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Are you struggling to get more viewers to your art, website or blog? Perhaps you are using social media, like most people, and feeling frustrated with results. Have you tried to focus on Pinterest? Most people are putting energy and money into the top social media giants and ignoring Pinterest. A big mistake in my opinion.
In episode 23 of An Artist's Journey Podcast I look into the phenomenal growth that a Pinterest strategy can generate for you.
Speaker 1: 00:04 This is an artist's journey podcast, the podcast for people thriving and creating as artists. I'm your host, Malcolm, and let's begin.
Speaker 1: 00:24 and in this episode I'm good to be talking about a subject that is the bane for a lot of artists. It's about social media marketing for artists and what has been working for me and what hasn't and maybe a few suggestions and tips I can give you which might be helpful to you if you struggling with this subject. I'm no genius at social media and quite honestly I would be quite happy just to email fellow artists and collectors directly and and deal with them in a more personal way.
But social media is an amplifying force and it was a great way to reach people quickly and also to find new supporters for your art business. So there's no getting away from the potential of social media. I think the biggest trap for many people is to put all their faith into social media because it is something you can do in the comfort of your studio or home.
Speaker 1: 01:39 It's not face to face, so you avoid a lot of that anxiety of dealing with people. If you are more of an introverted type. There's all sorts of products and services that promise to make social media marketing much easier. The result is a lot of people are simply putting stuff on auto post software and walking away from it. Not really putting enough attention into it.
On the other extreme, you've got people who are spending so much time on social media sharing lots and lots of stuff and to the point where they actually irritating people who are getting too frequent posts or the quality of the posts is poor and is more of an intrusion on someone's timeline. If you're doing all of these things incorrectly, it's going to be frustrating. So, after about five years of slowly but surely learning a few things along the way, more out of necessity than any particular desire.
Speaker 1: 02:44 I have learned a lot of things and I've enjoyed a lot of the process and feedback I've got through various social media channels. So which social media channels should you as an artist be using? There are so many that it would be irresponsible to suggest a particular one or two or even three that you must use. I think you have to use what you enjoy and what you enjoy spending your time with. Having said that, I suppose everyone will automatically be thinking you have to be on the facebook system out of sheer weight of numbers. It is the giant gorilla and you can't ignore it and that's probably true. My experience with facebook has been up and down, but overall probably fairly consistent in the past couple of years. Mainly because facebook has regulated the timeline experienced to a point where if you've got a business page, you pretty much know that any post you post now you're going to get into a region of about 18 to 25 likes before it just disappears.
Speaker 1: 04:04 It's almost uncannily consistent. If you want to reach more people, you have to boost the post. And pay some money. There are ways to generate more organic traffic. Certainly you can do that. The problem for me with that approach is I'm spending too much time trying to tweak organic reach through facebook. So my approach these days is to treat facebook as a regular place that I do post, but not really more than once a day and a that's not much. Probably the bare minimum. However, I do find that if a post much more than that, it becomes more of an intrusion. I think facebook timelines are extremely busy. They're not particularly friendly user experiences. Find it quite distracting and very often annoying. And I know facebook's been trying to make the experience better for users and perhaps throttling back organic reach through pages as been the result.
Speaker 1: 05:11 So the approach with each post that I put on facebook is to try and make it a good post, a visually appealing post and give it a short comment. I don't expect people to read long posts on their timeline unless it is really important stuff. Two, three, maybe four lines of text is plenty. If it's an image, it's either one of my paintings which has been correctly formatted and sized, so it's not too large and I have made whatever adjustments to make the photo look as good as it should. Then also blog posts. When I post a blog just about once a week that also gets shared as well with the blog post image, which is also sized correctly and is made to be as appealing as possible, but with some text on it that is helpful and compliments the image. There is also a specifically drafted text for that post and which gives an introduction and briefly explains why somebody should read it.
Speaker 1: 06:22 I find that this approach does actually get a fair amount of organic shares as well. I don't spend too much time on it, but it iseems to be enough and people get value from it. That is my unpaid approach. Occasionally when there is an important post, maybe a painting that I really want to promote or an event or a blog post, which is important to me, I will boost that. But also for a fairly nominal amount. And that gets quite a lot of response, so certainly the benefit here is that as far as paid advertising goes, facebook is extremely cheap compared to other print media or radio or anything like that. Facebook is extremely cheap for paid advertising and with what you can do to improve the reach of your advertising and fine tune it and it's really hard to beat.
Speaker 1: 07:22 Having said that, the conversions to sales is still a difficult thing to achieve. Generally if you're working with a high end price range, it is not easy to convert to sales. The best way is still to build up a relationship and trust over time, which of course brings me to the next tweak, but I think you need to keep in mind with any facebook strategy is to try and get people to your website to sign up for your mailing list. There's no getting away from that. Social media is not just an amplifier. It is also an opportunity to get people back to your website and you need to make sure that you, your call to action and the text you put on encourages people to visit your website and when they're on there that they should be encouraged to sign up to your mailing list.
Speaker 1: 08:30 Okay. So I think that is essential. Other social media that I've used for some time is instagram. Clearly I do not use instagram strategically or intentionally because my growth on there is quite slow. I post infrequently and I don't use any paid promotions and I certainly don't use any systems or software such as follow for a follow and that sort of approach. I use instagram really for fun and see some excellent art on there. and other artists and people that I like to follow because I like to see this stuff. It's as simple as that. I do find it a bit more of a friendlier place to be honest, than being on a facebook timeline. Instagram's definitely more laid back and the quality of images and items being shared is generally of a higher quality, which is great.
Speaker 1: 09:34 So that's what you want. You don't want to look at stuff that brings you down, but as far as generating traffic or even conversions to sales or things like that, I don't work instagram for that . Although I do enjoy it and if you want to check me out on instagram and follow - that's fantastic. I will probably follow you as well :)
Then twitter - I’m not really a great fan to be honest and it is something that you have to really work, I think, to make work for you. So I'm not gonna spend much time on that. One area I do want to talk a bit more about is Pinterest. Pinterest still considered, probably, fairly new in the game, but has grown up I think, and is now a big player in the social media market.
Speaker 1: 10:31 A couple of misconceptions about pinterest, which I bought into right at the start was that it is just for a woman and as a male artist I would probably not get much out of it, etc. And I should be on other social media. However, I quickly got to enjoy using pinterest. There's simply no getting away from the fact that you can find almost anythIng and generally, a pretty high percentage of what you do find that's relevant to you is of a high quality. People just generally don't put bad images or bad information on pinterest. It is a system which rewards good quality information and useful stuff. I think the users on pinterest are generally of, how can I put this perhaps more delicately, I think they are a discerning a group of people. All types of course, but generally they share a desire for good quality.
Speaker 1: 11:38 The images that you put on and the information, the solutions you provide, the helpfulness that you can provide to others all have a good quality, so the overall experience is really excellent in that regard. It's really like a massive curation of just about every interest in the world by people on pinterest. You can find the good stuff that has already been checked and vetted by most of the people using it, and that's an extremely powerful thing. The format is extremely visual. The boards that people use to pin stuff on extremely visual and appealing and easy to use. What is so great about pinterest for artists , in general, it's a great place to find out what other artists are doing. Whether you use this for learning or simply for inspiration or just keeping in touch with the art world.
Speaker 1: 12:44 There ae few places as good as this. If you are interested in a certain genre of art. For me, perhaps it's impressionist painting. I can find everything a want from the old impressionists right through to modern contemporary artists. I can create separate boards for each of them, group boards, whatever, all the images that appeal to me save them on different boards and they're always there for other people. Then they can follow these boards as well because I've done some of the work for them and they get to enjoy seeing what I have put out there and they can repin pins on their board. So that is basically how the curatorship works and it works extremely well. Pinterest is not a overtly social system. It's not like you are chatting to people regularly, but you can of course communicate with comments and share stuff on pinterest as well.
Speaker 1: 13:47 That's sort of limited form of interaction and sharing is really great I think because it's not distracting you from the main purpose that brings you to pinterest in the first place. You're not getting sidelined by some political commentary or somebody disrupting. Something that's happened in the world. It's not filled with distractions. What you're getting is what you want to see. For the most part. There's quite a lot to learn about pinterest and in fact, I am putting together a course specifically for artists who want to get into pinterest quite quickly and learn the ropes and get something going for themselves. To cut a long story short, I must say that out of all the social media channels that I use pinterest is by far and away the best. The traffic that I do get back to my website through pinterest is phenomenal.
Speaker 1: 14:50 It leaves everything else way, way back in the dust. The second part of that is I'm not paying a cent to promote anything or sell anything on pinterest. I'm not spending any money what so ever. I can't even think of getting the amount of traffic through paid facebook posts as compared to what I'm getting for free through pinterest. Some people find this difficult to believe and just don't get pinterest, but I can assure you that for example, the amount of traffic I'm getting through promoting blog posts on pinterest is let's say for every hundred people that visit on pinterest, I get one through facebook. That is sort of the scale of difference. What is the secret to this? I don't really think there is a secret as such. It's simply that people have been getting useful information, from my pinterest pins and checking out my blog and finding what I'm doing the to be helpful to them.
Speaker 1: 16:01 I think that is absolutely critical because pinterest users don't want their time wasted by useless and misleading pins and information. They don't want to have to click through to someone's website and feel that I've wasted their time. If that happens, you're going to get a very cold response. However, if you do give value back on your website, you are going to get repinned. And repins are going to be happening quite a lot and the effect of a few repins is phenomenal compared to, for example, a shared post on other social media platform. The good thing about repins is that it is pinned on someone else's page and remains there. It can come up again and again and again because when you browse somebody else's board for instance, you're going to come across that pin again and again because it doesn't go away like on a timeline on facebook or instagram.
Speaker 1: 17:02 When that timeline goes by, it's gone. The chances of of looking beyond the timeline are very slim, but on pinterest, checking out somebody's board of pins, you're gonna come across a particular pin over and over again, and this is proven on my blog stats. For instance, many articles are years old and I'm still generating a whack load of traffic for that particular article I wrote three or four years ago. I'm still getting a big amount of visitors each month. Every month with one pin still doing work. Of course, I can post a fresh pin, create a new pin and keep things working even more effectively. The longevity of a pin is something that is fantastic and the result of so much traffic back to my blog articles is doing great things for building my mailing list. The mailing list growth has jumped phenomenally as well.
Speaker 1: 18:03 Thanks to people visiting from pinterest. That I think is in itself a major plus and a major conversion or goal achieved in social media. I'm not too sure what the effect of promoted pins will have. Um, one day I will give that a try, for now I'm very happy with the way that the pinterest experiences is working out for me. I have to say that you've got to persist. This is a consistency issue rather than flooding people's experience with, with too many pins. I don't think that helps at all. I think having one good pin each day or even every other day is going to do more for you than flooding pinterest with pins on any particular day. What about services that help you with your pinning? First of all, obviously you want service on your website that encourages people to pin each image on your site.
Speaker 1: 19:06 Secondly, you don't want to be worried about copyright issues. Either you embrace that or it's going to hold you back. I think most people embrace the fact as well, so I don't worry about copyright and I want people who share pictures of my work. It’s as simple as that. Other services that I find very useful, you can try Tailwind. Tailwind is a very good scheduling program. It does make scheduling pins, very simple. It also has a fabulous little feature called tribes where you can join other groups of people with similar interests and you can repin their pins and they can repin your pins. It does have a marked effect on the amount of traffic you'll have. So if you join a good group and you get several repins from those users, plus the effect of pinning to your own boards as well, you can find a big jump in traffic.
Speaker 1: 20:12 So I certainly recommend that you try out tailwind. It does have a free account and even using the free account, you're going to get a lot of benefit from that. Also, start a business account on pinterest. So you get access to the analytics, very useful analytics. Not as involved as facebook perhaps, but certainly plenty for you to figure out where the action is. Another great thing is you don't have to only create public boards on your account. You can create private ones as well where you can save stuff that is useful for your own business that you don't necessarily want other people to see or clutter up your board with inconsistent types of pins so you can create private ones as well. I think you must promote yourself on pinterest in your business name to build up your brand. They must know that they're dealing with you as a professional artist.
Speaker 1: 21:11 For instance. Keep your boards consistent. Mine for example, my pinterest profile is mdfineart. You'll see that there are many boards, but they are all consistent in the art industry and artists and studios and stuff like that. So I do differentiate between different topics like master artists and impressionists artists and pins from my studio pins from my blog and artists' videos and various things like that. But there is a common theme and that's pretty self evident. I don't think it's a good idea to promote yourself as one thing and then I have pins of all sorts of other interests that don't really backup or support or may even be off putting to people, considering you as a brand. And I guess we all have to consider ourselves as a brand these days to keep us focused on the main thrust, the main line of the work we're doing.
Speaker 1: 22:20 I'm going to have much more on pinterest from my experience and how I set things up and put that in a short course that's going to be coming up soon. So if you want to be kept informed of that, just join my list as well on my website and you will be informed of that. So once again, there it is. I'm encouraging people to sign up, but you know that is the best thing to do. If you are interested in somebody, in the work they're doing, sign up for the mailing list. You're going to get the special offers, you're going to get some good stuff, good information, and if you don't like it, you can always unsubscribe. You know it's no big deal. Try it. Pinterest Tailwind as well. There are a couple of other services, but I don't encourage jumping into paid services at an early stage.
Speaker 1: 23:13 You must really be getting proper benefit and substantial benefit from a service before you exchange your hard earned dollars. So try it out and also let me know what social media is really working well for you. I think the yardstick must always be what is the conversion rate of whatever you're trying to achieve. If you're trying to get people to sign up to your mailing lists each day, you must be seeing that there are positive results - people have signed up to your email list. If it's sales and you are retailing a lot of stuff through your website, you must be able to show sales are happening and where are the sales coming from? So if something is not converting in some form or another according to your particular desires or strategies, then you must really look hard at that. If something is converting phenomenally for you, then certainly you can put some money behind it as well and push it and focus on it.
Speaker 1: 24:16 You can't use everything to the same effect. One is going to stand out and obviously double down on that and other social media channels. The other social media channel that I haven't spoken too much about is youtube. It is a slightly different animal, I think unless you're a celebrity on youtube. However, youtube continues to grow for me and it is very encouraging and I enjoy putting videos up on youtube so it's definitely a growing part of my social media strategy and I do get traffic from youtube as well. But um, like I said, pinterest is number one by a country mile and then probably the others, facebook, youtube sort of neck and neck way back there. An out of the two, I'd probably choose youtube as something I really enjoy because it is also a creative process, but I'll talk more about youtube in the future. For now, please feel free to join me on pinterest as well and let me know how it's working for you and I hope it also gets you a lot of benefit.
Speaker 1: 25:30 The show is also brought to you by my new course Acrylic Pianting for Beginners. Check it out on my website and try it out for yourself. I've got some special offers for you as well for acrylic painting. If you interested in looking at that and getting started in that area, plus many other painting courses that you might find interesting as well. Check them out on my website at malcolmdeweyfineart.com.Just look for painting courses. Okay. I've enjoyed telling you more about what has worked for me and socialmedia and what hasn't and we'll chat again soon and until then, cheers for now.