Facebook is supposed to be a tool we can use to market ourselves and our art, right? But you can’t just open an account and get followers. It doesn’t work that way. You have to build a following.
So how can you make people follow you on Facebook? It’s a legitimate question!
In some ways, it’s more difficult than you might expect (and will probably take longer than you’d like). In other ways, it’s quite simple. To help answer that question, I’ve included three keys to Facebook that will help you build an organic following more quickly.
But before I get to those keys, I want to stress a few very important points that will help you make the most of this article in the long run.
You can’t MAKE anyone follow you. All you can do is offer an invitation, and then give them a reason to follow you.
Your content is your invitation to others. The best way to gain followers is to post content that people want to read. Your content should solve a problem, teach something, or entertain. That sounds easy enough, doesn’t it?
(Well, maybe it doesn’t. I still struggle with the idea that any of my services or products help people solve a problem or entertain them. You may have similar feelings about your art or services. For the time being, lets set that aside and ASSUME you DO have something other people want or need. Okay? Good!)
You need to know who you’re trying to reach. Today’s article isn’t about finding your target audience, so I won’t go into all that right now. Instead, I’ll just share a quick explanation of how this works, using myself as an example:
I do colored pencil work and focus almost exclusively on landscapes with an occasional horse thrown in for good measure. I work in a realistic style, and create mostly small-format works of 8 x 10in or smaller. I also teach online art courses by email and blog tutorials.
That means the people I’m most likely to connect with are people who want to learn how to use colored pencils and have a preference for drawing landscapes or animals.
So—when I write Facebook posts, I write for people who are interested in what I have to offer. Specifically, I write posts for artists who want to learn how to use colored pencils to create realistic drawings of landscapes or animals.
You need to figure out who your target audience is, then write content ONLY for those people. In a way, it makes your job easier—you can simply focus on what you do best!
OK, here are 3 keys to building a larger Facebook following
1. Start with a Facebook business page
If you’re in business, don’t promote yourself exclusively on your personal Facebook timeline. It’s okay to post some newsworthy items there, but you really need a page that’s purely dedicated to your art and what you’re offering people. It should be professional in appearance, and you should be professional in your interactions with readers and followers.
And yes, it’s okay to post occasional personal news on the business page. That lets readers and followers know that you’re a real person, and creates trust. But keep personal posts to a minimum.
2. Post regularly & be relevant
No one is going to follow you if you haven’t posted anything in months or years.
Additionally, a lot of people may not follow you (or may unfollow you) if you post every five minutes, no matter how much they may like what you have to offer.
So what’s the best posting frequency? Are you ready for this?
You should post once a day on your business page.
This doesn’t include comments you make on other posts; this is your own original content. I like to think of posting on Facebook like keeping a mini-blog. It’s shorter articles, but with the same types of tips, suggestions, and other content.
I usually do five posts each week, one for each weekday, and then my blog posts automatically add themselves to Facebook on Saturdays.
Your posts also must be relevant. If you spend way too much time posting about your children (or grandchildren), your pets, or your latest pet peeves, you may end up losing followers.
So what’s a “relevant” Facebook post?
• Tips specific to your medium
• Behind the scenes/in the studio posts
• Letting your followers ask questions
• Asking your readers questions (a post asking my readers what their favorite pencils are got a lot of response)
• A post with a link if you have something of value on your website (usually no more than once a week—Facebook doesn’t like sending readers to other websites.)
Another way to keep your posts relevant is to consider when your followers are usually on Facebook. After you’ve posted for a while, Facebook will be able to suggest the best time for you to post. For me, it’s currently 4pm.
Post every day at whatever time Facebook recommends for the best results.
3. In addition to posting, be present on Facebook
Don’t just post your own stuff and then log out. Interact with the followers you already have, respond to their comments, and engage them in conversation. Take time to respond to the posts of others, too. Many of your new followers will find you because you’ve answered someone’s question or shared a good tip.
The best way to do this is to find a group that fits your area of interest and expertise, and then check into it regularly if not daily. See what other people are posting. . . if someone asks a question you can answer, answer it! Be polite and professional at all times, though. Insulting people—even unintentionally—is not a good way to gain followers!
Think of Facebook the same way you think about all the rest of your art business. In other words, be professional and give followers (and potential followers) content that either helps them solve a problem, learn something new, or entertains them.