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Don't Use Facebook To Sell Art

by Mark Edward Adams on 12/17/2013 7:11:19 AM

This post is by guest author, Mark Edward Adams.  This article has been edited and published with the author's permission. You should submit an article and share your views as a guest author by clicking here. We've promoted this post to feature status because it provides great value to the FineArtViews community.  If you want your blog posts listed in the FineArtViews newsletter with the possibility of being republished to our 25,000+ subscribers, consider blogging with FASO Artist Websites.  This author's views are entirely his own and may not always reflect the views of BoldBrush, Inc.


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.


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Related Posts:

Social Media and Art -- What can Facebook tell us about Art and Public Opinion?

Clintavo's Position on Marketing Art via Facebook and Twitter

The Beautiful Side of Facebook

How To Get More Facebook Likes For Artists

Are You Ignoring the Dark Social Network?

Topics: Art Business | art marketing | Facebook | FineArtViews | Guest Posts | selling art online | selling fine art online | social networking 

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Michael Cardosa
Hi Mark,

Not a Facebook user myself (I have issues with their ever changing privacy terms) but think your description of how to use social media in general in the right approach. It should be a place to start conversations that move to the next level, if they go anywhere.

Thanks for the posting,


Marsha Hamby Savage
Mark, Perfectly said! I have a marketing group and talk all the time about making connections instead of "selling." It is one of the hard things teaching artists to make a part of our life when we want to sell our art. Learning to listen instead of just always talking ... important to do.

Thanks for bringing this up and hopefully many will listen.

Ann Maree Beaman
I have sold paintings on FB but I don't use it for "sales pitches". If I do a painting I'm proud of or think turned out especially well I'll post it simply to share it with FB friends. If someone sees it and wants it they ask me about it. Always nice to share a little beauty with the world out there. We certainly need it!

Susan G Holland
Here's a fresh story from yesterday. My daughter told me she had "unfriended" one relative who is close and dear but is peppering us with sales enticements through Facebook entries. It's annoying and time consuming to go through a frenzy of "ads" to connect with family. (our use of Facebook).

Good subject here.

Brian Sherwin
I think it depends on how the 'pitch' is approached -- and if the artist has a collector base to work with from the get-go.

For example, I know that Chet Zar points to offered prints on his Facebook page ever-so-often. He also mentions painting studies that are up for sale on a consistent basis. People don't get turned off by it though -- they get excited... and the info tends to be liked, commented on, and shared. BUT he has a large following to work with.

He doesn't post pitch after pitch though. He also spends a lot of time endorsing causes that he supports (specifically, pet adoption / rescue) -- and is very generous when it comes to acknowledging other artists. If it was pitch after pitch for his work... people probably would get turned off save for dedicated fans and collectors.

A good balance of posts seems to work for some artists on Facebook and similar sites. It is not their main source of selling though. I think that is important to remember.

David Ralston
So ya don't see it as a marketing springboard? Really? True you can't just always be posting ads about sales, thats boring, but it is free mostly. Honestly it is for connecting but people don't just sit on anyone's site waiting for a sale either. So advertising at times is good practice. This is a business too not just a hobby and sales and connecting is a balance we do. Ask any marketer, if you have a competence to know the difference.

Susan G Holland
Everything you do is a "good marketing springboard." But you don't see people going to a dinner with friends waving his company logo. (unless it is a marketing dinner.) If they do so, they look pretty crass. But if you are sharing with friends "something happened to me on the way to the forum" that is good family skuttlebutt, that's different. I do share the progress images of things I am making on my social networking, and I have made sales and inquiries happen by simply sharing what I am doing. But it's not the purpose of my sharing. Nor is it the only kind of sharing I do, to be sure.

Just etiquette stuff here.

Esther J. Williams
It`s true that I share my daily sunset photos and other personal images for pure enjoyment. Like the share day in elementary school. I loved bringing in arrowheads and interesting nature things to my class for share day. Facebook is like that, people love to see what others are up to and we do connect and start conversations. Whe there is a big art reception in town I am amazed at how many artists I`ve met on Facebook and then meet them in real life.
When I post my paintings, it is a dual purpose, to share and to entice someone to want to own it. I`ve made many sales on Facebook. It is also true that most of those transactions turned into relationships. But some don`t want a relationship, they want the painting and not to be bothered afterward.
I am happy with posting both personal and artist creations on my regular page. I rarely post on my fan page, I have more followers on my personal page, so that is my hub. I just don`t overdo it. People don`t like their timelines blasted with tons of your images. So, it is good to take a couple days off Facebook, let them miss you.
Happy Holidays to all!

Marian Fortunati
Good points... and a reminder to us all.

I also agree with Esther... I happen to enjoy seeing her photos ... sunsets and other things as well as her paintings.
Part of why I enjoy FB is because I get to see the work of so many artists beyond my little area. It is a way to connect and socialize with others who share the same interests.

As you said, however,... I probably wouldn't enjoy it if there was a FOR SALE sign with a price on every image posted, however.

Donald Fox
When I go to FB, it is to respond to friends or to post something they might be interested in - personal, professional, whatever. It's not for the purpose of selling. My choice. Other venues are available and more effective for that.

Brian Sherwin
As for posting images of work on Facebook... I see nothing wrong with that. I'd rather see a new painting than read some 'I can't believe they canceled that show!' type post. That is just me though.

It does get annoying if someone decides to add my name to an image post on a regular basis. I've had that happen a number of times... and I end up removing the image from my wall in most cases. A little online etiquette can go a long way.

jo allebach
Very well said! I do put paintings up on Facebook occasionally. I have made sales (a few). But it sure is great to get all the comments about my work. i know that I know a person has at least looked at it and made some kind of connection so they "Like" it or want to make a comment or even share. I do need to sell my art to keep me in supplies for the studio and for me but the good feelings of being noticed is a reward in itself.
I think Facebook does serve a purpose as long as it isn't a primary marketing tool.

Princess Rashid
I use my Facebook Fan Page for marketing and sales. I use my Facebook personal page to share my work with friends and family. With the personal page I share my other interests predominantly but I due pepper that page with my art and/or info about upcoming shows. But my Facebook Fan Page is all about making it easier for collectors and would be collectors connect and purchase from me over time.


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