Trying to grow your social media following? Want to know how to get more likes and comments on Instagram, Facebook, or Pinterest? Then this video is for you!

Social media is a fantastic way to promote your work as an artist.

But sometimes it doesn’t work out the way you want it to and you’re left wondering what went wrong.

In this video I’ll share five common mistakes artists make with their social media, and how to solve them!

Increase social media engagement

Video Transcript:

That question’s come up a lot lately inside both my paid programs and in the free Facebook group ART+WORK+LIVING. So I wanted to talk about that just a little bit, to give y’all some insights into how the algorithm actually works, what the whole reason is to actually be on social media (whether it’s Facebook or Instagram), and where those things may be going wrong as you are posting about your own paintings.

The first thing I want to make sure everybody understands is what a Facebook business page is for.

It’s there for moving people, your ideal collectors, from social media to your website and email list. It’s that simple.

You want to reach your ideal collector, your ideal client. You want to move them first to be a follower on your Facebook or your Instagram account or Pinterest, whichever one it is that you’re on. And then you want to move them to visit your website.

And once they’re on your website, you want to invite them to become a follower of your email list, which is called a subscriber. Then you can invite them to purchase via your email list. I’ve talked about what a game-changer this is for artists before.

That’s the beauty of it.

We have global reach as artists now because of social media. So, it’s not about reaching people who live down the street or local galleries, although you might do that as well.

It’s about reaching beyond your local physical confines. And touching people who are your ideal collectors or your ideal clients.

So the biggest thing, the single biggest impediment, I see with people growing their reach and their engagement on social media is tying the value of a business page to the wrong numbers.

I see this happen all the time. And I’ve been guilty of it too back when I first started, but I’ve been on Facebook as a business page for more than 10 years now. So I’ve picked up some things to move beyond that mindset.

Here’s what I mean by that. If you are comparing the reach and engagement on your Facebook page to the reach engagement and interactions that you’re getting inside of art groups, you’re committing a huge, big error because you’re comparing apples to oranges.

They aren’t the same thing and they’re not the same audiences by a long shot.

Here’s how they differ. Your Facebook page, probably, especially if you’re starting out, has fewer followers than that art group. Let’s use an example here. If you are in my free Facebook group, we have nearly 19,000 people in that Facebook group.

And if you have a business page that has 200 followers on it, comparing the interaction on the two, just from a numbers standpoint is not going to give you clear feedback.

The algorithm shows a post, whether it’s in a group, your personal profile, or your business page, on average to about 10% of the people that follow. 10% of the people in the group, 10% of the people on the page, 10% of your friends, and that’s not Facebook trying to get you. That is the fact that there are millions and millions of people on Facebook.

Facebook cannot show your post to everybody who follows you or everybody you’re friends with, or everybody in the Facebook group.

It’s not physically possible.

Because it goes through the feed that fast, when they’re that many people, they have to use the algorithm. The algorithm shows your post to the people who have indicated or given a sign to the algorithm that they’re interested in what you’re posting.

And they do that by reading and taking an action. They do that by liking, commenting and engaging. sharing into their stories, by saving it.

The algorithm shows your post to people who have interacted with your page before, and then also to people who are similar to those who’ve engaged with it.

So, those of you who’ve only got a few hundred followers, if you are getting more than 10% engagement and reach, you’re doing fantastic. There are ways to get it to more of your ideal collectors, but I want you to understand what that reach number means to begin with, and don’t keep comparing it to what happens in an art group.

Social media art groups are not your ideal collectors.

They are your ideal client if you teach painting, if you teach how to make art. But they are not your ideal client if you’re selling paintings.

Yes. Some of them will buy. That’s absolutely true, but not the vast majority of them.

So, comparing what happens on your business page to what happens into an art group is a recipe for frustration.

Don’t do that to yourself. Because what happens is you set yourself up for failure. You set an expectation in your head and in your heart that you’re going to get the same kind of numbers on your page. And that is not what is going to happen. So get grounded in reality and how the algorithm works from the get-go.

It’s not against you. They’re not trying to force everybody to buy ads. They actually really want to share your great content with people who are interested, but we have to do the work to help them find the folks who are interested and make sure they’re really in alignment with what we’re offering. That brings us to the next couple of points.

The second big issue in growing social media engagement is people having followers who are not their ideal collector or their ideal client.

It does not help you to inflate your numbers by inviting all your friends and family and neighbors to follow your page.

In fact, it will hurt you because what will happen is that Facebook will keep showing your stuff to people who are similar to the people who are already interacting with it. And if they’re family and friends who never buy art, then Facebook is showing it to more of those same kinds of people. And you can build up 1200 people who follow your page, but it may not do you any good because they’re not the right fit collectors.

You need your ideal collectors, not just anyone. If you don’t remember how to do that from the past Attract Your Ideal Collectors Challenge that we had in the Facebook group, we’re going to be doing it again in September.

Make sure you get on the waiting list to go through the challenge again, but you need your ideal collectors. And there are ways and strategies to tap into who those folks are, but you’ve got to focus like a laser beam onto that. Don’t get distracted by what’s going on in groups, not art groups. You want groups where your ideal collectors might be hanging out.

Third is posting at a time of day when your ideal collector is not on social media.

So for example, if you’re posting at 7:00 AM, and the people who would interact with your posts are not awake yet and on Facebook. People don’t tend to be on Facebook until about 8:30 AM or 9:00 AM. And on Instagram, even a little bit later.

You really do have to be very aware of the time of day that you’re posting and know that when you post outside of the time, when your people are online, you’re not going to get as much reach. You’re not going to get as much engagement.

That’s the first thing that I tell people to change.

If you’re not getting engagement with the posts, change the time you’re posting.

Look back at posts that you’ve made in the past. Look for ones that got more engagement and look at what time of day they were posted, because that’s a better time for you to be posting than the time you’re posting at right now.

If you don’t know what time they’re generally engaging with and getting on most social media, a good place to start is 9:30 AM or 10:00 AM EST, around 2:00 PM EST, and around 6:00 PM EST.

When you get too far out of that time frame they engage in, you run the risk of not having any eyeballs hit your work.

For example, the other day I had to post later in the evening because it had been a busy day and I hadn’t scheduled it yet like I really love to do. I was posting out of the time period I knew my audience would interact. And I got lower reach and I got lower engagement.

Not because the art is bad or not going to appeal to the ideal collector. But because they’re not on the app. So test out different times until you find the time they are online.

Fourth is not having a clear focus and intent for what you’re doing on that social media page.

We’ve talked in the Facebook group about niching down and how important it is. And here’s why. If you post on a broad range of things on your Facebook business page, you confuse the people who are visiting it. And then when they’re confused, you confuse the algorithm.

For example, if I’m posting my normal landscape paintings and I suddenly post a completely non-objective abstract painting that doesn’t look like my landscape paintings, it’s not going to get any engagement because it’s going to surprise my audience. It’s not what they were expecting. And they’re going to be really confused and a confused mind doesn’t engage and doesn’t interact.

Does that mean you can’t make abstract completely different work? No, but it means you need two pages then. You need to only promote one body of work at a time. But if you try to appeal to two radically different niches on the same business page, it’s not gonna work because you’re going to confuse both of those audiences.

So narrow down what you’re doing.

It doesn’t mean you can’t post still lifes or a figurative work if you normally do landscapes. But it means that if you normally do those landscapes, you shouldn’t be posting abstract work. If you normally do completely non-objective abstract, posting a photo realist painting is probably not going to get you much traction. Understand that people are looking and expecting a certain kind of thing.

And if they don’t see it, they’re not going to interact with it because that’s not why they were there. Get a different page for that. For me y’all know I love horses. If I tried to have a Facebook page for landscape painting, horses, and Southern cooking, I would totally confuse my audience. Does that mean I can’t ever talk about horses or Southern food? No, not at all, but it means that I can’t make my Facebook page say at the top that it’s about landscape painting, horses, and Southern food, because I’m not going to attract anybody to that or a handful and they’re going to be just confused or I’m going to attract the wrong people.

So niche down.

Finally, not being conversational in the text of the social media post you’re writing.

Remember that social media is social. That means people are there to build relationships and the kind of posts that you make on a business profile or page need to be just as conversational as the ones that you post on your personal profile.

It means that you’ve got to think of it as being like a cocktail party where you’re going to invite conversation and you’re going to interact. It’s not going to be yes or no. You’re going to actually follow up on what somebody says. You’re going to ask a leading question. You’re going to engage because if you don’t engage, I promise you they’re not going to engage.

It’s a two-way street. We have to engage and they have to engage. So, look at your call to action. Is there anything in there that invites people to make a response to it? Is there anything in there that’s conversational, that’s more of a question?

I’ll use an example. So, a couple of days ago I made a post because again, I was in a really big hurry and we all get that way sometimes, but know when you do it, and I knew it, I was not going to get as much engagement.

I wrote about the painting. But it was two or three lines and there was nothing in there that asked my audience a question.

There was nothing in there that said, have you ever seen anything like this? Or what are your thoughts around this? Let me know what you think. If you don’t do that, they’re not going to do it. You have to invite the engagement and the reponse. So look back at your own captions. Are they conversation squashers or are they conversations starters?

Because if they’re a squasher, that’s why you’re not getting engagement. You’re not inviting it. Make sure you invite it because when you do That’s when you’re going to find your ideal collectors. That’s when you’re going to begin to build real relationships and people will get excited about becoming your followers excited enough to want to join your email list.

As part of inviting engagement, you’re inviting a response.

Think about the call to action being an invitation. You’re inviting people to let you know what their thoughts are.

Have you ever felt that way? Have you ever seen something like that? Have you ever been to that place? Have you ever watched something like that?

When was the last time you saw something like that? Make it a conversational call to action. All of those were calls to action.

But they don’t sound like a demand. Somebody go do something.

When you invite people to join your email list, make sure it sounds like an invitation.

Those five things, again really quickly.

  1. Don’t tie the value of a social media page to the wrong numbers.
  2. Followers who aren’t your ideal collectors are holding you back.
  3. Posting at times of day where your ideal collectors are not engaging.
  4. Not having a clear intention of what your social media account is for.
  5. Not initiating a real conversation and including a call to action.

If you do all five of those things, your reach will start going up and your engagement will go up because you’ll be feeding the algorithm.

What you want to do is feed the algorithm, whether it’s Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest. When you do that, they’ll reward you. Make sure you are working with the social media platform and not setting yourself up to be at odds with it because that’s not ever going to work.

You don’t have to go buy ads. Ads are great, but all the platforms are looking for good content. Ads will enhance what you’re already doing, but the ads are not the only answer. In fact, I wouldn’t run ads until you get the organic thing figured out because you’re wasting a lot of money.

I hope that’s helpful. And I want you to remember that you can do that. That there are your ideal collectors out there. There are people who are interested in what you’re working on, but it’s just like meeting people in a crowded room who you’ve never seen before. You’ve got to follow the same best steps in order to begin to build that relationship.

We’re all guilty of doing some of these at times, but minimizing them WILL increase your reach, engagement, and followers.

Which ones of these are you going to address first?

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