Since starting up a Facebook Fan page about six months ago, I have (as of this moment) a modest 746 Facebook Fans; many of these are friends of friends, but a few of them are complete strangers who have found my page and become a fan. I’ve come to realize that I want Facebook to be my primary and perhaps only go-to site and fan database.
Therefore, without further ado, let me reveal my “10000 Facebook Fans in 2010 Campaign.” Why do I want so many Facebook Fans? Let’s just call it a social experiment: the Art World is changing fast – what determines the value of art these days? Does it continue to be the critics, the curators, and the gurus? Or is it the popularity and fan base of artists? Does your opinion influence what the world considers ‘real contemporary art’? Let’s find out!
1) I’m starting a new, large public installation which will features hundreds of sketches done from Facebook photos – which I will take from Fans and Friends. You can be a part of it!
2) At my exhibitions and events, I give away from posters, postcards, etc. Sometimes I also have competitions.
3) My paintings freaking rock. Show the world that you are an art savant by joining.
If you’re an artist and interested in promoting or selling your art work, you’ve probably considered getting more involved in Facebook. If not, you should. Back in the old days you had to try and collect emails or phone numbers and keep track of everyone’s information. Facebook is both less personal and also more intimate. While a casual fan may not like to receive spam email, joining a Facebook Fan page is just so easy to do – and since people scan over rather than read events and news, Facebook is an unobtrusive way to keep people informed without annoying them. In short, it’s easy for you, and for them, and is probably something you’re both using anyway.
Fan Page or Group? You have the option of starting a Fan Page or a group. There are benefits to each. A group can potential grow much faster, as group members can invite all their friends. Fan Pages, for some reason, don’t have that option. However, Fan Pages are indexed by Google and other web search engines. Fan Pages also let you advertise – one of the main reasons I chose it.
Advertising on Facebook. Getting Fans is pretty easy – if you’re willing to pay for it. Pick the area/type of person that you hope or think will become a fan, set up an advertising campaign (bottom left of your Facebook screen; ‘ads/pages’) and pay by the click. You may ask, why would I pay to get fans? Most of them will never buy my artwork. This is absolutely true – but in my opinion, you have to become a celebrity before your paintings have any value. If you want to be an artist, you need fans, and lots of them. These are people that like your work. Maybe they’ll even talk about it, create a buzz, share it on their own Facebook page or blog. Don’t worry about selling your paintings; instead worry about getting as many people as possible just to look at them, and hopefully respond in some way. In my case, I may need to spend out $1000 to get 10,000 Facebook Fans – which I’m prepared to do if my other publicity measures don’t cut it.
Tagging photos. Recently a photographer friend of mine went from virtual anonymity to local fame, through a brilliant portrait campaign; he took nice shots of lots of people, tagged them all on Facebook, and made posters and cards and other print outs. Everybody likes to see themselves – if you are an artist and you can include other people somehow, do it. I’m starting a similar project; hundreds of charcoal portrait6 collaged together on a huge piece of wood, and painted over. It’s going to be a glorious piece of social art – when it’s finished, the people drawn will be invited to come to the opening and sign their portraits. If you don’t do portraits, hold events or shows, take pictures of people and tag them.
Events. Show show show! Have some of your paintings up somewhere, all the time! Have an event as often as you can. Network with other artists in your city to do groups shows. Keep a steady stream of info and current happenings posted on your Facebook Fanpage to prove that you’re a committed, working artist.
Rubbing Shoulders with Galleries. Ok, we all know that sending out emails to gallery owners saying “Please come look at my paintings” isn’t effective. It just doesn’t work. Galleries like artists who don’t need galleries; who can generate attention, fans, buzz and social status all by themselves. Be the flame, not the moth! At the same time, it is possible (and easy) to find gallery owners, curators, and notable members from the art world online. Become their friends. Join their groups. Don’t spam, don’t comment unless you have something important to say. Don’t ask them when you can have your own show. Just keep working on your own stuff, and make sure they know when you have a big event or something planned. Facebook allows everybody to know about you and what you’re doing without you trying to sell it to them. If your paintings are good enough, and you’re progressing well in your community, they might contact you.
Even if not, when you go to their shows and introduce yourself, they will recognize you – instant foot in the door!