Facebook basics for artists
To make the most of Facebook as an artist you’ll need to make your page visually appealing, develop a social media strategy in order to attract visitors, post engaging content to your timeline on a regular basis (a neglected timeline is worse than no timeline at all), and create conversations with your ‘fans’.
The ultimate aim of course is to convert some of those ‘fans’ into buyers. But before you can even think about doing that it’s vital to build firm foundations. This can seem like a big job, but let’s take things one step at a time. In this article we’ll cover the basics for setting up a professional and personable presence on Facebook.
The difference between profiles and pages
Having already published several articles on using Facebook as a tool for promoting art, I’m aware of some confusion amongst our readers about the difference between pages and profiles; this hasn’t been aided by recent updates to the interface which means that the two look even more similar than ever.
- When you join Facebook you’ll set up a profile, which is intended for personal use (Facebook terms state that profiles should only be created for “non-commercial” interaction). Pages one the other hand are for business. This can be a tricky concept for artists, as normally they are their business.
- You ‘friend’ a profile and ‘like’ a page.
- Profiles assume a personal connection with the people you are friending (you have probably met them offline). No such personal connection is necessary for a person to ‘like’ a page.
- A friend request on a profile must be accepted by the profile owner (it’s a two-way street). A ‘like’ on a page doesn’t need to go through this process; anyone can ‘like’ your page without permission from you.
- With profiles you have ‘friends’. With pages you have ‘fans’.
- Due to privacy policies, profiles aren’t heavily indexed in search engines, whereas pages are much more accessible in the public domain.
- Profiles allow you to interact with your ‘friends’ far more freely. Pages have some restrictions on how you can get in touch with ‘fans’.
- Profiles are limited to 5,000 friends, but pages can have an unlimited amount of ‘fans’.
Why artists should have a ‘fan’ page
Although profiles and pages can be used in similar ways, there are several advantages for wrists to having a business page.
- You have the ability to view insights on your Facebook page; this can provide invaluable information about who your fans are, how successful your interaction with them is, and what is working about the way you’re using Facebook for your business.
- 75% of new page likes come from advertising on Facebook; you can’t advertise a profile, but you can leverage even a very small budget to increase your reach as an artist.
- You can pin important posts so that they always appear at the top of your page. This ensures that visitors are always greeted with a post that you choose, rather than simply your most recent.
- You can highlight posts of particular interest by adding a star banner to them to draw attention.
- Pages give you the facility to schedule posts, meaning that you can plan your strategy and create posts in bulk.
- As I’ve already explained, pages give you invaluable exposure in search engines; this can only be a good thing in terms of widening your reach.
- The unlimited number of fans means that you don’t peak at 5,000 ‘friends’; you can continue to grow your audience forever!
OK, let’s take a look at some of the basics for setting up a great Facebook page.
Step 1 – Create a Facebook business page
If you don’t already have personal Facebook account, you’ll need to set one up in order to create a business page. It should take no more than a few minutes and is fairly self-explanatory; simply complete the required information on Facebook’s sign-up page.
First of all, go to Facebook.com/pages/create to determine which type of business page you want to create.
For most artists (acting as individuals) you’ll need to create a page for an ‘Artist, Band or Public Figure’. If you are creating a page on behalf of a group of artists, you’ll probably choose ‘Company, Organisation or Institution’. If you need a page for a gallery, you will want to select ‘Local Business or Place’ in order to make the most out of local targeting. If you are an artist creating very specific types of work in bulk, you may consider also setting up a ‘Brand or Product’ page for each type of piece.
If you’ve chosen ‘Artist, Band or Public Figure’, choose ‘Artist’ as your category and add your name.
Step 2 – Add a pertinent description
Add a short description that tells us a story and provides some value to your fans. Who are you? What do you do? Why do you do what you do? What makes you different?
Keep it friendly and informal; remember, you are your brand and people should feel like they can relate to you on some level.
Step 3 – Link back to your website
The purpose of all social media marketing should be to act as a funnel back to your main online platform, which for an artist is usually their personal website or blog; it’s essential therefore to add the URL of your site so that fans of your Facebook page have the opportunity to deepen their relationship with you and find out more detail about your work.
Step 4 – Create a unique web address for your page
By default your page will be given a numerical extension which looks something like this: Facebook.com/10150904281510123.
It looks far more professional if you replace this with the name of your page (for an artist normally their own name): Facebook.com/JosephPitcher.
Keep it short and snappy; it should be easy to remember for potential fans you meet at exhibitions and events.
Step 5 – Add a great profile picture
Your fan page shows two images at the top of it; a profile picture and a cover photo. The profile photo is small and square. The cover photo is large and rectangular.
I’d recommend using an image of yourself for the profile picture. Yes, this is a business page, but all great businesses know that the way to win trust from customers is to be personable. Showing your face means that fans will feel more comfortable about engaging and interacting with you; after all you are a human being as well as an artist. To keep it related to your work, you might choose an image of yourself at work in your studio, but a headshot works just as well.
Crop the photo to square dimensions before uploading it to Facebook, otherwise it will be auto-edited to fit and you might find that your head is chopped in half.
Don’t go crazy with Adobe Photoshop.
A professionally taken photograph is great, but don’t edit it so heavily that you don’t look real. You are your business and your audience want to know that you are just as flawed as every other human being on the planet!
Just a quick side note, Facebook states that PNG files will display as higher quality than JPEGS.
Step 6 – Add a great cover photo
If your profile picture is an image of you, your cover photo is all about your business. It should tell viewers something about your work; what makes it unique?
Go for something bold, that you know captures attention; is there a piece that has proven particularly popular at exhibitions?
Internet marketer extraordinaire Amy Porterfield suggests that you should also add some text. Think like a business here; what phrase would sum up what you do or what makes you different as a visual artist?
Make sure the cover photo is cropped to the exact dimensions necessary for it to display well before you upload it to Facebook. You’ll need an image that is 851 x 315 pixels. There’s a great free tool over at online photo-editor PicMonkey.com that has a ready-made template for a Facebook cover photo. It also gives you the ability to add text and effects, but don’t go too crazy; we want to see your work as it looks in reality.
Step 7 – Flesh out your information
You have the opportunity to add a whole lot more information to your page. This includes a longer biography, awards you’ve received, personal interests and much more; my advice would be to utilize as many of these options as possible. Your fans will be able to get to know you and your work on a much deeper level and will feel more connected with you, especially if you share common interests other than art.
Simply go to ‘About’ at the top of your Facebook page and click on ‘Edit’.
So now you have the tools and information to set up a comprehensive and professional presence on Facebook. Still not convinced of the values of having a Facebook page? Check out the advantages and disadvantages here.
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