July 14, 2016 | Alyson Stanfield

Test Your Social Media Effort

As I said in last week’s post: In marketing your art, there are no absolutes. Everything is a test.

That was about testing your email marketing results.

This week I want to look at testing your social media results, and the same principle applies: Everything is a test.

4 For-Sure Facts

I’m absolutely certain about these 4 things when it comes to testing social media:

Painting by Elizabeth Bryan-Jacobs
©Elizabeth Bryan-Jacobs, Heaven and Earth. Watercolor on paper, 77 x 38 inches. Used with permission.

1. The payoff for investing your effort into social media will be greater if you focus on your foundation (website, blog, email list) first.

Without this foundation in place, social media isn’t as useful. You need to have a place to send people – an online portfolio to show off your art and/or your expertise if you’re a teacher.

2. You can share a post similar to someone else’s and get radically different results.

This is why we read that the best time to post to your Facebook business page is at 11:30 am in one place and 6:30 am in another. You have a unique list of followers and have to see for yourself.

3. Your level of enthusiasm will show in what you post.

The greater your commitment, the more attractive you will be to followers. We can smell a half-baked effort from miles away.

If you’re only promoting and we can’t sense the love for your art, your posts will fall flat. That’s a waste of your time and that of your followers.

4. If you don’t test and track your results, you will never know what works for you.

So, let’s get to the testing part.

We’ll look at testing results on Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, and Twitter.

Facebook

  • Post once a day, twice a day, or five times a week.
  • Vary the time of your post.
  • Schedule manually or post-date your updates.
  • Add a photo, leave out photos, add text to images, or remove the preview.
  • Add a link or don’t use a link.
  • Share only from other Facebook pages or share from a site other than Facebook.
  • Cross-post from Instagram (owned by Facebook).
  • Add prices of your art to business page posts or leave off prices.
  • Ask a question.
  • Ignore your business page and use only your personal profile (unless you're running up against the max of 5,000 friends).
  • Swap your profile pic for a new one.
  • Share other people’s content or create only original content.

Pinterest

  • Post once a day, twice a day, or five times a week.
  • Vary the time of day you pin.
  • Create a story in the pin’s description.
  • Add prices to pins of your art.
  • Create multiple boards of your art or put all of your art on one board.
  • Respond to comments left on your pins.

Gail Frasier's ceramic sculpture
©Gail Frasier, In the Beginning. Ceramic sculpture, 10 x 11 inches. Used with permission.

Instagram

  • Post once a day, twice a day, or five times a week.
  • Vary the time of day you share.
  • Use Later.com or Hootsuite to post-date your posts.
  • Share only your art on Instagram.
  • Stick to one color scheme at a time.
  • Have theme weeks.
  • Add words to your images.
  • Post a video.
  • Write longer stories to go with your images.
  • Change the URL link and your bio every week.

Twitter

  • Post once a day, twice a day, or five times a week. Do you see a trend here?
  • Vary the time of day you tweet.
  • Load up a week’s worth of tweets on Hootsuite or Buffer or tweet spontaneously only.
  • Share links to your content.
  • Add more images or use fewer images.
  • Create a theme for each week’s images.
  • Try Twitter video or livestream on Periscope.

Here’s what you’re looking for from social media posts:

  • More engagement (comments, shares, likes, retweets, repins)
  • More traffic to your website or blog
  • More sign-ups for your classes and email list

Over time, you should be able to tell what works – even if you never type it all up in a spreadsheet.

Painting by artist Sue Grace
©Sue Grace, God is in the Neighborhood. Pencil, acrylic, and crayon, 60 x 77 inches. Used with permission.

Your Turn

Have you tested your social media efforts?

What did you find? Did anything surprise you?

9 comments add a comment
  • Excellent post with plenty to do. What I found is that focusing on where your audience is remains critical. Images rule and Canva is now my friend! Repost your older posts with something like Buffer. Not everyone sees one post and it keeps your content calendar full.

  • Is there still value in posting anything on Facebook?

    • FB is where I personally engage with the people who are interested in my art and travels on both my personal and public pages. A number have become buyers. Others have been staunch, supportive fans for years, which I also value. It’s nice to have that cheering section. They also tell other people about this artist they know who goes to Mongolia (eleven trips there in twelve years). A lot of my artist friends and colleagues are there, so that’s another source of networking and mutual support. I’ve also gained a lot of new artist friends through FB, not to mention a gallery owner I’d like to show with, whose home I ended up staying at during a recent trip back east and who is now a personal friends I keep in touch with through FB. That trip gave me a chance to talk to her face to face about a new direction for my work that might be of interest to her. FB drives traffic to my blog, which is one page on my website so, with luck, some people will stay to poke around. Love it, sometimes hate it, I rely on it.

  • First, thank you, Alyson, for using my ceramic sculpture, In The Beginning, as an image on your blog post this week. I am flattered.
    Secondly, over many years of being on facebook and Pinterest, I have sold only four pieces as a result of my posts, but I am happy with my Friends and Pinterest boards. Facebook recently changed their format for free business pages. While I can use it in spite of their changes, the thrill is gone so I spend less time on social media which is a good thing.
    I look forward to absorbing your 4 facts and trying some tests recommended here.
    Sounds like Malcolm is on top of things. I will look at Canva and also Later.com.

  • This has been very helpful as I am beginning to use FB again as a marketing tool.

    I am interested in marketing to the metaphysical community. Any suggestions?

    Namaste,
    Arianna Lin

  • Alyson, I always value your advice. When I read this post, I felt like I am the poster child for what NOT to do with marketing on social media – no schedule, and not much regularity either! There is always room for improvement. I find that Facebook has yielded the best results for me in terms of direct sales. When I post to my business page on FB, I share it on my personal page. I have more interactions with my personal page, and more people see the posts. Instagram has gotten me one sale, but I like using it better. For me, Instagram is fun – all that eye candy! FB is a chore, but I still have better results with it.

  • […] your opportunities. Meg made the most of this project by generating buzz on social media and, later, creating prints. As she said, she couldn’t have sold a lot of prints of just any […]

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