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After my recent post "How To Get More Facebook Like For Artists" I heard the same question over and over again. Facebook is great, but how can I sell my art on Facebook? My answer is Facebook is not a great place to sell directly to your collectors.
People do not go to Facebook to buy things. They use it to socialize with others. When you suddenly start thowing a sales pitch at people for your art, you become that guy at the party trying to sell you insurance. It is the wrong place at the wrong time. You also lose an element of trust. You are no longer the artist trying to share your gift to the world. You turn into a website trying to sell things to people.
So what is the point of the Facebook? Facebook is the social equivalent of a handshake. It is the opportunity to meet someone and decide if they are worth a conversation. This is your shot to connect with another person and see if you have anything in common. You put aside the sales pitch and tell people about your art and see if it resonates with their life. You also listen to their feedback - it is a conversation.
If you connect with this person, they will most likely stick around and continue the dialogue. In Facebook terms, this means they will like your page. As time progresses, you will get to know each other more. You will have conversation on the site and even private message each other. They will join your newsletter and start liking a lot of your posts. In other words, the relationship will deepen and this is the point when people seriously consider buying your work.
I have sold work in the thousands of dollars, site unseen, that began from Facebook. But in all of these sales, at some point, the relationship went beyond Facebook and transitioned into people I viewed as real life friends. And it often takes months, if not years, for people to develop enough confort to buy something from you. It went far beyond the initial "like" on the page. Facebook is a starting point for a sale, not the end.
However, most people will never buy any of your art. But they do appreciate your work and I think that is why we create in the first place. I have never met an artist who did this for the money. They do it to connect with others and Facebook is a tool of connection. I see sales from the site as a bonus, but not the overall intention.
Editor's Note: You can view Mark's original post here.