Facebook Etiquette for Artists

How NOT to promote your Art on Social Media

It is a lonely world out there dear artist. You usually have to take care of everything on your own. This includes Marketing & PR efforts and -of course- how to promote your art on Social Media. Thankfully, the internet is flooded with related articles, guaranteeing to help you take your audience from 0 to 50.000 in 2 weeks. Sounds like it is worth a shot, right?

Random marketing tips often get misinterpreted though and the result, rather than a promotional plan, feels more like a spamming inferno.

Keep reading to acquaint yourself with the cardinal sins.



You need to put your art out there for the world to see. You haven’t been very consistent with your posting lately but tonight you will nail it. Photo archive open. You begin posting. And posting. And posting. Every post sees a decrease in likes. But you are feeling social media savvy. And you keep on posting. Can you guess how many friends used the “hide annoying artist x” button tonight?



Do you remember that Christmas charity show where you (and 69 other artists) exhibited to support Santa’s gift sack for orphans kids? Remember how everyone who’s anyone was at the opening to share the love? Isn’t it a good idea to post an image of your artwork and tag everyone in it? In a word, NO.


TAG ATTACK #2 (the shaming variation)

You post the invite to your upcoming exhibition and then proceed with tagging 50 people in it. What better way to land in everyone’s timeline in one go? They are going to have to go with it. But how is it really going to play out? A couple of people (read: your mother) will be happy, click love, maybe even re-share on their wall. Some friends will play along out of sportsmanship. Some will sigh and (mercy) like. Some will untag themselves (& mute you) on the spot. The nuclear ones will unfriend (and/or block) you. Everyone (except your mum) hates you though.



This cool friend of the friend you met at your cousin’s party last week, she is quite the It-girl. She seems rather engaged as you explain her how your art is an uncompromising exploration of the cultural dynamics of post-contemporary portraiture. You friend her on FB. She accepts. Then you go on her wall and post that interview you gave for your niece’s high-school online mag. It will be good for you to expose yourself to her audience. But she doesn’t allow it on her timeline. In fact, she untags herself and reports the post. And unfriends you. B*tch.



We do not care that your work has been selected in the finals of the (paid) competition for best international gender-fluid, location-independent, abstract-minimalist, unknown artist. DO NOT urge us to vote for it, share it on our wall, invite our friends to like it. If we care enough, we will do it on our own. Do not use capital letters, exclamation marks, do not post 15 times, just don’t.



You friend-request them. It takes a good few days but they accept. The second after you receive the acceptance notification, you blast them with an invitation to like your page. Another unfriend. People are so unpredictable…


You add them to a group message of 172 people to let them know of your next show at “Alternative Hipster Venue”. Then there is a torrent of “X left the conversation”. You are appalled at everyone else’s rudeness.


You somehow end up being friends, despite not really knowing them. You drop them a generic (and obviously canned) message along the lines of “Darling, I am holding a studio sale just for you between Friday – Sunday this weekend. Let me know what time you want to drop by and tell your friends”. They never reply. Clearly they have no manners.




You message your favorite Art Platform’s page asking them to have a look at your page, like it, and share your art. They reply that it doesn’t exactly work like this. You demand a more detailed explanation. They tell you they have a content strategy and they actually prefer to contact artists on their own. You tell them you thought they were honest about promoting new artists and it is disappointing that they don’t want to help you. They thank you for your feedback and urge you to keep up the good work.




Perfect! You are now facebook friends with the owner of your favorite gallery. The one that only features the most interesting international artists. You cold-contact her on Messenger. “Hello X!! Here’s a link to my website. You can check out my work (site’s not complete yet but if you click at all the links you can see some of the work I have done since graduating and you can see some more work at my facebook page, under the name “X Clueless Artist” – btw like if you want to support me- and you can visit my Behance page for more work). I’d love your opinion and I’d like to show at your gallery. Let me know how we proceed. xxx”
And she never gets back to you? Don’t say!


This is it for starters dear artists. Maybe you are still unsure of how to expand your social media presence, but you now know how not to.
The advice, of course, applies to all creative (and otherwise) professions.

Next step: Like, share on your wall and don’t forget to ask your friends to share it too. :p


(This post is illustrated with photographs I have taken around the streets of Shoreditch, London.)


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