Learning to use social media to market your art

Learning to use social media to market your art 

learning to use social media to market your art

Each week I write a new article for members of our three wonderful art groups on Facebook, The Artists Exchange, The Artists Directory, and The Artist Hangout. This week we take a look at some of the best ways we can learn about using social media more effectively when we market our art and we also discover the best places to visit online to find an array of free courses and resources that will raise your art marketing game!

Art isn’t easy…

They told me art was easy, that was way back when I was in school. Then when I finally decided to go down the career route of becoming an artist I found out that the teachers must have been talking about something else entirely. The reality which I only began to find out after leaving school was that the art world wasn’t easy at all because as an artist you need lots of skills that they just don’t teach you while you are in school, or at least they didn’t back then.

No one told me that I would eventually spend more time filling out paperwork and marketing my art than I would do sat in front of an easel. And neither did anyone tell me that for the most part I would need to have a crystal ball to figure out which way the art market would move next let alone what the next round of social media platform updates would bring. 

At 16 years old I managed to bag my first art sale, a landscape which I had painted with no intention of ever selling it, back then we didn’t have Facebook because social media hadn’t been born and the sale was made face to face. 

I had never considered that I would ever create art that people would pay me for and even to this day and some 30-something years later it still amazes me whenever anyone buys any of my work and hangs it on a wall. It also still amazes me that learning about the art world is a life-long mission with more and more to learn every day. 

As a small business owner I know first-hand how difficult it can be to keep on top of trends not just in the art world but the business trends we have to keep up with too. Running an art business is tough because not only do you have the business side of things to deal with but you have to create the product too, and then you have to market it, clean the studio/home, attend an arty function or a gallery opening, and find a little bit of time to go out and purchase new art supplies. At some point you might if you are lucky find some time to paint.

When I think about the skills needed to be an independent artist in the 21st Century I often think that if an artist were to be paid for each roles they performed during a normal day, every piece of art would cost a hundred times more than we ever charge! 

At 8am you might be the IT technician and by nine you could be negotiating a commission with a gallery director, by 10, you might become the entire back office team answering the phone and by 11, well you get the idea and many of us are holding down a day job too! 

Time and money are always on the list of concerns when you run a small business and as I have written many times before, the cost of continuing to learn about the art world in which we operate is often both a consumer of time and sometimes even money. 

YouTube doesn’t always offer the right tutorial or the information on the internet is so out of touch with modern business practices because the first website on Google was last updated in 2007. By the time you have found something relevant to study you have spent even more time looking for it and never quite manage to find the opportunity to get fully immersed in your creative process.

When it comes to learning how to use social media to more effectively market your artwork there are so many websites and each of them suggest totally different things. You are never too sure which one to take notice of and when you finally settle on something you begin to realise halfway through that Facebook or any of the other platforms have once again issued an update and changed the way things work again. 

The real problem with finding any learning opportunities that cover using social media and particularly free learning is that you might find an ideal course but it is prohibitively expensive, or it might be running on the other side of the world, or you might sign up for something and realise only later that what you signed up for is only going to give you a little bit of information and that you will need to pay up big bucks to get to the good stuff.

So this week we take another look through the lens of the internet to figure out whose offering what, and we look at where to go to get the right information about using social media directly from the horse’s mouth!

learning from Facebook

Learn to use Facebook Like a Pro!

I honestly just don’t get why some people don’t like Facebook but continue to use it, and then they keep complaining about using it right on the platform they are complaining about! Facebook gets a lot of bad press for sure and that whole data thing really didn’t do them any favours but businesses around the world depend on the platform to promote themselves and as independent visual artists it is an essential staple for most of us doing business today. 

Sure there is that pay to play thing which keeps on rearing its head but it is difficult to pay to play if you can’t build up enough business in the first place. You have to drive engagement, understand better how things like organic reach really work, and carefully watch the performance of each of your posts. 

Facebook offers a heap of content for free to help with figuring this stuff out and they also do more than any mainstream media outlet give them credit for when it comes to helping communities and businesses. Here’s something contentious I’m sure, but Facebook ain’t all bad at all, they do good too but it rarely gets a mention.

There is a hidden side of Facebook which deserves to see the light and that hidden side is through its own education programs and resources. Whilst not specifically for artists they will benefit any small business who has a presence on the platform and I have to say that I am impressed with the quality of the resources and the range of information available. 

Small businesses and even large corporate brands need training to use social media effectively. There is just no way that an independent artist would be able to compete with the major brands who have teams of skilled people figuring out social media and marketing strategies. But that doesn’t mean that it’s impossible to get seen on the platform even with the decline of organic reach, it just means that you have to use social media as effectively as the large corporate brands.

Thankfully this is where Facebook themselves can help. In 2015 the platform launched Blueprint. This is an e-learning platform which offers almost 80-courses in 14-different languages on how to use Facebook and Instagram effectively and you can learn at your own pace.

Facebook’s Blueprint team work with local associations such as the Small Business Administration in the USA, and America’s Small Business Development Centers, and the National Small Business Association by offering free in person face-to-face training events which utilise the curriculum available on Blueprint. 

On June 8th 2018, Facebook announced that they will be training 1 million people and small business owners across the USA by 2020. Whilst much of what they are doing is US-centric that doesn’t mean that the rest of us in other countries won’t get any value at all out of the platform or its pursuit in delivering this type of support to our friends in the USA.  The beauty of Facebook is that it’s online and global as are many of their supporting resources.

Those in the USA will definitely see the most benefit from Facebook’s latest proposal though. Mark Zuckerberg the CEO of Facebook has said that Facebook wants to make it easier for people to find jobs and grow their businesses by giving them the tools they need to flourish in an increasingly digital economy. 

Facebook’s plan is to work side by side with communities in the US to provide more in-person training, mentorship, and online courses. So they are developing a range of new partnerships to deliver free training for skills like digital marketing and coding. 

Back in November 2017, Facebook announced that they would be introducing a new digital training program called Facebook Community Boost which you can learn more about here, and they are now expanding that program to visit 50 US cities by the end of 2018. 

Also by the end of 2018 they plan to team up with 20 community colleges to offer digital marketing training. Again this is in the USA but the online support that will no doubt appear will benefit others and I would hope they extend this out to other colleges around the world too at some point.  

In the fall of 2018 they are also planning to launch Learn with Facebook, which will be another free online training resource that promises to equip people with the skills they need to grow and drive local economies. Once again this will be US based and anyone currently in the US is able to sign up for live updates right here so that they can be alerted directly when the platform goes live. Again I’m hoping that at some point we will see this in other countries and regions but as many of my readers already reside in the US, this might just go some way to giving your own development in the social media arena a boost.

You can see the range of Facebook Blueprint courses currently available right here, but you will need a Facebook account to access the platform though!

learning from twitter

Learn to use Twitter like a pro!

Whilst Twitter doesn’t seem to offer quite the number of educational resources that Facebook have and have planned, they still offer plenty of official advice to tweeters (or is it Twitterers?) to ensure that your tweets are always in line with the regular updates to twitter rules and you will get a heads up about everything happening on and within the platform. 

Where to go!

The Twitter blog which is a fascinating read at times often has snippets of information about what topics are currently trending and it can be found right here.  This is useful because if your artwork has a fit with a trending topic you are more likely to gain additional engagement. Just one word of caution though, make sure that your artwork really does have a fit with the topic otherwise it will decrease your reach.

If you are running out of tweet ideas, have questions about using a business Twitter account or you want to use the official analytics platform to find out which of your tweets has had the best engagement then head on over to https://business.twitter.com/ 

By visiting the above link there is also an opportunity that will give you a real edge when tweeting. You can sign up for the official Twitter Assistant (there is a free version which is operated by a third-party), which gives you plenty of analysis about your tweet history and tells you what you need to know to improve your Twitter presence. 

It will tell you which tweets contained video, photos, text only, hashtags and links, and which of these performed better than any of the others and it also gives you an idea of when the best time for you to tweet is. Apparently I get the most engagement by tweeting at 11pm on a Saturday which tells me that I need to start being awake at 11pm on a Saturday. 

It also lets you know which of your hashtags got the most impressions and then recommends other hashtags which you could try out based on your best performing one. 

You could quite easily spend a day going through everything that’s on the Twitter site and it would be a day very well spent. It is updated regularly and there’s no doubt that it will become one of your go to sites for Twitter updates and learning. 

learning from google

Learn to use Google like a pro!

Google have for a long time been developing resources not only for their social platform but for things such as search engine optimisation, Google Docs, and pretty much every product they have a hand in. 

We are always talking about finding out who the market for our art really is and one of the most powerful analytics platforms out there is Google Analytics. If you have a website including the Pixels site which is provided to premium Fine Art America artists, the implementation of some detailed analytics is possible without too much technical know-how.

Google Analytics Academy is the place to get support and information and advice on using and interpreting the analytics data from your site and there are quite literally hundreds of useful resources including videos with walk-throughs. You can view the analytics academy right here.

There are some basic guides to get you started but there are some moderately advanced resources as you progress before finding the really technical stuff. This is the platform I have been using for a number of years and when I started out I had very little knowledge about using analytics at all but those resources have been vital over the years. 

The Google digital academy is operated in a similar way but this goes to great lengths to bring the best of Google education together to make digital transformation happen. As a platform it will really help you to develop and understand the digital skills you will need and the content is some of the best there is for marketing on Google or any other platform.

Not only will the academy teach you what you really need to know but there is a really useful tool that will allow you to figure out exactly who the market for your website currently is, just by typing in your website address! You can find that too right here.  

Whilst Market Finder won’t tell you everything about your market it is a great first step that will point you in the right direction.

Thinking with Google is another resource (there are many, many useful resources within the Google eco-system) which enables you to gather further information about shopping insights, Google trends, and other tools that will give you a real insight into how your market behaves online. You can find Think with Google right here.  

Then of course we have the Google Ad Academy which is chock full of information that will sharpen your social media marketing game when you do eventually start paying to play. You can find out more right here.  

What I also like about some of the Google based resources is that you are awarded badges to put next to your Google profile which show your achievements and some courses also offer certifications. 

You can also find more training from Google at:

Google Partners – ideal for advertising agencies and digital marketers and which can be found here

Google Best Practices which can be found here

Use the Primer App on iPhone, iPad, or Android which is a fast way to learn business and marketing skills on your phone or tablet device with some very easy to understand curated business related content which you can also view when you are standing in line! More details can be found here.  

And if you want to grow your business and discover tools that will help to make your business a success then head on over to Google Digital Garage right here.  

When most people think of Google they tend to immediately think of the search engine and then maybe Google Plus, but there is so much more that Google offers and their educational resources are outstanding. There is of course a heavy bias towards Google’s own product lines with the content but it is absolutely useful even when you are not engaging with a Google product. 

From the horse’s mouth…

Going to the big three to find information about using their products means that you will be getting up to date information and you can bet that this is exactly where the serious players in the social media marketing business will be going to find out what they need to know. 

There are also groups on Facebook that are moderated by Facebook’s own staff and where you are able to get almost instant responses to questions directly from Facebook HQ. Twitter also reach out to users on their platform and there are a number of accounts that you could follow if you want up to the second information around pretty much everything that is happening on the platform at any given time, and of course Google offer similar services through their platforms. These are the mechanisms that will give you direct access to those who really are in the know.

I will be bringing together some of these groups and accounts in a future article and will be highlighting the best groups to join and accounts that you need to be following.

In the meantime giving the platforms own education and training resources a go will certainly start giving you an edge when using any of the platforms to get eyes on your art. I get that time is often the biggest barrier followed by surely this is going to be all too technical, but there’s a gentle learning curve with much of the content on offer and the resources are generally bite sized so that you don’t have to commit hours at a time to go through it. 

Once you start gaining a better understanding of the basics you can let your foot off the gas more easily and get back to being creative. You won’t be wasting time crafting posts that might not be working and you can spend any time you do spend on marketing by crafting quality posts that will stand a much better chance of reaching your intended audience. 

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  

I also offer some works directly and these come signed with a certificate of authenticity. Please do get in touch if there are any pieces you are interested in owning.

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

If you would like to support the upkeep of this site then please do consider donating the cost of a coffee over at https://gofundme.com/mark-Taylor-beechhouse-Media 

There’s no obligation to do so but in time I hope to remove adverts from the site entirely and create more pages which focus on and support independent visual artists.

Remember I will be taking a couple of weeks off from the blog very soon but will be back with a brand new series and I will be looking for artists to appear in my annual artists spotlight so stay tuned!


  1. Great! yes we can learn through social media & Online Learning Platforms Easily.

    1. Thanks Tim, I’m a huge fan of online learning platforms, they’re a huge part of my other life outside the arts!


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