Using Facebook to Understand Your Art Market

Using Facebook to Understand Your Art Market

using Facebook to Understand Your Art Market insights

We live in a world of Big Data so use it!

There are no two ways about it, the art industry is one of the most unpredictable industries I have ever come across. Just when you think you have it all figured out and your art is selling, suddenly the market can turn on its head and you have no idea where to go or what to do. What you absolutely must not do is give up. 

This spiral was something that plagued me for years, even before I started selling through print on demand and online. The problem was I didn't understand back then that marketing your art meant a whole lot more than just turning up at some random art event or posting it online. Then big data came along and changed the game completely. 

Over the years I think I've pretty much read every marketing guide and every manual, I even went to a marketing class at college for nearly two years. What I learned from this experience was that the advice was always the same, you have to know your market. 

It became even more obvious to me a few years ago when I was eagerly awaiting the launch of a new product which would change my life, or at least that was what the pre-launch advertising was claiming. What I had noticed was that the company knew their market well, they were targeting their campaign towards a specific set of people who they knew would want their product. In short they were directing their marketing efforts towards people just like me. 

In reality the product in question didn’t change anything other than my bank balance, but that was down to me being sucked into the buzz created by a sterling advertising campaign which I later discovered was run on a much smaller budget than the company usually spent, they just refocused their marketing efforts and targeted those who would be most likely to buy. Their campaign was carried out with clinical precision. 

The product could have been anything, it was the way a buzz had been created that hooked me into parting with my cash. It could have been advertising a packet of salted peanuts and I swear people with a nut allergy would have parted with their cash too.

When I started looking back to the start of that campaign the announcement of this new product was made almost sixteen-months prior to the product release date. That’s when it struck me, whenever we artists release a new piece of work we upload it to social-media the very same day and then we do the craziest thing, we forget about it and forge on with releasing the next work.  

Now that work which is less than a couple of weeks old gets relegated to a position in a portfolio where it quickly fades away from people’s minds because we've moved on. In short we are all really good at big bangs, but the bangs aren’t so big, more of a discount value range firework from a supermarket. Pfft, whizz, woo, gone. What a waste. 

This is why you should plan any launch. There are peak times on social-media for engagement and these tend to vary from region to region. I have to coincide my posts with peak-times in the USA which is where a majority of my buyers live, and an even larger number of my followers are based. Not so easy when the US has multiple time-zones and I’m working from the UK.

There are days which perform better for launches too, some of them such as Independence Day will mean many people are not looking online, but come Black Friday it’s a different story. In reality it doesn't even have to be a day where a celebration takes place, I know that five of my past seven sales have occurred on a Wednesday. Could be coincidence, but this blog usually gets updated on Wednesday’s. (Edit: except this week because I'm really struggling with my Crohn's and a pesky chest infection, I'm so glad I wrote the belly of this one over the past couple of months).

Planning a launch allows you to prepare for the release and take time to think about how you will promote it. This is when you can prepare all of your social-media posts ahead of time. At one time I set myself unrealistic deadlines to produce artworks, then I would hurriedly pull descriptions and meta-data together, and think about the social-media posts about ten minutes after uploading the work, oh and then I would move on to the next piece of work. It was a fruitless spiral and the reality in the early days was I hadn't got a clue who I was specifically reaching out to. 

Now I plan ahead and consider how to keep the work visible in the short, medium, and long term. I usually spend a few hours each month prepping social media graphics, writing and scheduling twitter posts, and then most of the work is out of the way and I can focus on life and art but not necessarily in that order. The difference nowadays is that I've got a pretty good idea who will engage with the posts. This blog for example has been prepared over a two month period and refined, and the supporting social media posts are already written for the next three months, and the images have also been created. 

It's fine to release a work on Saturday but if it's forgotten on Sunday, or a month, or a year later, that's when you know you need a new marketing strategy that involves knowing who your most likely customer would be. You spent hours on that work, you have merely seconds for it to make an impact online, don't waste all of that time, prepare a strategy. 

Writing a number of pre-launch posts and emailing your existing clients with the details ahead of the launch will generate more of the elusive buzz that we need to compete these days. It’s also a great way to offer existing collectors the opportunity to get ahead of the game and place orders before anyone else. 

But knowing what to post and when is just as important as anything else you do, and creating posts with a specific audience in mind will provide a springboard for that post to grow and convert into sales. 

using Facebook Insights for artists

So this week let’s figure out who our audiences really are!

Over the past couple of weeks I have been publishing a series of “how to Facebook" posts, each one giving a little glimpse into using Facebook as a marketing tool. Each week I have mentioned a tool called Facebook Insights, and this is where we will focus today. Before we get on to that though, there is something I need to remind you of:

  • You're going to need to set up a business page on Facebook 
  • Using a personal profile as a primary marketing tool is against Facebook's terms and conditions 
  • If you haven't got a business page you are missing out on valuable marketing tools
  • You know it's free to set a business page up right?

Now that's out of the way (again and I will keep reminding you!) we can get down to the business of selling your art. Grab a coffee, sit back, and read on!

In the world of Facebook, data is king. Whilst many people will say that the platform collects too much of it, it is useful for users and especially users who use the platform for marketing purposes because it is this very data that will help you reach new audiences. If you're worried about privacy, there are privacy settings which can be set to restrict anything and everything, but think about the positive side too. Without this data we would struggle to understand even half as much as we can by using it to inform business decisions. 

If you use Facebook for business you want people to see your posts, forget privacy because that's the trade off. We need to be real about this. 

Welcome to Insights

If you have ever thought that your posts should be seen way more than they are and have been disappointed with their performance, then there could be more than a handful of reasons why this is happening. 

You'll remember I explained the algorithm in a previous post, More Facebook Tips and Tricks  for Artists, which you can read here.  

I also explained some of the ways that the algorithm makes decisions on who gets to see a post, where, and when. But the algorithm is just one piece of the puzzle. It could be that your post doesn't resonate with enough of your audience for them to want to engage, or it could be that the post is underperforming as it is written, but could be made more relevant with a little refinement and the correct targeting of your post. 

Professional marketers will persistently refine their posts until they feel that it will reach their intended audience and it will resonate with them. What they also understand is that their audience can change overnight. That's the nature of the Internet where everything is dynamic and never stands still. 

They will constantly refine posts and make sure that they fully understand their target audience, and they will use the data that they constantly collect to inform them not only who their audience is, but at what time that audience is more likely to engage. Then they write an engaging post, publish it at the right moment, and the post is right on trend. 

In short, you will from this point forward need to constantly refer back to the Facebook Insights tool to keep refining your marketing strategy, and when you do this the upshot is that it will be this very data which will help you to reach those new audiences. 

Insights will give you what you need to optimise your Facebook business page so that your posts trigger responses from your key followers and of course others who will see your posts and who don't as yet follow you. 

What's surprising about Insights is that it's free when you have a business page and amass 30-likes. This makes sense because 30 likes will give you a little data which is sufficient to make a start. The more likes your page gets, the better. 

So what Insights will you get? 

If you're expecting complex analytics which really drill down into your audience demographics you might want to try a third-party analytics tool such as Sum All, or AgoraPulse, but many of the best features with any third-party analytics platforms come at a price. For the most part and unless you have huge numbers of followers to manage along with advertising campaigns, Insights will give you what you need and it is also one of the simplest analytics platforms to get to grips with. 

In terms of information, what you get from using Insights is a reasonably in-depth overview of how your page is performing and in what areas it is performing well, and also not so well. 

You will be able to see which posts are attracting the most engagement including likes, comments, and shares, and which ones aren't performing at all. This is useful because you can immediately see how well performing posts are structured so that you can do more of the same. 

You will also get to see how many of your followers are seeing your page, and this is often the number that will disappoint most people. If you have a hundred followers, perhaps only a handful of those followers will get to see your post. This could be because the algorithm has decided not to show it, or your followers just weren't on Facebook when you posted. Don't worry about the number of views for now, focus on making quality content instead. Once you get into the habit of creating quality posts, those numbers and your engagement will shoot right up. 

I wouldn't worry too much about the number of likes your page gets either. In the early days if you're not advertising then you will be relying on organic reach, this is slower in attracting new page likes but the likes you will get are more likely to be from people who like what you have to say, or like what you do. Increase the quality and likes and follows will increase over time. I know it's tempting to dismiss business pages as irrelevant because of post reach, but despite algorithm changes it is still possible to use business pages successfully, if you put the effort in

Accessing Insights 

I have already mentioned that you will need 30-likes to activate the feature on your page. As tempting as it seems, try not to influence your existing friends on your personal profile to click on like just to make the numbers go up. Let them decide if they want to like the business page, and there's good reason for this. 

If some of your friends are not your customers, they will skew the early data. They're more likely to like, love, and wow, out of friendship rather than from a business perspective. What you want from any analytics platform is a reliable data set. If it is skewed to such an extent by friends clicking and engaging out of a sense of courtesy, you're not going to be getting anywhere near reliable data to work with. If they want to like your business page on their own and without a sense of coercion or loyalty, then they're more likely to become part of a useful data set.

My advice to anyone is to download the Facebook Pages Manager app from the App Store or Google Play if you want to check out your analytics on a mobile device. Otherwise you need to access the Facebook web page either from a desktop or by forcing your mobile browser to request the desktop version of the site. 

With this said, you will need to access Insights from a desktop to get the full range of features. Mobile is fine for keeping up with the most vital trends but the desktop version will give you more options and the ability to export data to Excel or as a CSV file. You can export 180 days of data, so my recommendation is to set a calendar event every 100 days or so and pull off the previous 100 days of data. The reason is that historical data will become important in the future and you will get an always up to date view of distance traveled. 

Data like this will also help if you ever need to prove distance travelled or will show that you understand your demographics if you ever want to raise finance or apply for certain arts grants, the more informed you are, the more you understand your business and the easier it becomes to tap into relevant data that can support you and your business including finance and grants. 

Imagine a scenario when you want to approach a bank to take out a loan in order to turn your online business into a physical gallery space. Going to the bank armed with data which shows your market demographic, is better than going to a bank and saying, I think most of my collectors are about 30 years old, I think they are more likely to be female, and I have no idea at all what their interests are or where they live. 

Now imagine buying that gallery in Downtown Orlando, then to find out that many of your collectors live in the U.K.  Knowing your demographics online will help your offline business too.

You know you need Insights and you have it open on screen, what you will immediately notice are a series of tabs. All of these tabs are useful but some are more useful than others. First off let's start with the Overview tab. 

The overview is self explanatory, it is a high level view of overall performance of your page over the past 7, or 28, days. 

What you will find here is a set of performance data outlining things like actions on page, number of page views, number of likes, post reach, post engagement, and videos.

Again these are pretty much self explanatory but here's the lowdown on each one. 

Actions on page: this is the number of times people carried out an action on your page. If your posts are filled with Calls to Action (CTA) you will be able to see if your calls to action are working. A CTA could be that you asked in your last post for viewers to click on your shop now button and visit your store. The numbers here tell you if that call to action worked and how many people did what you asked. 

Page Views: Clearly this is the number of views your page had within the defined period of time. What you will notice is that it will compare against previous periods of time. If the number is in green with an upwards facing triangle, you did better than previously, if it is in red with a downward facing triangle, not so good. 

Page Likes: again this one is clear enough to be self explanatory. This is the number of page likes received in any given period. Green and red numbers and triangles indicate comparative data against previous time periods. 

Reach: this one is one of the most important bits of information as it tells you your overall reach. Only have a hundred followers and a reach of 9,000? Remember that as long as your posts are public, that means anyone on Facebook can see your post. The higher the number here, the better your page is performing. This is why you need to trade some of your privacy, if nobody can view your posts, nobody can engage. 

Post Engagement: this is another interesting set of data, it essentially tells you how engaged your community of followers are with your posts. In short this is the number of engagements such as comments, likes, loves, wows, or other emotions and of course the Holy Grail of social media, the number of shares your posts are getting overall. Shares are good because you will appear on someone else's timeline and will be exposed to a new audience. 

Videos: video is a key tool on social media so if you have video content on your page, this will drive up the numbers and the engagement overall. More and more video is consumed on Facebook every day, so having a strategy to incorporate video into your posts makes sense. You need to make sure that it is native video to get the best results. 

A quick explanation of native video is video which is uploaded directly to Facebook, rather than providing links to video on a platform such as YouTube. Don't worry, I'll be covering video in a future article. For now though, keep it native

The overview will also give you some analytics on your five top posts. Try to mimic the style of those posts because they're the ones that are working well for you. Note the times each of those posts were made too.

You will notice a Promotions tab. This is different to the promotions and offers tab you will find on your business page, in Insights the promotions tab is about boosting your posts and paid for advertising. Creating ads through the Insights tool is the best option for those new to paid advertising because the hard work around demographics will be done by the Insights tool itself. 

Trust Facebook to recommend the posts it feels will do better because the recommendations are coming directly from the algorithm which determines who gets to see what anyway. My advice for advertising is approach any paid promotion with a set budget in mind and don't go over that budget. Whilst I much prefer organic (non-paid for) reach, a little boost now and again will do no harm. Whilst most of the work will have already been done through Insights in determining your target audience, you can still have a play around and make changes. 

Facebook likes: here's where you get to find out how many likes you have as either total or net likes. Total likes is the total number of likes and this is also where you will find how well your page is growing, or not growing in the case of unlikes. 

If you are getting unlikes, you'll need to get to the bottom of this really quickly. It could be that someone has asked you to like their page from your page in return for a like, but once you liked the other persons page, they immediately unlike you. In social-media etiquette terms these people are low balls and not worth continuing to like, find out who they were and unlike them right back. This happened to me just this week, a third-party tool connected to Facebook told me exactly who it was though, and I found out that the person had done this to more than 50 other people in the past week too. Like collectors really annoy me. 

Net likes indicates the number of paid for likes, paid for through advertising, and organic likes. You can also find out where your likes happen. For the most part likes will come from people visiting your page but they could come from other places too. 

Facebook will recommend other pages people might be interested in whenever they like a page. You need to ensure you are signed up to this feature by going to your pages settings, click on general, and then click on Similar Page Suggestions. Tick the box which says include [name of your page] when recommending similar pages people might like on a pages timeline. Once you click on save changes, the likes will start pouring in. Okay, no they won't, not immediately anyway, but in time, every little helps. 

At this point it's worth mentioning again that you will need to revisit your Insights frequently. Initially maybe as often as every other post, and once you start gaining a little more knowledge around what is and isn't working, you can reduce the number of times you visit the analytics to say every four posts. You have to do it that often because your audience will change, sometimes by the day, sometimes by the minute. One viral post can bring in hundreds of new likes, with numbers like that, your initial data analysis just changed dramatically. Effectively, you just levelled up. 

Post Reach: as I said earlier, post reach is vital. You could have 50 likes on a page and suddenly your reach shoots into the thousands. How could this happen? Simply in fact, if your engagement is high enough from a percentage of those fifty people, and they engage by loving, liking, wowing, or commenting, and ultimately sharing, your post becomes much more relevant, appears on the timeline of other people who are connected to those people, and people connected to those people, your reach increases exponentially. 

When you look at the graph presented in the Insights tool and click on any part of it, more data springs up. It will show you what posts triggered what volume of responses and when. 

It will be a graph showing a series of peaks and troughs, so you can explore what worked (the highs) and what didn't work (the lows). Try to replicate the highs and you will see fewer lows. Still with me? This might be about the time to go pour another cup of coffee because things are about to get really interesting. 

Reactions: how your audience reacts to each post is vital to understanding what makes them tick. It is here where you will be able to view trend data which corresponds to the reactions people have shown in each of your posts. Again you can click within the graph to see how your audience reacted with each post. 

Hide, report spam, and unlikes: the area you need to be most concerned with here is the number of times you are being reported for spam. If you know your posts are spam, stop it right now and change your strategy because the more reports against you, the further down the ranks Facebook will place you. 

We covered unlikes earlier, but if you are noticing more unlikes happening more frequently it is time for a complete change of strategy.  With a few hundred followers you would expect one or two unlikes each month, with 50,000 followers you would expect more unlikes. As long as the number of unlikes is only a small minority of your overall page likes, don't worry too much, it could be ‘like collectors’ as I said earlier, but it could be the start of a slippery slope. Time to review your content if it starts happening too frequently. 

Section views: page and section views will drill down into the number of times any specific tabs on your page are visited. The could be any number of calls to action buttons you have set up, and it is imperative to know how many times certain buttons like your ‘shop now’  button has been clicked. 

Let us assume that last week your shop now button had been clicked a total of three times, this week it was clicked a total of thirty-times, what did you do differently? More importantly how many of these converted into the action you really want which in this case would be sales. 

There seems to be no firm numbers that suggest out of how many clicks you get will convert into sales, one friend of mine sells a service and around 1 in 20 clicks result in a sale, another friend of mine sells a product but only 1 in 300 clicks results in a sale. If you know at that level of granularity how many clicks you need, you can start using this in paid for advertising with a call to action which asks people to click on the shop now button. 

Page views aren't always a good indication of the number of people engaging with the page itself. For the most part, people who click like on your page will rarely if ever revisit it. Once they like your page they will rely on your posts turning up in their news feed. This is why it is so important to have a call to action in every post. Create posts pointing to your shop now button as often as you can, but bear in mind that your page shouldn't only be about the sell. 

Viewing the total number of people who viewed your page and again drilling down into the data which Insights is providing will give you some valuable information, in fact it will give you some of the most valuable information available within Insights, and that is:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Country
  • City
  • Device type - mobile and desktop

use analytics to understand your market better

Top Sources: again this one is important because it will give you an insight into where your best traffic is coming from outside of the Facebook eco-system. You might have links on your artist portfolio website, or you might have a link that someone else has provided on their website to you. The more external links to your page that there are across the wider web, the better because the algorithm will see this as an indicator of relevance and this increases your SERP (Search Engine Results Pages) too, or more specifically, how often and how high you rank on a search engine results page. 

Actions: allow you to really start investigating how people interact with your page. This week I know from looking at my actions that a dozen people accessed my contact information, and this was confirmed when two thirds of those people reached out saying that they had got my details from my business page. 

I know too that more than a hundred people clicked on my Pixels website link, but it is here where you can also find out how many people clicked on any of the CTA buttons on your page. If you remember in my last post I discussed adding more CTA buttons, well the good news is that I have started to write a feature on incorporating CTA buttons through third-party applications. 

Posts: There are three different sections within the posts tab, and this is another source of vital information because from these insights you will gain an understanding of who’s online and when, and more specifically when your followers are more active and likely to engage. 

Depending on where in the world your followers live will play a part in what time they are likely to be online. As I said earlier most of my page followers and collectors reside in the USA, so around 2pm in the UK I will catch the early morning Facebookers, and at around 7pm I will catch those who are grabbing a quick Facebook break during the afternoon, and the late risers on the East Coast of the US. All of this information from Insights saves a ton of time and wasted posts.  

However, I have followers all around the world and not just in the US, so a strategy for publishing posts which match the time zones of other countries is also needed. Having this strategy is two-fold in that reaching out when most of my viewers are definitely online has its downside too. It will be at those times when there is more competition from the algorithm and a decision needs to be made by the algorithm as to which posts get seen by who and where. So periodic posting throughout the day is and should be the strategy of choice. If your posts are high quality, they're the one which are more likely to be displayed. 

The only downside to posting throughout the day is that you will quickly run out of useful things to say and post, and also because over-posting can affect ranking, and spending all day on Facebook is rarely an option for any of us ‘normal’ folk. In which case scheduling a post through the Facebook Business pages app becomes the better option. Only use this option though if the post is unlikely to need a more immediate response. 

I can’t quite say for certain but I have a feeling using third-party scheduling tools could be problematic and the algorithm will down-rank more frequently. My best advice is to use the tools Facebook give you, at least that way you are doing things the way Facebook like things to be done. 

Need to check out the competition? Top posts from pages you watch is something you definitely want to set up. Now is the time to grab another cup of coffee. 

Competitor Tracking: OK, it is not called competitor tracking, but top posts from pages you watch is another way of saying competitor tracking. 

Here’s a secret, all of the big  players with up to 10,000 followers will be using this feature already. If they're not they need a new Director of social-media communications and strategy, email me if you want to make me an offer. This is the insider info you’re missing and best of all you don’t even have to visit a competitors page to know what they’re up to. 

This is one of the best ways of following posting trends that there is. Whilst Google trends will be useful in giving you search related trend information, the top posts from others feature on Facebook will give you the trends around specific posts on Facebook from those who are closely aligned with your business or who are your inspiration. 

This feature shouldn’t be free of charge because it is so powerful, yet my guess is that very few independent visual artists have come across it. Essentially it allows you to compare your engagement and growth, activity, and audience with businesses similar to yours, or with the art department of the local box store who happen to have a Facebook page. 

This is handy if your closest competitor suddenly changes their strategy for selling their products or services. Perhaps the company you watch isn’t a competitor at all, but they have a canny knack of picking up on the latest trends. 

You can watch any brand you like and best of all you don’t have to visit their page or like it. To activate this you will need at least 100 page likes. You can watch up to 100 pages, but in reality you only need to pick out around a dozen or so of the pages who inspire you or produce the best posts. The more you do pick though, the better the data will be and you will be more easily able to identify trends. 

You will find the feature within the oversights section of Insights and you need to find at least five pages to watch. Once you have chosen the pages that you want to watch it is as simple as adding pages by clicking on the ‘add pages’ button. Search for the target page, and click on watch page. 

Once you have added a few pages, the search box will show other pages based on previous selections. The watched page will get notified that they are appearing on a watch list, but they won’t know who has placed them on a list. 

To find out which pages are more suited than others to add to a watch list, visit the profiles of  the people who already like you and take a look at the content they like the most and engage with the most.  

There's an option within your personal profile to view which pages people who follow you like, this is probably as good a starting place as any. 

With all of this new data you will be able to not only see what the other pages are posting and how those posts perform, but more importantly you can now see how many times each page posts. If there’s any magic number to the number of posts anyone should make each day, then I’ve yet to hear it despite all of the research that suggests five, six, or ten times, there is no definitive number which has been agreed, but quality is definitely better than quantity. 

There are numerous ways to use this tool and a number of other features such as seeing the top five posts from each page too, just have a play around with the different settings and you will soon become familiar with everything. 

Whilst the algorithm changes over the past couple of years have reduced the numbers of people seeing your page, using the metrics from watching other pages will hopefully bring a few people into the fold and who will soon start engaging with your page. 

Analytics are not just about posts and people, Event Analytics can be really useful for artists who might be exhibiting at a gallery or attending an arts event or art fair. The events tab will give you the lowdown which will help to optimise your event. 

How many people responded, did they click through and purchase tickets to a paid event, and who are they? All of this information is relevant pre-event so that you can prepare the venue or review pricing ahead of the big day. 

Video analytics will be where you find out just how well that funny cat video is performing compared to the video of a work in progress or backstage studio tour. From here you will be able to see the number of video views, break those down to paid and organic reach videos. You can also view how many auto-played (so annoying at 3am with the volume up) and how many repeat views were made. 

People are at the heart of all of this data, so the people tab is where you will be able to start understanding the people behind the numbers a little better. We covered a little of this earlier, but this is where you will be able to drill down a little more. 

So not only do you get to find out the ages or people who like you, and their gender, amongst other things, but this is where you will find out which of those people saw your post and which of those people engaged with your post. 

When we look at their engagement we can then break it all down with a little more granularity and see who engaged based on geographic location, and language. 

Recent changes to the Facebook Pages Manager app and to Messenger mean that we can see analytics from Messenger too. This will show the number of conversations you have had within Messenger and it will show your average response time. 

Currently my average response time is two-minutes through Beechhouse Media, personally I think that is a miracle, but you can set auto-responses to buy you a little time before you respond. My current auto-response directs people to my artist portfolio and says I will respond in full as soon as I can. Setting an auto response at least lets people know you have the message and it is another way of directing people where you need them. 

Time for more coffee… and a few more tricks, tips, and updates!

A couple of week’s ago I wrote an article on setting up Facebook Groups and for the past year of running three groups one of the biggest issues was that I could not get my hands on anything really useful in the way of metrics without paying for third-party analytics platforms. I was also a little reluctant to allow third-party access to my groups. 

Facebook listened to group admins and released the new Insights feature to groups recently.  Not every group will have these insights, at least not immediately anyway. You need to have a group of more than 250 members, and these insights allow you to understand more about how and when and who your group engages. 

You can also see which of your group members have had the most engagement from their posts and see who the most active group members are. 

You can see how many new members have joined in the past 28-days, and it will give you the percentage of growth too. This is useful for knowing when you might need to promote the group a little harder or ease off a little bit. 

You can also see the total number of posts, comments, and reactions, which will give you a better understanding of just how well your group is performing, and see how that compares to previous periods. This is really handy because you will start to understand better the times you will need to go and approve new member requests. I know for example that my groups seem to grow considerably each weekend. 

Times people post is also a metric that you can see from the new Insights, and if you look at the infographics I have provided today, you will be able to see a few of the metrics gleaned from The Artist Hangout and The Artists Exchange groups. So if you are a member and want your posts to do well, take a look at those metrics and coincide your posts with the times indicated by the data. Here they are:

The Artist Hangout Facebook Group Infographic

the Artists Exchange Facebook Group Infographic

This is also useful because it is another service that can be offered to your group members. I  will be publishing the group metrics on this site and on my business page periodically so that members know that if they are launching a new artwork or want to know when more people are likely to see their posts, they will be able to do so at a glance. I have made a decision to not post them directly in the group, the reason for this is that in the interests of openness, of course I want people to visit this site and my page, but I also think that this kind of data is worth a little effort. We’ll see how that strategy plays out. 

Whilst members themselves won’t be able to access the metrics, publishing them in an easy to read format on my business page and on this site will at least give them an insight as to when they should plan their posts and how the audience is structured. 

The usual analytics are also available such as age, gender and location, but what I find interesting is that I know exactly who the top contributors are to the groups. This is useful because it can be used to recognise those who participate in the community most often, so another thing I am considering is to promote the best engagers each week or month, but as I said earlier, I will be looking at quality over quantity. 

Any group admin or moderator will tell you that responding to membership requests takes up a whole heap of time. On a few occasions recently myself and my admins have had to respond to more than a hundred requests some days, and that is within one group alone. 

Now you can apply membership request filtering so you can filter by gender and location, this can make it easier to bulk accept or bulk decline requests, although in all of my groups, we continue to vet individual members and gender never plays a part in the approval process. Shows some hope for the future though if the features are extended. 

There is also (on desktop anyway) an option which shows flagged requests. These are requests from members who Facebook thinks might be problematic to the group. It could be that they constantly join groups, have low engagement, post spam, or have been removed from other groups, there’s not much online about this feature yet, so who gets flagged is a bit of a mystery for now, but a quick look at the profiles of some of those flagged members would have raised the red flag to an admin or group moderator. 

Member cleanup is also new, and as we all know there are a few people on Facebook who like to troll everyone. Group admins can now remove all traces of a members posts and comments from the past seven days in a group as well as banning the member. This is particularly useful when groups are active because if you are getting thousands of engagements each month, the occasional troll will slip through leaving negative posts. 

Any member invited by that member can also be removed, and as we know, many trolls seem to have a pack mentality. 

Scheduling in groups for admins is now an option. This is ideal to make those early morning “hello world” posts so that you can engage with members who live outside of your time zone. 

I mentioned group linking between groups and pages a couple of weeks ago but when used with Insights, suddenly you get a much broader picture of how your group is structured and connected. For a while it seemed that many members were members of both the Artist Hangout and the Artists Exchange, the reality it seems is that whilst there are some members who belong to both groups, not all of them are. Interesting stuff me thinks!

Summing up…

Now you have the basics to really start understanding and engaging with your audience, and engaging is what this is really all about. All of these numbers represent real people, and you need to engage with people on a human level. 

My demographics have names, and whilst they may have been numbers and statistics on day one, over time many of them have become great friends who I would invite around for a dinner party. Once you have those numbers it’s not just about targeting and making sales, it’s about being human too and that’s when you really start building engagement. 

Next time: I will be going through everything you need to know about setting up a business page on Facebook. I know I keep saying it's a must do, but it strikes me that I forgot to tell you how to do that at the start of the series! 

About M.A

Mark A. Taylor is a British artist who primarily works with digital mediums but still loves to paint in his studio with acrylics, watercolour, and oil. His work is sold around the world and in more than 150 retail locations across the USA and Canada. You can buy Mark’s work here.  All of his works are available on a wide range of print mediums and other products and all come with a 30-day money back guarantee. 

Alternatively, visit any branch of Framing and Art Centre, Deck the Walls, or The Great Frame Up and place an order there. If you own an ACanvas art system, you can also stream Mark’s artwork as part of your subscription. 

You can follow Mark on Facebook here, and on Twitter @beechhouseart 

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the art of M A Taylor available from Pixels


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