) It’s not just a shameless plug though, please do look at how I use Facebook and you’ll see what I’ve been sharing with you. You’ll also see the results I’ve been getting and be more confident about doing this for yourself.
If you’ve any questions, get stuck, or just need a listening ear, please do contact me through my Facebook Page: Big Norfolk Skies.
Big thanks to Nial Adams for this excellent second installment in his series on selling art on Facebook! Stay tuned for part 3 in this series, coming soon!