Facebook is a great tool for artists – PART 2: Tips and tricks I have learned
When I started using facebook I quickly realized that my effort and time spent on facebook was not rewarding and effective. I paid a local marketing expert that specializes in social media to teach me individually about all the tricks of the trade (her name is Lynn Martin from Mark Us Marketing) . We ended up spending 5 hours together and she taught me how to bring my client database into facebook, how to tag, how to share posts efficiently, how I can schedule posts in advance and all kind of tips that I could never have found out by myself. It was money really well spent and I would recommend this to anyone. A tailored individual class will be a lot more powerful than trying to figure out by watching Youtube videos or reading articles online.
Personal Or Business Page: Which One To Use?
One of the things that Jason (from Red Dot Blog) was recommending in his video was to keep our personal page to our close friends and family. I’ve heard other business people say that, however, I strongly disagree. There are true advantages to having both a personal page (which collects friends) and business page (which collects fans). Both of them can stay professional. One of the advantage of the personal page is that we can organize our ‘friends’ into categories. I classify them (as I accept their friend’s request) by location and then I also have a category for ‘important contacts’ which include journalists, curators, business owners that I could partner with etc… this way when I create an event on my business page I can invite friends from a specific region. These people will get a notification about my upcoming workshops or exhibitions near them. This cannot be done if you only have a business page. A notification sent directly to your contacts is a lot more powerful than a post on your business page that will only be seen if they open their facebook when you posted it.
Also, many journalists and other people of interest will have a personal page. Being friends with them allows you to see their posts, comment and message them personally. Again you can do none of these things from a business page.
I also like to see connections. When I become friends with an art agent for example, I can see who is already connected to them. Often we will already have ‘friends’ in common such as colleague artists, show organizers, gallery owners. It is quite fascinating to see this web of connections weaving.
On facebook we can see many uplifting and interesting posts, but many of them are plainly boring and inconsequent. I also see people share their most intimate and dark moments, they swear at life, share atrocities… I personally feel that some of that is inappropriate especially if you are using facebook with the focus of sharing your artwork in a professional manner. I’ve also seen artists complain about how they don’t sell anything, how angry they are for being rejected by a show and how they hate life. When I use facebook I always keep in mind that anybody can see my posts. A collector could be reading my posts and it simply wouldn’t look good if I showed up angry, resentful and dejected. No one would think about doing this in public at a show. I recommend not to post on days where you are in a bad place (having a bad day will inevitably happen occasionally!).
Instead I suggest to share links to your blog posts, photos of paintings in progress, exhibition installations, opening celebrations, workshops, news of your art being published and rewarded, videos, sketches and ideas, inspirational material, quotes, other artist’s work… to name a few!
I mostly post on my business page and then share these posts on my personal wall. That way it will say “Gaia Orion is sharing a post from Gaia Orion Art” and I am reaching everyone that is connected to me. Not all my friends have “liked” my business page and many fans are not friends.
On my Gaia Orion page I sometimes share more personal things: it could be some thoughts of the day, little sweet stories about things that happen to me or photos that are more about who I am as a person than an artist. While doing this I always keep the purpose of my time and activity in mind so that it all stays coherent and professional.
How Often Shall I Post
There is lots of advice on the net about that. I feel that 3 to 4 times a week is a minimum. Sometimes I have a lot to share so I do more than that, other times, I am taking time away for myself and I will miss a week or more. Overall it is good to be consistent and have a regular presence. If I am going to leave facebook for a while because I am going on a holiday or on a retreat, I make a post about it saying “see you in 2 weeks as I am heading to…” That way when people visit my profile they know that I have not disappeared and they understand the reason for my silence. It doesn’t look good when you go on a professional page and they haven’t posted anything in months, it looks like they are not working, which I am sure is not true.
Organize Your Photos
When I visit someone’s page I usually look at their recent posts and then check out their photos and albums. Many people do not take the time to organizes their photos for the visitor. I organize my photos into albums. There is a way to move a photo you posted into an album, so that you could have an album just for your paintings in progress, one for your exhibitions etc…. What I do is I have a whole sequence of photos from one painting in one album. When I post a photo from this album, people are able to look at all the other previous photos related to it at the same time.
It is also good to tag each photo with the name of your business pate. When people share your photo that tag follows the image where ever it goes. It is so sad when a gorgeous piece of art is being shared thousands of times and the artist is not traceable. This is preventable with a tag and a discreet watermark of your name or website at the bottom of your digital images.
And now I would love to hear from you! Are there any tips and tricks online that you have found useful? What is your experience with facebook? I would love your feedback on this blog or even on my facebook posts if you have been following them!