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
 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=''>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.

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, and founder of the Art Business Academy. 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.


  1. As an getting out of the emerging artist group of artists I have in fact made some sales on line but overall my experience tells me that for the hours and hours it takes to get the just right photograph of your art work and dealing with the technicalities of your computer and its part in those sales, I would much rather have been painting.

  2. Hi Jason – you’re usually very perceptive and considerate. Therefore I can’t understand why you haven’t credited the artist who created that artwork prefacing this article. I see this all the time and it’s very frustrating. Please let us know who created those four panels, even if they were computer-generated. Thanks.

    1. Hi Marianne – I do try to credit artist when I share imagery but I didn’t think to do it on this one as I bought the image from a stock photography company online. The artist they credit is Olga Kostenko.

  3. Combined with all other marketing efforts social media can be a boost. I do receive commissions, some print sales through minimal effort on facebook. But this is often around a studio show or folks who know me. It does take time, but so does one on one with your patrons. If you are going to try social media you must stay up with it, as is mailings, or any other email, phone inquiry. It’s that simple. I would find a balance. And I would not overdue the social media, when you have something timely and NEW to say.

  4. I haven’t been marketing on Facebook but I have found it a good place to check out other artists AND THEIR GALLERIES. When someone whose work attracts me and seems related to mine posts about a show they are in, I check out that gallery. If someone posts work or a comment that I like I check out them and their friends. And their galleries. Just in case. But I don’t do this very often. And recently I dropped Facebook altogether because of their cavalier attitude about people endangered by them. Don’t know about going back.

  5. On a few occasions, a piece that I have posted got interest from a buyer, or from someone who wanted a custom piece made. Not enough to claim that I’m “selling through social media.” But like all advertising, each time someone sees your name connected with your work, it’s an “impression” (advertising lingo) and according to many experts, you need to make as many as 10-20 impressions before someone will want to buy. So I think it’s more than worthwhile to post my artwork. I always have a copyright and my website watermarked so my name and website follows the image if it’s saved or shared.

    Also, I’ve found a social media page makes a great portfolio. More than once, someone has asked for my instagram so they could view my portfolio (instead of wanting my website). After that request, I only post artwork on Insta so that it’s a quick, accessible portfolio. (@bookartistvb)

    As always, it boils down to who your audience is, and what platforms they are most likely to be on, so that you can get your work in front of them. A high-end artist might have clients that would only look for artists who are represented by galleries. Then there are the rest of us….

    1. I think both Facebook and social media are tools to keep people that are interested in your work in touch with what is happening in your studio. It doesn’t have to take a lot of time (unless you get distracted and start browsing!). My photographs I post are informal iPhone pictures, and I occasionally post progressions of a piece. That said Facebook keeps changing how they deside what post goes to who. I was regularly having 4–500 people see my posts and it dropped almost overnight to less than a hundred. I since found out they reward quick response times to comments on your post ( I heard within 15 minutes!) which is a total drag. I am trying to respond twice a day now rather than every few days and views seems to be climbing again.
      Why wouldn’t you use a free tool to reach out? Even if I’m not the next Facebook star, my 300 ish followers I’ve collected over the years are mostly people who have seen my work somewhere and like seeing what I’m up to.. I’ve sold a few pieces directly from Facebook, and I think it has indirectly contributed to many more sales.

      1. Cindy,
        Just a little fyi regarding quick response. You can set up an auto response when someone messages you. So you don’t have to constantly monitor you page.
        Here you go:

        To turn on Instant Replies for your Page:
        Click Settings at the top of your Page.
        Click Messaging in the left column.
        Below Response Assistant, click to select On next to Send Instant Replies to anyone who messages your Page.
        To change your instant reply message, click Change, update the message and click Save.
        Hope this helps!

  6. Thank you. I still value your book I bought many years ago about becoming a Thriving Artist.
    Your posts are still one of the few I try to follow consistently. Your presence is a present.
    I am grateful that you continue sharing your wisdom and opinions.

    1. Katherine, I totally agree with you about Jason, his book and the advice I’ve gotten from him over the years!

  7. In the early years of Facebook I found it fairly easy to sell works on Facebook. However as their policies and algorithms have changed it has become almost impossible for me other than for very inexpensive works.

    I don’t believe this is just social media per se. I think the drop in the art market a few years back contributed. As well as the fact that at least in my circles people are getting tired of being “plugged in”.

    I’m not certain where we go from here. Perhaps people are actually ready to interface in person again? I am eager to hear what others have to say.

    1. I’ve had countless discussions with fellow artists regarding the drop in the art market. As co-owner of a gallery, it’s a very disturbing fact. I know it began in 2008 when the recession began. However, the economy is so much better now, but the art market has never recovered.
      Does anyone have any ideas as to the whys?

      1. Yes, downsizing babybooming generation( no new larger homes to decorate), and the milenials not stepping up for the obvious reasons of being saddled with student debt, and therefore delaying purchase of first home. The lack of jobs during the Great Recession of course was another side of the problem.

      2. Excellent discussion Jason. I don’t often chime in but here goes: I spent the last 25 years as an art consultant selling original art. Canvas, paper, metal, wood and acrylic. All hand painted art. The art studio at which I was employed HAD to start making giclees. The marketplace shifted to buyers desire for art yet wanting a reduced price point. At the same time, baby boomers (who loved acquiring stuff, including art) are downsizing. Younger buyers seem to be less interested in higher priced original art and prefer a budget friendly Print. Plus, today’s technology is fantastic and most prints, once embellished, look terrific. There are still buyers out there, yet I found I was working twice as hard (selling prints) to make half as much money.

    2. I have to agree with your comments about people getting tired of being plugged in…and I am one of them! Trying to market art on social media, in my opinion, takes up an enormous amount of time with very little results in actual sales. I don’t believe social media is the best platform mostly because it’s just that…social. It was developed to connect and share information and undoubtedly, people love to look at our art…but they are just not interested in buying it.

  8. I finally joined FB in frustration because artists I follow (and buy) were not updating their websites before the art was sold (or at all). I’m still frustrated because posts on FB and Instagram do not list basic information: size, price. And some artists still are not updating websites with art they have put on FB or Instagram or listing prices on their websites. I hate contacting artists for size and/or price info. They may not mind, BUT I DO. Don’t waste my time if the size or price doesn’t work for me. I love artists who make it easy for me to make a decision. I have commented to artists about this issue and their answers are so lame…. “Yeah, I haven’t updated my website in a while …”

    1. This is a very interesting post From which all of us can…and certainly should…benefit. I’m not nearly as timely as I should be about updating y website. And I have never posted sizes and prices. I plan to remedy that ASAP. Thanks, Toni!

    2. Thank you for that feed-back. I include the info you mentioned on my Instagram page, but beings I am one of the few that does so, have been questioning my own practices. Thank you for confirming that collectors look at Instagram and want sales info. I’ll keep doing it the same way with confidence.

    3. I must have been feeling a bit surly when I wrote that post. In the early years of my serious collecting and before FB became The Thing, I enjoyed the hunt, contacting artists and ferreting out information about their work: typical size and price per square inch, galleries, etc. But now I guess I am also experiencing online fatigue. I do as much looking, but a lot less ferreting and contacting; I just move on. There is a lot of good art online and some artists make it very easy to buy, and I thank them!

  9. I have had good success selling jewelry through social media but it’s more of an awareness of my work and my name. I point them to my website and have seen an increase in activity. It is a lot of work and I do see results. One problem I experience is people asking a lot of questions about “how did you do that” and while I don’t mind sharing information, it can be frustrating. I think you have to be involved in social media these days, plus print and websites. It’s all very competitive!

  10. I would like to know about pricing work on social media. I look at a lot of sites but do not see prices. I have not put prices on my work on line because I feel it is tacky, but feel it is necessary. I do feel that I am getting people interested in what I do through social media. More people are coming to shows and other events. Social media keeps changing with updates. Keeping up with this can be daunting while doing the the other things that need to be done for gallery representation, shows etc.

  11. Always glad to read your posts, Jason. In my humble opinion, I think the one thing we forget about in regard to social media is the audience an artist is trying to reach. A target audience requires one’s art to be very focused in order to reach a very specific customer. If you don’t have a defined focus and accompanying market, it’s going to be hard to generate sales. It’s very possible, too, that a lot of prospective buyers aren’t on social media and/or don’t buy via social media.

    There are artists, like the one you mentioned, that have a very specific focus (like selling paintings of vineyards at wineries), and let’s face it, this doesn’t work for a lot of artists – or it takes a long time to define the market and the artistic focus – if one ever finds it at all.

    So focus, both artistic and audience, may be the keys to success on social media – but only if your target market is on social media channels.

  12. I post my work regularly on Instagram and a little less regularly on Facebook. I have never sold a piece of art through social media, but I’m not concerned about that. I probably should be, but I’m not. What I love about social media is the “social” aspect of connecting with far-flung family and friends, showing them what I’ve been up to, and seeing what other artists whose work I admire are creating and letting them know how much I like it. Although I’ve never met most of my fellow artists, I feel a real connection to them and we sometimes get some quite delightful dialogues going. I know this article is about marketing and selling your work through social media, but in my case, it’s not about sales, it’s about connection.

    1. I agree! I have sold a few as a result of Instagram postings, and do know artists whose Instagram postings were “discovered” by galleries . However,the main value of Instagram, as you stated are, are the artist community connections.

    2. I agree! This winter I travelled in India and posted watercolors and reflections, a kind of visual travel journal, on my personal Facebook page. I had such a wonderful response. I then went on to Bali where I created my new body work, my Batik art, I am using social media to promote my shows, and I do make some social media sales, but the visual diary was what felt alive for me this year. The connection, really feeling seen, motivates me more than promoting sales when it comes to spending time on social media. For me the interaction is the magic.

  13. The only social media I use is Facebook, but only as a teaching tool for followers and students. I tried advertising with them a few years ago and it was a total waste of money. I know only a few artists who have actually sold work, and that was random. I’m very close to abandoning FB due to privacy concerns, and am researching other options.
    I honestly dislike the whole notion of being hyper connected with an obscure public. I know, being active on every available platform is supposed to be the way to garner sales, but I question that premise. It’s pretty basic … your time invested verses direct sales/reward. I submit that ratio is deeply lopsided.
    You can spend literal hours every single day uploading photos, comments, responding, clarifying, redirecting … that’s what I have a website and email for. When someone contacts me through either I know they are a serious buyer.
    I have more success with direct interaction with people at the venues I display at. My work is in front of them and we talk art as long as they want to, and they buy. I make sure I have their email and that is what I exploit and pursue … I begin a relationship to turn into a patron.
    For artists who prefer the anonymity of social media instead of a personal connection, have at it. It’s just not for me ….

  14. I consider my posts to social media a method to get myself known and to build trust with those that follow my art. I have had some people who I know only through facebook, go to galleries where I have art and have purchased through the gallery. I only know they purchased because they made a point of telling me about their purchase, which they did via Facebook.
    I also post when I sell a piece and sometimes the buyer proudly comments on my post that they are the lucky buyer. I consider this all great PR even if there no sales directly through Facebook.
    I don’t include prices in most of my posts because I’ve detected that I get less interaction on posts where I do include those. Facebook readers seem almost irritated by salesmanship, so I focus more on exhibitions I am in or awards I have received. I also promote the galleries that represent my work, which people seem to appreciate.
    I do share size and price to Instagram and Pinterest and still get new followers and moderate interaction.

  15. When I started my greeting card company, both to sell and as a means to introduce more people to my fine art, I began paying for small ads on Facebook. After over $200 of ads over two years, I don’t think I have ever sold a single greeting card through their ads, but yes, some people that I already knew did buy cards when they see my posts (and only 2 paintings sold that way, also from people I already knew). I have a very easy to update website for my fine art based on the excellent and very reasonable cost template and website system and support from (a company in Canada run by an artist who is also a web guru). I recommend it to all artists as it is easy to create a good website and updating your site on their platform takes literally just a couple of minutes. My greeting card site is on the BigCartel website, not as easy to work with but better set up for online commerce. I think these websites are a necessary business outreach, but not very effective in my experience. But, then neither are art festivals which I am beginning to view as a hugely expensive waste of time and money.

  16. A few years ago, I scaled back Facebook to a handful of family and friends with whom I have regular interaction. Every now and then I’ll post the image of a new painting there or on Instagram, but that’s to remind the core that I paint. And I don’t post every new painting. That would be like drinking from a firehose.

    Some of you may have heard of the “48 Laws of Power” and #40 is “Despise the Free Lunch” – one of my favorites – here is an excerpt:

    “What is offered for free is dangerous—it usually involves either a trick or a hidden obligation. What has worth is worth paying for. By paying your own way you stay clear of gratitude, guilt, and deceit. It is also often wise to pay the full price—there are no cutting corners with excellence.”

    And this is how I regard Facebook: “What is offered for free is dangerous.” Facebook suckered a lot of people into their walled garden and, at some point, started throttling posts. Now you have to pay Zuckerberg or else hardly any of your followers will see your posts.

    To be fair, if some artists are having success with sales via Facebook then good for them. But there is no silver bullet. I regard ‘social media’ as something that is seriously waning in usage and influence. It had it’s day.

  17. I have sold a number of paintings through Facebook. (I’m also active on Instagram, but the audience is completely different, and I’ve never sold through a contact made there.) That’s also one of the ways I promote exhibits or events where my work is shown. I don’t have the capability of completing the transaction there, but it has led to studio visits and ultimately, sales. I think it’s important to think of social media as one of several cogs that mesh with each other–website, social media, email, and even occasional direct mail–they all support one another and help create awareness.

  18. I’ve used Google Ad Words, Twitter and Facebook to market my artwork but I’m not able to do artwork/marketing full time. These social media platforms are good in directing traffic to my website but don’t result in sales. The problem could be whoever’s seeing the ads just aren’t art collectors. Apparently some people just like to look. Some of the same people view pieces multiple times. Who knows why, maybe they’re copying it; I can’t tell at this point and that’s the downside of putting your work out there. As it is I’m not gaining much by spending a lot of money for ads on social media so I’m just looking at it seasonally, around Christmas.

  19. This article was more descriptive than informative. It really did not give any strategies or any real “how-to’s”

  20. I have sold several pieces through Facebook, interestingly only to people I know. I post pictures of new paintings regularly to my friends list, but am more selective on what I post publicly. I don’t find it too much work to snap a picture with my phone and upload. I think posting to Facebook has drawn people to shows, which is also helpful.

  21. I have sold paintings thru Facebook, on several occasions, but it’s always a surprise, and seldom to the same buyers. But I do feel that I’ve had some good luck. I don’t advertise, I can’t really afford it, even on facebook, but that may be in my future, The best sale I made was to an up and coming university in Michigan, who bought for their new Medical complex in downtown Grand Rapids, MI. Permanent collection. I put that on Facebook, and managed to sell another couple of small pieces soon after. That’s the best kind of advertising. My biggest problem with Facebook is that I’m friends with a lot more artists than collectors. P.S. I blame decorators and interior design magazines for art being hard to sell. Have you looked in the shelter magazines lately? A square of blue, or a sculpture I wouldn’t sell to my grandmother, and that’s it. What’s a contemporary realist to do?

  22. It does seem as though the social media platform is constantly changing. When I decided to paint in oils “full time” in 2009, everyone was blogging and the “painting a day” format was the way to sell and get noticed. I reluctantly joined facebook when it became the main platform, and now instagram is the way to reach a wide audience. Whichever one we use, its all about getting a following. Artists who have a solid following on blogger are still using blogger. But we still need to move to the “new” because its important to keep up with the changes. Everyone uses cell phones and wants immediacy. therefore instagram is now king. Is it exhausting and annoying for an artist? Yes!!!!! It is a necessary evil.
    I have sold a few paintings from instagram. But nothing consistent.
    Some of us are great at marketing, some of us are not so good. I’m in the “not so good” camp. I can honestly say that I HATE marketing and want to just “paint”. Most of my sales come from people I meet at art shows and exhibitions and then join my email list.
    I need help to clean up this social media, gallery, online gallery mess that hurts my brain. If it wasn’t for my website with fine art studio online I would be lost.

  23. Yes Peggy, I agree! We are selling to other artists at some point on social media. I am a photographer and most of the people that follow me are….photographers. 🙂 Which is great, of course, “rising tide” and all that.

    I am going to try and just reach out to other local businesses and feature them more on social. I think you just really have to enjoy the “social” aspect of it to make it work. The people that I see having the most fun and benefit from social media just love to post and share and connect. That is a great goal if nothing else.

  24. I have sold a few things as a result of Intstagram, but primarily like it for this connection, the previously mentioned “gallery” purpose that is much easier for someone to look at than a website, and for discovering artists whose work I admire and can learn from by seeing their work. I think the biggest problem with social media at this “mature” stage is the algorithms that mean, quite literally, that those you would like your work to get in front of will never see it. It’s sort of like the old days, when you couldn’t get a first credit card unless you already had one: you can’t get your work in front of someone if they are not already engaged with your work. There are just too many people posting for FB/Instagram (the same company) to put your work in front of everyone, even those who may have followed you, so the company’s algorithms decide who will see your work, and when. Group membership on FB helps, and reminding followers you exist by commenting on their own posts, helps.

  25. As some have said above… I think you need to like the social aspect of “sharing.” I have also had people go to my gallery after posting work to Facebook. I am in four galleries and make sure I participate in a couple of shows locally / regionally each year. I have had people come watch me demonstrate at my gallery, or a plein air event, and also visit an exhibit opening because I posted on Facebook and on Instagram. I also have an Etsy Shop where I have studies, experimental, and demonstration pieces I don’t think rate a gallery setting, and I offer them at a different pricing structure. These have charm and are something I wouldn’t want to destroy.

    There have been sales, but if they didn’t know about the events, exhibits, or gallery, then how do they find out. Of course, newsletters some would say. Not everyone I know, and not everyone that might like my work, has opted in for a newsletter. I mainly post “public” so others that haven’t found me have an option of seeing my work. And, I know I am just one of multitudes that post. I make sure I do it several times a week. Sometimes I might not post for a week! But, I also post ideas for “being an artist” or things about marketing, or share posts (like this one) that are food for thought. I try to make sure I am someone that people would want to know. I have a story and I think of Facebook and Instagram as a way to connect. I have a wonderful website by FASO, and I occasionally still write to my blog. I have several other online sites I post about four times a year new work and new events.

    I do post prices on my website, I have not done so on Instagram. I post to my “Art Page” and share it to my personal timeline (sometimes I do it the opposite way). I show photos, and on the “page” that shows up if you click the photo, I might have the price, but I do have a link to where they can purchase it.

    All of it works together. And sometimes it feels like nothing is working. Then all of a sudden there will be several sales and I know mostly because I have posted!

  26. I have sold a few paintings as a result of posts on FB and while my followers on IG is growing daily 90% of those followers are fellow artists.
    I’m glad other artists are enjoying my work but the odds of selling artwork to another artist is low.
    How do we attract and get collectors to follow us or “like” us.

  27. Thank you Jason and I echo Kathryn, in hitting a roadblock in getting collectors to see or follow me on social media. I have sold pieces through social media but I also tend to “lose steam” and don’t post consistently.

  28. I’ve seen some artists create fan pages for their digital gallery, collection, or for themselves as an artist–as a separate page away from their own personal fb page. They post and promote their art, and leave the pets, vacations and family to their personal page. This way the artist can create something professional that stays on point that their public (fans) can really enjoy.

    A Fan Page is the best way for entities like businesses, organizations, celebrities, and political figures (and artists!) to represent themselves on facebook. Important: Unlike a personal facebook profile, fan pages are visible to everybody on the Internet. Anyone on facebook can connect to and receive updates from a page by becoming a fan of the page, which happens when they Like the page.

    Another amazing thing about fan pages is that facebook picks up your demographics and starts to put your fan page postings into the news feeds of those who are most likely to be interested in your work. The demographics work is already done for you.

    If you encourage people to comment, like and share your posts, you can see how this could grow some legs. When comments are made the algorithm makes your post more visible. The more comments, the more people have the opportunity to see it. It’s smart to post something (just a short comment or thoughts about your process for example, doesn’t always have to be a new art piece) frequently. This also helps keep you more visible.

    I know we’ve gotten wary of facebook’s gathering of information. But I have to remind myself I can use that data too to get some cool pieces of art out into The World, which is a positive, creative use of the data.

  29. I have been using Facebook and more recently Instagram to post my work. I have not sold a single piece, or even had any enquiry, although views to my site have increased. And I can see that most of my followers on Instagram are fellow artists. it is so easy to get distracted from creating and enter the magical online world. I have to pull myself out of it! Thank you for a great intro piece Jason, I look forward to the following blogs.

  30. As an award winning photographer and former art gallery owner I too tried the social media route with fb. My many posts and boosts resulted in many likes and comments but, I can honestly say my efforts resulted in zero sales using this method. I have recently quit using fb due to recent complications with the company and I no longer respond to posts I receive.
    One company I am considering is Zazzle. I would suggest artists check this out. It cost nothing and there are three options depending on how involved the artist wants to be.

  31. Hi Jason.

    I enjoyed reading your piece and I love that you invite people to participate. Social media has been a game changer for me. I had my first solo show in June 2018 and sold most of my work through IG and Facebook before my show even opened. It also opened up a huge audience to come and see my work, which would not have happened otherwise. Every time Im painting a new work I bring people on the journey with me. I share each stage and tell people how Im feeling and what struggle Im going through and the level of engagement is huge. I think there is a ‘New breed of artist’ emerging. One which doesn’t use galleries anymore. One where we can make our own income and have control over our own sales. Im based in Dublin in Ireland Im loving this new opportunity.

    Fran (if you want to see what Im working on now)

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