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.

Starving to Successful

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About the Author: Jason Horejs

Jason Horejs is the Owner of Xanadu Gallery, author of 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

58 Comments

  1. I have sold several small pieces on Facebook. I often post works in progress and then the finished product. My on-line clients are friends who do not live close, but have followed me for a while. I have not sold any major pieces, but the smaller pieces have often sold within hours of posting. It”s been a fun way to have a more steady stream of income.

    1. Hi Janice
      What payment method do you use? Do you have Square or take checks or???? I’ve gotten commissions from my website and from Fine Art America and have always asked for the check before I ship the painting.
      Will appreciate any suggestions!!!
      Mary Jean

      1. Checks are more a rarity in retail these days. Always demand prepayment. Don’t you prepay when you order from Amazon? Any other online retailer? Square has transformed the marketplace and I couldn’t do business without it.

      2. I use paypal invoices. Its really simple to do once you have a paypal account and most collectors like the security it offers. There is also more protection for you as a seller. Look at their website for the details.

      3. MJ, Take credit/debit cards. Contact your bank about setting setting up with a processor so you can process cards. Bear in mind the bank will want a minimum balance of $1000 or more, and processor will charge very high interest on sales, about as much as they charge the card user. I understand PayPal is a much better deal and can be charged through an attachment to your smartphone.

      4. PayPal works great for payments. They take credit and debit cards, and their fees are small. If you have a FASO website, it’s simple to connect and put on a “Pay Now” button. Other options of connecting with them probably work, too. As soon as PayPal receives the payment, they send you an email that lets you know you’ve sold something, as well as the shipping address, etc. Then, in a couple of days, they transfer the $$$ to your bank. Or you can leave the $$$ in your PayPal account to use for your own purchases.

    2. My FB experiences have been similar. One problem I do not wish to handle involves shipping my framed and glazed water colors. Last winter, though, FB proved invaluable to marketing a book about growing up in a coal town back in the 1950-60’s. These books featuring 42 images of my art were easy to package, sold very well, and boosted my reputation. Without social media, I doubt I’d have sold so many copies. It felt great!

  2. I have sold some work through social media. I would say in the past 6 years I have sold maybe 10 paintings that way. All of them under $200.
    My biggest concern with it has been being worried I am posting too much. Is less more?
    I think sociAL media can be a great support for selling work at upcoming shows. I believe that has contributed to in person sales. People see work on social media and then come out to an upcoming show and end up purchasing.
    Does anyone else feel less posting is more effective?

    1. Marisa – From what I understand about how Facebook works, the more you engage with people, the more “eyes” you’ll have on your page. Posting regularly should be a priority because failing to do so reduces your “reach”.

      One must remember that the attention span of web users is generally half that of a gnat. The only way to keep them visiting often is to post often; you needn’t present new art daily, but you should post something about it several times a week.

  3. Jason, I am glad you are taking this on. I have seen reports that art sales via online marketing is growing at about 10-15% a year and I know personally a local artist who has sold most of her paintings over the last 15 years on line rather than out of her studio or through galleries.

    But I would suggest that even though social media is a prime component it is really more about developing an online savvy and understanding of how to market art online in a broad based way. It is about using more than Facebook and Instagram and Twitter and LinkedIn. It involves developing an online presence. Blogging can be a big part of this. Knowing how to present yourself is imperative. Knowing how to create and expand an email list is “where the gold is” as many online guru’s say.

    Daily I get a lot of emails from people(guru’s) offering all sorts of programs for online marketing. But so far I have found no more than a couple who actually focus on how an artist might create an online making strategy. So I think it is great you are taking this on. I will look forward to future posts.

  4. I have sold some art directly on social media (facebook), but more often I believe I am cultivating a following of people who keep track of what I’m up to, and some have eventually become buyers, sometimes thru the local gallery who shows my work. Facebook has a personal , interactive approach that allows the followers to engage directly with me if they chose, at their convienence.
    I don’t think it can be most artists only marketing tool, but I think it is an important element.

  5. The most important thing we have found from social media marketing is to be consistent. Pick one day of the week – the middle of the week seems to be the best – and post at the same time each day.

  6. I’m not too social media savvy. I have an art page on fb but have never even posted “for sale. “. I do have a domain name and just got a letter today from Web Listing Inc for a bill of $85 to subscribe to an annual website search engine. When I google them, it says it is a scam. Is there a valid way to make your website more visible on a search engine?

  7. To add to what I said, I’d say that having a guest book at shows and getting email addresses has produced double the results social media has. Sending out a monthly newsletter usually generates a sale, even if it’s just prints.
    Thanks Stan and James for the imput! I guess I’ve thought that too much posting would irritate people.

  8. I have used Facebook for some 4 years now. I do a kind of back door approach in that I Dailey post 1 of my research photos of the area and its wildlife (Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem)I write something with each daily post pertaining to the photo. It is informative and at times poetic in nature. That has generated thousands of Facebook friends world wide giving me a captive audience of like minded individuals. I also then post my art work upon completion of each painting. These generate many comments likes and sharing to other potential customers. No. I am not making a living with these sales but it definitely contributes to my income and entices many to visit my gallery when traveling in the area

  9. Thanks for bringing this forward for discussion. I look at Facebook as a publicity tool; it gives me exposure. I am on two “gallery” sites for exposure. I’ve only sold a couple through those sites. You can find me through googling.

  10. Jason, I have sold a couple of pieces online, but Facebook has helped me gain a wider audience (including emails and messages) than I would get in the coop or small town galleries near where I live. And do I post regularly? Yes, and I’ll post work I finished today. When something is in progress, I also love to post a closeup of it. Then people come back to see the finished piece.

  11. Hi – I am also thrilled you are talking about this. I have definitely sold via social media. About 3 pieces. But I acquire many fans and add them to my mailing list. This is a great way to build a mailing list. I get a lot of reaction from posting pictures of my work and do wish it would lead to more sales. My website does not create sales unfortunately so I look to Social Media for reaction and ideas. Sometimes even doing a contest to title a piece. Very fun.

    I feel exposure on social media is endless – I highly recommend Instagram and Pinterest – these are very visual and sometimes you find your work shared by people around the world. I would also like to know – what is too much, too less. For example – when having a show – monitoring invites (do they just hit ‘I’m going’ to get rid of you?/do you message your guests?) because fb invites do not work well in my personal experience. Thanks Jason – looking forward to more!

    1. Nancy, I’m so glad you mentioned Pinterest. Pinterest for me without a doubt has been far more effective. Though FB as brought me a few sales I find it offers more of a social setting and I feel when I’ve posted more often it comes across as spam. I have asked my friends on FB many times to help me name certain paintings and that has been a lot of fun and a great way to create interest. I’m just getting started on Instagram and it looks promising.

  12. A very important discussion…so glad you’re exploring it. So far I have very mixed feelings about the effectiveness vs. the time required in using social media…I look forward to your further discussion of it.

  13. Social media results are not a quick return but are well worth the effort. The trick is to learn to post regularly and keep in mind it’s a job and be efficient with it (not getting lost in it). I find social media, especially fb invaluable for bringing people to events such as workshops and show openings. I keep in touch with many professional contacts via fb (journalists, curators, authors, leaders in their fields, etc…). Being on fb let them know I am here ( front of mind value), it also allows me to see what others (artists and professional contacts) are up to. It’s amazing for staying in touch and foster relationships, which inevitably bring sales and collaboration opportunities.

  14. I joined FB and Instagram because artists are advised to use them and I realized I was missing out on current information about the artists I follow. I have found that some artists I follow do not update their websites, but are active on FB and/or Instagram. There have been several timely posts of shows, sales, or eBay auctions that have resulted in my purchasing art work.

  15. I have used my facebook page to show work, but have not seen any results as far as sales are concerned. I get comments from those that know me, but little else. I really don’t like facebook, it is a time suck and most of what’s on there are political or religious and I don’t need that.
    Along with painting (35 + years) I also write (murder mystery/suspense) novels. I’m always told I should promote them on facebook, and I have, but the cost (no it is not free) is too high if you are trying to reach a large audience. What a conundrum. *sigh*

  16. Personally, I find Instagram and Facebook are great tools for exposure. I have had a few commissions but I mostly use it to inspire me and keep me going. Good feedback is the best thing you can get online, I try to post regularly but my focus is on production. I am only starting out and the feedback and follows I get drives me to post more and create more.

  17. I’m so glad you are exploring this topic, Jason, as I prefer to work on my art rather than be tasked with marketing it online. It will be interesting to see what works best. As someone who has purchased artwork, I enjoy seeing the artist’s sketchbook and/or photos of a work in progress. I have a better appreciation for how the artwork was created and the time that went into making it. I am not a full-time artist at present, but that is one of the things I plan to try posting on social media. I also think that having a blog is key with links to FB, Pinterest, etc. included. I have discovered several artists I like through Pinterest, which leads to subscribing to the artist’s blog, and eventually making a purchase. Seeing how people market their art has lead to a deep appreciation of the work galleries do to promote artists. it is not an easy job as online platforms continue to evolve.

  18. ~ I have found my Facebook page has generated commissions and have yet to sell any paintings on canvas there with the many ‘likes’ – that do not deposit at the bank. Considering I have never created a personal web- site with my domain name CaroleOrr.com it’s a learning experience created vedios of my work on canvas or paper ~

  19. Very interested in reading much more on the subject. I have had a website since the late ’90’s, have a Pinterest page and a Facebook business page. One can spend more hours, days, months and yes, years trying to figure the in’s and outs, what works, what doesn’t. It’s mentally exhausting, with little in sales. I said to a friend this morning, if I had received minimum wage for the hours of work, research, posting and uploading, I’d have more in the bank than trying to sell art. Like your email from the gal in Bullhead City said in your article, where are these buyers? Of course, living there, and I live in Lake Havasu, sixty miles south of her, there are no galleries here. We must depend on social media, websites, etc., but the inordinate time takes away from creating. In my estimation after years of this, I would gladly pay a gallery’s commission. My question is, are artists paying Facebook to boost their art postings? And if so, how does one know to whom or how far are the posts boosted?

    1. ~ Kathryn – So True! The cost last month to promote my work on Facebook was a waste of time and cost – I too live in the creative flow with my work and choose to pay for others by consigning my work . . .

  20. I just started on Facebook and Instagram for me is to not so much to sell but to engage people that like my work and then they will come when there is a show that i will promote , it also provides me a guide which paintings people like most for my close by market..and you never know if you do not try you do not get. MG

  21. It’s a confusing subject for those of us that are not that computer savvy. My Facebook
    page receives likes but has not resulted in sales. The online gallery I pay for monthly has
    had one sale in 3 years for me , don’t know how many they have sold for others. and says my works have been viewed thousands of times. Does that mean I should give up , posting not painting, I mean? I always wonder to I need to post more or less paintings ,
    the idea of one day a week at the same time sounds good .

    1. Colleen, I looked for you at that online gallery, and saw that there are more than 8,000 other artists there, so the chances of anyone finding your art unless they know you or see you somewhere else (like here), are slim to none. I’ve tried out writer sites that operate like that — but only the free ones — and decided even free was not worth my time to stay and compete.

  22. I use my website more as an online gallery and information source while my Facebook Studio page gives patrons and students more insight into the art itself. That is important to me. I feel the communication is more personable and I even had an out of state advanced art teacher message me he teaches from my FB. Gratifying. It’s far more about the art than selling.
    There are so many social media options if one were to employ all of them you would never get to your studio. I could muddle through and figure them out but time is a precious commodity. FB is all I care to fool with.
    The most important thing is to have an online/social media presence, regardless which one you use. It is a tool for people to reach me and have immediate communication. I had a message today that may or may not produce a sale but my FB has definitely garnered quite a few workshops for me.
    Don’t expect too much from social media. At best, it is a means for people to reach you. It’s up to you to sell.

    1. I’ve spent a lot more time using my social media platforms this past six months. My work is on Instagram and Facebook. I figured those are two areas I can honestly devote time to. I post once a day and one thing I’ve heard from other artists and marketing people I follow is that there are apps that allow you to schedule your posts so that you can do several at a time and then let it go. I love that idea and need to find those apps. Since I post daily, I usually try to think ahead of time regarding photos…I have gotten into the habit of taking a lot of pictures of my works in progress, my materials, finished works etc and then I have plenty of images on hand to work with so I’m not spending too much time each day finding photos, staging photos, etc I kind of look at marketing like cleaning…just take a little bit on each day and then it’s not as daunting. I’ve had a handful of online sales, but I know this is a marathon and not a sprint, so I plan to keep plodding along, tweeking and learning as a go:) I’m really looking forward to following these posts to see how I can improve upon what I’m already doing. Thanks for doing this!

  23. I am 3/4 through a 1 year “test” of posting my art on Facebook. I have maintained a website for many years, (to no avail) and it was my hope that a Facebook art page would drive interest to the website and result in some sales. My sales via website and Facebook are almost zero.
    It IS of interest to see which artworks get the most likes…that is good feedback that isn’t available via any other (practical) way. It’s also a nice way to announce achievements, awards and exhibits. I don’t foresee much income from all the effort, but I will continue for awhile yet.
    I look forward to reading this series, thank you for tackling it.

  24. Social media takes a lot of time….consistency is the key to reach. I haven’t worked at generating sales more raising my profile and developing a niche. Sometimes I worry that posting is also opening up your work/ ideas to copying! Great article look forward to more, thanks

  25. It will be interesting to see where this and following articles on social media go. I have been on FB for years. It began as a social outlet where family an friends would connect. The past two years I began posting my art on FB from time to time. I am an emerging artist who lives in an art wasteland…nothing local. I have sold about a dozen paintings in the two years I shared my work via FB. I don’t sell myself very aggressively. I do know artists that do and are very successful on FB. I’ve been active on Instagram for only a few weeks. I’m not exactly technology friendly. Ok, I’m terrible with technology as well as pushing for sales. The one thing I do like about these two sites is that I can build a relationship with other artists and buyers. I learn about new-to-me products, workshops, and get to see art others share who have been proven to be successful with sales. I’m not sure if the time spent will build sales over time. But with the lack of local opportunities, social media is a good platform to reach farther than I could have, otherwise. I do think if you work the marketing strong you have a good chance of building sales. A lot also has to do with what your circle of contacts is looking for in art collecting. It would be wonderful to have gallery representation but until that happens, FB and IG are platforms available to me to test the waters, for now.

  26. I’d say social media is great for visibility and building relationships with potential buyers and those who might refer you to someone, but it can quickly turn into a time suck. Paying for ads only works if you’re very skilled at ad design and targeting.

    I’ve been on social media since it began, learned a ton about how to do online marketing, worked my butt off, but I have very few sales to show for it.

  27. A very timely post.
    A new entrant to SM marketing I have seen my life taken over by Facebook and Instagram in last 3-4 months and I am mortally scared to even try twitter! SO while engagement and reach indices are up, it’s not clear to me if this necessarily will convert into sales.
    While I get it that the process is organic and takes time (yada, yada), I would definitely not agree that its ‘free’.
    I see in comments that other artists have had more positive experiences – Will look forward to your insights!

  28. I have been on Facebook for about 8 years now I found that because my followers are local friends and old high school friends my reach is very limited. Facebook used to punish you for seeking friends outside of those who know you directly. I like the responses that I have received on new work and initially I actually got a couple of sales from old high school friends but that has fallen off. I think if your artwork is priced above $500 that most people will not buy via social media or on line. My work is typically around$5000 so that precludes internet sales as that is a considerable investment for a collector and usually requires in person sales interaction. And yes keeping up with Facebook etc is a real time sucker if you don’t limit your time there

  29. I recently boosted a post on Facebook to promote the gallery I’m involved with. It was the first time trying this method. I was excited to see so many had looked at the posting, but there was no real feedback. If I do a regular boosting, the results are bound to improve, but the cost may not warrant such an experiment. Most of our business comes from tourists and locals in our foothills California location. For now we plan to boost only our new shows or new artists, and I’ll report back for results! As far as taking so much time to keep our gallery on social media, there are many days sitting in the gallery when we have few customers, so posting artwork, connecting to the artists, etc. is more productive than doing a crossword puzzle!!

  30. I have tried social media and sold a few things but facebook takes so much time that I usually just post from my blog or from instagram…..if you find some short cuts I’m all ears!!

  31. I’ve been selling online for almost ten years now. I started with a blog and an Etsy store where I have mostly sold small paintings as well as occasional sales for large work. These days it’s very hard to get stumbled upon on Etsy and most sales are to repeat collectors. My Facebook page has been of some use. However, what I’m finding most effective is Instagram. There I’ve found success in growing a following (not huge) that often buys work that is fresh off the easel. I believe it has helped my credibility on a local level as well and has led to sales out of the studio.

  32. I sporadically use my personal FB and blog on my website, AND my blog can post to FB with just a click……but no sales yet. I did try Mailchimp (with help from my tech person) and that generated sales, But I’m not through the learning curve yet to do it on my own so I’m on hold with that. I can’t wait to hear more on this subject!

    It’s fun and easy for me to produce the photos/content ….. it’s the posting where I fall down.

    Anyone hiring a person to do their social media? What’s a typically hourly rate?

  33. Oh alrighty then….when I visited FB’s web-site and read their “terms” it became apparent that they own everything you post….know everyone who connects with you and with whom you connect….have the right to use this information in any way they want without your consent or knowledge….and what about the malicious postings which cannot be deleted or rescinded without engaging in some worthless battle with who knows who? Then there’s the matter of time….like that which I am wasting now by writing this response. It may be cathartic, but I could spend it making art instead of writing opinions that only myself truly agrees with. The pod cast I just listened to was interesting, but I’m definitely not the type of person who cares to re-connect with the past or post birthday wishes on-line or respond to every person who says “good job”. I’m not convinced the effort is worth the effort.

  34. Because of the specialized nature of my work (railroad art), I found the only person who could effectively sell it was yours truly. I set up a website early, in 2000. For years I directed people to the site through advertisement, business cards, and other printed material at shows I displayed at, and still do. High school chums urged me onto Facebook in the first place. Eventually I had two separate pages. My personal page is eclectic, about my life, music, travel, interesting stuff and old photos. The art page is just my art. Since many people go to both pages, NO politics on my personal page.

    How has the Facebook art page performed? it has been a mixed bag. As Bob MacGinnis observed, the price point is definitely lower. For me it is about $750. Sales have dropped off for months for larger economical reasons, but I would say Facebook generates about 15-25% of my sales of originals and prints-not bad in my book. It seemed to bump up this spring. I have 1500 followers to date, and the response seems generally enthusiastic- 5 stars. When posting in any work, post a link to your website. Tell all your friends and customers about the art page-they are often very enthusiastic supporters and boosters! I post whenever I have something to present, about once every two weeks.

    There are caveats.
    I do not recommend Facebook’s incessant offer to “boost” your post. I found the advertising very deceptive, and cost me $500 for a month….No sales I can say resulted from it. When you post an expensive painting, people will immediately ask ,when is the giclee print coming out? Don’t take the bait! Sell the painting before making reproductions. I had a very annoying problem. one time I posted a very popular (and expensive) big print. 11,000 people looked at it! Not. One. Sale. Then I noticed all the shares- over 100 of them. Basically some individuals are chiseling the image, maybe even making a hard copy and framing it. You can watermark your best work, but you want a moderate amount of sharing. After all, it is a form of advertising. Social media is notorious for its trolls, and yes they will visit your page , and leave a caustic remark, like “your work sucks”, etc. Ignore it.

    Your page is not the only place you can promote your work. If you paint waterfalls, you can also post on on a “waterfalls” art page. There is a “railroad art” page, and I post there. There are several site i will post my work at. I look at my Facebook page as only part of several tools like advertising, business cards, gallery representation and shows to get out the word about my art. I will be getting a smartphone soon and will be posting art on other social media. Being even a little bit media savvy has been crucial to my survival, and can help you promote your art.

  35. I don’t have a lot of time to spend on a Web site or Social Media. When I was in a Co-op Gallery a few years I sold most of my work to Interior Designers. Does anyone know if there is a way to connect with Interior Designers?

  36. Google interior decorating , or look it up ,typing “interior decorating’ in the search box in the upper right corner of your Facebook page. It will indicate such pages on FB.

  37. As a photographer, my biggest problem with posting photos on FB is that the site strips all embedded data like copyright and contact info, so if anyone shares the photo without sharing the post then others won’t have a clue who took the photo. Others will also try to upsize your image to get prints instead of just buying one. There are also printing sites that will let you put together a group of photos from your FB friends and have them made into items like change purses, T-shirts, etc.. Obviously this is copyright infringement and would mean people don’t need to contact you to get your images. The company offering the service didn’t care and disagreed (can’t find their name right now – hopefully they’ve disappeared).
    I do occasionally post pictures on FB and do get plenty of likes when I do, but it’s resulted in two sales of $100 or less in the last 10 years. I don’t have a dedicated Art site on FB, either. No way would I ever pay to boost posts because most people I know click the “most recent” tab which shows everything, not just what FB picks.
    From others I know, the way to make SM work is to post frequently (daily or every other day) and on every platform you can. I really haven’t been doing what I could or should to market my work, so I’m not the best reference, but it really hasn’t done much for me or most of my friends. It gets looks and likes, but the bank won’t take those.

  38. I am thrilled you will be running this series. I have read the articles and taken online classes on creating content to make my presence stronger on social media. So far the only ones making money are the gurus running the classes. I am fairly active at posting my art in a variety of ways on social media – primarily Facebook and Instagram. Of course the positive feedback from likes and particularly comments feels good,but so far I have not seen sales as a result. I will post invitations to a show with many ‘teaser’ images leading up to the show. This has brought some new people out to my shows, with only one leading to a substantial sale.
    Most of the info out there says to post frequently. I have done this in spurts, but I am cautious to not alienate my friends by coming across as just wanting to sell to them. I try to vary how and what I post. In progress images seem to create the most interest.
    But as others have noted, social media can be a real time sucker. Sadly, for the time spent, I am not seeing the results.I do think the increased exposure can only help, but would love to know if there is anything I can do to reach buyers.

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