Many artists use Facebook as a tool for promoting their work. It’s a great way to insert images and updates about your career and your creations into the newsfeeds people see every day, and it can also be an excellent networking tool, helping you to build up contacts within the artist and art-related community, from local artists working near you to art world professionals whose advice and experience might be valuable.
However, there is often a certain amount of confusion about the difference between a personal profile and a business page, and artists aren’t always aware of the reasons that it’s worth setting up a business page, separate from the personal presence they already maintain on Facebook. After all, a personal profile already connects to your friends on Facebook, and is in itself a great promotional tool. Right? Well, not really.
In this article we’ll answer some frequently asked questions about this issue, and talk you through creating a Facebook business page for your art.
Can’t I just use my personal profile?
It’s true that your personal profile can be useful professionally, but there are limitations attached to this approach. For one thing, you have far less information about the kinds of impact your posts have, and the people who are reacting to them, if you’re only posting updates as a personal profile. Whereas pages have Facebook Insights, which will tell you about important things like which posts had the greatest response, and where your fans are from, how old they are, and which gender. All of this can be incorporated into your understanding of your audience and can help you to develop your page and target your posts. For another thing, you can’t use ads as a profile, and although that’s not something you’re likely considering right now, as Facebook moves towards an algorithm which significantly benefits and highlights promoted material, it’s not something you want to rule out, either.
There’s also a significant risk – Facebook’s terms of service state that you cannot use a personal timeline primarily for your own commercial gain: that’s what business pages are for. Admittedly, ‘primarily’ leaves room for argument, but you probably don’t want to place yourself in a position where you’d have to be defending the way you use your profile. And why not create a Facebook business page for your art? Why not have a part of your Facebook presence that is dedicated to promoting your business? You’re proud of your art, and your professional development – there’s no harm in sharing that passion and that pride with others.
Will you need a separate account to create a Facebook business page for your art?
No – that’s part of the beauty of it. You can create the page through your personal account, meaning that when you’re signed in as yourself, you’ll still be able to see notifications that your page receives. You can switch back and forward between acting and appearing as yourself and acting and appearing as your page very easily, simply by clicking on the arrow in the righthand corner of the screen and choosing which account to use.
Won’t I get confused about which account I’m using?
It’s really very easy to distinguish between accounts – whichever you’re using will show up in the right hand corner of the screen, so you can always keep track. However, it’s true that this is important, from both sides of the equation: you won’t want to comment on photos of your friend’s birthday party or your son’s school play as your business page (except in unusual cases) but equally, you’ll want to use your business page and not your personal inbox to reply to inquiries about the artwork you posted on your page. The best rule of thumb is simply to switch over to your page whenever you are working professionally – updating your page, commenting on groups as your page, etc. – and it will quickly become a habit. If you do happen to forget, your business page is set to assume that you’re updating it as the page, not as your profile, so that won’t be a problem.
Is it obvious that the business page and the profile belong to the same person?
It can be as clear as you want it to be. You can treat them entirely separately, making the page solely about your artwork and career, and your profile only for interacting socially, or you can indicate links between the two by including your name in the title of the page, or using your personal account to like or share updates from your page. You can even put your page as your employer in the ‘about’ section of your personal profile page. There are lots of options here, and it’s entirely up to you.
I want to turn my personal profile into a business page. Can I do that?
Well, you can do this. Facebook actually offers it as an option. But if you really transfer, rather than setting up a new one, you won’t get to keep much of your past content. What you’ll have for your new page will be your profile picture, and all your friends, who will become people who like your page. The name you’ve been using for your personal profile will become your page name. But you’ll lose all your timeline information, and you’ll no longer be able to manage any groups you were managing as a personal profile. And what you really gain here is the list of your friends, which become fans – but is this really such a benefit? After all, you can keep posting on your personal profile after you’ve created a business page, and you can encourage friends to like the page. You can also send out an email announcing your brand new page and asking people to like it – and so on. The people who do opt in in this way will actually be taking a step in your direction right from the start – they’ll be making the decision – and the statement – that they are interested in your work and would like to be informed about it. Isn’t that better than forcing people into becoming fans by default?
Ok, you’ve convinced me. So how do I create a Facebook business page for my art?
Log in to Facebook, using your normal, personal account. Then click on the arrow at the top right hand side of the page, and from the drop-down selections click on ‘Create Page’. You’ll then be taken to a page that looks like this:
This isn’t as important as it might look, and you can change it later if you have to. But it’s best to get it right from the start, because that will mean that Facebook can give you the most relevant information page to fill in. That way, your fans can easily find your page, and find out what they want to know about you, and it makes it easy for you to share the things you’ll want them to know, too. So decide which option is most appropriate for you:
Local Business or Place – only choose this if you have a bricks and mortar location, and it’s crucial to your business and how you want people to see you. For example, perhaps you run your own gallery, with a permanent exhibition of your work, or you welcome all visitors to your studio within set hours. This option is not relevant for most artists, but if info like opening hours and parking possibilities are important for you to share, this might be for you.
Company Organization or Institution – This is a good option for places which don’t value physical foot traffic, or have a number of locations with different addresses, opening hours and so on. Again, this is unlikely to be relevant to artists, but there’s a chance that your particular situation would make this appropriate, if you only ever sell your art online, and only through your own website.
Brand or Product – This type of page is good if your artworks are sold in lots of different places. But it’s really for brands and products – for example, Coca Cola – and it won’t help you include that personal touch that most artists want to have in their business page.
Cause or Community – This one is worth bearing in mind if you’re involved in a non-profit organization of any kind – remember that you can manage as many Facebook pages as you want. However, it’s not right for artists, in general, though there may be exceptions for artists whose whole work and brand is centered around supporting a specific charitable organization.
Entertainment – This does sound as if it might be right, but really this is for things like books, TV shows, and so on. It’s not quite the right angle for most artists – though some artists, who do publish books and appear on television, may want to consider this category if, for example, their primary form of promotion and income is through the series of books they publish.
Artist, Band or Public Figure – This is the one you’ll probably want to choose, as an artist. The description might sound a bit off-putting, but you don’t have to be a world-famous artist for this to be the right page type for you. This sort of page is designed to focus on you, the creator of your work – and, of course, by extension on your work as well. And once you’ve chosen it, you’ll see that you’re offered a number of categories to pick – and one of them is ‘Artist’. This is a good sign! Pick that, and enter the name you’d like to use for your page. Think carefully about this, because it’s the name your fans will see whenever you update your page, it’s the name you’ll use to comment on other groups and so on as your page, and it will be a major part of your promotional work on Facebook from now on. Your artist name should probably be included, and perhaps a keyword such as ‘art’ or ‘artworks’ or ‘artist’. If you have a name you use professionally, then choose that. For example, one of Agora Gallery’s artists, Sandy McLean, is known as ‘The Outback Artist’. Once you’ve entered the name you want for your page, click ‘Get Started’.
From here, it’s pretty self-explanatory. You enter the relevant information by filling in the boxes as prompted. For your description, you can use text from your artist statement, or some other piece that you feel encapsulates who you are as an artist. Don’t make it too long – past about 155 characters, it won’t show up automatically on the page. Don’t forget to add your website address!
Decide on the URL for your business page – ideally one that includes the name of your business page – and add a profile picture. Remember that once it’s set up, you can and should add a cover photo as well, so choose the profile picture with this in mind. Perhaps the profile picture could be a photo of you at work, and the cover photo a piece of artwork, or a close-up of a piece, or a collage of different works. You can play around with these once the page is set up, and you can experiment with different images from time to time, and change them to celebrate particular events or achievements.
Add your page to favorites, so you can see it easily at any time, and consider going through the ‘reach more people’ stage. You might want to do this, to let people know at once that you’ve got a new page, but on the other hand it can be a good idea to skip this step and wait to promote your page until you’ve added a cover photo, posted some updates and put up some photos. It’s nice to have something ready for people to see, when you tell them that you’ve created it.
Last steps: Add more information to your ‘About’ section, and go through your permissions to make sure you’re comfortable with the default settings. To do this, go to ‘Edit Page’ and ‘Manage Permissions’.
Now that you’ve got a Facebook business page for your art set up and ready to go, follow these pointers to promote your page and get it noticed. Engage and invest to make sure that your art gets the attention it deserves!