Facebook for Artists: A Basic “How To”
TAFA: The Textile and Fiber Art List could not have grown as quickly as it did without Facebook. It consistently is our number one referrer to our website after regular search engine results. Most of us who use it regularly expect other social media sites to have Facebook’s functionality and get annoyed when we can’t “like” something, post images (come on, LinkedIn!), or share easily to our various places there. Yet, this loyalty comes with some hesitation as most of us have a “love/hate” relationship with this monster of a site. The main reason for this is that it is NOT intuitive and you almost have to go to Facebook College to figure it all out and once you do, Facebook will change it on you next week. It’s almost impossible to write a tutorial about it as whatever is written will be outdated in no time.
For our purposes, I can only share what has worked for me and what I use, along with some tips that I hope will help our members and others make the most out of this exceptional platform. In this Facebook for Artists post, I will focus on business pages as most people figure out the basics of their personal pages, but will point out the differences between the two. At the end, you will find a couple of resources if you want to pursue your degree at the Facebook College. 🙂
If you are totally befuddled about how to use Facebook, watch this video. Audrey gives a solid overview of the tools you should know about in navigating Facebook. Even if you feel pretty comfortable there, you might learn something new with her.
When I first started using Facebook, I almost went nuts with all of the stuff people shared, especially games and causes. Once I figured out that you can block these things out, Facebook became a much better experience for me. It’s been a great way to connect people from my past: I have friends from my childhood in Brazil, from our church there, the youth group I attended, other missionary families, then there were friends that surfaced from High School, College and my Chicago days.
Who is your “friend”?
At first, all of this was really fun. Then, friends of friends started wanting to connect. Vague connections or people who remember our family, but whom I don’t remember. Or, lots of online connections that are connected to other people that I interact with “virtually”. Now I’ve got almost 800 “friends” and most of them are people whom I have never met in real life. I could have thousands if I wanted to and I see many who do. But, why? Maybe some people are just more social than I am, but I find that I just can’t handle that much interaction on this level. When I get a friend request, I check out that person’s page and see if we have any common ground. If they seem interesting, I accept, but if it becomes clear that it’s just going to be about “noise”, I quietly “unfriend”.
What about the annoying ones?
Some people document their every move online. I just went to the bathroom! Just crossed the street! Just ate green jello! Or, it’s on and on about politics, relationships, babies, dogs, etc. Whatever it is, someone you really care about, might rub you the wrong way online or just vomit out too much information. You can hide them from your feed and still keep them as friends.
I have found that I have very little time for socializing online like this anymore, so I rarely even check my feed. But, when the mood hits, it’s there and I can visit the feed or I can go on over to a friend’s page and look at their pics, see how big their kids are getting, catch up, etc. Facebook is a tool and does not have to be an addiction! Think about this: are YOU one of the annoying ones? Basically, is the behavior online the same as it would be face-to-face? I have friends on Facebook whom I avoid because their personal pages are loaded with images of abused animals or starving kids. I have love animals, have rescued dogs and birds, and I want to see an end to world poverty. But, I just can’t handle endless images of them. If we were enjoying a visit together, I know that these friends would have other things to talk about, so I don’t get the incessant preaching to the online community.
Your business could be annoying your friends!
This brings us to the core message that I have for this post:
Keep your personal and business pages separate!
Sure, they can mingle here and there, but there are important reasons to set up a business page if you are promoting it on Facebook. Let’s take a look.
This is my personal page. I do share some of what I am working on here, but I try to share mostly other things that I think will interest people: personal news, personal photos I know my friends will enjoy, articles that I find thought provoking, stuff I am thinking about. This is the place where you can talk about that trip to the bathroom, the flowers, garden, kids, politics, etc. I enjoy having a diverse group of people on my personal page, but as I said, don’t use it as much as I would like to.
There are two other kinds of pages: Business and Group.
Business pages are what artists would set up for what they are promoting. Groups are set up for people who want to explore a topic together. They can be public, private and by invitation only. I have set up quite a few groups for TAFA when members and I worked on specific issues or projects. It’s a great place to collaborate! We also have a members only group which is our most dynamic sharing place. It’s easy to use, you can load documents, edit them as a group, share links, images, videos, etc., and our group there has been a truly special place for me. I also set up a group for the missionary families that were in Brazil and have a very small group for several friends who grew up together. I’m in the U.S, one is in our hometown in Brazil, another is in Panama and the other two are in Japan. Every now and then, we make it into that group at the same time and use the chat feature to talk. I usually end up laughing so hard because they are way too fast for me and super funny. There are groups about anything you can imagine on Facebook and it’s a great way to create communities.
The Business Page
This is where we focus on the main meat for this post. Here are some reasons why you should separate it from your personal page:
- People might not want to be your “friend”. I get so annoyed when I want to follow a business, but they have set it up on a personal page. They might be OK with having the world have access to their friends and family, but it’s a two way street. If you are using a personal page to promote your business, you are forcing people to choose whether they want to share their private information with you. What if it’s a gallery owner who is interested in your work? Maybe that person is going through a divorce and has an intimate group of friends on Facebook and they don’t want strangers in on their private conversations. They are not going to friend you and you are losing out on a professional opportunity. Personal pages have different degrees of privacy and some people keep their intimate circle very small. I have a cousin whose personal page is invisible and you only know he is there if he reaches out to you.
- Business pages are public. This means anyone can follow you and they also show up as search engine results. This is extremely important if you want people to find you on the internet.
- There are Facebook tools that are only available to Business Pages. For example, we “like” our Member’s business pages using our TAFA identity and they show up in the Like Box on our page, creating almost a member directory of our members who have pages on Facebook. If someone were looking for textile and fiber art pages to follow or explore, they could go through our like box and find lots of gems. There are many apps that will only work on business pages.
- It’s just good manners. Again, why slam your friends and family with what you are selling on Etsy? They, yawn………… already know about it and would rather know about when you last went to the bathroom. The people who follow your business page, however, have done so because they really are interested in knowing what you are selling and where they can find it.
I’m going to use Audrey again as a tutorial on how to set up a business page, if you have not already done so:
TAFA’s Page, An Example
Let’s take a look at how this is working for our page.
- Posting Identity: When you are navigating on other pages, you can like pages and post using your personal or business identity. This is especially important if you want that page to tag you. When we post member images on TAFA’s page, we try to tag the image with both their personal and business identities. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. It’s a good thing to do because it alerts the person that their image was posted and their friends and followers can also see that they are getting promoted somewhere. Hopefully, they will come to our page to check it out and maybe follow us, too.
- Posts notifications: This tells you how many people are seeing what you posted.
- Edit your page: go here to make changes on the info your page is showing. Whenever I join a new site, I click around on all of these links, especially in the setting to see how things work. Don’t be afraid to explore what a place has to offer you.
- Messages: they show up here for your page and NOT in your personal message area. For some reason, Facebook sends me copies of my personal messages to my email box, but not the ones to my business pages. And, they have recently been trying to monetize messages and have made it harder to connect with non-friends. One of the really annoying recent changes over there.
- Account notifications: Click on that world to see how people are responding to anything you have posted anywhere.
- Invite your friends: I have gone through my friends list and invited people whom I thought would be interested in following my various pages. But, I think it is better to share the page every now and then and let people decide for themselves if they want to follow it.
- Promote your page: Pay Facebook to promote your page. I’ve spent around $500 over time, promoting TAFA’s page. This was key to helping it grow as it force feeds posts into friends and their friends feeds. But, now we have almost 8,000 followers, so we are getting natural viral activity that happens as you get bigger.
- Banner: Make it fun! I’ve been using images from our 2012 Calendar and really think they have worked well for us.
- Logo: Don’t have one? It’s really important to establish a brand, a symbol that people can recognize on different sites. If you don’t have one, put it on your to-do list!
- About: Make sure to fill this out and add your links here. Many people don’t and any serious business relationship will look for more info about who you are, what you do and where you can be found.
- Photos: Click here to see photos that have been posted to the feed, albums and videos. I always click on this when I visit a new page.
- Apps: They add more pages to your page. There are many out there and you can find them doing searches on google or elsewhere. Ours lead to our main website, to our TAFA search results on Etsy, and to our Member Blog page.
- More stuff: Facebook only shows those four boxes but many of us have more installed. Click on that to see what else is hidden.
That was the top part of a page. A lot of info in there! Then we get to the main body of what we see:
14. Status box: This is where you enter your new post. They can be images or links. I have found that sharing images is the best way to get people to share what you post as they are visually bigger and draw more attention. Facebook just changed the image sizes to links and some are showing better than others.
15. Post with image: an example.
16. Invite friends: Showing up again. I guess Facebook wants you to invite your friends…
17. Recent posts by others: Facebook used to allow us to choose whether we wanted other people’s posts to show up in the main body of the page or not. I much preferred that as members could share their own announcements and images and it was much more collaborative. However, if you click on that box, you do get a nice display of what others have posted.
18. Data on post: this shows you how much activity a post has gotten.
19. Likes: The like box that I mentioned before. Most of ours are our members, along with other like-minded organizations which we would like to promote.
Tips! (Marketing Strategies for your Business Page)
Share varied content: It’s a lot harder to keep the momentum going with just your “stuff”. With TAFA, I find it easy to promote our members because I truly love what they are all doing. I go through our member list, check their blogs and see if there is something new to share. I also share our sponsors, member events, and anything else I can think of that has to do with the members. But, for a smaller business, it can be tough to come up with content that is not going to be repetitive. I think that sharing other artist’s work is a great way to build community and to keep your page interesting. Share only what you truly love (none of this promote me and I’ll promote you back nonsense.) Then, think of other things that support what you do and which might interest your audience. A quilter, for example, could show images of how quilts are displayed in homes and public places, information on how to clean, care or repair them, what kind of batting or tools are used, tutorials that seem like a good fit.
Share your process: Many artists share the progress on a project as they make and quite a few have successfully sold their work this way. People get curious and interested and have a much better understanding of how much time goes into a piece when they see the progress photos. Create an album for each project and continue to add to that album as you go and you will end up with a great portfolio!
Organize your images: I’ve created themed albums on TAFA and re-visit them from time to time so that I can add in new members and delete outdated images. This helps make things easier to find, too.
Our albums are full of eye candy and each time new things are added, new people see the older images that were loaded. This helps save time.
Invite participation: Ask your followers for their opinions on different things, encourage them to comment. Many people have successful giveaways on Facebook, something I have not tried. Be careful with Facebook policies as some things are against the rules and they can close down your page. One more of those things that is always changing.
How important are the number of followers?
I think they are important because they do help build that viral action that we all crave. But, it’s much more valuable to have a truly interested following than thousands who are just looking for free stuff. Be true to who you are and those who really care will find you, but it takes time and persistence to build a good following. High numbers also assure newcomers to your page that you are serious about what you do and that you have worked at establishing a base. This is one of the things that we can offer our sponsors: visibility on our Facebook page.
The difference between “liking” and “sharing”.
When you “like” something, it shows up on the ticker that runs on the right hand side of your screen. Your friends who might be paying attention to that, might see it and might come and check it out. “Sharing” is much more powerful! When you share something, it gets added to the feed. Choose where it is appropriate to share: personal, business or group? I use “like” more as a way to acknowledge that I saw something. If I really want other people to see something, I share it. Our images that get shared get much more viral traffic than the ones who are liked. So, if you want to support your fellow artist or business, SHARE IT!
Watch that ticker!
I mentioned the friend ticker above. It looks like this:
If you hover over one of the entries, you will see a larger thumbnail of what is going on and can respond right from there, without visiting the page. It also tells you how many of your friends are active on Facebook at the time. The ticker moves quickly when there is a lot going on or stays at a standstill when there aren’t people online. If you are going to share something on your page and you get on there and see that the ticker is stopped, you might want to wait until it is busy. Many more people will see something as you post it. If they have a lot of friends, your info will disappear into their feed. Find out what times that ticker is moving the fastest and use that time to post your news.
Link you page!
Make it easy for people to follow your business page on your other sites. You can either load avatars and link to them or use this handy widget:
This is the code:
<remove this partiframe src=”http://www.facebook.com/plugins/likebox.php?id=352242502649&width=400&connections=12&stream=true&header=true&height=587″ scrolling=”no” frameborder=”0″ style=”border:none; overflow:hidden; width:400px; height:587px;” allowtransparency=”true”></iframe>
Remove the orange text and change the id number (in green). That is TAFA’s id. Sometimes it is hard to find the id for a page and I’ve often had luck finding it by looking at images. You can change the width and the height so that it can fit a sidebar or in a post. Hover over the middle part and scroll and you can see the past posts. Very easy to follow a page this way if you like the content you see displayed.
If you have a blog, you might want to register it with Networked Blogs (do a search on Facebook and you will find it). It can post your blog automatically to your facebook page and others can also follow it and get it in their feed. Networked Blogs also has a handy reader so that if you do follow a lot of blogs on Facebook, you can see them all on one page:
This about exhausts what I wanted to share on this post. There is so much more that one could go on ad nauseum.
Jon Loomer has made a career out of explaining Facebook to people. If you want to maximize your presence there and stay on top of all of the changes, follow him.
Then, I get emails from the Facebook Developers group announcing new changes. Most of it goes way over my head, in one eye and out the other. But, it alerts me to changes that might affect us and then I can try to understand more so that I can share it with our members.
Finally, you might want to check out Social Fixer. This is an outside app which allows you to have more control over your Facebook experience. One of our members alerted me to them and I really like it. Funny thing is, I guess Facebook doesn’t like them and closed down their Facebook business page with no warning. The app still works and they still have a support group. Go figure.
What about you?
Do you have any tips for our audience? What do you use, enjoy, dislike, etc? Share some of your insights of how Facebook has impacted your experience on the web. We’d love to hear about it!
Questions? Most of these things have gobs of tutorials about them on YouTube and around on the web. Do some searching (like we all had to) and if you are really stuck, ask away and we’ll try to answer your questions. Please share your business page’s link if you would like us to take a look. (Maybe you will get some new followers!)
About Rachel Biel
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