I have been very actively participating in the various threads here on FAA and marketing on social media sites. I've gained many views, followers, nice comments and even a few features but no sales. I get that it takes time, but a few questions have developed in my brain over the past six weeks or so.
Disclaimer: I'm not whining, just trying to figure out where to best spend my time in this effort.
First, why can't we know what really helps with the algorithm on FAA to get our work to the top of the heap? If the only thing that counts is sales, but we can't get seen because we have no sales ......
Second, I've read a few comments about posting too much art on social media sites and that being seen as spam. Can someone weigh in on what constitutes spam? One can't participate fully in the FAA threads if they don't post other's work to social media at a good pace.
I guess the bottom line is, I don't mind the work if it's helpful, but I certainly don't want to spend the time if it's just an illusion of being helpful. Thoughts from those who have informed opinions greatly appreciated.
1. because if everyone knew the secret, people would game the system by doing those things. it would break the site with a lot of trash work uploaded by bots. you have to promote outside of the site to build up that sales following. the site does rotate people to the front if you have the right words and such.
2. it depends how you post it. if your really obnoxious about it, and are always saying its on sale - then yeah. you would too. always popping in to say buy my stuff over and over - people see it as spam. but it depends where you post it. i just post pictures hoping for a click. i don't often go out of my way to say its for sale.
i don't get your bottom line.
everything you do, post to etc, helps in the end. but people still have to like your work. if you sold some things, make more of those things and push those things more.
keywords are very important. listing colors is ok, but listing the types of peppers used i think is a lot more important. and stressing less that this is watercolor or real looking and pushing that its kitchen art. then finding a group on facebook, that likes kitchen art, or country or peppers? and post it there. as a sample of art. but you have to watch their spam rules.
Very nice WORK! And Cheap! Maybe look at the "Recently Sold" page and see other artists, with YOUR QUALITY and how much they charge. I would think, high $20's or low $30's, since here, pricing not the most important factor.
Yes, WE ALL would like to know some secrets, but you have a better chance of finding next week's Power Ball numbers than what the "secret sauce" recipe is here...
Mike, what about my bottom line don't you get? Here's some things I've read in the past week:
"Posting a lot of other peoples art can be seen as spam" Btw, I'm not saying hey, this is on sale, buy it. I'm just posting what others ask me to post. Does this constitute spamming? I may not even understand what is considered spam.
"Likes and favorites don't help in the algorithm anymore" Well, I've spent a lot of time working threads that are designed for this very purpose. Is that a waste of time? If so, I'll do something else.
"If everyone knew the secret trash would be uploaded by bots?" Really? how would that work?
As for my keywords, I think you know I've spent a lot of time trying to understand what is allowed on FAA. I do list words like "kitchen," for the art you referenced, but I believe that using the word "art" is discouraged because as you told me a long time ago, "people know it's art." I try to get as many words into the keyword section as possible, hence the colors. If you think this is a negative, I'll remove them.
All I know is that I'm spending about three hours a day on FAA, FB (5 groups so far), Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram, Google business, running ads here and there, and talking up my business to anyone I meet while handing out business cards like candy. I get that POD is hard and I have to work at it. I need to understand how to work smarter. That's really all I'm asking for from people who might know - help.
" I've read a few comments about posting too much art on social media sites and that being seen as spam.
Keep in mind that everyone on Facebook has the choice rather they want to see your posts or not.
You can not post too much on Social Media if you are doing it right!! People are putting their likes and dislikes and personal opinions into their own definition of what spam is.
If you post twice in a group were an individual doesn't like your posts, they will call it spam. If you post 100 times into a group where the owners of the group are perfectly fine with it, it doesn't matter if anyone else considers it spam. Only the group owner gets to decide what is really spam and what is not for that group. The individual members that want to call it spam have the choice to see your post of not.
The only thing that matters is what the group owner wants to see. No one else's opinion matters.
If you are posting to your own pages, timeline of groups, YOU are the only one that gets to say what is spam and what is not. If people don't like it they stop following you and even block you.
posting other people's art - will NEVER make you sell better. it will only confuse people. its like seeing an ad for amazons stuff in walmart.
likes sort of help, but not as much. as people found out that they help, they formed clubs to increase their chances. they gamed the system. now i don't think they help as much.
if people found out that they had to do a certain thing in order to get noticed by the search, they would do those certain things. people would figure it out, just like the click club. or people that make contests just so they can win by choosing their own and excluding everyone else. or by making a group and just featuring themselves.
and that was because they found out the first 5 rules.
keywords should be related to the item - its for a kitchen, vegetarian, vegan, and anything related to the pepper, it could be spicy or sweet. or you could make art just on the spicy pepper and push it for those that like the spice or chili cook offs.
i think its a waste of time to push the stuff for hours. i do it for like a half hour a day and that's it. the rest of the time i make the art. you need to have the art to sell the art. and you want to spread your work around to cover many people. you only have a 123 images. a normal store you walk into would have more. so you should also.
Hi Jessica, just so I understand will you please comment on these two examples. I recently uploaded six images for Christmas cards. I then proceeded to post all these images to all my sites, in one setting, to get them out there as quickly as possible. Would you consider this spam or do you mean something else? I also created a Facebook page specifically for posting fellow artist's work. I often post art from five or six different artists in one sitting. In your opinion, is this spam? Just trying to understand. Debbie
Yes, Mike, I know posting other's work will not make me sell better. But, I hope that by doing so, they also will post my work and I will gain a larger audience. Since I don't post others work in my art specific pages, I don't see how this might confuse anyone.
But, I do appreciate you taking the time to weigh in on my questions.
"...posting other people's art - will NEVER make you sell better."
While posting other folks art without making sure that you are posting yours would make this true, this is an "absolute type of statement" that is not true! There are just too many variables that are not considered when a flippant statement like this is made. Especially when made by another artist who prides themselves in not promoting or complimenting others, from a compilation of his own words through the years..
There are others that consider many peers to be more than just competition. They consider them to be fellow sojourners along a path. They are more than happy to give them a shout out for the work that they do and realize that their own work just may not be someone elses cup of tea. Most of those that I deal with are more than happy to return the favor and put some of my work in front of others sets of eyes.
The bottom line Deborah League is that "there is no silver bullet" Call on too many counselors and you will get nothing but confusion in the end. Put your artwork up in front of others who take the stance that you are not worth their time, and you end up in the same place in the discussion threads asking the same questions in 1 year from now.
"While posting other folks art without making sure that you are posting yours would make this true, this is an "absolute type of statement" that is not true!"
Posting other people's work is the entire bases of Social Media. It is called sharing on Facebook, Re-Tweeting on Twitter and Re-pinning on Pinterest.
Getting shared, re-tweeted, and re-pined is how your art gets seen by a multitude of people that you would otherwise have no access to. But you can't expect people to be willing to do for you what you are not will to do for them.
"Spamming is the use of messaging systems to send an unsolicited message (spam), especially advertising, as well as sending messages repeatedly on the same website." ~ Wikipedia
While spamming is an irritant, it obviously works at some level because my e-mail folder is full of it. It is the equivalent of the Used Car Salesperson who just will not stop talking long enough to listen to his prospective purchaser.
When someone signs up to "follow you" on a social media network it's because you have something in you, or something you do, that they like or relate to. If your business is art they should know automatically that you are going to be referring to art a great deal. So spamming them would only relate to if you target them insistently in a relentless fashion.
Too many artists relate spamming to selling. Though there are derivatives ... there is a major difference. Especially when one takes the time to learn how to professionally sell.
" I recently uploaded six images for Christmas cards. I then proceeded to post all these images to all my sites, in one setting, to get them out there as quickly as possible. Would you consider this spam or do you mean something else?"
I wouldn't consider it spamming if you posted to different sites, unless you posted 6 to each at once? On Facebook you could make it in a single post of several images which is fine, rather than each one in a separate post.
I still belong to over 300 groups, down from the well over 500 when I was really doing a lot of marketing.
Each group owner has their own definition of what spam is and what it is not. That is the only opinion I concern myself with because it is the only one that counts.
Tens of thousands of posts, sometimes may as many as couple dozen a day, and I never was accused of spamming nor was I ever ejected from a group.
Anyone here or anywhere else can decide what that definition is for themself. But they can not set that definition for or project that standard onto anyone else. Nor can they tell you what the standard or definition is for the tens of thousands of FB groups or your own personal followers.
People are getting more and more sophisticated on how to use FB and participate in groups. If they do not want to see your stuff, they will just bock seeing posts from you. Those people that do not want to see your posts are not your market anyway so it doesn't matter.
I am not suggesting that anyone sits there for an hour and makes one post after another to any group, not even your own.
Advertising on FB or anywhere else is about impressions, how many people see the post and how many times they see it. That is why you see the same commercials run over and over again on TV even in the same show.
That is what it is all about. It has been that way forever in advertising. Long before the computer was even a thing.
It's like the old saying, "Tell'em, Tell'em what you told'em, and then tell'em again."
You'll probably never get a straightforward, cut and dried answer, because everyone has a different opinion, and I doubt many are absolutely sure on what works and what doesn't because we don't really know where sales come from unless we push for them ourselves, and those who do know and do very well don't want to give away secrets. I have read dozens of these types of discussions now. I am a believer in soaking in as many opinions and perspectives as you can and trying things out to see what works and doesn't work because it will be different for everyone. So instead of trying to get a simple answer, absorb what everyone says and be willing to try different things, track it, maybe even take notes or keep an excel on the number of views or rate of sales you get after a certain promotional activity etc. And winnow things down and use a process of elimination to focus only on what you find to be working.
I can say 80% of my time has been spent internally promoting, within FAA, with a bit of social media outreach. I don't really participate in the threads where you share other people's work unless it's Pinterest. As far a social media goes, I just don't have the time or drive to use it like I should. It changes on a daily basis and what one site/page might think is spam another might not. But it's best to err on the side of caution because it's easier than ever to report someone for spamming and get them blocked. With social media, you need to drive interest and deliver value. The "check out this art!" posts won't get you sales and a bunch of them at once would probably be spam. People do not use social media to shop for things so you have to be extra creative in that department which I'm not.
And since Facebook switched to Marketplace, you now have to list stuff for "sale" to post to many groups (whereas before you did not) and I've gotten really nasty messages from people because they think listing prints for sale is spam. So my strategy is of now is to put my work in the best position to be found by people already searching for wall art. This includes FAA search and Google SEO. I am sure I could make many more sales if I mastered social media and built a following but again, I don't have the drive or time right now, and I'm happy with where I am at currently.
Quality, unique work that stands above the competition, taking full advantage of the keywords, and robust, descriptive descriptions in complete sentences for the search engines are the most important things to start out with. Then you have to find which route works best for you.
I'm a firm believer (or praying) that it's about having a decent volume of quality images uploaded. I don't see too many people selling successfully or regularly that have under 500 images. I'm sure there are exceptions though.
generally i always tell people to only upload their best. never do snap shot fillers. crooked stuff, things clearly on vacation etc. if the images look good, they will carry themselves to those that need to see it. then half the work is done. they want to show off the neat picture they found. i had one piece sent to a group, that was shared, a 130 times or so, a few good people that shared it had it shared like 60 times each from them. so far no sales though, but it spreads like that.
and the more subjects you have the better your chances are.
I generally dont allow posting of linked images to FAA in one group but I have another that is all lighthouses that is all I want to see...
Spam is in the eye of the beholder. On FB things move down the page slowly so one post is good for 6 hours or a day or two depending how fat things move. Twitter moves much faster so It is ok to post more...
I'll weigh in on one question: "Second, I've read a few comments about posting too much art on social media sites and that being seen as spam."
If you check the "post to Facebook Wall" or "post to Facebook Fan Page" and I'm a friend or follower AND if you upload bunches at a time, I may get multiple notifications on your page at one time. Personally, when that happens, I ignore all of them. Whereas when I just get one notification a day on someone, I will frequently open it and react or comment, if only as a reciprocal artist friend.
That's just me, but I do not have this "automatic on upload" option checked. I prefer to control what and when I post to FB.
Also - and this really has nothing to do with you but is rather a general statement - if you are an artist and a "friend" on FB and I comment on or react to your posts, I would like at least some reciprocity. Some artists seem to make it a policy to NEVER support anyone else. They seem to think that by doing so they are somehow hurting themselves - or they are so self-centered they can't be bothered to use any of their time to give someone else a like or a comment. Again, this has NOTHING to do with you - it's just a pet peeve of mine :) FB reactions and comments increase the reach of a post; without reach, you are indeed spinning your wheels. So if someone else helps you increase your reach, reciprocate :)
Hi Deborah, as you can see, I am not a big seller here but here are my random thoughts:
Social Media in general seems to work brilliantly for some artists but not all!
Some artists find the one type that works for them very quickly this might be timing/theme/quality/luck!! or numerous other reasons.
Some "get' marketing and are good at using social media for it. Others hate it and ignore it! Some try, don't get the results they want and walk away. Some keep trying and get success in the end....some don't.
There are so many variables that I think we can overthink everything we do or don't do.
So we each need to do what we are comfortable with and have the time and resources for and accept that even then we may or may not get sales.
Personally I'm in the Re-Tweet group here so twice a week Rt the other 30+ members. Some might call that spam and although my followers change I have a net gain of well over 1000 since starting to RT. I'm under the impression that my followers would not see all those posts on their feed so not really what I would call spam.My other posts on Twitter tend to be garden/plant related. Some of my sales have been images I added to Twitter but did the posts help? No idea!! but they probably did no harm.
I share my images on Pinterest including some of the shared boards and according to Google Analytics it is Pinterest that leads to more people clicking through to my website but still not many a day!
I have been on Flickr for many years and have a link to my site and will add one to a new post. I've been having recent discussions about licensing an image and the interested party messaged me on both Flickr and Pixels.
Facebook I need to become more active at sharing the same with Instagram.
So, after all this waffle I think I'm saying by all means act on some of the (likely conflicting!) advice that you are comfortable with and have the time for but there is no "one size fits all" solution.
Whether using a paint brush stroking a canvas
Or A photographer clicking a camera
For fun or for work.
Have fun be happy be positive
You could have one image or 1000 images
But if just that one image catches the right eye
That can be your golden moment.
When I first joined here I spent a lot of time on threads that were liking and commenting on one another's work but I soon realised that the huge amount of time that takes would be better spent on other things. I always try to reciprocate if someone makes a comment on my work but I don't go chasing it.
I decided it was more important to build up a good portfolio of my work and try to get myself noticed in the outside world, posting on social media and most importantly working on my keywords (for internal searches) and descriptions (for search engines like Google to find) which I am constantly trying to improve. I have never posted my work more than once a day on social media and sometimes less (especially to groups) as I wanted people to look forward to seeing my work and not get overwhelmed with it.
I must say I am no where near as active as some people on social media and that is something I know I should improve but just telling you what I have done so far. I know it is also very good to write a regular blog but that is something I haven't got around to yet as the thought of having to write something interesting on a regular basis makes my mind go a total blank!
Cynthia Decker is an amazing artist and sells a lot more than me so if you haven't already read her post it will give an insight into what she does each week. You need to be logged in to either FAA or Pixels to read it:
" I'm a firm believer (or praying) that it's about having a decent volume of quality images uploaded. I don't see too many people selling successfully or regularly that have under 500 images. I'm sure there are exceptions though."
Jason, I am an example that you do not need decent volume or huge quantity to sell regularly.
I have right now 410 images, and 315 sales since 2016 on FAA which I think it is a very good ratio.
I think to sell through only search and avoid social media, an artist should have joined very early and sell from the beginning and keep it up, to have a good position at the start.
If you joined later, you have to do a bit of everything if you want to sell. You can create fantastic stuff for tags which has not trillions of images, but still need to find your buyers on SM, because when a tag is less saturated, means also that less searched.
As they normally consider selling as spamming, you need to "spam" a bit here and there carefully everywhere, knowing your limits not to be kicked out :D
On Social Media, if you say that you are selling, they say boooo you are spamming. If you say look what nice thing I made, do you like it??, they never know that it is for sale, because they even dont know sometimes if there is a link just front of them.
Thats why is good to have a FB page, there you can do what you want, find your balance.
As for the time spent on getting likes here and comments, my idea is, that even lets say if this activity is not pushing you up in the search, or pushing it higher, but from 10.500 to 10.501 position, when a potential buyer click on your image from your link spread on SM, and see the image was liked lots of times, and some lovely comments under that you are very talented, and wow it is fantastic, or congratulations,, or written Your Amazing Artwork is Featured in XY ART Group, is just look sooo much better than is nothing there...
When people see that something is already liked, they join and want a piece from it..
I think... so everything you do is helps on a different way, I think nothing wasted
To be honest, I'm not a big seller and I do very little marketing these days, as I don't have the time. I used to used Pinterest but haven't bothered for years now. I very occasionally use twitter or Facebook, and I used to maintain an external blog which was useful.
I do find that I get sales when I upload new images, which is odd, but it is a consistent pattern, so regular uploading definitely helps.
One thing I would say is always use a signature with your FAA web address.The more links you leave the bigger the breadcrumb trail to a potential sale ;-)