Facebook for Artists Fall 2019

Facebook for Artists - Fall 2019

Facebook updates, for artists, practical tips for artists, art tips, Mark Taylor, Beechhouse media,
Facebook Updates for Artists - Fall 2019 Edition

Every week, I write a brand new article for members of our four wonderful art groups on Facebook, The Artists Exchange, The Artists Directory, The Artists Lounge and The Artist Hangout. This week, we take a look at some of the more interesting recent updates on Facebook that will affect how we reach out people on the platform and how we engage more broadly in our ongoing quest to sell more art. I will also be sharing a few other top tips for increasing art sales using social media too!

Firstly, a word from me!

As is becoming increasingly the case and probably will be forever more I think, I have forgone the cheesy memes and not-so-inspirational images that appear on every other blog and instead bring you a collection of images that show you some of my most recent works. Now I have removed adverts from the site to focus on bringing you unbiased and independent musings, any sales I make through Fine Art America and Pixels contribute to the costs of creating these updates every week without you having to sign up to anything or worry that you will get sucked into buying into some program of self-development or generic business advice to sell more art.

I am an independent visual artist and have been for as long as my ageing memory can remember. I am passionate about the arts and this website is my way of showing my sincerest gratitude to other independent visual artists. That’s simply it, there is no need to sign up to anything because I really do not need your email address if I am not planning on taking your money, and you don’t have to worry about the good content being hidden behind a paywall. My reward is seeing an artist succeed and seeing the beautiful work that is created every second of every day.

Over the years I have made plenty of mistakes when it comes to selling art, but I have made plenty of great decisions too, some through sheer luck, others I think through some skill, either way, I am happy to share both in the hope that it will help my fellow artists in their own art practice. Art really is all about the art, art is bigger than any one of us.

If you do want to support me in this endeavour which I began over five years ago online and years before that offline, even the purchase of a greetings card or donating the cost of a cup of coffee will contribute to the ongoing costs of keeping this site alive. You can purchase my work from here, and you can donate the cost of a coffee right here

Glow Over A Dry Stone Wall, art by Mark Taylor, landscape artist, Fine art America, pixels,
Glow Over A Dry Stone Wall by Mark Taylor

Facebook changed how they work out, reach!

One major update coming down the tracks over the coming months is a complete rebranding of Facebook's business. This will only affect the business side of Facebook as they introduce new branding to differentiate the business from the products they own. What that means is that on platforms such as Instagram, you will see the logo with the words. A FACEBOOK Business, which will identify that the platforms owned by Facebook are clearly identified as such. It's probably a pre-emptive political move more than anything else, with them facing various calls to hive off each application. Images below, copyright, Facebook.

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Nothing like shouting FACEBOOK!

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Things will look a little different...

If you have been noticing that your page reach and engagement are different on your business pages recently, that is probably because of two things. Firstly, you have taken my years of advice and held on to your business page and didn’t give up on it, and secondly, because Facebook has indeed made a quite significant change to the way that they calculate reach.

Now, it is important at this point to say that probably, nothing much has actually happened to your reach, it is just how your reach is calculated that has made the numbers look different. They are changing the time frame on when two impressions can be counted for the same user. In simple terms, that means that the numbers you see in the insights dashboard might go down but that’s not necessarily the case because the number of people you reach might not be any different from before the change. What this will give you though, is a better estimation that is closer to reality when it comes to counting organic reach.

At the same time as this, I have been hearing of reports that reach has also increased for some pages and whether that is down to the change is difficult to tell but if you are seeing an increase those figures will now be more representative than they were pre-October 28th when the final rollout of the changes happened.

My advice, if you are really into pouring over the numbers, is to take a look at timeframes within the insights tool and determine if your organic reach changed between the 17th October and the 28th October as this was the time when the rollouts of the new calculating methodology happened. My advice moving forward is to just keep on ensuring that what you post on your business page is representative of your best posts because no matter what changes happen to the algorithm or how reach is counted, quality content is the only guaranteed way of increasing any reach, even paid.

Scheduling got removed…

I have never been a fan of scheduling using third-party tools and I have rarely used the embedded scheduling tools on Facebook business pages. In part, that is because I want to be around to engage with anyone who immediately comments on the posts I make so that I can engage back. For some people, scheduling is a real time saver and it can help you to reach across multiple time zones even when you can’t be around. The issue is that scheduling is often misused and the result is that engagement can be non-existent.

Facebook has now taken away the ability to natively schedule posts from business pages and in order to make a scheduled post you now have to do so through the Creator Studio, publishing tools, or through Business Manager. You can, however, still continue to use third-party schedulers but as I have written many times over the past couple of years, some of these do not seem to trigger anywhere near the same kinds of engagement that you get when you continue to be around and post live or use the official tools. Automation is definitely useful but it also has a cost.

Topic Tags…

Some group creators, admins and moderators have had group tags for a while in some groups. The idea is that posts can be categorised into subjects and then be more easily found. Now it seems that the post topic tags are being rolled out across all groups where the post creator, an admin, or other group members can create topics for the posts within the group meaning that everyone will be able to find the posts more relevant to them more quickly.

The layout of photos…

There are confirmed reports that Facebook has been testing new layout tools for photos which is probably about the best news ever for artists. How many times have you spent a year on a painting only to post it to Facebook and see that the image has been cropped. In my experience, unless that image resonates with everyone, many people will continue to scroll without expanding the image and that’s especially what happens when we post multiple images in the same post.

If the tests do eventually roll out, what we are likely to see are options in the way photo-based posts are presented. This will be especially useful for showing progression through WIPs and it might present other options instead of having a multiple-image post with a plus symbol in the bottom with a number. In my experience, very few people really click on the other images in a collection and even more rarely read the comments on those additional photos unless they are completely engaged with what you are posting. The better option is to not flood the feed at any single time and spread multiple images out over a period of time which could be weeks or months. Social media doesn't have to be rushed and that way you also have something to post that is more relevant than the filler posts that we have to often dream up to maintain engagement levels.

Talking of which, this inspirational moment I created last week for my Facebook page managed to pick up double-digit shares and way more likes than my art! Periodically I post these memes, not for engagement but because my mind comes out with stuff I laugh at or are usually things I have said in conversation! According to my daughter, I could create an entire website about the stuff I say!

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Can you believe that this got more shares than my art this week!

Personalised Newsfeed…

Here is the key takeaway for the newsfeed changes, spammy posts are now more easily recognised by the algorithm, and biased content is too. Facebook has been battling along with every other social media platform in the fight against spammy and biased content and it appears that their algorithms are now much more adept at detecting it.

When this kind of activity is detected on your feed the result is that you get down-ranked by the algorithm and in some cases this ultimately results in a shadow or total ban from the network. I remember the days when if you went missing for three days the world would be worried and would send out a search party, in 2019, it seems that most people now assume that just because you didn’t post on social media for a few days you have been placed in Facebook jail and with a few of my friends, that is often my first thought too!

Often, there is a very fine line between something that is ‘alternative’ and fact, and even the two can be blurred even more by the very people we are supposed to trust. Facebook started to make some changes to the way posts were surfaced on timelines, much to the annoyance of many who believed that this significantly reduced their visibility, yet that was kind of the intention.

The problem Facebook have, aside from the myriad of problems they have had, is that they can’t be everything to everyone and finding a balance between pleasing a few or a majority is as we know with art, at best, really hard to do. Viral posts started to do the rounds on the platform suggesting that Facebook only ever show posts from twenty-six of your friends regardless of whether you have thousands of friends or twenty-six.

That post was nothing but click-bait but deep within it, there is a semblance of truth in the thinking behind the message. Facebook will show you the most relevant posts from the people and businesses you are most engaged with but that’s nothing to do with an errant algorithm, it is down to how you configure settings and what you have previously been most engaged with. What’s not true is that the restriction is capped at twenty-six friends, in reality, it could be fewer than this or more, but the gift to change it lurks in the settings tab.

The viral post was debunked, itself being nothing more than click-bait or spam that gets recycled repeatedly over periods of time with the number included often being changed. If anything, the only twenty-six (replace the number depending on the season) friends will see this post, is a classic kind of anti-Facebook post that was most likely originally designed as part of a wider campaign to put people off from using the platform. Remember the Cold War? Well, it’s kind of still happening online.

Back in June 2019, personalised experiences on the platform were rolled out to the comments sections of a post too. The change was made in how comments on public pages with significant followings are displayed, with comments from the original poster and comments that garnered a lot of engagement being the ones shown in the comments first. This was a critical update in that it also began to tackle not just the engagement baiting and click-baiting we have had to endure for years on certain posts, it also took care of the issue of clickbait and spam showing up on comments too.

The algorithm is changed and tinkered with often multiple times per week on every social media platform and this can dramatically affect what you do get to see first in your newsfeed. It looks for triggers to up-rank content such as positive engagement, likes, loves, wows, and shares, but it also looks for signals that down-rank content so that it will be surfaced less.

Those triggers are mostly secret but what we do know is that things like how engaged a user is with a person, how long they have followed a page, how often they post comments, can all be seen as triggers to either up-rank or down-rank content and the algorithm is smart enough now to work out who you have a closer relationship with so that posts from the people and pages closest to you will show up first.

That will explain why the post that says only so many people will see what you post always seems to do well, it’s not too far away from reality to be believable and the combination of the settings you have applied and the work of the algorithm in working out who you are closer too, both provide some plausibility. It is classic spycraft!

Adrift and Finally Free, landscape art, Mark Taylor, Fine Art America,
Adrift and Finally Free - Chapter 2 of this series will be coming soon!

Facebook is still relevant…

I am often asked if Facebook is still a relevant platform for artists. The answer is yes, but every social platform is relevant if your people are there. Pinterest is awesome for niches, Twitter is epic for providing on-the-fly customer service and feedback, and Instagram is most definitely having a visual moment.

So while every platform is relevant, it really does depend on how you plan to use them, how much time you can spend using them, and ultimately asking the question of whether or not your people are on those platforms.

Bringing your art business together…

As we can see, there is a real focus on quality posts on Facebook and the same is true of the other social media platforms too. Gone are the days when a filler post would gain you a bazillion likes and bring more followers to your page, today we have to compete with huge organisations and celebrity influencers and we do have to work really hard for a follow. Once we have that follow in the bag, we then have to work even harder to retain it.

Quality posts are essential for social media and making sure that your key messages are communicated is critical to the success of any post and in any strategy or plan to build engagement. So what really makes a good post?

Good posts either come out of moments of genius or they are carefully crafted. Ask any of the big advertising agencies and they will all say the same thing, reaching an audience requires some insight into who the audience is, to begin with. There really is no point in crafting a perfect post for Millennials if your market is 50+-year-old males who were born in Scotland or anywhere else. The problem as we have discussed so many times recently is in figuring out exactly who your market is to begin with.

There is no single way of doing this that guarantees results, it is often a combination of things. Market research is perhaps the closest single best way of figuring out the audience but then we have to ask what does market research really entail, and how do we interpret the results. Reaching out to everyone and anyone is a strategy that is fully employed by the many but works for not even the few. 

Over the past weeks, I have shared small insights into some of the things that are more likely to indicate who your market is, but without knowing absolutely everything as well as you do about your art, your region, and a multitude of things in between, there are no magical answers that anyone can give. The only way is to break down every data point that references buyers that you have and then begin working from there.

If that sounds like hard work, well, it is, but ain’t that always the same with anything that includes the letters, A, R, and T? Figuring out who your market is and who your people are isn’t usually something that can be done overnight and when you do finally figure out the who, you then have to do it all over again because the rules of engagement changed when most of your market decided to age or develop new tastes.

Adrift Under A Glowing Sky, Mark Taylor, Landscape art, fine art america, pixels,
Adrift Under A Glowing Sky by Mark Taylor

Running A/B tests…

What you can do on social media is to directly ask people who currently follow you and pay notice to what is and isn’t said within the comments and especially in groups. Building up engagement is something that will provide some data points for you to add into the mix too, but running A/B tests is often one of the quick wins.

To run an A/B test, all you need to do is to frame your message in two different ways, or post at two different times, or on two different days. You can run A/B/C/D and every other letter of the alphabet tests too and any combination in any order until the exact moment that a test brings you the results that you are more comfortable with.

When you run comparison tests, what you are looking for are the indicators that certain post types have more resonance, do better in terms of reach, and making sure that you take notice of any analytics the social media platforms provide about the reach and shares of the post. Then rinse and repeat, and the more you do this, the more confidence you can bet that if you post this kind of post at whatever time on a Saturday, it has more of a chance of surfacing on more timelines more expediently.

There are caveats with this, and you need to consider that you can get anomalous results if people were around last Saturday (or any other day) but they’re not around today, and you have to take into account that some people will become more engaged with something else more quickly than they did before so their feeds might change as their likes change. But generally speaking there is usually some useful insight that you can glean from running A/B type testing over a sustained period. Just remember that A/B testing really should be run at different times, and interim posts that you don’t consider to be part of your testing should be looked at too.  

As part of this exercise you will need to dig into previous analytics and work out historically the kinds of posts that have worked better, and go through your own timeline too and make a note of when those posts were posted and how much engagement you had.

Algorithms and top tips…

Here’s a top tip that I learned a few years ago. When you look at comparing post reach, make sure you think outside the box when it comes to factors that could affect a post's performance. A few weeks ago I noticed a positive jump in engagement which I don’t think was directly related to the content of the posts but resulted from the times the posts were posted. The reason, the clocks went back an hour here in the UK a week or two before the clocks went back in the US. I was sending the posts out at my usual time but the time difference in other parts of the world was bigger than usual and reactions came in on those posts about an hour or so earlier than I would historically see and the posts performed better and more quickly. When the clocks changed in the US, I went back to seeing reactions being more likely around an hour after I posted.

Posting earlier than peak times is something that we hear of a lot, but I think this has slightly less to do with exact timings and surfacing of the post. I can post new work on a Sunday morning at 10am in the UK and then not expect any reactions from outside of the UK until around 2pm. The post is still there at the peak time, but the fact that other posts will have been posted a little later means that because I posted earlier, that post might not be seen for a while in people’s newsfeeds. If we are honest, how many of us spend an hour scrolling through posts from earlier in the day? What we are more likely to do is look at the top posts, manage our notifications, engage with our favourite brands and friends, and then wait for those earlier posts to resurface near the top of the newsfeed over the coming hours and days, or when they start to gain engagement which puts them back on the top. But posting slightly out of peak hours can be a great play because there is less competition.

If we were so minded, we would be seeking engagement on those earlier posts a little later in the day or the next day so that they would resurface. What this means is that you would then get the engagement from the few who were around at the time of the initial post and then you would mop up the remainder of the reactions and engagement when that next round of engagement restarts later on. We all know that posts need to be revived to soak up more reach, so if you do see a slightly older post from a fellow artist pop up in your newsfeed and you haven’t already  posted a comment, the point that you see it maybe hours or days later, is the point at which you can resuscitate that post and help give it an extended life.  

Of course, it would be epic if all of our posts were instantly seen by everyone who follows us and everyone who doesn’t but with four petabytes of data (an incomprehensible amount) posted each day, along with 350 million photos each day, and video being watched for 100 million hours each day, there is simply not enough room on everyone’s timeline to see everything that is posted by everyone.

Instead, the algorithm picks out what it thinks will be more relevant to you and shows you that until you change the settings to let it know what you want to see. But bear in mind, the algorithm is a closely guarded secret but what we can often pick out are its traits. We know that the algorithm is dynamic so there is a chance that if you only ever want to see the same things from the same people, you will need to change your settings on what you want to continue to see again if you have been liking and engaging with content outside of the preferences you set. It is often called out as a glitch, it is more likely to not be a glitch and is simply doing what someone has programmed it to do.

Adrift on Turquoise Waters, art by Mark Taylor, seascape art, boat art, fine art america,
Adrift on Turquoise Waters by Mark Taylor

Other traits I have noticed…

From my own A/B testing, I have picked out some other traits of Facebook and its algorithm too. If I post around 3-5 times a week on my business page, engagement goes up and posts gain more reach. Any more than this and my reach plateaus out, any lower and it sinks. So less is clearly more but that could change as my audience grows. 

Now, this could be linked with how many followers you have and how engaged they are, and how frequently posts are shared. But I am beginning to think that there is a key point at which you either need to pay to play for more reach, or you need way more engagement to push it any further. If I have a good week when a post is shared multiple times, the rates expectedly go up, but when no posts have been shared, the reach is broadly comparable until I stop posting at which point it dies out.

If I post two consecutive posts, one of them will perform well, the other not so much. If a post is doing well, I usually pause posting until it bottoms out and then restart posting when that first post has had the opportunity to breathe. Repeatedly posting seems to not make masses of difference to overall numbers, the more posts I post, the less the engagement on each post but overall, it is about the same. So rather than desensitise everyone and cluttering some people’s feeds, I have taken a less is more approach and now focus on a few key themes for my posts.

This seems to be backed up by research, especially if you have fewer than 10,000 followers on your page. Once you do hit that magic number, the game changes and you will have to post more frequently to avoid being drowned out completely, but anything under 10,000 and the less is more approach does seem to be favoured by those who have run the numbers. There is similar research for Pinterest, Instagram and Twitter, but the numbers are slightly different. Much of the research indicates that the optimum for Instagram is up to three posts per day, five pins a day on Pinterest with the clock resetting at midnight Eastern Time, and because Twitter posts have such a short shelf-life, you need to check in quite often throughout the day but never repeat your last post in exactly the same way. Change the image, text, just make it different enough to be seen as a separate post. 

Crafting the perfect post…

If I only we knew exactly what a perfect post and perfect posting formula were. What we do know is that people engage how they engage and whether that is online or offline, the basic principles apply in engaging people.

If we apply how we build engagement offline in an online context, we can start to focus on having a consistent approach to reaching out to people. Personally, I am pretty much exactly who you see on social media. That is kind of the effortless authentic me because I don't have time to be fake. Either love me or hate me, but I will never post a photo of my fresh lobster lunch because I am happier with a cheese sandwich and I don’t have the time to play the game of fake-authenticity that so many influencers play and I wouldn’t if I did. The first rule of social media, just be you. That really doesn’t need an A/B test to work out that people genuinely do find relatable and authentic people more appealing and it is so much easier to not have to pretend. Influencers, take note because this is a long-game.

The next thing to do with your social posts and business pages is to communicate your hook. What makes you, you, and what’s your story. You have to have a reason to create what you create, and whilst it might not be immediately obvious to artists why they sometimes create what they create, often we can pick it out in the art that they produce. You have to communicate that hook and amplify it so there is little doubt about why you do what you do and who you are. While every artist is unique, equally your tastes, loves, and aspirations might be shared by many other people who see something that connects them with you. These are you people, you need to hook them and let them know you are there sharing those same dreams and aspirations too.

Once you figure out the hook, letting people know who you are and what you do, you then have to convey that message in a way that resonates. That communication is how you break down the walls and barriers, it is about raising your profile and setting yourself apart. You might use your mastery of technique to do that or you might find other ways to communicate what sets you apart from the pack. The important thing is that you do indeed set yourself apart from the pack.

So gone are the replicas of posts and in some cases the art that you see on every other timeline. People become tuned out with the same old stuff, you have to dare to be different and frankly, it never hurts to never be afraid to be a little bit weird if that’s who you really are, and not just a little kooky weird, all-out WTF weird is fine too, in fact, that really does work!

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Okay, one inspirational image of wisdom because the message is important!

Great pillars of social greatness…

I have what some business gurus are now calling pillars. A pillar of authenticity, yadda, yadda, yadda, I call them morals and principles and I had them way before these business gurus ever did. My principle pillar/ethos/principle, doesn’t really matter what you call it, is to never nickel and dime and to put the customer front and centre. On this site my principle aim is to share the stuff I have got right and wrong over the years, and that is because we all only have a limited time before our use-by dates are up and why waste it reinventing the wheel.

Communicating those principles, values, whatever you care to call them, even pillars, is something that you absolutely have to communicate on social media because it is a platform that is not necessarily face to face. I am taking a wild stab in the dark here, but I have found that people only ever part with their cash when you have either convinced them (or scammed them) or built up trust. Repeat business will only ever come from that trust element though and that’s important in art because what you really need are repeat buyers.

But here’s the thing with collectors, we often see them as people who are serious. They might be serious in their love of Matisse or in fine art in general, but those kinds of collectors are serious about artworks that haven’t been produced by you. So if your mission is to gain collectors, don’t attempt to go after the unattainable collector base and instead go after the attainable collector base who see you as their own version of Matisse.

I am proud to say that my existing collectors are all quite normal, maybe with the exception of Frank who gifted me a flat pack fish pond after realising that the fish pond I do have took me weeks to build and stressed me out so much that he wanted to see that expression on my face again.  Also, does anyone need a flat pack fish pond, I have one in the conservatory, fully-boxed and going cheap? If I don’t sell it, Frank is having it back for Christmas and he lives on the top floor of a tower block without a garden. Also, thanks for the metal brackets this week Frank, and I hope you enjoyed the inflatable novelty walking frame.  

While Frank and I have spent the best part of a decade sending each other random and often useless gifts, that’s kind of what puts the fun into dealing with clients. Not every post you create has to be deadly serious or dry, even the most serious people will laugh or cry with you, as my butler says if you are relatable. As for those who are serious about collecting the work of Matisse, they purchased their first Matisse once.

Works In Progress are great for social media posts and this can be a great way to educate potential buyers on what is involved in creating a piece of art. People genuinely do love to see behind the scenes of brands and people they connect with, and even Amazon has recognised this by providing public tours of their massive fulfilment centres. I visited my local Amazon fulfilment centre last weekend and now I know exactly where the process of delivery failed when something is five minutes late and I know just how hard the people who work there work.

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You can't see one end of the building from the other and all stock is stored wherever there is a space!

Actually, if you have ever thought about offering your work as a third-party seller, want to figure out new ways of doing your own distribution (probably on a much smaller scale), or if you have ever considered how those paintbrushes can arrive within a couple of hours of ordering, those tours are so worth doing because you will learn a lot about logistics and distribution in about 90-minutes. Hey, now I even know why the smallest parcels arrive in the biggest boxes too and it frustrates Amazon just as much as us!

Use collaboration…

I know I keep on mentioning that word, collaboration. If it is two-sided, collaborating is a fantastic way to pool resources, funds, buildings, workload, but it also works with social media too. Make connections with other artists and spread out the social media workload, or if you always buy your art supplies from a particular art supplier, see if there are any link-ups that can be made to make your posts even more meaningful and maybe even find new audiences through co-posting.

When I exhibited in my last gallery some years ago the gallery scene was heavily populated and footfall was spread across galleries with every one of those galleries losing out. So instead of coming up with gimmicks, what they did was they started to promote each other’s late nights and show openings, and they all saw an increase in footfall. In that pesky business-speak circle, they call this cross-pollination of audiences and it is something I have been a big believer in since I first found out about it. Social media is perfect for cross-pollination collaboration.

Selling art is not just about selling art…

Selling art is more than simply selling art. Marketing is really nothing more than raising a profile of something or someone, but how you get that to resonate with an audience is by offering a value-add and through engagement and building relationships. I am always surprised when art students tell me that they never touch on these skills in art school, and if they do, only lip service is ever paid to the subject of running a business and usually with an eye on getting the student to sign up for another class.

The answers often come only from experience and whilst studying a good business course is essential, you don’t have to take a formal route to learn at least the foundations of business basics. Asking yourself what makes you engage with a brands social media post will provide you with some answers as to what you should be offering your potential buyers too. Most of the big brands will be offering some kind of value add throughout their marketing campaigns. They will be focussing on presenting answers to their customer's pain points, and offering something that others are not.

Those value-adds don’t have to be monetary. You don’t have to run constant offers either which can have the opposite effect to the one you want to achieve and devalue your work, or even worse, alienate existing buyers who paid full price. Instead, big businesses offer added value through things like making the shopping process easier, not expecting a buyer to have to jump through hoops to get to the checkout, they increase the speed of delivery which is something that the Amazon tour was keen to point out, they increase the overall convenience, they offer better quality products, and they know that the best value-adds are the ones that are not being added everywhere else.

The problem with offering the same added value as everyone else is that this then becomes the defacto standard for the future and especially when you repeat it over and over. What you have to do and especially on social media, is to offer the value add-plus-one so that you stand out above the pack.

Moving to only ever using ethical suppliers and environmentally friendly materials and paint is a current theme, but this will soon be the defacto standard. Being ethical and environmentally friendly should already be a baseline but there is a limited window that exists right now because not everyone is doing this and when the others do catch up, you have to be able to add the plus one and carry on doing it better.

Value add is also about offering information that people cannot get from anywhere else. You are the expert in you and your art, communicate that and make sure that everyone knows it. Make yourself available for a Q&A about your process, set it up as a Facebook event, but make sure you show up. If what you say is valuable at these Q&As then people will come back, more people will turn up at each event but only when you are confident in knowing what they might not already know. Value-add can really be anything and often it’s totally unrelated to the act of selling anything at all.

Some people will run constant offers which become the expected, others might run a giveaway, and there are so many people already trying to offer added value in this way that it makes it difficult to find any traction. What usually happens is that people hang around for the next offer to arrive on the art they want to buy, and people who like and share for the giveaway will rarely turn into long-term customers. What these posts and offers can do is to provide a way to build engagement and grow your following but they are not always a guarantee of buyers and that is often because there are serial offer collectors who scour Facebook for free stuff, and because giveaways and offers often tend to be published and seen only by the existing audience, who if they’re not buying already, probably won’t turn into buyers anytime soon. Promotions need their own sustained marketing campaigns to raise awareness pre-event, and more importantly, to raise awareness and build excitement and anticipation and what you are giving away, must be what they want.

The other reasons these promotional type posts fail is often because you asked for too much information, made everyone jump through hoops, the giveaway wasn’t then worth the effort that needed to be expended, and in some cases, the giveaway post is quickly buried in the hope that people will forget about it and move on, but hope that they still stick around and continue to provide a follow. This unbelievably happens a lot across social media, and I have known some offer posters who have honestly forgotten that they made an offer six-months ago. Brand reputation and the image of the artist can be compromised inadvertently if you don’t give enough love and attention to offers and promotions or you fail to follow it up.

In my experience, and in the experience of a lot of friends who work in other areas outside of art, social giveaways work better for some businesses than others and they don’t always work for art. What you might be better doing if you want to attract other artists, is to offer something like art supplies, or something that will be useful or loved by more people. You have to motivate the audience to want to buy into the promotion.

Adrift At Eventide, seascape art, ocean art, fine art america, Mark Taylor,
Adrift At Eventide by Mark Taylor

Social Media is a full-time job…

Social media really is a full-time job. Just learning about even the most insignificantly seeming changes to the way posts are displayed can make or break a social media page or post. Equally, social media should never be all-consuming, not everyone is on social media so it is really important to have an offline strategy too.

Increasingly we hear stories of people being excluded because they are what is now termed, ‘digitally disadvantaged’ and one of my biggest fears for small businesses is that they can be so focussed on the online element that they completely ignore the offline element which introduces a multitude of new risks to that business.

All you can really do is what you can do. I gave up sweating over absolutely everything that is completely beyond my control years ago and it was liberating. But there are things that we can control that will level the playing field out once again and one such thing is making sure that we look at what is important when it comes to social media. Engagement, quality, and standing out are the three absolute things that are within our grasp to change and affect, and if we are in the habit of having those three pillars in place as well, any changes the social platforms do make to diminish reach might not seem quite so bad. It really is all about getting into a positive habit. 

If you have any ideas about what works better for you on social media or you find that posting more often brings you better results, as always, leave a comment below! Until next time, best wishes, happy creating, and don’t sweat over the small things!

About Mark…

I am an artist and blogger and live in Staffordshire, England. You can purchase my art through my Fine Art America store or my Pixels site here: https://10-mark-taylor.pixels.com   

Any art sold through Fine Art America and Pixels contribute to the ongoing costs of running and developing this website. You can also view my portfolio website at https://beechhousemedia.com

You can also follow me on Facebook at https://facebook.com/beechhousemedia where you will also find regular free reference photos of interesting subjects and places I visit. You can also follow me on Twitter @beechhouseart and on Pinterest at https://pinterest.com/beechhousemedia

If you would like to support the upkeep of this site to help it remain independent or maybe just buy me a coffee, you can do so right here


  1. Thanks Mark, appreciate all that information and effort you put in this article! And I must say you've posted all my favorite of your Adrift Collection and wow can't get enough of them.

    1. Thanks Jane and you are welcome! As for Adrift, those are my favourites too! Guess I really need to start releasing Adrift, Chapter 2 soon! Working on them now so if I go missing for hours, that’s what I’m doing! Hope you have a brilliant week. Xx

    2. Looking forward to your chapter 2 Mark!
      So glad things are slowing down (re my day job) phew what a whirlwind of activity and emotions over the past couple of months.

    3. Glad to hear that Jane! Think you must have sent some of the whirlwind over here, it’s chaotically busy at the moment but I guess it reminds us we are well and truly alive and it pays the bills and buys more art supplies! Loving your new works too, I’ve slowed down this week to fit everything in but chapter 2 is well and truly started. Just one more over the wall piece to finish off and a quick design project I promised a small business I would help them out with and then I should be focussed again on boats and sea! Have a fab rest of the week and please try to take it easier, we need more Jane art! Xx


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