4 Top Tips for Artists Using Facebook
Social media is becoming more and more important for all businesses across the world to help grow their audience and get more customers. This is just the same for creative businesses. The current world climate with a seemingly endless cycle of lockdowns and restrictions makes social media a more important tool than ever before – with artists unable to attend events, galleries, markets and fairs to grow their audience.
Following on from my last blog post all about Instagram (you can find my post HERE) today I thought I would share my top tips for using Facebook to grow your art or creative business. Facebook has been my main platform since I started my business and is where most of my portrait commission clients contact me. But how do you grow your following and get bookings and sales through Facebook?
Here are my top 4 tips for growing your audience and finding customers and clients on Facebook!
Let’s start at the very beginning – your profile!
It is worth setting up a page for your artwork rather than using your personal profile. Having a page gives you lots of extra possibilities that aren’t available for a profile and people are much more likely to ‘like’ or ‘follow’ a page than to add a profile as a friend. I would also suggest setting up the page as a business page from the start. This sounds very scary but trust me it’s very simple to do and the only difference is that it shows Facebook that this page is for a business which opens up further tools and options. Some of these tools will be incredibly useful for you if you are growing your business on Facebook:
Insights show you who is viewing your page (your target audience!), what they are looking at most and when they are online and engaging. Insights are so incredibly useful and a topic I will tackle in more depth in the future post!
Shops – a business page will give you the function to add a shop which can link to your own shop/store website. This is a great way to show your products/prints off to a larger audience.
Facebook encourages the use of adverts and boosted posts and as time goes on Facebook does seem to be pushing more for these paid tools. I was very skeptical to begin with and it took me a long time before I was comfortable trying out. I am very glad that I did! I now use Facebook and Instagram adverts and boosted posts every month for very little cost and incorporate it into my marketing budget and I am generally very pleased with the outcomes. Using your insights to narrow down the audience for the advert is also very helpful.
Facebook will also add business pages to their “suggested pages”, so when a Facebook user likes or follows a similar page your page may show up in their suggested pages increasing the chance they will find you and follow you.
Your profile picture and cover photo need to be very eye-catching and a good representation of your work. These are your very first impressions to new followers, so choose good quality, clear images that best represent your brand and artwork. I change mine regularly so they represent my current work.
A footnote here is that although you won’t be using your personal Facebook profile for your business this can still be viewed by people – especially if you are posting regularly in groups so remember this and try to keep your profile professional (photos of your pets are fine – photos of you out on the town aren’t such a good idea! Imagine you were going to a job interview and the interviewer was looking through your profile – what would they think about you?!).
Content would normally be my first tip, however for Facebook I think that setting up the correct profile page is the most important factor – as until this has been done the content has nowhere to be posted!
Just the same as with any social media platform the content that you are putting out there is a super important thing to consider. Make sure that you are posting interesting content that people want to see! But how to do this?
Take the time to find your own unique voice, a way of writing and style of talking that identifies the posts as being uniquely you. Keep the content professional and art related but inject your own personality to your content. This is about finding a balance that works for you and your audience. I personally keep my posts light-hearted and chatty (as if you were talking to someone you know) and I regularly use emojis, particularly the red heart, which make my posts very recognisable. Try and keep your voice consistent, not only on Facebook but between other platforms on social media and even your website. This helps to tie everything together into a solid and consistent brand.
Make sure that what you are saying in the caption is informative and interesting information. Captions are more important in Facebook as these are placed before photos and given more prominence. Consider giving something away, not a literal item but a bit of information, a tip or a behind-the-scenes view. Also important to note here is to make sure you credit anyone that requires it (photographers that supplied references, artists that gave tutorials, etc.), not only is it polite to do so and the correct thing to do, there is also a chance it will be shared or commented on by that person and your post will then show to their audience!
Facebook algorithms do not support “salesy” posts (they would much rather you paid to advertise these posts instead) so be careful not to word any selling posts to obviously. For instance “this lovely piece is looking for a new home” will do better than “this lovely piece is now for sale” or “this lovely piece is available for £1000”. These posts in general are not popular with followers (check your insights for proof!) so try to keep them to a minimum. I aim on my page for 80% art posts and 20% other posts – sales, blog uploads, promotions, etc. On this note it is worth mentioning that Facebook algorithms do not support #hashtags so it is advisable to leave these off completely. For this reason I do not cross post between Facebook and Instagram as both are very different so I write separate content for both.
Finally – images and videos do far better on Facebook than just text based posts so try to include an image (a relevant one!) on every post and regularly add videos. Drawing videos and time-lapses are excellent for this. If you are confident you could also use livestreams to engage more with your audience!
Engagement is everything on Facebook and the best way to grow your audience. I placed this after content however, as without good content it will be difficult to get engagement!
By engagement I mean encouraging people to engage with your posts by liking, commenting and sharing – these show up on your follower’s feed so their friends will see the comments and further increases the reach of your page and artwork. An easy way to encourage engagement is to ask a question in your post – this encourages people to respond and makes them feel more linked to you as an artist, as they are involved. This is called a ‘call to action’. I like to ask people’s opinions on what I should draw for competitions or future greetings card designs – or if I am working on a particular dog breed I will ask if any followers own that breed of dog and to share photos.
Making sure that you comment and react to your followers when they comment on your posts is very important to engagement, it helps you to start conversations and shows your followers that you are listening to them and interested in what they have to say. This increases their feeling of being in a community with you and means they are more likely to engage in the future. Posting and engaging regularly is also important for this – think of it as building a relationship. Just like in real life it takes a little time to get to know someone and if you don’t hear from someone for a long time you are less likely to reach out to them.
Livestreams are an excellent way of increasing engagement and really aren’t as scary as you would think! Live drawing shows your followers a sneak peek of what you are up to and how you work, and viewers can ask questions and chat as you go so you can talk to them live – what’s more engaging than that?!
Finally, I want to talk a little about Facebook groups.
Groups, just as the name suggests, are groups of people on Facebook that share a common theme. There are groups about absolutely anything, from fans of a particular sports team, to people with a shared interest, to people who love a breed of dog and people that all live in a particular village. You join a group on Facebook and then posts will show on your newsfeed. The difference between groups and pages is that any member of a group can post – not just the creator. You will need to join most groups as your personal profile page, rather than as your page.
I use groups in two different ways, and groups form about ¾ of my portrait commission bookings.
Firstly, I post my work in a lot of art groups. I follow lots of art groups and comment and engage regularly. These groups are so helpful for a little help and support from other artists and are an endless source of inspiration and useful advice. There are also plenty of reference photo groups where photographers will offer their photos for artists to use as reference material. Remember to credit the photographers in your posts!
The main way I use Facebook groups is by posting my artwork in local groups and interest groups. For instance, I live in Manchester in the UK and when I complete a portrait I will post the finished work in a variety of local groups. If it was a portrait of a particular breed of dog I would post in groups related to that breed. If it was a horse and carriage I would post in carriage driving groups. *A word of caution here – not all groups allow “self promotion” so make sure that you read group rules carefully to see if it is allowed and not restricted (eg. Only business posts on a Monday) – if you aren’t sure, ask an admin or find a different group!* Again, many people do not like to be sold things, so try not to make your posts very sales orientated. I like to post a portrait with a bit about the pet and ask what people think of it. Importantly I make sure I tag my business page into the end of the post so that people can follow me and see more of my future work. In the same way, people won’t want to see to many of your posts so I try to leave at least a week between posts. You can use your insights to see when the best times and days to post will be. Remember to keep an eye on your Facebook messages afterwards as you are likely to have lots of enquiries!
This is by no means an exhaustive list and there are many other tips, hints and essentials for Facebook – keep an eye on my blog and YouTube channel for future posts on this and other social media platforms!