FACEBOOK MARKETING

Marketing your art with a Facebook page

By Jane Hunt


Update 4/20/15: 
I am delighted with the amount of interest in this topic as increasing numbers of artists are embracing this great tool. That said, I am receiving more emails and Facebook messages than I can respond to!!  This is just a 'public service' article to help other artists, and not my real job, so If you have questions please leave them here in the comments section so that everyone can benefit from them and we can all brainstorm together! 
Here I simply share what worked well for me. If you are looking for further art marketing advice I would highly recommend checking out my friend Lori McNee's website: Fine Art Tips.

Despite Facebook's many changes in the last few months all the advice I give below still holds true. In fact, with the newsfeed changes it's more important than ever to correctly set up and maintain a business page so that your art will be seen.
A lot of people tell me they are overwhelmed by Facebook's 'Insights' tool - I am too!  Still, I think it's invaluable to familiarize yourself with it. That is how you will figure out when your fans are online and what type of content they engage with the most.  
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Original Post 8/10/14
A lot of people ask me how I gained tens of thousands of fans on my Facebook art page in such a short period of time.  There are many different opinions about how to do this, and I spent time studying different people's approaches, experimenting, and reading articles. I use my Facebook page, along with my galleries, website, magazines, and other traditional means, as part of a broad based approach to marketing my work.

Here, I will share many of the tips and tricks I've learned along the way.


Is a Facebook Profile the same as a Page?
No! When you sign up for Facebook you are given an account and a personal profile. This profile is meant to be used for non-business related reasons; in fact Facebook has been known to suspend accounts of people using personal profiles to promote their business!     
Anyone with a personal profile can set up a business page (or multiple business pages).

Pros
There are many benefits to creating a business page - first of all, it’s free, which is hard to beat!
I think the biggest advantage is that there is no limit to how many fans you can have, unlike a personal profile which limits you to only 5000 friends!
You can connect with a limitless number of art lovers, potential students, buyers, editors, and galleries.  The sheer number of people seeing your work is incredible – the average painting I post reaches about 40,000 people!  Unlike profiles, pages are designed to promote businesses - there are built in analytic, and administrative tools, and tons of apps to use – the sky, and your imagination, is the limit!
 
Cons
There are a few cons I’ve found, many of which probably come with any large level of exposure.  People will post to your page with scams or trying to gain traffic for their pages.  I receive hundreds of messages asking for feedback or advice, and I simply don’t have time to respond to most of them!  Another con is possible image theft (which also happens on websites etc.)  If this is a real concern for you, size your image accordingly, so it can’t be reproduced easily.
 
Considerations when setting up your page  
You basically have two options - start your page from scratch, or choose to convert your personal profile to a business page.  There are pros and cons to both, and I would suggest reading up on this to decide which option is right for you. You can read the basics here
(update: there is now the 3rd option of 'merging' the two).

Most people start their page from scratch.  If you do, choose the name carefully - you're only allowed to change it once! Setting up a page is easy, and Facebook leads you through it step by step - read more here. Consider search engine optimization – is the name you’re choosing easy to find and does it work with your other marketing (website etc.)?  Along those lines, don’t use your middle initials or similar, unless you’re consistently listed that way all over the web.  Use artist as your category. Pick your thumbnail image and cover photo carefully – do they represent you well?

Once your page is set up and you’ve added some awesome content you can start inviting friends.  If you have a lot of friends I’d recommend doing this alphabetically and in batches.  Why?  Several reasons – first, it allows you to track which days/time of day you get more favorable responses.  Secondly, when a friend ‘ignores’ your request, the ‘invite’ button immediately shows again, making it easy to accidently invite the same people over and over again.  I’ve found that people don’t tend to appreciate that!

First, decide what your goal is for your page: is it to showcase your process, connect with other artists, grow your sales, fill workshops, boost your confidence, get gallery attention, or get feedback on your work?   Determining your goals will help guide you in what to post and how to proceed. 

The best advice I can give is to be yourself, engage your viewers, and like and reply to your comments.  Obviously, it’s not always possible to reply to hundreds of comments – but I still read and appreciate every single one!

What to post?
First, decide what your goal is for your page: is it to showcase your process, connect with other artists, grow your sales, fill workshops, boost your ego, get gallery attention, or get feedback on your work?   Determining your goals will help guide you in what to post and how to proceed. 
The best advice I can give is to be yourself, engage your viewers, and like or reply to your comments.  Obviously, it’s not always possible to reply to hundreds of comments – but I still read and appreciate every single one!

How often to post?
This is a hotly debated topic that opinions vary wildly on. Through trial and error I've discovered that posting about 3 days a week seems to work best for me. When I post more often than that I've noticed people start to ‘unlike’ my page. Use the ‘insights’ tools that come with your page to determine what times of day, days of the week, and frequency people respond best to. You can also use these tools to figure out which kinds of posts your fans enjoy.

Go easy on the links!
Most people are using Facebook to drive business to elsewhere on the internet, and so they add links or share from various websites. Watch your insights carefully and see what happens if you do this less.  My advice: use minimal links until your page numbers grow and even then use them sparingly. Use original posts (not shared from other sources) whenever possible. It may seem counter-intuitive, but once your page numbers are huge you'll get plenty of traffic to your website without always depending on links.


Other tips
Shorten your Facebook URL to make it easier to find - more info here

I can't say enough about how useful your insights tab is. Study this information to understand what is working and what isn't and your page should grow fairly steadily. 

Add other artist’s pages to ‘pages to watch’ and you'll soon see which approaches work the best.

Use images most of the time – people respond best to shorter posts with images.


You can pre-schedule your posts so they reach people at optimal times.

Brand yourself by choosing great thumbnail and cover photos (use the correct sizes and check them on various devices – phone, tablet, laptop)

Learn about Facebook’s rules and newsfeed algorithm.

Experiment with some of the optional apps for your page, like events, videos, or newsletter.

Have fun!!



My Facebook page: www.facebook.com/janehuntart
Don't forget to follow my blog for more tips.

If you found this article helpful (or if you have questions) please comment below and let me know!

28 comments:

  1. Excellent advice, Jane. I've been tempted in the past to ask how you do it & whether it's best to be a business page or an artist page. I'm changing mine to business now. Thanks so much.

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  2. Plus, I had no idea we could change the name of our page after 300 likes. I'm pretty sure you'd recommend changing it to match my website & business name, right?

    Thanks

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  3. Thanks Sonja! Btw - they are all 'business pages', artist will just be the category. Generally I would recommend that, but if I recall yours is pretty long? Look at how pages with longer names get abbreviated (or cut off) on various devices and in different circumstances (comments, newsfeed etc). Once you see how many characters work best that should help w/ your decision...

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  4. If you watermark your images with a copyright they will be protected.

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    1. Thanks, Beth - do you do that through Photoshop?

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    2. Hi Jane. Love your paintings.
      If you use the full PS or Lightroom, you can embed a watermark that you create (and you can create any number of different ones) when you export/save the image. If you are using PS Elements, you would have to use the "text" feature that places your text over the image so it appears but isn't embedded.

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    3. Thanks so much Patricia, I'm going to try that at some point...

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  5. Hi Jane, Love your work and look forward to seeing it on Facebook. I was wondering about sizing photos so they can't be copied easily. How and what size do you recommend? I haven't set up a business page on facebook. I am looking at ways to start promoting my work. So this has been helpful. Thanks.

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  6. Thanks Carol - glad it helped! There is no formula for sizing - I just experiment to get a good quality image at the smallest size I can (I try to keep it 72 dpi - but sometimes that's not sharp enough). Sometimes I put out larger ones and just take the risk! There are tons of articles about sizing out there - this one is great http://www.jonloomer.com/2014/01/20/facebook-image-dimensions/
    Good luck :) Jane

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    1. Just a hint for you; the 72 dpi only refers to the resolution when printing an image. When the image is on a computer, the total number of pixels is all that counts so for instance, if you size your image to 3000 pixels (and you are setting it to 72 dpi), that still means that someone can print it out to 10" or larger. If you size it to 1200 pixels on the longest side, that would print at about 4" (at 300dpi on a printer). For my website, I generally use 1000 px on the longest side, not only so that someone can't download a large image but also because anything larger doesn't work well on a mobile device and takes longer to load on a smartphone or tablet and uses more bandwidth.

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    2. I really appreciate you sharing that on here Patricia! Definitely not my area of expertise, so I know my readers will find your suggestions really helpful (as do I).
      Do you find that 1000px offers enough detail for a website's zoom feature?

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  7. Thanks for all the great information Jane! This is really helpful.

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  8. You're welcome Scott - glad it was useful!

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  9. Hi, Jane, this is very helpful, and I truly appreciate your sharing your knowledge. I do have a question. If I shorten the URL of my Page, will my followers still be able to go to the same page to find me? Will shortening the url do anything to disrupt things? Thanks!

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    1. You're very welcome Carrie! I'm 99% sure it won't cause any problems (as it's designed for this very reason). If you have a ton of followers that would for some reason input the old url manually (rather than clicking on a link you share) it might be worth a quick google search to double check. Also, I'd highly recommend using the periods in the shortened url to make it easier to read (see mine).
      Good luck :)

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  10. Jane, thanks so, so much for sharing information. I appreciate your work and have great respect for your aesthetic...inspiring. Peace and Health - :)

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  11. Donna - you are so welcome! Best wishes, Jane :)

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  12. Coming late to the party here, but this is such useful info! Thanks for posting it here Jane! I've been in an 'over-whelm' mode recently, and thinking about where I'm going/what I'm doing with my work of late. When I go through those periods with my work, I tend to want to update all my social media outlets as well!

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    1. My pleasure - I'm glad you found it helpful Roxanne. I go through those periods too, and I think it's a good time to re-examine our goals and see if our marketing is helping us achieve them!

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  13. Thank you for posting this, Jane. Does changing the category to "artist" help with traffic or get found in any way? Anyway, keep up the good work!

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  14. My pleasure. Yes, the category artist is searchable and FB will also use it to suggest your page when people are visiting other artists pages.

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  15. Jane, thank you for sharing your FB techniques. They have helped a lot to clarify things.

    I am starting to get a good following with several hundred likes (post likes, not page likes) every time I post. and yet the PAGE like count is very slow to increase. I am close to 3,500 page likes but their increase still seems to be plodding. (I hope that made sense?)

    I was delighted to find that when I open POST likes in the pop-up window, you can invite those people to like your PAGE. I went mad inviting everyone who had liked my posts since I started posting here last August. This gained me near 2k extra page likes. Now I find that I have almost exhausted new people to invite UNLESS I pay FB to boost my posts. this seems to get new viewers and is probably intentional so that FB can increase its revenue. I had hoped that PAGE likes would start to increase by themselves once I had got to a certain amount of follower activity. but I am having doubts now as to whether this will ever start to happen.

    I was wondering if you had at any time used this INVITE facility for people who have liked your POSTS and whether your PAGE likes just started to increase organically at a certain threshold?

    Thanks again for sharing your knowledge/experiences

    My art page is on http://bit.ly/26v231p 😊

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    1. My pleasure Mark, glad it was helpful.
      I did use the invite for a while but haven't in a long time. I'm no expert on any of this, but for me the numbers really picked up after 2000. Best of luck!

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    2. Thanks Jane… Considering how busy you must be your communications are much appreciated.
      I get good post likes and comments but its mostly the same people over and over again. The only way I can see to break this is to pay Facebook to boost posts.
      I don’t know how much use this will be to anyone reading, but yesterday for the first time I posted a 3-min time lapse video of my working on a small painting (I heard that FB favours videos) I had posted a still image of the same work (completed) a few days earlier and it got v good likes and comments. Curiously the video didn’t. Likes and comments were well below average. have you found the same with video uploads?

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    3. Mark, I've always heard that about videos also but my experience has been similar to yours - below average likes. I try a new one occasionally though just to test it out.
      If you haven't heard it yet, I'd recommend you listen to my recent podcast with publisher Eric Rhodes. In the last third I go into greater detail about my social media strategies than I'm able to into here: http://www.outdoorpainter.com/pleinair-podcast-episode-9-eric-rhoads-with-jane-hunt/
      Hope it helps!

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  16. Jane, good to know (or bad to know) you've had the same experience. The only reason I can think this occurs is because a nice colourful jpeg image has an instant impact and people can quickly and conveniently click the like button and move on. A video however will often have a fairly unimpressive image accompanying it and FB folk in a hurry would neither view it nor click the like button..... That's just my theory - no evidence to back it up 😊.

    Yes I did hear your podcast (and commented on your fb page tho I understand you couldn't possibly remember with the 100s of comments you get)… I really appreciated the advice you gave on boosting ones FB page, very clear and practical info and it was good to clarify that I am doing a lot right already with my page.
    I have been scanning through some of your posts and I am amazed at the amount of comments you respond to (and mostly with more than just a ‘thank you’) when there are SO many of them... I also love to engage with people when they comment and I think it keeps them coming back. and as an artist it gives me such a good feeling to have those comments (I have to watch my ego sometimes because many are ridiculously flattering) I still go through the daily process of thanking people for their comments which are sometimes just "very nice" or "I like it" etc... It can all feel a bit artificial. But then I realise that these tiny comments are a genuine token of that persons appreciation and I think they feel good when you do acknowledge them. anyway apparently it all helps to boost your post πŸ˜ŠπŸŒΏπŸ’“
    I'd love to have your opinion on my page if ever you get a moment. https://www.facebook.com/markdrakebriscoe Thanks again for your feedback Jane ❤️

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  17. On the subject of videos it occurred to me that a better idea could be to post a normal image of the finished work and leave a youtube link in the comments section and mention in the post that if you want to see the video of this paintings creation, to see the youtube link below in the comments section (I am guessing that FB are less bothered about links taking people away from FB when it’s in the comments section) The only doubt I have about this is I am not sure that this link will remain as the first comment if people want to look for it or if it would get shunted around by other peoples comments.

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  18. Mark - sorry it took so long for me to see your comments! My take on the video thing is that people watch them and then forget to like afterwards - mine are viewed a ton but not liked anywhere close to a still shot. I don't know about linking in the comments - may be worth a try. Thanks for listening to the podcast - sorry I didn't remember, but you're right, I get too many comments to keep track of!
    I just took a look at your page - it mostly looks great (I love your work). I would try putting less numbers in the posts (between size and date it could possibly be negatively affecting the algorithm). Also, be careful about the banner on your personal profile - you should check into whether that is still against FB's rules (it used to be). Good luck! Jane

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