The Benefits and Challenges of Marketing Your Art Through Social Media

In 2004, Mark Zuckerberg founded Facebook, and within a few years, a revolution had taken place online.  Within a decade, nearly the entire planet had joined Facebook and other services that sprang up around the concept of connecting people through online social networks.

Very quickly, social media was adopted as a great way to share experiences and communicate with friends and family. It soon also became the best way to share images, and it wasn’t long before artists and galleries realized that artwork could be effectively shared through social media.

As with the early days of the internet, there was a lot of excitement about the possibilities for generating art sales. Here was a new way to reach out to potential clients for free, and not only could you reach your friends and followers, if they shared your post, you could reach all of their friends as well. Here was a way to achieve exposure without spending thousands on advertising or gallery commissions.

As with most revolutions, however, the reality ended up being less utopian than many imagined. Gaining social media exposure takes a lot of time and effort, and many artists have found that the sales don’t come quite as easily as was hoped. Facebook soon began charging for boosting posts, meaning that wide dissemination of artwork was no longer going to be free.

I’ve had pretty extensive personal experience marketing through Facebook. We’ve spent many thousands of dollars posting Xanadu Gallery artwork on social media. We’ve certainly generated sales, but, while Facebook can generate sales, it’s not our most effective advertising.

I’ve long wanted to explore social media marketing in more depth in blog posts, but I’ve always felt like I was just scratching the surface of everything there is to know about it. I haven’t felt like I could write an authoritative post that would provide step by step guidance on how to use social media marketing to generate art sales. I’ve now decided, however, that if I’m waiting until I feel like a social media marketing expert to write about the ins and outs of social media marketing, I’ll be waiting forever. Not only are there a vast number of factors at play at any given time, the social media landscape is also constantly changing.

This post, and a series of posts to follow, are therefore going to be a little different. Rather than try to offer definitive advice about marketing your art through social media, I would like to share what I’ve learned through experience and also through numerous interviews I’ve conducted with artists via email over the last couple of weeks. My hope is that this post can serve as a conversation starter and a place to share experience and wisdom. Please add to the conversation by sharing your thoughts and experience in the comments below the posts.

What is Social Media Marketing?

To begin the conversation, we first need to define social media marketing. Because social media has developed so quickly, and because, in many ways, it overlaps other online realms, it can be a little bit difficult to pin down exactly what we mean by social media marketing. We all know that Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat are social media, but what about Medium and WordPress? What about your own website or blog?

A quick Google search for the definition of social media results in the following:

so·cial me·di·a
noun
 websites and applications that enable users to create and share content or to participate in social networking.
  .

For this discussion, we’re going to keep things simple and limit our discussion to sites that allow you to contribute content and communicate with other users, but which are not owned, operated, or controlled by users. Though you may have social interactions and create followers on your blog or website, we’ll limit our discussion to sites, like Facebook, that create a platform on which you can share your content, but that create a level playing field where all users can share their content equally.

It’s also important to talk about what we mean by “marketing.” In the realm of social media, marketing is much more fluid than what we might think of as marketing in the pre-social media days.

Prior to Facebook, I would have defined marketing, art marketing especially, as paid efforts to create exposure for an artist’s work, or for a gallery, and paid efforts to build brand awareness and sales for the artist or gallery.

While you can certainly still pay for advertising and marketing on social media, I’ve discovered that many artists and galleries are using a much more organic approach to creating awareness and sales for their artwork. Social media creates a platform where the dissemination of artwork imagery as well as narratives about the artwork can be shared and spread in a viral manner.

The Benefits of Social Media Marketing

This ability to amplify your reach is one of the primary benefits of social media. With social media, you have the ability to proactively reach out to potential art buyers on a platform where they are already spending their time.

The pre-social media internet gave every artist the ability to create a gallery of their work which would be accessible by anyone with an internet connection. This was exciting, but almost as soon as the internet was born and the first artists began sharing their artwork online, the hurdles to creating online sales and success became apparent. First, it was hard work creating a website and keeping it up to date. Second, and far more daunting, it was extremely difficult to get prospective buyers to visit your website.

Social media addressed both of these issues. With Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or other social sites, you didn’t have to do anything to set up the site, all you had to do was create an account and begin sharing your images and comments.

More importantly, it wasn’t daunting to get people to see your images and posts. People naturally flooded onto the social sites. Not only were people willing to visit social media sites, they were actively engaging on them in ways that the Web 1.0 never achieved. Because the content they were seeing was coming from their family and friends, as well as from celebrities, public figures and media sites that they cared about, users were visiting social media sites multiple times every day.

As an artist, or a gallery, you could inject an image into the social media stream and see almost instantaneous engagement with the post. People were liking, and sharing and buying artwork right out of their newsfeeds!

Even more astonishing, it didn’t cost you anything to register or use most of the social media sites. You could publish and share your art for free. A new age had arrived.

The Challenges of Social Media Marketing

Like most things that seem too good to be true, for many artists, the promise of social media soon began to fade.

Copyright: <a href='https://www.123rf.com/profile_bialasiewicz'>bialasiewicz / 123RF Stock Photo</a>While social media sites didn’t require any monetary input to spread an artist’s images, saying that they are “free” isn’t exactly right. Many artists found that in order to see results from their social media marketing efforts they were dedicating a tremendous amount of time and creative energy to their social media efforts. Some RedDot readers have reported to me that they felt like social media was taking over their lives.

Many also found that their networks of contacts weren’t broad enough to reach a good number of qualified potential buyers.

It also wasn’t long before social networks, like Facebook, realized that they could begin charging users advertising fees to “boost” their posts and spread them more broadly.

As I reached out to readers, I discovered that many had dipped their feet into the social media waters, but most had eventually given up because they just weren’t seeing the results they needed to see to justify the effort and time they were putting into social media marketing.

The most common question I heard from RedDot readers was “Is anyone actually selling work through social media?”

Kelly Knox, and artist out of Bullhead City, Arizona asked “I am curious if there really are very many sales of works by emerging artists (at a good price) that take place? If there are, I would like to know who these artists are and who is buying their work?”

Julie Trail has created a social media presence for Gallery 10 in Sutter Creek, California by setting up profiles and posting to Facebook and Instagram, and has spent time expanding the gallery’s followers, but says, “The connections are exponential, the possibilities endless. The big Question is, of course, will all this connectivity increase sales????”

It is exactly these kinds of question that we’ll be exploring in this series of posts in the coming days. Many artists sense that there’s a big opportunity available through social media, but they are leary of the effort that might be required to exploit the opportunity. In these posts we’ll be exploring:

  • Social media marketing strategies
  • How to find qualified buyers and get them to follow you on social media
  • Social media sales experiences
  • The dos and don’ts of social media for art marketing
  • Business profiles vs. personal pages

and more

Your comments and questions will help direct the conversation of our posts.

At this point, you might be asking, “why bother?” It might seem like the challenges of social media marketing far outweigh the benefits. The majority of artists I reached out to seemed to express some variation of this opinion. There were several exceptions, however.

Robert MacGinnis wrote to tell me his story of marketing art on Facebook. After explaining that he was reluctant to begin posting his work to social media, he shared that “it turns out after 2 1/2 years that I have been a huge success on Facebook and I am literally making a living here. I have sold almost every painting that I have posted and have received well over two dozen larger commissions.”

There were others who are experiencing tremendous success selling through social media as well. I’ll be sharing more of their stories later in this series, but these hints of success have convinced me that it would be wise for every artist and gallery to explore the possibilities of social media marketing.

Social media marketing isn’t going to work for everyone, but my hope is that I can share insights that will help those of you who want to better understand what it takes to succeed. I also hope that those of you who are succeeding with your social media marketing efforts will share your insights.

So, stay tuned! If you haven’t joined our mailing list, be sure and sign up here, so that you don’t miss any of our posts on social media marketing for artists.

 

Other Posts in This Series

The Benefits and Challenges of Marketing Your Art Through Social Media

Podcast | Finding Success Selling Art on Facebook &#8211; An Interview with Robert MacGinnis

 

What do you perceive to be the benefits and challenges of social media marketing?

Have you tried marketing your art through social media? Have you successfully sold your art on a social network? What do you feel are the key benefits and greatest challenges of marketing through social media? Share your thoughts, experiences and questions in the comments below.

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About the Author: Jason Horejs

Jason Horejs is the Owner of Xanadu Gallery, author of Dad was an Artist | A Survivor's Story and best selling books "Starving" to Successful & How to Sell Art , publisher of reddotblog.com, and founder of ARTsala. Jason has helped thousands of artists prepare themselves to more effectively market their work, build relationships with galleries and collectors, and turn their artistic passion into a viable business. Connect with Jason on Facebook

48 Comments

  1. Jason, In all the years I have posted on Facebook, I’ve sold two paintings. Most success I have had came from studio/gallery visits. I am constantly pressured to “boost” my exposure on FB, but do not trust the internet due to security issues.

    Still uncomfortable with the security issues under discussion about the internet, I am not a raving fan.

  2. I appreciate this series of articles on marketing on social media. I’ve been reluctant to put any efforts into that and now I’ll have more information for the decision I make. Thanks!

  3. Interesting blog as my daughter has been working with me with the goal of bringing me up to speed in the world of technology. It is good for me to know the limitations of social media in regards to marketing my art. For now, I will use it as an opportunity to share my artwork with others and gain a working knowledge of how to use the technology. Perhaps a benefit I might experience is exposure. I do have questions about intellectual property and I think you have an earlier blog that addresses it. I’m not sure what quality of photographs I should post to social media platforms and if watermarks are appropriate. I think you’ve also addressed that in an earlier blog. Time to go revisit your advice.
    Thank you for your wonderful guidance.

  4. Thank you for delving into this topic. I am currently trying to be more proactive on FB in order to increase exposure and engage with people. I have sold several small works and have used FB to notify friends and followers of shows.

  5. I haven’t tried target marketing with social media, but the shotgun approach on SM is as useless as it is with any other media. It is important to have an up to date website or other SM gallery to direct interested parties to, but a relationship with a popular and active, bricks and mortar gallery would still be my first choice. I would rather pay them commission and let them do the marketing then spend 99% of my available time on SM trying to sell myself. I blog because I find it keeps me organised, but to my knowledge have only sold a few pieces that I can trace back to my “Paint a Masterpiece” exposure.

  6. I appreciate this. I have “boosted” a couple posts on facebook. They give me data about how many people clicked and whether they are male or female, but no data on all the other specific criteria I entered (location, interests) so I can better target ads. I ‘ve asked for that info but haven’t gotten a response. Neither boost resulted in sales. I find that social media takes a lot of time and I’m not sure if it’s worth it. When I regularly post art, I have no idea how many people even actually get to see it, even though I have zillions of “friends.” Plus there’s the security mess with facebook.
    I get professional referrals (interviews, talks) on Linkedin.

  7. I am thrilled you are doing a series on this. I have had success on Facebook selling my work. I find it fascinating to watch the comments and the shares and the reaction. Always learning tho! Thx Jason.

  8. The bulk of your comments are applicable to most small businessmen. Like any accomplished professional, success doesn’t come overnight.

    There are many steps to build a following and contact prospective customers.

    It’s essential to show why your work is appealing or desirable . It’s essential to effectively target likely customers.

    Why should an artist know whether their site is secure (https vs http)? How do artists (if they have websites) know that they must have “alt tags” in their coding, otherwise search engines won’t recognize their pictures…etc. etc.

    There are ways ….business models used in other industries that would work well for artists.

    You touch upon some great points, but there’s much more that can benefit you and other artists and gallery owners.

    I own art and enjoy collecting and would be pleased to help.

    Help coukd be around the corner. Let me know if you’d like a copy of my book (Internet Marketing Defined – no charge)..

    Best,
    Marty

    Martin I.Saposnick
    Businessman, Digital Architect, collector
    marty@internetvisionsdefined.com

  9. Hello. I have been showing my work on FB for about a year now and have been informed that thousands of people have been made aware of my work and my website. I have had a couple of very close to closing on a sale but nothing to brag about. The major problem I have with FB and all social media for that matter is that it is very time consuming and often detracts from what I would rather be doing – i.e. painting.

  10. I tried Facebook for about 3 months and found it to be all I feared: the amount of time to engage with the multitudes (because you can’t just show up and start selling), the trash to be waded through (what is the matter with people??), the ever-changing learning curve, the sense of urgency and demands all piled up until I fled back with great relief to my blog. There I know almost all my followers from real life and no one splatters their rudeness on my site. Without a smart phone, endless amounts of time, and almost 24/7 connectivity, I’m not convinced that FB is the right place for me or my work. (Still, I am greatly impressed by Robert McGinnis’s success!)

  11. I had my share of disappointments with social media.
    On FB: I have a public art page – my art stuff accessible to anyone on the net. It is linked to my FB private profile. I have a feeling when I post through my FB restricted profile, I get more friends to see it rather when posting through public page. I have no idea if my settings are somehow messed up or is it just FB algorithm. I get more likes on private even though I don’t have a crazy amount of contacts there. So much for the public exposure…
    On Instagram: I do write all the hashtags, whatever makes sense. I get nearly all likes within 1h from posting. Then it gets buried under all other posts and only getting likes maybe a few times a week on the last several posts, never on the old ones. I hear IG also changed algorithms. Anyway, for me to make a painting it takes much longer than for someone to make a post about their cat, so the pace of Instagram and how it defines your post is interesting is not productive at all.
    I feel like I have to maintain those pages those, as all other artists do. I have 0 satisfaction from it though.

  12. The brunt of my sales have been through Facebook and even though I’m connected with about 2,000 people on Facebook, most of the sale are to people with whom I have some sort of direct or indirect “real life” connection. Twitter has been utterly pointless for me & the same goes for Instagram.

    But when I talk to other artists about social media, everyone seems to have a different experience with sales on various platforms. So in the end, I don’t think there is any one answer that will pertain to all artists.

    Thanks for addressing this topic, Jason!

  13. Jason, I’ve had the same interest and trepidations about Facebook and other social media that so may other artists apparently have…sort of a love/hate relationship. However, you’ve piqued my interest in this topic and I eagerly await your future posts on it. I’m particularly interested in the “nuts and bolts” of how Robert MacGinnis achieved his success with social media, when he says, “it turns out after 2 1/2 years that I have been a huge success on Facebook and I am literally making a living here. I have sold almost every painting that I have posted and have received well over two dozen larger commissions.” What specific steps did he take? How did he accomplish it?

  14. While I first started on Facebook, I find Instagram to be far more enjoyable with better results when it comes to professional exposure. Now with Instagram owned by FB, they are connected and that helps. You can post both places with the effort of posting once on Instagram. I have had several serious inquiries, tho no sales yet because I haven’t set up an online shopping tool. That is on my list to do. To be honest, I just like getting the work before many sets of eyes. It’s a great tool for doing that. I do know of artists who DO sell the work they post on Instagram quite easily. Definitely looking forward to ore of what you have to say on this topic!

    1. I have been sharing my artwork on Facebook for a while. Last year I started asking if anyone wanted to buy particular pieces. I was surprised when friends said yes and sent checks or PayPal payments. Customers have largely been people i know face to face but not always. I have spent very little money, but occasionally boost posts to increase followers of my FB art page.. I benefit from the comments which have never been snarky, but are consistently supportive and kind. I feel a genuine interest out there for my art and my story.

  15. I have sold artwork to people I have met thru Facebook and also have connected with students for my workshops thru social media. In the past few years, I sold a few paintings to someone in New Zealand. Recently, I went to New Zealand to teach a painting workshop and had the opportunity to meet her in person. That would never had been possible 10 years ago. So it has made connections possible that were unlikely to have happened before this way of communicating was available. Would love to hear others experiences as well.

    1. Jason, thanks for starting the conversation. I am relatively new to using social media platforms to market my art. Please address the interrelationship between the various platforms and a website. How do you best drive people to your website? Thanks again.

  16. I took me several years to become ‘known’ as an artist on social media. Over the years I have only sold 4 paintings directly from my Facebook page, however the bigger view for me is that social media has been the connection through which people have purchased my work, engaged me for a commission and brought new students into my classroom.

    Instagram and Facebook have brought people to my studio where they could meet me in person and see more of my work. Often a sale was initiated. My blog, my newsletter, my Instagram account and my Facebook page all work together to give me exposure. I use the same pictures and label my accounts with ‘my name’ so that there is consistency across the media. My brand gets reinforced as viewers repeatedly see my posts.

  17. I use social media (primarily Facebook) anyway to keep up with far-flung family and friends. I naturally post my artwork there because I’m excited to share it with them. It hardly feels like work to keep up with it, and I don’t beat myself up if I miss a day or two. About 10-15% of my total sales have come directly from Facebook. I also post on Instagram because it’s so easy to use. It hasn’t generated any sales, but it’s given me exposure to a modest number of followers who wouldn’t otherwise be seeing my work at all. Compared to the work involved in preparing for shows and the cost of entering competitions, I feel that social media work well for me.

  18. I fell into selling my art on Facebook last summer, when other people who belonged to the same hobby Facebook art groups that I did began offering to buy my artwork. I wasn’t selling them so I had to figure out how to tackle the sales and business aspect and ultimately created a dedicated FB art page. I have sold 12 paintings from there in the last 8 months, but I’m not quitting my day job! I also created an Instagram page and website but most of my interactions happen on FB. It feels like a little community on there where we connect through posts and comments. Instagram does not generate sales for me. I have tried a couple of FB ads, which increased Followers but I can’t say I got any specific sales out of that. I know I need to expand beyond online so I have a business plan which has me joining more art organizations, booking shows with galleries and applying to juried competitions to make connections and build my resume. Even when I am connecting online though, the relationship is so important. The internet just gives me the amazing opportunity to meet and sell to people outside my geographic area, to have access to a broader pool of potential collectors that I couldn’t otherwise reach. Thanks for your blog and I look forward to learning more!

  19. I do not use Facebook or social media personally, in fact I loathe it and its banality, but I do take the time daily to post and promote a collective, non-profit art gallery I belong to. Over five years, I have organically increased (no paid boosts) “followers” and “likes” from just 250 when I took over to over 1,700. Awareness of themed gallery shows, current co-op gallery artists’ offerings, private shows and our neighborhood art community has grown dramatically. I cannot verify that art sales at the gallery are directly connected to daily art posts, but in some cases, artwork visually promoted via social media has seemed to disappear from the gallery soon afterwards. Even if actual art sales cannot be definitively confirmed and linked, social media can and has dramatically increased public awareness and the image of our non-profit arts organization, its participating artists and the neighborhood events it supports. Promoting art events at the gallery, like receptions, working artist lectures and educational opportunities will expand reach and pull visitors and potential art buyers into the gallery, where I strongly feel a positive face-to-face retail experience is necessary to cement the relationship and create a new art patron. Facebook.com/artsleagueoflowell

  20. As everyone is, I am still trying to figure out how much time to spend. While I have found is that my art does sell on FB and Instagram…maybe a fourth of my yearly sales, perhaps the biggest value is exposure of new work and one more step to developing a personal connection to new buyers. I make very few personal posts on my pages and feel thay most of my sales are to previous clients and art lovers who have been to my shows.

  21. I’ve had an increase in sales through Facebook, many have being previous buyers, or those who’ve seem my work in my gallery. So they know the quality of what I produce and have felt confident in their purchase.
    I think consistency and an eye to ‘telling a story’ daily or every few days is important. Asking questions and getting feed back, engages people.
    I’ve paid for advertising a couple of times with no major result, but will keep doing the occasional ad.
    I think, like many things, the more times people see your name or your work the higher the profile.
    But I think ultimately skill development is the most important to sales.

  22. My husband and I built our photography website a few years ago, and it’s been a slow process learning how to manage and maintain the site. This year we finally decided to build a FB business page to help drive business to the website.
    We’ve yet to generate sales from FB, other than from friends, but it has helped us to get our work out to people that otherwise would not see it. The first few boosted posts were just to see how much attention was generated and it was exciting to see which photos generated the most reactions.
    A month ago, we decided to use a small budget of $1/day to target an audience to increase the number of people who “like” our page. We are excited that we are getting 10% of the people reached to like our page, and now have over 500 followers. Our next target market will be to people who buy art online. I will let you know how that goes.
    I appreciate this blog series, as this is a learning experience and the more we help each other learn, the more we can all benefit. Thank you for taking the time to share and lead this discussion!

  23. I’ve gathered a lot of exposure on social media, but no sales, so it is a waste of time thus far. How frequently do people post that ARE selling? And do tags help at all?? Has anyone gotten any interest from consignment-based brick-and-mortar galleries?

  24. Since 2010 I have used my Facebook timeline for posts about my art and artist’s life rather than for personal posts. I share these posts to my FB Page and this has lead to a remarkable conclusion. I can build relationships more easily and sell much more art from my timeline than I can from my page, and it only costs me my time. (I tried boosting several times and making an ad on my page, with zero results.)

    For several years I have made one post per day (I post on Instagram and share to my FB timeline and Twitter). Then I go to FB and share that post to my FB page and to a dozen art groups of which I am a member. I reply to all comments and thank each person who compliments my work. When time permits, I look at the artwork of other artists who comment frequently, and post a compliment on their timeline if their work impresses me.

    Starting last summer, people started buying my paintings through FB. Since then, one third of my sales (15 paintings ranging in value from $300 to $2000) have come from posting work-in-progress photos and stories and finished works daily and developing ongoing relationships with my Facebook friends and followers. This came about, not because of a massive following, nor with anything ‘going viral’, but just through sincere and insightful day-to-day comments and conversations about my art, with one interested person at a time. Several people have messaged through Facebook to buy a painting before it was finished. This winter, I had four people send Facebook messages requesting to buy the same painting. Recently I hosted my annual Open Studio event and was surprised how many of my new FB friends attended.

    I have a theory about why this sales surge happened now rather than, say, 5 years ago. I think the timing has to do with the increased popularity of online money transfers (e-transfers). Now people can send funds via an email (for free or a very low fee) and the transaction is secure for the buyer and the seller, without using credit card information. Perhaps another factor is having my work in galleries (thanks to your ABA course) so people on Facebook see my references to that and this helps build trust.

    I look forward to reading more of your posts in this series, Jason.

  25. I forgot to mention, I have had zero sales via Instagram and Twitter. One third of my sales come from my semi-monthly email campaigns and annual Open Studio, and one third comes from galleries.

    1. Karen Richardson, your paintings are beautiful and you have had remarkable success with SM. It sounds as if you really understand how to use it and although it takes time every day, you aren’t hampered by trying to figure things out. Congratulations, and thank you for explaining how you make it work!

  26. Thanks for tackling this, Jason. I would definitely like to learn how to effectively market my artwork on Facebook and Instagram. I don’t use Twitter. I realize that I am not posting often enough, and I don’t have that many followers/friends. I liked the comments by Karen Richardson above. I think that posting artwork in progress and talking about it might be key, but I also think that it helps to have lots of followers. She has worked at fostering relationships with others. One of my friends says she has sold lots of artwork on Facebook, but I can’t honestly see that she is doing anything different than I am. She doesn’t even post regularly. It’s a big mystery, and perhaps it’s just a bit serendipitous.

  27. I attribute most of my art sales success directly and indirectly to a combination of Facebook, my website, and eBlasts to those in my email address book. Marketing does take a lot of time, but I admit I like the promotion end of my small art business.

    Also, I think artists have different definitions and expectations as to what defines a “successful” number of sales each year (for example) and how/if social media contributes to sales, exposure etc.

  28. I have a personal page only on FB and one on IG. I am glad that now a post to IG can also show up on FB, but there is a problem if your image isn’t square! I get lots of friend requests, but only accept them if I would be interested in reading about their lives. I don’t know if that limits my reach or not, and I certainly don’t understand how FB chooses who they show your posts to. I don’t like the idea of fishing for friends, to then turn around and unfollow them. FB is addictive, which is a problem. I joined initially to market my art, but then I found I could connect with old and new friends -people I am interested in. I like it for that, but hate all the sponsored ads. Looking forward to what I can learn from you, as always.

  29. Thanks, Jason; this is very insightful…I especially liked Robert MacGinnis’s interview and learned a lot; he was very generous and your questions pertinent. Robert clearly has a winning formula, has connected with his market and is very consistent with his approach. I’ve been presenting my art on Facebook since 2010 but have had no sales and built up a modest following despite advertising and boosting posts. The feedback I get is very positive and mostly from friends & relatives. I confess, I’m not consistent. But the last 2 years I’ve found Facebook’s tactics with the algorithms very discouraging. I’d shut down my page except that as well as for my family & friends, I’m subscribed to a few very good groups and want to keep those connections. In the beginning of the year I decided to concentrate on Pinterest to promote my art and it’s working better, much much more organic traffic, more people are visiting my website. I also noticed a spike in new followers on Instagram after a Pinterest ad. There was also an improvement in visitors to my website after tagging images, writing descriptions and generally improving my SEO. It’s a great challenge, consistent and appropriate actions are necessary to connect with your market. I was spending too much time on SM & trying to figure things out, feeling completely overwhelmed. Focusing on one platform and returning mainly to the consistent creation of artwork is working better for me. I feel back in control, rested, have been getting more exhibition opportunities and expect the sales to follow.

  30. The burning question for me is the price range of artists who are earning a living from social media sales. Are artists consistently selling work in the $3,000 – $10,000+ range, or are they selling a larger number of lower priced work? I’ve never been able to satisfactorily have this question answered, regardless of articles read, artists asked, etc.

  31. I regularly upload art images and comments to Instagram and Facebook (daily-weekly). I share my YouTube channel video pictures there too and invite people to watch with a link Eg. https://youtu.be/M2jA2jl81jk
    Not only is social media like a diary but is a way to communicate with both images and words instantly. It took a lot of time initially to build a following but it has supported my art not only with a few sales but by building relationships that support my art including extra exposure and good discussions. It has also become part of the reason I create as I do connect to real people. I find it beneficial and worth the effort.

  32. A very gifted and hardworking artist I know has struggled for years to make ends meet, trying many different things. About 2 years ago she joined a dog group on FB (she loves dogs and has about 5), and instantly her business boomed doing dog portraits. Here is the link to her FB page – https://www.facebook.com/Nadispencerart/ Maybe you can get a sense of how many and what price range by looking at her page (but I can’t because I’m not on FB!)

  33. I follow a lot of artist on Instagram, and I barely use Facebook anymore since I started on Instagram. I did recently have a friend of my daughter want a painting and I wrestled with the price, as it was my first time some one said they wanted a painting and they liked it and wanted to know how much. I told them $600.00 and then the girl said she was moving and had to see if it would fit into her apartment once she moves at the end of May. At first I was going to charge less, or say less, but I decided to go with $600.00 I barely sell and this painting is big 18 inches by 48 inches, and I felt like it was worth , the girl did say it was a good price. I don’t know whether to contact her in a month or if I should just let it go? My daughter just said move on and don’t say a word to her again. I have yet to sell on Instagram or Facebook, and I think It is because I have not been saying my prices ? Could that be the case? Anyway, I was trying to learn the marketing side of facebook and instagram and i think it could be useful. Thanks for the pod cast they seem very helpful.

  34. I sell almost exclusively on social media . with multiple accounts on FB and IG. I cover every angle of my genre . I barely have any followers due to being ostracized by the community of artists I was a contributing founder of. But Im doing it anyway. All my originals sell off social media and Ive done better than I ever did trying to participate in gallery shows or find representation. Considering my longevity in my genre and the quality of my work I should have triple the exposure I currently have but Im always working at upping my game. As of now its my only income option, so I do what I have to do to make it work without following someone else rules about how they think it should be done. So if artists ” give up” and think its too much effort thats kind of on them. IMO its wAAAAY more effective that the hamster wheel of a vending circuit,which really amounts to an art zoo. or the group shows that take a huge percentage for doing no work to market the artists. Everytime I get an email begging me to send work for a group show because Im considered one of the top artist in my field I hesitate. If i do send a piece they either sell and I have to hound them to get paid, dont sell and I have to hound them to get my inventory back, or get pissed that I sold the piece myself post show and they didnt get their cut because they didnt do their job. Selling on social media gives me 100% control over my own exposure, inventory, and money. and I will keep doing it this way until I get a deal that is acceptable to me. @dawnfrasierartistofficial on IG *** also I think a personal website for an artist is obsolete at this point.

  35. Within a short time of getting on Instagram, I sold four large paintings (for resale) to a classy furniture/design business in another state. I also sell directly through Facebook. However, for me, the biggest benefits from social media are the indirect results: Galleries have discovered me through Facebook and Instagram, and approached me about representation. A Chicago online magazine which wrote an article about me, was a result of my Instagram posts. So although the majority of my sales are through galleries, social media has played a very important role in the whole picture.

  36. I have had one sale on Fb business page, from a previous collector. I don’t post every painting on Fb, or the price. If interested, they will ask and I will message back. My website is linked and it tracks a lot of hits and exploration from Fb posts. I do not have a smartphone or internet at home, so web access is limited to before/after work. I have Instagram @sandrapearceartist, but do not have much ability to post.

    I post announcements to Fb page as much or more than paintings per se. Post my newsletters and monthly free printable art calendar. Personal Fb timeline gets mostly the same, plus some personal posts. Never click or discuss religion and politics. Careful what pages I like from my personal account and professional page.

    Joining appropriate groups and participating helps circulate my name and occasional inquiries. I rarely share from others, but do when it will surely appeal to my friends and/or followers.

    I do not boost for sales, but do boost some announcements including workshops. One sign-up for a workshop is worth the boost cost (you can customize the amount you want to spend). Boosting announcements for me are more about visibility by a new audience, which always gets me new fans. My reach grows from friend to friend like tree roots. I only spend a short amount of time on this most weekdays. I find it beneficial, but am choosy and cautious.

    My unscientific observation of others’ sales on Fb is that they are in the lower hundreds prices.
    I have had web sales from new clients. Cannot conclude if they found the website via Fb.

    Thank you for so much helpful content Jason!

  37. As a potter – I don’t post a ton of photos on Facebook, nor sell items yet. However its a great way for fans of your work to know when your next show will be, and to remind them! I’ve had several customers follow me – and for this, I’m very happy!

  38. I left FB about a year ago and gained back thousands of hours of my life. In 12 years of being on FB, with about 1,000 followers, I sold one piece for $500. Definitely not a return on invested time and boost money.

    I am on Instagram with about 2,000+ followers and I do enjoy this visual SM site but, have not sold anything.

    Surprisingly, I have sold the most through Pinterest, by accident! With over 57,000 impressions a month (not sure what that really means), I recently received a huge commission from that SM. I would love to learn more about using this app specifically to sell art. Hopefully, you or someone, can touch on that or point me toward some good info. Thanks!

  39. Thank you Jason for blogging about this topic. I am all too familiar with the time it takes to do the research and write the blog posts/do interviews and podcasts.

    That said, I’m really excited about this series. I just listened to Robert MacGinnis’ story on your podcast – really exciting stuff. I am willing to take the time to connect with others and write about my reasons for painting a particular subject. I enjoy connecting with my buyers online, and the process of selling and shipping small works has been pretty simple.

    I’m not surprised that most of Robert’s social media sales are those where the work is reasonably priced – I’m glad you asked him for specific data there.

    Well, I realize that you’re busy with the new gallery, but I’ll read everything you’ve already written and have re-subscribed to your newsletter.

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