Getting Your Work Seen In Our Facebook Groups for Artists

Getting Your Work Seen in Our Facebook Groups for Artists


getting Your Work Seen in our Facebook Groups for Artists


Welcome to Our Groups!

Each week I write a brand new article to support members of our three wonderful art groups on Facebook. The Artists Exchange, the Artists Directory, and the Artist Hangout. 

This week I will be letting you know about the plans I have to take the groups even further and offer individual artists an opportunity to be featured more widely online and hopefully this will give visual artists another way to find art buyers and make a few sales! Or maybe you just want to have fun creating or buying art without the pressure of selling, then read on to discover how and why we are making a few changes!

Over the past couple of years I have been running three art groups on Facebook, each with a very different remit and aim. Originally set up to provide an outlet for artists to come together and raise an awareness of their work in the hope that more buyers would get to see some of the best art that is being created in the world right now. I don’t say that lightly either, some of the artists who haven’t been discovered by the big galleries just yet really are producing some of the best art. 

A few years ago I decided to dedicate this blog to supporting many of the artists who join the groups and each week I publish a new article that hopefully provides a tip or two to both artists and art buyers. Rarely do I use this site to promote my own artwork but if you look hard enough it’s here in places! Selling my own art subsidises what needs to be done to keep creating this blog! 

This site is all about supporting other artists, if it wasn’t for the support and encouragement I have been given by fellow artists over the years there really would be no blog! It has been independent visual artists who I have built great friendships with over the years who have always underpinned my belief that this is where the really exciting art is produced. This is the arena in which we see real innovation, from artists creating out of passion and where they push the boundaries. Periodically I feature artists in an artist’s spotlight which I hope has benefitted at least in a small way the artists who have already been included in those spotlights. 

As a long-time 30+ year veteran of being a visual artist I know how tough it can be to get your work seen and I know that it can be even tougher to sell your work. 

Facebook has given independent visual artists a channel to get eyes on their art and when used with other marketing tools it can drive an increase in sales and if nothing else it can get your work noticed. But if there is one thing I have learned it is that it takes more than posting the odd update on Facebook to sell your work or raise your profile as an artist. 

Having worked with and known a number of visual artists over the years it has always been apparent that the best tool that any artist can have is the friendship and support of other artists. 

Working alone for much of the time when creating artwork can often mean that your own skills stagnate and having someone who knows what life is really like as an artist and who can offer you some support on those days when it seems like no one is buying your work can push you forward to create more and create better, even if they just tell you to never give up or that you should have used blue instead of red. 

And so the first group, “The Artist Hangout” was born.

The Artist Hangout: 

the artist Hangout Facebook group


This was the original group I set up as somewhere that artists could just hang out in and discuss whatever they wanted as long as it was related to the arts. I’ve lost count of the number of questions and answers that have been posted over the last couple of years but it’s certainly more than I would ever have anticipated! 

We have artists from around the world in the group, some asking the community for answers, others just come along and post new work, others show works in progress, and that’s terrific to see.

This is the group where you can post whatever you want as long as it is related to the arts and being an artist. Questions, WIPs, new work, anything that’s not spam is all good in the group! You can join by clicking here.

The group quickly grew and as Facebook started to apply more changes to the algorithm, it became apparent that another group specifically to help artists continue to get good organic reach was needed. To get that all important organic reach would need something different, it would need to offer both artists and art buyers a value they weren’t getting anywhere else. 


the Artists Exchange Facebook Group


The Artists Exchange: 

And so “The Artists Exchange” was created. Facebook reach was declining rapidly and artists who were once getting lots of likes and lots of visibility for their new works were suddenly in a position where they would be seeing a lot fewer reactions and hardly any engagement. 

The Artists Exchange isn’t and was never intended to be a group that was purely about selling art. It is and always has been at its core, a group where those interested in visual arts could come to and learn new things and about new artists, and where artists do wish to sell they can. 

Supporting each other as I said earlier is one of the best skills to master as an independent visual artist. Being an independent visual artist means that you have to master all sorts of skills including marketing and sales and figuring out who your market is and that’s before you create anything at all. 

The idea behind this group was and still is for artists to support other artists. By sharing each other’s work each artists posts would then be exposed to another timeline and another set of people. In turn those people might find the post interesting and want to share it too. When this happens your engagement goes up and you are seen as being more relevant on Facebook. You harness new likes and reactions and eventually some of those might just turn into clients. 

I can see why few people share the work of others, they are worried that whoever they share will get the sale they could have had! The art world on social media doesn’t really work like that though because social media isn’t the sales platform. It is a social platform so it can drive engagement which can eventually be turned into leads, which might then be turned into sales. In short, it should drive people to where you do sell your work and it should raise awareness. It’s a part of a customer experience. 

People will buy what they want to buy but before they do they usually have to be convinced and engaged. As a social network Facebook allows you to build up relationships and along the way someone might just click on your shop now button but often only after they have formed a relationship with whoever they are buying from. 

To stay relevant on Facebook and encourage more people to react and engage with your work you have to add a value to your page that they are not getting anywhere else. If you want to sell your art then people have to buy into you just as much as the art. If you are keeping your timeline fresh and interesting with relevant content, people will stick around. If you’re not, then they move away.

This reciprocal arrangement of sharing each other’s work means that both artists get more exposure for their work and viewers of the artist’s page know that there will always be something interesting to see. 

One thing we know about social media is that not everyone wants to be sold something all of the time so adding value to your page over and above marketing is vital and what better way to keep your own page relevant than to share the work of other artists who are doing the same thing for you. Or maybe there’s no reciprocal expectation and you share the work of other artists because you like who they are or what they do, perhaps you are an art buyer or someone who just loves to be creative or appreciates the work involved from artists. As a good friend and Fine art photographer said to me the other week, people buy how they want to buy, not always how we want or expect them to buy. 

The rules in “The Artists Exchange” permit up to two self-promotion posts in any 7-day period. Many groups on Facebook allow artists to post their own work as often as they want but when you have almost 10,000 members and a single artist dominates the timeline of the group, it drowns other artists out and people disengage entirely from the group altogether. 

What was once an engaged audience becomes less engaged and the artist posting multiple times each day into the same group ends up not being seen at all and neither does anyone else. People get tired of seeing the same thing over and over again. 

I have written many times about making your art more visible on social media and the only guaranteed way to do this is to make your posts pop and make them relevant. Create posts that resonate with the audience and make them want to stop scrolling and click on your link.

Of course that rarely happens! It’s a large community but with even more changes to Facebook being introduced and more changes on the way, it is more important than ever to have a strategy to get your art seen and direct people to your brick and mortar or online store. 

So we will be mixing things up in the group and strictly enforcing the rules that have always been in place. Slowly we are identifying the members who never engage and never visit the group and who continuously post spam and we are starting to remove them. 

It’s a huge task but eventually I think we should get the group on track and I would rather have a smaller more focussed group than something that doesn’t support the artist or art buyers at all. A group where your work will get seen and a group that’s not only about an individual. Art is bigger than any one of us. 

With Facebook flagging more and more posts as spam after they have been cross-posted multiple times in a short space of time, or where posts have been created with techniques that mimic spam, as admins we are starting to have to visit the spam folder in the group more frequently and choose whether to keep or delete posts when this has happened. Appearing in the spam folder and posting what Facebook thinks are spam posts will down-rank you and lower your visibility even further, there’s nothing an admin can do for you at that point because that’s a Facebook thing. 

So “The Artists Exchange” will be changing and we will be going back to our roots of providing a community where artists support each other. In fact that’s not really a change, but we are going to change the way it is used now back to what it was!

If you want to get on-board with the group and start growing your reach and your engagement or you just want to see and share great art, you can join the group right here! The Artists Exchange 



the Artists Directory Facebook Group


The Artists Directory: 

Facebook pages are the only place on Facebook that you can officially use the platform for marketing purposes within Facebook’s community standards. I have always been a fan of the business/fan page because not only is it free to set one up, it also provides you with some analysis of who your audience is and gives you a more professional appearance. 

Organic reach for Facebook pages has nosedived over recent years and it becomes a bit of a catch-22 for anyone using them if they want to gain more visibility of their page and their art. You can’t always pay to play and boost posts especially if you can’t get enough sales of your work. 

If you pay then you are more likely to get more eyes on your work but there is still no guarantee. So we have to think differently and we have to make our pages more relevant and offer value to those who click on like. Once we do that we can grow our pages organically, albeit more slowly than we once could. If that generates sales and you can afford to pay to play for extended reach then that’s definitely a bonus, but it is still possible to get your post seen without having to pay.  

“The Artists Directory” was set up with the sole intention of increasing the visibility of our Facebook business pages and our online portfolio sites. 

Rather than a group where members would post images of their individual works, members would post links to their entire portfolio or Facebook page. Art buyers might not like the individual piece you have posted but if they can see your entire portfolio then they might find something more suited to their tastes. 

If they know that you also have a Facebook page and they feel that they would get value out of following it or are interested in your art, this is a group where they can quickly compare multiple artists and select the ones they want to follow.

If each of the members supported other members in the group each of the members would by now have hundreds more likes on their pages making those individual pages way more relevant! 

Recently I introduced questions for new members wishing to join the group. The questions outline the rules of the group and new members have to agree before they are allowed to join. This has reduced the amount of fly-by posters who share without even visiting the group but we may still have to go a step further and start moderating posts before they go live, I’m hoping we don’t have to do that. 

I’m considering the change at the moment as it is something I did want to try and avoid but despite some new members agreeing to the terms and conditions we still get the occasional post that has to be deleted. If the member continues then the member gets removed from the group. Hopefully by moderating posts we will be able to work out who is using the group for the intended purpose and who’s just there to post what’s not relevant to the group at all. 

This might only need to be a temporary measure, 99% of members stick to the rules and like each other’s pages, but the 1% make up about 99% of the unwanted posts!

Other than sharing pages and portfolios members are welcome to have discussions in the group so long as they are positive discussions (there’s enough negative stuff out there already!) and that the discussions are related to the arts. 

Anyone who wants to participate in this group is more than welcome and you can do so by clicking here: The Artists Directory 

You will be asked a set of three questions automatically and once these have been answered either me or one of the fantastic team of admins will make the approval.

Hopefully every member has found some usefulness in each of the groups and I hope that they continue to grow and flourish and bring our timelines to life with new art. I think given the huge changes to the way posts get distributed and seen on Facebook it is time to make sure we aren’t left behind and that our art continues to get seen.

The new group!

We will be creating a new group! This one will be entirely different altogether because rather than a traditional art group on Facebook we will be solely looking at the business behind the art and providing a resource that artists can use to enhance their skills and continue to learn about the arts.

This group will focus on a small community of artists who are keen to learn what is and isn’t working when it comes to marketing their work, sharing ideas and having somewhere to discuss the business of art.

The group will also look at continued art education where members can post links to external resources online and offline that will support artists throughout their continued learning journey to help them progress and develop as artists. 

Continued learning is so very important in all aspects of life but when you are creating visual art there is always something new to learn. Whether it is from attending a formal college or university course or just watching a few tutorials online, there is lots of experience out there and certainly too much great content for one person alone to find!

Membership of this group will work differently. What we need is a small group of artists who want to become a part of a community of like-minded individuals who want to progress their art whether that is professionally or not. It doesn’t matter at all if you are creating art professionally or creating it just for fun, if you want somewhere to have a discussion or learn something entirely new then this is the group where you will find that. 

There will be opportunity to ask the community for advice and to post works in progress or ask for critique, and it will be a place where artists can come together in a closed community and support each other. We may even be able to hold member only online events through live streams too if members want to do this!

Initially members who have been actively engaged in the other groups or who have already expressed an interest in joining this group will be invited to join, beyond that new members will be invited by the original members which I think will put some control in place to make sure that this remains an engaged community that members will get some benefit from.

I think that having a community where artists can come together and support each other either through having a chat, critiquing work, offering advice, or making others aware of opportunities and new techniques or just helping each other out without the sales pitch is something that really does seem to be missing in many of the arts groups and communities on Facebook. 

I will also be featuring members of this group and from the other groups on this site (if they want to be featured!) to give them a helping hand in gaining more exposure for their work. I can’t make guarantees that you will suddenly get a million new hits on your portfolio but if we can at least raise the profile of members a little that will go a long way.

I think I need a hand!

I, together with a superb team of admins in my other groups have dedicated a heap of time over the past few years to make each of the groups safe communities. We have weeded out the spammers and we will keep on doing that and hopefully we have helped some artists along the way. Without this dedicated team there would be no way that these groups would function at all.

Often we have come across the internet trolls and had to deal with them discreetly and by not giving them a stage to spread their agenda on. At other times we have been told that we work for Facebook! We don’t, we’re just a bunch of artists, photographers and crafts people who have a real passion for visual art and we support independent visual artists. We do this voluntarily and none of us make a cent from doing it at all. We do it because we believe that the arts are important to society as a whole and because we believe that artists should be front and centre. 

So if you fancy joining us on this new mission and the new direction we’re taking the groups in we are looking for a couple of like-minded volunteers to help us on this path. 

Mostly the role of a moderator is about approving or denying requests to join and keeping an eye open for those who don’t play by the rules. Collectively when everyone pulls together there’s often little else to do other than engage with the group. It is also a great way to increase your own visibility within the groups too and Facebook even give you a little badge next to your name whenever you post anything! 

The new group will have fewer members than the other groups. Between the three existing groups we have more than 20,000 members but this new group is likely to remain very small in comparison. 

Support is always on hand (except during periods of much needed sleep or vacations) and there is no absolute commitment to the amount of time you need to put in. If you only approve one or two requests a week and keep an eye open for bad players it will be a tremendous help. 

You don’t need any skills other than having a little humanity and you don’t need to be a professional artist just so long as you love the arts. 

So if you wouldn’t mind volunteering to be an admin or moderator then please do let me know! 

The art world is tough at the best of times and it is even tougher when you rely on selling your work to make a living, so anything that makes that just the minutest bit easier should be welcome news. 

Right now it is an experiment, if it works then great. We will have produced and created one of the best groups on Facebook. If it doesn’t work that’s fine too, at least we will have tried. 

Others have tried to create this very type of group and failed, often abandoning the groups entirely and giving up. There’s nothing that suggests this group will fare any better but it won’t be for the want of trying and by restricting the membership I think we stand a better chance of providing a safe and useful community where artists truly support each other and where art and members are front and centre. 

You can reach out to me on social media but be aware that I’m not always in a position to respond immediately. I check Messenger about twice each day, sometimes a little more often or you can contact me through the contact form on this site. I will in time get back to anyone who reaches out though!

Writing this has certainly got me totally fired up to bring together this group so if there is any way that you can help or you want to become a member or be involved I will be eternally grateful!

To coin a bit of a cliché, together we really can make a difference!

New Pages on this site…

I intend to give this site a little overhaul too by removing some of my old pages and creating a new page dedicated to each of the Facebook groups. These pages will periodically get updated to feature artists who have created great art and who have engaged and contributed to the groups. This is another opportunity for artists to gain a little more exposure and get their work out a little wider than by using social media alone. 

Supporting independent visual artists is something that I have been committed to for as long as I can remember and this site has always been created with the sole intention of supporting those artists. I certainly don’t make money from this site or the groups but I do think that as an artist it is so important to support other artists too. The competition as I have always said, isn’t from each other but from those who sell the work of other artists commercially without recognising that artists need to make a living too. 

Take Care and Happy Creating!

Mark

About Mark…

I am an artist and blogger who specialises in abstracts, landscapes, and seascapes. My work is sold in more than 150 retail locations across the USA and Canada including The Great Frame Up, Framing and Art Centre, and Deck the Walls and you can also buy from Fine Art America or my Pixels site here: https://10-mark-taylor.pixels.com anything I make from these sales goes back into making sure I can keep this site maintained and free.

You can also follow me on Facebook at: https://facebook.com/beechhousemedia and on Twitter @beechhouseart

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