Facebook for artists: Advantages & disadvantages

Facebook for artists: Advantages & disadvantages

As of May 2014, Facebook has 1.23 billion monthly users. Over half of them have more than 200 friends. More than a third of the UK population visit Facebook every single day.


But lots of people still think of Facebook as a playground; a place to share pictures of your cats and keep your friends up to date with what you’re eating for dinner. Well of course it can be used for just that, but Facebook’s seen such massive developments in its 10 years of being that it’s turned into an indispensible tool for promotion too. Businesses big and small are benefitting from its potential to reach more and more people.

For artists it offers a way to getting your work seen by a potentially massive audience, engaging with prospective buyers, collectors, industry leaders (like art magazines, galleries, and online platforms) and eventually even attracting commissions, collaborations, and invitations to exhibit.

In this article, we’ll take a look at why you need to be on Facebook, but in the interests of balance we’ll also take a look at some of the disadvantages of Facebook as a platform for promoting your work.


10 Reasons you should be promoting your art on Facebook

1, Facebook addicts

According to the 2013 Inbound Marketing Report, more than half of Face-bookers log in on a daily basis; that means you have the chance to get your art in front of people every single day.

The average user spends more than 15 hours a week on Facebook; that’s 15 hours where potential fans and buyers can be seeing your work, engaging with you and helping drive traffic to your website.

2, Spreading the word

The average Facebook user has over 130 friends, so for each person that comments on or shares your Facebook content, there is the potential for another 130 people plus to see that post, like your page and love your art.

The average user is connected to around 80 pages or groups on Facebook, which once again deepens the pool of people you have the opportunity to interact with.

3, Advertise for success

Facebook has become a little sneakier in 2014. They don’t show your posts to all of your fans or friends; instead their algorithm selects people who have demonstrated a genuine engagement with your page or profile (if they have liked, shared or commented on recent statuses then they are more likely to see your latest post).

Now 75% of all page or brand ‘likes’ on Facebook are driven by Facebook ads, meaning it’s one of the most effective ad platforms available to you as an artist/business person to widen your reach. If you have even a small budget to invest, you’ll find the ad system easy to implement and cost-effective.

One of the biggest advantages of using Facebook to advertise is how specifically Facebook allows you to target the advertising; not only can you target by age, nationality, gender, and location, you can choose to only show your adverts to people with specific interests (art, for example) or belonging to a certain group or fans of certain pages (those closely related to the type of art you create).

4, Simple and sound

Lots of artists have said they don’t like tech/online promotion as they feel it’s over complicated or alienating for the non tech-savvy generation. Facebook is an extremely easy way of reaching new art fans. As a social network and platform for businesses, Facebook has been constantly honed for usability, meaning that most people can pick up the basics in a matter of minutes.

It is also specifically designed so that popular content trickles down and reaches more and more people.

5, Your customers are already there

Facebook offers artists a ready-made audience. True, you have to put in the work to find them, but Facebook is already full of people who are drawn to the type of art you create.

See our recent post on building up your fan base on Facebook.

6, Feedback

Facebook offers an even better chance of receiving instant feedback on what you do than an artist blog. People are so used to commenting on and sharing each other’s posts; this information can be invaluable to you as a way of getting to know the type of people attracted to your art (who you should be targeting) and what it is about your work that grabs them.

7, Get to know your competition

Facebook is full of artists already. You may think this will make it more difficult to stand out, but you can use it to your advantage. With a bit of creative thinking, you can learn from your peers: What are other artists doing well? How do they use Facebook to build an audience and attract business? What are the things that don’t seem to be working? What can you do differently to make you stand out?

8, Search engine optimization

Facebook not only helps you reach its users, having a page specifically for your art business gives you a greater chance of being found in Google, Yahoo, and Bing. Facebook is one of the most visited sites in the world, and search engines favour popularity. If you have plenty of relevant content on your Facebook page, you’ll be more likely to be found by people using search engines to look for your type of art.

9, Facebook is everywhere

Facebook is one of the simplest ways to communicate across multiple platforms; desktops, laptops, iPhones, iPads, Blackberries – people are logging onto Facebook everywhere and on every imaginable device.

10, Integration

Various free tools make it really easy to integrate Facebook with your blog, your other social media accounts and even your mailing list, which means you can bring together the various sectors of your audience in one place.


Disadvantages of Facebook for artists

Of course, no social network is perfect and Facebook is no exception.

Marketing on Facebook takes commitment

One of the biggest drawbacks is that it can be very time consuming to market your art on Facebook, if you are committed to doing it well. Only you can decide whether the pay-off is worth the investment. It’s also highly addictive and you need to be disciplined if you are to ensure that you don’t whittle away hours at a time watching miracle weight-loss videos!

You don’t own content

A major concern for many artists is the unauthorised use of their images by Facebook and third parties. Facebook makes it clear in their terms and conditions that anything uploaded to the site becomes their property (they have the right to a non exclusive royalty free license for it).

However, in response to the concerns of photographer Andy Rouse, Facebook stated ‘We do not share any information with third parties except with the user’s consent (for example, if a user elects to add a third party application), and we never sell your information to anyone.’ There are ways to protect images of course (watermarking for example), but it is extremely difficult to keep control of anything you publish on the internet in general; it’s not a problem exclusive to Facebook.

Facebook isn’t your site

The idea of using social media for business purposes is always to drive traffic back to your main online platform (normally your website or blog). Facebook should act as a funnel; engage people on a site they are already very familiar with, build up trust and interest in what you do so they click through to find out more on your own site, where there is less noise from competition.

Facebook doesn’t bring overnight success

Like anything that can potentially make a difference, using Facebook for business is a long-term commitment. To see any real traction, you’ll need to post regularly, have a clear strategy, and engage with your audience. It’s unlikely that you’ll create a Facebook page and see an instant spike in sales of your art.

Facebook is frustrating

Facebook is constantly being updated; the idea is to provide a better user-experience, but sometimes the opposite can be true. Just as you become used to the way a certain feature on Facebook works, it changes. It’s a constant struggle to stay apprised of these changes, but that’s what you’ll need to do if you want to take advantage of all the great tools Facebook offers you as a business.

Beware the trolls

If you put yourself out there, the rewards can be great, but it is also likely you may experience a small degree of negativity from Facebook users; it’s an open and social platform and we all know that people can be cruel. There are ways to protect against this in your privacy settings and it is likely to be a very rare occurrence.


Each artist has to decide what their preferred means of promotion will be, but in a fast-moving world, where nothing stays the same for very long, it’s important to stay flexible and open-minded. Why not experiment with Facebook to see if it yields results for you?


What has your experience of marketing art on Facebook been? An invaluable promotional tool? Or a time consuming distraction? Let us know in the comments below.


FREE E-BOOK: How my journey into textile art began, a fascinating insight into the work of textile artist Sue Stone
Wednesday 18th, October 2017 / 12:14
Joe

About the author

Joseph Pitcher is the son of textile artist Sue Stone. He is an actor and voice-over artist and has worked at the RSC, the National Theatre, West End theatres and several other leading regional venues across the UK. Find Joe on Google

View all articles by Joe

4 Comments on “Facebook for artists: Advantages & disadvantages

  • Great post, Joe! I tried to develop TAFA’s presence (www.tafalist.com) evenly across several platforms for three years and have finally pretty much settled on Facebook as the primary base for us. I know that some people really love Twitter, but I find Facebook much more logical in structure and easier to use in so many ways. It is our primary referrer after Google searches. However, I don’t think Facebook translates into sales or revenue for most of us. I see it more as a place to build community and to strengthen your brand.

    I wrote a pretty extensive tutorial on how to use Facebook last Fall, but as you said, it is constantly changing so some things might already be outdated: http://www.tafaforum.com/facebook-artists-basic/. There is a good video there that really helps cover the basics for those who are confused on how to use it.

    These are some of the key things that I keep emphasizing:

    1. Create a business identity for what you do and keep it mostly separate from your personal one. The main reasons are that there are tools for business pages that are not on private ones AND many people might want to follow you, but not necessarily want to become your “friend”. When you become friends, they give you access to their personal info and some people do keep tight privacy controls on their pages, sharing their info with “real” people whom they actually know.

    2. Make your page interesting. Post at least three times a week. If you don’t have enough content of your own, share other people’s work, info related to what you do, etc.

    3. Invest in paid posts. Facebook is hiding over 80% of our posts from private feeds as they want to monetize the site. Promoted posts actually work. One of our members pays $1 a day to promote a post and has grown her following to over 14,000 likes pretty quickly. I budget $30 a month for TAFA and Artizan Made’s pages. ($60 total). We have gotten into a “freebie” mentality that really does not work if you don’t have a huge following. You need thousands of likers before you start seeing viral activity (unless you are an amazing talent that knocks everyone’s socks off). I started to see good activity start to happen on TAFA’s page after we hit 4,000 likes. We’re at over 9,000 likes now and have been getting about 100 new likes a week. Artizan Made is our new site, launched in January and growing much faster than TAFA’s did. The page is 4 months old now and already at almost 1,000 likes. I’m sure we will reach 4,000 by the Fall.

    It’s extremely important to like and share content that you think is good. Support your peers! Each like that you give on content, releases it into people’s feeds and each share is even more powerful. Be liberal with liking and sharing and hopefully people will support you back. Also, Facebook will hide your pages from you unless you interact with them. One way to get around this is to check the Pages Feed, found on the sidebar when you are looking at your personal feed on the Home page.

    4. Use your business identity when you are networking on other pages. Unfortunately, Facebook does not allow you to use your business identity in groups which is one of my biggest complaints. The goal is to drive people to your business, not your personal page. One of the big problems with personal pages, too, is that sharing often ends up restricted due to privacy settings. For example, I have mine set to my friends and their friends for most things. Get beyond that circle and my posts won’t be seen. But, your business identity is public and shows up in search engine results.

    5. Branding! Make sure that your business name, website, Facebook page and everything else has the same name. I go crazy trying to remember everybody’s alter identities on each platform and it really confuses your customers as well. Changing your name on places that are already established is a painful process, but the sooner you do it, the better it will be for you in the long fun.

    There is so much more that could be said, but this is enough, right? 🙂 I follow a guy who writes only about Facebook and get his posts by email. He has made a business out of it and most of it goes right over my head: http://www.jonloomer.com/

    One thing that I think is an interesting trend is that there has been a huge teen departure from Facebook to Instagram (which is also owned by Facebook). Are kids not wanting Grandpa and Grandma peeking in on their lives? Lots of people are getting into trouble for sharing inappropriate content that later follows them in life. My rule of thumb is to basically share only what you don’t mind getting out into the public. No need to let everyone know every little detail of your life………….. But, do share your work and your process! 🙂

    See you on Facebook!

    https://www.facebook.com/TAFAList
    https://www.facebook.com/ArtizanMade

    Reply
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