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Did You Know Facebook Is Hiding Your Posts? Important – What You Need To Know About Promoted Posts

Facebook has become an important part of social media promotion for artists over the past few years. Many artists have come to rely on Facebook for the majority of their promotion, using it as their main web presence. However, big changes at Facebook recently will impact on the usefulness of Facebook for your art business now and into the future.

The worrying thing is that these changes have been introduced “under the radar” and so many artists will not be aware that anything is amiss. This is a quick overview post to explain what is going on and to offer some suggestions.

What is happening?

Over the past few months, the amount of people a Facebook post will reach has been being “turned down”. Messages are now seen by a smaller proportion of your Facebook page fans. According to various sources, messages now only reach around 15-20% of people who signed up to your Facebook page. But coincidentally, Facebook have a solution to help you reach those fans…

Head of advertising at Facebook, Gokul Rajaram, explains:

“Organically, you get anywhere from 15 percent to 20 percent of your fans, that you reach organically. In order to reach the remaining 80 to 85 percent, sponsoring posts is important.” 

So, if you want to reach all the people who signed up to your page, as you did previously, you now need to pay Facebook to promote the post or the large majority of your fans will never see it.

Or as Richard Metzger writing on the Dangerous Minds blog puts it…

“In other words, through “Sponsored Stories,” brands, agencies and artists are now charged to reach their own fans—the whole reason for having a page—because those pages have suddenly stopped working.”

What are Sponsored Stories?

If you run a Facebook page you may have started to notice a little drop down “promote” menu appearing under some stories you post. Basically if you want to promote the post to be seen by everyone you are charged a fee depending on how many fans you have. This can vary between around $7 to $200 for a large fan base. This is PER POST so if you post a few times a day it will soon add up.

Why are Facebook doing this?

Facebook have hit hard times recently. After their much trumpeted launch on the stock market, shares plummeted in value as people began to realise that Facebook, for all it’s billions of users is hard to monetize. It’s advertising platform doesn’t work as well as Google ads because people primarily aren’t on Facebook to search for things to buy. Therefore Facebook now has to come up with a new way to make money and this is made all the more urgent by the fact that it now has a panicky set of shareholders at it’s back demanding it make them some money and fast! It has to work out new ways to make that money and it’s biggest commodity is YOU…

What does this mean for me and the future?

I think that the fact that Facebook has now changed it’s direction away from an advertising based monetizing model and turned its focus on ways to get money from it’s users is a significant development and sea change. We have all come to rely on Facebook as a FREE platform but it probably isn’t going to stay that way, at least for business users.  There may be other ways that Facebook will be able to charge for full access in the future. Its fair enough that Facebook should want to charge for their services but as artists we often dont have the money to pay what they demand.

What should I do?

I think this is a definite warning sign to reduce your dependency on Facebook.

If you read these posts below you will know that I advocate having your own website.

10 Crucial Reasons why every artist needs their own hub website

The Best Website to Sell Art Online – The Truth

That way YOU are in control and no one can suddenly start to charge you for reaching the fans you spent your own time collecting. If you own your own domain name and website you are in control.

The steps you need to take in the future

We all love using Facebook for keeping up with our friends and you can still use it but it pays to have a plan B “just in case” for your art business. I think that Facebook’s recent changes mean that it is time to ensure that you are not left being solely reliant on Facebook for promoting your work. That way you are not left in a situation where you are forced to pay and have more control over how you interact with the people who like your art.

These steps will help you regain some control.

Step 1

{nb – this workaround may not be the best solution – see comments below. If anyone knows of a good way around this please add to comments – thanks}

Alert your fans to the issue and help them to see more of your posts. Ask them to do the following.

  • Go to your page.
  • Hover your mouse over where it says “LIKED” and click on “ADD TO INTERESTS LISTS”
  • This will help your fans to be alerted to more of your posts without you having to pay to promote them.

 Step 2

Move away from Facebook as your main promotional platform. Still use it but just don’t be solely reliant on it.

Have you paid Facebook to promote your work via a sponsored post? Would you do so? What do you think of these changes? Share with us in the comments.

 

External sources

Facebook – I want my friends back – Dangerous Minds

Broken on Purpose: Why Getting It Wrong Pays More Than Getting It Right – New York Observer

Facebook: Pay to promote your posts for garage sales, parties – CNET

 

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Facebook Changes & Artists | 4 Crucial Things You Need To Know…

Facebook has undergone a RADICAL overhaul over the past few days. Changes, first outlined by Facebook founder, Mark Zuckerberg at the f8 conference in San Francisco have already begun to roll out over the site and many more will be coming online in the coming weeks.

Many artists use Facebook as a platform for promoting their artwork so what will the new changes mean if you have an artists Facebook Page? What do artists need to know about the new Facebook?

Lets take a look at some of the new changes.

The power in the blue corner.

Facebook now marks stories that it thinks are important to you by tagging them with a blue corner in your news feed. Users have the power to “untag” these prioritised stories in their feed by simply clicking on the blue corner, meaning that Facebook then demotes similar items in your feed.

By this change, Facebook are taking a massive shift in direction, in that this will selectively weed out boring, irrelevant or annoying posts. Users can easily demote and remove all those annoying updates from friends about requests for Farmville stuff and tedious information about what they had for tea. Hoorah

What this means for artists.

However, whilst welcome in many ways, this change can also mean your work gets removed from the feed if you aren’t engaging enough or if you bombard people with things they aren’t interested in.

It will no longer be enough to accumulate loads of LIKES and then bombard your LIKERS with low quality posts. You are going to have to produce great engaging content to earn your place in the news feed.

Posting interesting content that engages people is now more crucial than ever if you and your art aren’t going to end up talking into empty space…

Too much information!!

The news ticker in the right hand column is a second by second relay of exactly what you are up to. It shows your comments on friends posts {who aren’t neccesarily friends of the people viewing} and also, will soon show any games you may be playing or music you are listening to. In short it overshares everything you do to pretty much everyone, everywhere.

Facebook will also be introducing Facebook Timelines in the next few weeks. This means that everything you do on Facebook will be evolved into a searchable personal history timeline stretching way back into the past. This video explains the concept.  Timelines could be a pretty cool feature but may have some drawbacks too.

What this means for artists.

Now, more than ever, it is crucial to be yourself and also to behave professionally. If you are using Facebook to promote your business it is essential that you are aware of how you may appear to others. Be careful about what you post and do as it is becoming even harder to be totally sure exactly who is viewing your actions. Keep it professional at all times.

Now may be a good time to go into your photo history and delete or detag the pictures of you being sick in a bush at a student party.

Build a shed in the walled garden…

Facebook is making these big changes in an attempt to be even more immersive. You will be able to do an increasing amount of actions, such as listening to music or watching films, WITHIN the Facebook framework. The changes are all designed to make Facebook even more addictive than it curently is [if this is possible].

This is the “Walled Garden” effect, where users are encouraged to stay in one place, within the same site, and never leave.

What this means for artists.

This means that it is becoming even more important to have a presence within the Facebook framework. If you don’t already have an artists Facebook page, now would be a good time to create one. If you do have one, spend a bit of time ensuring it is up to scratch and contains great content. You need to make sure you have access to the walled garden and aren’t left outside banging on the door.

But build a house outside it…

Not all the changes have been popular with Facebook users. There have been many online groups formed to protest against the way Facebook rolls out changes without consultation and doesn’t listen to user feedback, coupled with concerns over Facebook’s attitude to user privacy. It is hard to predict if Facebook can continue it’s meteoric rise or if it’s progress will be derailed somewhere along the way…

A quick glance over the shoulder to some of the internet casualties of the past, including the once mighty MySpace, AOL, Digg &  IBM illustrate that Facebook could quite easily stumble and lose ground to other social destinations like Google +, especially if they keep annoying their users every few months.

As every James Bond villain knows – world domination is by no means guaranteed.

What this means for artists.

Now, more than ever it is ESSENTIAL to base your web presence on YOUR OWN website, on YOUR OWN DOMAIN, outside of Facebook.

Whatever Facebook’s fortunes over the coming years, your own site is your home on the internet, on your own land. It is the most important piece of the jigsaw in promoting your work and will be there for you, whatever social media platform comes to the fore.

Enjoy the fun of Facebook, and use it as an extension to promote your work,  but build your main foundations on the solid ground of your own website and you can’t go far wrong…

 

What do you think of the new Facebook changes? Exciting? Frustrating? Let me know in the comments.

 

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Social Media for Artists – How To Conquer It And Have A Life Too

Social media can be fun, a great way to network and spread the word about your art to the world and enjoy new collaborations. It can also be a terrifying time sink of gargantuan proportions of the kind where you wake up on Saturday morning and realise you have spent the entire week poking at Facebook and Twitter and achieved NOTHING else. Not good.

So this little post deals with a few ideas to help you deal with social media in ways that are a bit more efficient and which can help you reclaim your life.

Scheduling – for fun and relaxation.

There is a big secret to reclaiming your life from the tentacles of social media… and that secret is SCHEDULING… If you can limit the time you spend on social media to, say one or two 15 minute session it stops you from getting embroiled in addictive checking. You can set up a bunch of links first thing in a morning to post later. Then you can close down Twitter & Facebook and get on with the good stuff, like painting and creating.

Will scheduling make me an evil robot?

Looking on Twitter it’s easy to spot the absolute abuse of scheduling software. Streams of random links and spam, offering ways to make $3000 dollars at home, posted by bots with no human interaction. This is clearly not where you want to be, but it doesn’t have to be like this.

You can use scheduling to post your links but take time in your 15 minutes update time to check on what’s happening, thank people for retweets, chat and interact with people. You can still be human. Scheduling just means you get all the grunt work done, actually leaving more time for the lovely enjoyable human stuff.

Which software to use?

There are some great pieces of free software on line which will help you automate many aspects of your social media presence. These are my favourites…

Tweetdeck

I use Tweetdeck.com as my main weapon of choice when dealing with Twitter. You can set up tweets and schedule them for a particular time. You can also see your streams of followers, mentions and direct messages extremely easily making it a snap to keep on top of what is happening. I spend 15 minutes or so first thing scheduling my posts for the day and replying to messages. I will then check back towards the end of the day to chat. Tweetdeck also allows you to add other social services including Facebook.

Networked Blogs

Networked Blogs is extremely handy for taking your blog and feeding it into Facebook. This is my main use for this application but you can also feed your blog straight to Twitter too.

Dlvr.It

I have recently discovered www.dlvr.it and found it really useful for sending an RSS feed from a blog into individual Twitter posts.

The great thing about dlvr.it is that you can schedule the posts for the best time for you and specify how many are posted at any one time, preventing flooding. You also get stats on how your posts performed. Extremely informative.

What about Google + ?

Google+, the new social networking phenomena from Google is growing at a phenomenal rate. It offers a lot of the functionality and advantages of Twitter and Facebook without the complexity. It is easy to use and offers content sharing, the ability to network with people you don’t know {like Twitter} as well as share content with your close friends {like Facebook} all in one place. It is a simpler, more streamlined “one-stop-shop” for the sharing of content and images and as such has the potential to be a definite time saver.

However, it’s usefulness will be ultimately governed by how many people join and the levels of useage it attracts. It looks extremely promising though and is well worth joining for artists, giving you the advantage of being in there early.

At the moment, Google+ is by invitation only so try and grab one if you can from someone you know who is already using it.

Reclaim your life…

Automating some parts your social media presence will really help you to free up your life from some of the more time stealing elements of this area of the web.

Importantly it will allow you to focus on the really important part of social media. Communicating with people.

Share the tips and software/apps that work for you in the comments...

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Best of Art Marketing On The Web | May 2011 | Don’t Miss These

Jamie Beck & Kevin Burg Animated Gif

Jamie Beck and her partner Kevin Burg create little pieces of cinematic art by combining video with photography to create beautiful animated gifs. Jamie is a street photographer and Kevin has a background in motion graphics. This re-appropriation of a much abused medium often reserved for flashing effects on Myspace is startling and the effect is magical. It is used to great effect on Jamies photography blog From Me To You and you can view more gorgeous animated gifs here

Facebook – The crucial CAN’S and CANNOT’S

If you run a Facebook page promoting your art {or if you want to} it’s incredibly easy to fall foul of Facebook’s promotion rules. At worst this could mean getting banned from Facebook and your page and profile being deleted. Therefore it is incredibly important to know the rules. Build a little Biz blog has created a handy list expaining the LATEST rule changes.

What should artists blog about?

A tricky part about starting your own art blog is knowing what to say!. The Abundant Artist gives some great advice.

What if there were no more art galleries?

“What if there were no art dealers, no “art reps”, and no commercial galleries to sell our work?”

“What if we summoned the courage to take full responsibility for our careers instead of placing our future in someone else’s hands?”

Kesha Bruce asks some crucial and inspirational questions…

What do you think art collectors want from an artist website?

Brian Sherwin discusses this crucial question in relation to artists websites. How does your website measure up?

 

Some wonderful resources and discussions this month. Enjoy

 

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How to add Facebook “Like” Buttons to your Art Website

A guest post from artist and web designer Paul Watson.

Adding Facebook “Like” buttons to your art website is a great way to encourage visitors to spread the word about your artwork to their friends, increasing your potential market.

When a visitor clicks a “Like” button on a page of your site, it will appear in that visitor’s Facebook News Stream, visible to their Facebook friends. This is a great way to enable the easy sharing of links to pages within your site.

The Basics

If your website uses third-party software such as WordPress or Joomla then the easiest way to add Facebook ”Like” buttons is to install a plugin/extension from the official repositories. There are many different ones that provide this functionality, so you can choose one that suits you (please feel free to recommend your favourites in the comments!).

If you’ve built your website yourself then it’s still very easy to add the basic “Like” buttons – here’s how:

1. Go to http://developers.facebook.com/docs/reference/plugins/like

2. Use the “Get Like Button Code” generator to create the button code

3. Copy and paste the code generated onto the corresponding page of your site.

The “Get Like Button Code” generator actually produces two versions of the code: the “iframe” version and the “XFBML” version. The XFBML version requires that you install Facebook’s JavaScript SDK (Software Development Kit) on your site, so unless you’re experienced with JavaScript then use the “iframe” version as this can simply be pasted into your own HTML.

Keeping Track: Statistics

Now you could check every page of your site regularly to see how many people have “Liked” each page, but it’s far easier to let Facebook do the hard work for you.

If you go to http://www.facebook.com/insights/ and click the green “Insights for your Website” button then Facebook will provide you with a single line of HTML that you need to add to the root page of your domain (the root page is the page a visitor sees if they go to www.your-domain.com).

Once this is in place Facebook knows that you own that domain, and will give you access (at http://www.facebook.com/insights/) to details of “Likes” and “Shares” of pages from your site, details of the most popular pages, and some basic demographics of the people who have Liked your pages.

Quite rightly Facebook anonymizes this data – you can’t see who liked your pages, but you can see the age-ranges, countries, and gender distribution of your potential customers, and which are the most shared/liked pages.

Going Further

Once you’ve mastered this you might want to start using Facebook’s Open Graph Protocol – this gives you even more control over what Facebook displays in the news feed of someone who’s liked or shared one of your pages.

You can read more about the Open Graph Protocol at http://developers.facebook.com/docs/opengraph/


About the Author of this Post

paul watsonPaul Watson is an artist from Brighton, England, working in a variety of media, from assemblage and collage to print-making, drawing, artists books, and photography.

He has also been working as a Web Developer/Designer since the late 1990s, and for the past six years he has worked as the Manager of the Web & e-Marketing team for an international academic publishing company.

Paul’s main website – The Lazarus Corporation:  – displays his artwork as well as the work of a number of other artists.

You can also find him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/lazcorp.

 

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10 shiny golden rules of social media for artists {for Twitter, Facebook, everywhere}

Social media networks {like Twitter & Facebook to name just 2 of the more well known ones} can be a great source of support, collaboration, fun and valuable traffic for an artists online… but like everything {well, most things}, you gotta stick to the rules.

There are some essential ground rules that are pretty universal across all social media sites. Keeping on the right side of the established etiquette can make a big difference if you are trying to use Twitter, Facebook or any social network to help sell your art. If you annoy people they won’t be interested in what you have to say.

So here are 10 pretty essential common sense rules to bear in mind when you venture into social media.

DO do do…

Use your real name

People feel more trusting of a real person and will interact more freely with you.

Be Real

Don’t try to pretend to be somebody you are not. You will come across as false. Share, be honest and be a genuine person. People are attracted to these qualities and you will have better quality and genuine conversations conversations with others, which is really the main point of social media.

Personalise your profile

Make the effort to put up an avatar and personalise your space as much as possible, whatever site you are using. Don’t just leave it as the default. That way people know that you are a real person and not just a spammer or automated bot. People are more likely to trust and interact with you if you have added images or a biography for example.

Respect people and their “virtual space”

This is the most important DO. Don’t start hounding people with information about your work or starting arguments on forums. Be nice and treat people the way you want to be treated.

Say Thank You

You know what your mum used to say… and she was right!. If someone does something nice, say showcases your work on their forum or tweet – say Thanks! Its a great conversation starter and if you don’t acknowledge their helpfulness they won’t bother again.

DON’T even think about…

Don’t view other Social Media users as competitors

This is a new way of doing things. People who do a similar thing to you can offer great collaboration opportunities. You may be able to learn from them. Create trusting and sharing relationships and you can both help each other.

Don’t just spam with links to your stuff

The most important don’t. This is where most people who say “Social Media doesn’t work” fall down. They are pushing their stuff for sale without giving anything in return. You’ve seen them on Twitter, long lists of links to shop items with no conversation in between. You have to give to receive.

Make sure you share good interesting useful content, both your own and from other sources. A good ratio of sales message [ie “look at my new painting”] to useful content [ie “read this blog I found about making your own sketchbooks”] is around 1/12. Again its about having a two way genuine conversation.

Don’t get obsessed with numbers

As always 10,000 twitter followers who don’t give a monkeys about your work are less valuable than 1 follower who really loves it.

Don’t spread yourself too thin

There are SO many Social Media networks out there. You can’t participate in all of them without going actually insane. Choose where you focus your energies wisely.

Don’t Expect instant results

Social Media works like real world networking where a friend of a friend might buy something 2 years down the line. You need to build it up gradually. Rome wasn’t built in a day and all that.

Bonus rule

Wherever you are interacting online, if you try and stick within these guidelines you shouldn’t go far wrong. There’s one bonus  last rule {I had to break the rule of 10!} that’s maybe the most important one of all and that is… HAVE FUN


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The images illustrating this post come from the lovely Spoongraphics blog by Chris Spooner. Chris offers great tutorials, free icons and a lot lot more on his blog. Well worth checking out. Download Chris’s free social media icon pack here.

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