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Social Media Marketing for Business

David George


July 2, 2012

How Artists & Photographers Can Become A Household Name

July 2, 2012 | By | 6 Comments">6 Comments

Ever stared off into space, debating whether Facebook could actually help you sell your artwork so you can upgrade from your urban one bedroom studio?

The answer is in front of you. A thousand times in front of you.

You’ve heard it: a picture is worth a thousand words.

Cute kitty pictures, funny memes, and awesome YouTube videos dominate Facebook. How can the timeless, classic work you just completed rise above the noise?

Find the answer in this trivia question: If a picture is worth a thousand words, then how can we convert it into $1000 dollars?

1.  People who participate in the arts through electronic media are nearly 3x as likely to attend live benchmark arts events

2. People with some college education are more likely to have used electronic media to participate in the arts, than those with a grade school education (66% of Facebook users are out of college)

3. 21% (47 million) of all U.S. adults viewed music, theater, or dance performances on the Internet in the last year.  24% (55 million) obtained information about the arts online.

Through a fan page, complete strangers and random fans can connect with you just by Liking your page.

But why are fan pages so powerful for visual artists?

1. Facebook is the most effective form of referral

How much of your business is based off referrals? 75, 80, even 90%? As you know, referrals are key for anyone in the visual arts business. It’s how wedding photographers get most of their gigs. It’s how artists and designers get a lot of their graphic work.

So how can you use Facebook’s 900M+ people to act as your own, personal referral service? It’s much easier than you might think!

How Artists and Photographers Can Become A Household NameTake Alyson B. Stanfield, for example. As an advocate and consultant for artists, Stanfield started her own business called Art Biz Coach. She must be doing something right, because her Facebook fan page has over 7,200 Likes and nearly 200 people actively talking about it!

How does she do it?

First, she acts as a resource for artists all over. She provides reviews of new books, relevant information for artists using the Internet, as well as tips from the blog she maintains. She even has a video tab with relevant, interesting video clips for her followers to watch.

How Artists and Photographers Can Become A Household NameStanfield successfully utilizes Facebook’s fan gating ability. Using a fan gate on her page’s Welcome tab, she asks people to Like her fan page first, to become part of this artist community.

By providing a common place for artists to congregate under, she has gained lots of exposure and become a credible source of information. In one of her blog posts on how artists can use social media, she offers some quick tips:

– Comment on Facebook pages where you want to be noticed (e.g. galleries, niche markets, and museums). Remember to comment as your page on other pages

– Streamline the photo albums on your Facebook fan page. Do the album categories make sense? Is it time to delete some of the images?

– Add an event or two to your timeline on Facebook – especially if it’s about your art

Stanfield is right! Create events for all your art-related activities, such as open studios, group shows or lectures you’re attending, and invite everyone on your page. Make the guest list public and reply to people who rsvp.

The more you’re willing to engage people online, the more likely they are to come see your work in person.

2. Facebook Groups contain focused, interested buyers

One of the biggest issues for artists is that the aesthetic experience and feeling from the piece is lost when viewing the artwork over the Internet.

This is where Facebook Groups come into play.

According to Facebook’s blog, Groups are the place for small group communication and for people to share their common interests and express their opinion.

Groups allow people to come together around a common cause, issue or activity to organize, express objectives, discuss issues, post photos and share related content.

No matter what kind of artist or photographer you are, there are lots of Groups that would welcome your presence and help you gain exposure.

Having doubts about joining Groups? Take an example from artist, and equine enthusiast, Caren Goodrich:

How Artists and Photographers Can Become A Household Name“At the end of 2009, I discovered a group of people on Facebook who rescue horses destined for the slaughterhouse. The funds for rescuing horses and finding new homes for them comes from donations raised weekly on Facebook.”

So here’s what she did – First, she decided to post some horse paintings and donate 50% of the proceeds to this cause. Next, she posted a note to the Group’s wall saying that she was selling paintings to benefit their horse rescue cause. Guess what happened…

“The first batch paintings I posted sold out in hours!”

She said the payment comes in through Paypal, and in turn, she sends 50% of the proceeds to the horse rescue group via PayPal as well.

“In a down economy, people still do what they can to help causes important to them. If you can find a popular cause in which to donate part of your art sales, it just might help you in return.”

3. A Facebook fan page keeps your studio open 24/7

This is why social media is becoming to the artist, as important as his easel and canvas. To the photographer, just as important as her camera and lenses.

Think of Facebook as a non-stop open studio, except that everyone really is in the building, and a lot more likely to come through your door. All you have to do is remind them you’re there.

How Artists and Photographers Can Become A Household NameThrough keeping your followers aware of what is going on with your work, and updating them on new projects, you will build engagement and incite interactions with your audience. Those that like your work will certainly let you know!

Now all that is left, is making your work available for them to buy. This is the fun part!

You can actually turn your fan page into an online store, giving the entire world access to your work. Through online payment services like PayPal, setting up an online account and linking it to your fan page is extremely simple (if you want some tips, make sure to read the How You Can Do It section).

Post pictures of your new work, ask people to comment on it. Maybe ask people to even choose which image is their favorite. Whatever you do, make sure you update your fan page with new, interesting, images and include a call to action. Get people just as excited about your work as you are!

Once people have felt an energy and connection with your work, and they like it enough, they will let you know by ordering you out of stock!

How you can do it

One of the best ways to show off your stellar work, is to create a Customer Reviews app, opening up Facebook to let your potential customers see honest, transparent feedback.

Using the Images widget, simply drag and drop the icon onto your page, with a URL found online, or one of your very own images stored on your computer. You can also color the text using our Text widget to match your branding. Quickly drag and drop the Comment Feed widget onto your page to allow comments and feedback from your customers.

How Artists and Photographers Can Become A Household NameNext, you should make an Online Store tab. Choose from a variety of templates to help you get started, or if you already have a creative vision for your page, start with the Custom Blank App option. Include pictures and descriptions of your work using the Product Widget, and even include videos using our YouTube widget.

Just like Caren Goodrich did, you can link up your PayPal account in just 5-seconds by dragging and dropping the PayPal widget onto your fan page. Now people can purchase your work directly from your fan page!

How Artists and Photographers Can Become A Household NameWant to boost your engagement? Use our Contest widget to offer free product give-aways or services, like lessons on art or photography. Or, like Alyson Stanfield, create a fan gate to help increase your connections with Heyo’s Like Gate Editor.

Your Turn

Do you currently a fan page to promote your work?



David A. George is the Chief Content Creator at Heyo. I'm passionate about marketing, Android, being at the beach, and breathing underwater. I'd love to connect with you on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and Google+. Or email me at dgeorge(at)