As a fine artist, how are you supposed to use social media to market your art without taking a ton of time away from your studio?
We all have experienced the rabbit hole of social media, right? Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter… they are all designed to keep you scrolling and to lure you into that rabbit hole. Before you know it, you’ve spent an hour or more mindlessly scrolling and haven’t moved your business forward ONE LITTLE BIT.
It’s so frustrating, but there is a solution: focus your social media marketing time and be as efficient with that time as possible. Here’s how to do just that.
Don’t spread yourself too thin
If you’re new at social media marketing for your art business or are just not very comfortable with it, focus on only one outlet and master that before trying to add more. My recommendation is to start with Instagram because it is such a visual-friendly platform and it is still relatively easy to build an audience.
When I say focus on one social media outlet, I don’t mean just spend 10 minutes a week there; I mean commit yourself to use all the tools available to you. On Instagram that includes posting daily, sharing video posts, creating Stories, and even using the new IGTV (Instagram TV) for longer videos.
Once you have mastered one social media outlet and you are seeing results, then you can consider your next steps, which could include automating or pre-scheduling posts or adding additional social media outlets.
Set a regular time for social media marketing work
I block off Tuesday mornings for social media management work. Maybe you’re better on Monday afternoons or Wednesday mornings. Listen to your own rhythms, find a time when you can be fresh and in a marketing mindset and block off a couple hours each week to focus on this important task.
When you block off time and create social media content in a focused time period (I call it “batching”), you can be more thoughtful and strategic about what content you create for social media, you can quickly check this big marketing task off your to-do list for the week, and you can free yourself up for creative time later in the day or the week.
Re-post your content
Once Facebook became an advertising platform, they changed how visible your organic–or unpaid–posts are. Right now, only 10-15% of your Facebook followers see any one post (and that number continues to drop).
On Facebook, you can re-post content manually through the Publishing Tools link on your Facebook page or automatically using a social media management tool, which we’ll talk about shortly.
To re-post manually, click on the Publishing Tools link on your Facebook page, open an old post, copy the content, make any content changes you want, and then re-post it immediately or schedule it for a later time.
Instagram is a place where repeated content isn’t the standard, but you can definitely get away with going back to popular posts that you’ve shared and re-posting them. Not everyone is going to see every post on Instagram either, and hopefully you’re growing your audience so your new followers are seeing that popular content for the first time.
To manually re-post content on Instagram, you’ll need to go into your Instagram insights, find what previous posts were the most popular, and create a new post with the content. This can be helpful when you’re fresh out of ideas about what to post to Instagram, but it can also take some time.
Twitter has always been a place where content has a short life, especially when users can have hundreds or thousands of new tweets in their feed every time they visit. Re-posting content can also be a great way to reach followers in different time zones.
Re-posting content manually on Twitter can be bothersome because there are no native scheduling tools on that platform. You would need to spend all day on Twitter to post your content enough times for it to really be seen.
Unless you already spend time on Twitter, I would recommend either not pursuing this platform (it’s my least favorite) or using an automation tool to repost your content.
Use a social media management tool
Social media management tools are the best way to keep you focused on marketing your art and away from the endless scroll of content on your personal accounts. They can be a great partner to the content that you plan during your regular social media time.
Here are the tools I use in my business:
Facebook Business Manager
If you use Facebook for your business, take a minute right now to visit business.facebook.com and set up Facebook Business Manager. For a quick tutorial on how to set up an account, see How do I Sign Up for Business Manager and Set up People, Pages & Ad Accounts in Business Manager.
Using Business Manager will allow you to see how well your page and ads are doing, as well as receive notifications for your business page without having to visit your personal Facebook page. Trust me, it’s awesome.
Facebook Publishing Tools
You can post to your Facebook page immediately, schedule posts to publish at a later time, create and save draft posts, and see your previously published posts. This platform-specific tool is great if Facebook is the only platform you’re using.
To get here, visit your business page, then click on Publishing Tools in the top bar (see below).
I use Tailwind* to schedule my Instagram posts. You can also use Tailwind to schedule pins on Pinterest, but I haven’t delved into that since my favorite Pinterest scheduling tool went away (RIP BoardBooster).
But, about scheduling for Instagram: For as little as $9 a month, Tailwind will do all of this:
- Creates an Instagram posting schedule for you
- Allows you to create posts ahead of time and schedule them to post automatically
- Helps you discover the best hashtags to use
- Lets you save your previous hashtags so they are easy to add to a post
- Gives you more information and better reporting on how your Instagram is doing
Tailwind can’t help you create Stories—you have to do that in real time—but it is great for keeping you visible on Instagram daily, which helps you grow your followers.
SmarterQueue* is the other social media management tool that I use…and I LOVE it! I use it to schedule (and re-post) content to Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. SmarterQueue has helped me get through busy periods in my business when I haven’t been able to focus on social media without hiring someone to help me.
I don’t use SmarterQueue to manage Instagram, but you absolutely can. I prefer Tailwind because that service can auto-post to Instagram. If you use SmarterQueue to post to Instagram, the SmarterQueue app alerts you to a planned post that you have to copy and paste into Instagram manually. It is better than trying to come up with an Instagram post on the fly every day, but I prefer the convenience of Tailwind, so I pay for the additional service.
For just $20 a month on SmarterQueue, you can:
- Connect up to 4 social media accounts including Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter
- Set up categories that fit the content you commonly share
- Create a weekly posting schedule
- Schedule posts for multiple social media outlets at the same time
- Set your content to post once or re-post with or without an expiration date
- Find interesting content to share
- Automatically import each of your new blog posts
One important note about SmarterQueue: you need to have plenty of content in your queue before you can start re-posting content. If you don’t, you could easily annoy your followers and potentially do harm rather than good for your marketing efforts.
The reason I use SmarterQueue for Facebook in particular is because Facebook is a platform where you should be sharing other people’s content in addition to your own. Here’s my SmarterQueue schedule and my content categories.
To manage SmarterQueue and the social media outlets it automates for me:
- I spend at least two hours a month adding new content to my “curated” posts (when I was starting out on SmarterQueue, I spent an hour a week to get my content buckets nice and full)
- I share my own new blog posts weekly
- I set all of my posts to repeat 5 times. I’ve tried multiple options for this and have found that 5 seems to be the sweet spot between repeating things just enough and too much
- I customize each post to fit the social media outlet that it’s going to (SmarterQueue makes this easy to do before posting) so it doesn’t look like I’m automating things
- I check my past posts quarterly and decide if any should go back into the automated queue
If you’re ready to dip your toe into SmarterQueue, I would be happy to help you set this up properly so you’ll have a structure, schedule, and plan that works for you. Schedule a call with me and we can discuss how I can help: Schedule call >
Social media is absolutely an important piece of your marketing plan, so I hope you’ll use these tips to help you be more efficient and effective at it.
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