Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Poll Results: Is Facebook replacing Forums for Artists?

The July Making A Mark Poll reveals that around 75% of respondents have a Facebook Account but only a third of artists actively market their art on facebook.

At the beginning of the month I wrote two posts:

  • Artists on Facebook - The Scope and The Rules - this looked at why people are confused about Facebook and the different ways of operating on Facebook.  This post attracted a LOT of comments following publication.  A number of artists shared their experience of using Facebook for their art - and their confusion as to how best to straighten out the way they operate on Facebook

    • the first asked about how you use Facebook for marketing your art
    • the second asks about where you post in facebook
Below you can see charts of the results for the two polls.

How do you promote your art on Facebook?

I've heard a lot of people say they find Facebook useful for promoting their art.  I wanted to test out this proposition and to assess the extent to which Facebook is used in active way to promote and market art.

108 people responded to the first poll. They indicated that 75% had a Facebook account.  This may come as a bit of a surprise to the 25% who do not.  It certainly bears out the notion that more and more artists are finding Facebook to be useful either in terms of conversing with fellow artists, sharing in art matters and.or marketing their art.

Just under a third actively market their art on Facebook while 44% may share their art from time to time but don't actively promote its sale.  The latter way of working is very like old style Forums where people post their latest piece for comments.

I think there are very probably gradations of marketing - between familiarising people with your art to announcing a new painting for sale has been posted.  This poll didn't attempt to tease these aspects out and/or whether they are successful - but I could do so in the future if people thought this to be a useful exercise.

Making A Mark Poll July 2012 - 108 respondents

How do you use Facebook?

120 people responded to the second part of the July Making A Mark Poll - and 29% indicated they did not have a Facebook account.  I suspect that some of those without an Account did not bother answering the first Poll which would account for the difference in numbers.

For those who use Facebook less often or not at all, you may be surprised by the results of this.
  • Under half use Facebook at a very basic level or not at all ie 29% have no account and only 18% have a Facebook Personal Account only
  • some 54% have set up a Facebook Page
    • 21% have a Personal Account and a Facebook Page - presumably to promote their art
    • 30% indicate they have a Personal Account, a Facebook Page and also belong to Facebook Groups
    • while just 3% only use a Facebook Page
Those who are quick with numbers will note that although 54% say they have a Facebook Page - this compares to the 31% who actively market their art on Facebook according to the first Poll.

I think there's a simple explanation behind this discrepancy.  In essence many artists are still finding their feet and have not yet sussed out how best to use Facebook for their art.
  • Many artists will have set up a Facebook Page when it seemed like a good thing to do - I know I did.  
  • They then got confused as to which bit of Facebook they should use and/or whether and how to market their art.  I know I did and that I'm not alone in this!
Hence the reason behind my post about the scope of Facebook and how it SHOULD be used.  (For the distinction between account, Facebook page and Facebook group see Artists on Facebook - The Scope and The Rules ) The comments on the post are also very helpful in terms of artists sharing their own experience of using Facebook and how they might change in future.

In terms of marketing art, I've certainly noticed artists who are actively marketing their art via their Personal Accounts.  In my opinion, such practices will doubtless be 'kicked into touch' at some point in the future - as the intention is that accounts are personal while Pages can be commercial.

At the same time there are a number of Facebook Pages which languish unused by their creators - because they're not quite sure what they're for!

What is significant is the number of artists who are using Facebook to access groups - and I'm one of them.  To my mind Facebook Groups - for specialised interests - are one of the best aspects of Facebook.  They are certainly an excellent way of sharing your art without cluttering up your news feed with all your latest art so as to avoid annoying non-artist friends and family.  They also exhibit  a lot of the same characteristics as have been seen in the past in traditional online Art Forums.

Making A Mark Poll July 2012 - 120 respondents

To my mind, it appears as if Facebook is beginning to supplant the more traditional Art Forums for certain artists.  More and more of the artists who are exhibiting and selling their work are now being seen frequently on Facebook but much less often in Forums.

To my mind this marks a transition from a beginners/hobby art perspective towards thinking more seriously about art and how to refine their art and sell it.  Facebook seems to be becoming more oriented more towards Improvers and Professionals.  For example more and more of the prestigious Art Societies and Art Galleries are developing Facebook Pages.

Others may have a different view and I'd be very interested to hear your views as to the differences between Forums and Facebook.

I'd also very much like to hear about what you might change having seen the results of the Polls and the earlier blog posts (and comments).

Do please leave a comment below
  • Are you surprised by any of the poll results?
  • Are you now persuaded to explore Facebook more?
  • Do you think Facebook is replacing more traditional Forums?
  • Do you think you could improve the way you use Facebook?
  • Will you be changing your use of your Facebook Page?


  1. Thank you for these articles, they are most informative and a great reference.
    I started late in the art world and my first experience of social networking has been Facebook.
    Albeit reluctantly at first, I joined with a personal page purely so I could access a botanical artists group to learn more about this art. From there I gained many new friends - mostly artists and creative types. However I can see in time I will end up with a Page - which will network and promote my art, blog and vice versa. It has been really helpful to observe others in this process so that I haven't experienced the confusion between personal and pages in my own instance. I can also see firsthand what works and what doesn't.
    I had an interesting example of the reverse of the usual process where I 'liked' an artist business related page - and obviously they in turn have approached those who liked them - and asked them to be 'friends' with their personal FB profile. However - their personal page appears to be business promotion also - perhaps an opportunity for them to double dip and also self promote while commenting and liking?

  2. Recently a Yahoo spinning Group I belong to suggested moving to Facebook, and this created quite a controversy. I am a "Never get me on Facebook again" dinosaur and I'm not alone. Most of us were concerned about our privacy and security, including theft of our work, and the reluctance to hand over our address books (which is a must do to join groups and do a search these days) because of spamming and the computer security breaches that can result.
    A surprisingly large amount of our members also did not have access to broadband internet and/or the bandwidth required to use Facebook, with no chance in the immediate future of this changing because of where they live! These members are mainly in the USA, but there are people in most 1st world countries who do not have the internet facilities found in capital and larger cities, and 3rd world countries! Wifi and satellite internet services are often unreliable and very expensive and the download allowance (we have them here in Australia!) can be too precious for wasting on social networking. There was another major reason for keeping the Yahoo group going: storage facilities of files, and links, and familiarity with the Yahoo format.
    This group did not move, though it started up a Facebook branch for those who insisted. From the comments there were only a couple of younger members really eager to make the move. This could be due to most of us spinning as we read our group digests, lol! No time for typing.
    I also run a weaving group, and we use the Yahoo group as back-up and storage for Ravelry, where most weavers and spinners gather.
    Groups will always evolve, and Facebook has its uses for many, particularly the young, but its immediacy may also be why older forums will remain and underpin the FB groups existence.

  3. Facebook has delivered more comment activity than Blogger. IMO, Blogger has fallen way behind in the interactivity realm.

    Now, Pinterest has taken a huge leap and cut into FB's market of activity.

    Each has its own place. Blogger delivers deeper content. I will say that FB has generated a broader audience for me, and a few sales. How this compares with Blogger for my sales, I'm not sure. I want to say about evenly.

    There is much more room at FB for artists to explore sales.

  4. I think what night be interesting Katherine is to see how many use facebook advertising and if they have found it useful. i sell my art through an online gallery that seems to adverstise prolifically on facebook and reading through some of the customer testimonials re 'how did you hear about us' FB comes up quite a lot. I should mention this gallery also has a high street presence and also uses some space in a theatre on a regular basis but would be interested to hear if others have used FB ads.
    I have a personal account and off that I have my facebook page for my art. to answer your question, I haven't done much more to promote myself other than update the page frequently. I haven't joined any forums either and yes following this article I would explore facebook a little bit more.


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