Five Ways to Fail at Promoting Your Art on Social Media

Let's face it, nobody likes to fail. Nobody wants to think they’re doing things badly. But if you’re not seeing much in the way of progress when you promote your artwork on social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram, it could be that you’re not maximizing your efforts and using social media like a pro. So here are five “don’ts”—actions to avoid because they’re sure to cause an epic fail—along with the right actions to take to succeed at promoting your art on social media.

1. Don’t be a one-trick pony, posting nothing but images of your own finished artwork every time you complete something new. 

Do follow the 80/20 rule. If you want your followers to be super excited about your posts, relatively few of them should be explicitly promoting your work—about 20% of them, in fact. What about the other 80%? These posts should offer a wide variety of items that reflect your brand in a more indirect way. You can create your own posts of anything related to your artistic life, along with posts about your personal life that are relevant to your audience. And don’t forget the power of re-posting other people’s posts that you think your followers might like.

2. Don’t be boring, creating posts that don’t fulfill your followers’ needs.

Do think about why people tune in to social media, then deliver it. People are looking for posts that are interesting, entertaining, and perhaps even useful or applicable to their lives in some way. So which is better? A post that’s just a picture of your latest sculpture, or a post that explains how or why you created the sculpture in the picture? A post that’s just a picture of your latest workshop, or a post that reveals one of the valuable tips artists will learn when they take one of your workshops? You get the idea.

3. Don’t indulge in one-way communication, constantly “talking” without ever listening and responding.

Do engage in two-way communication. Write posts that ask questions, invite comment, and encourage dialogue. And take extra care to revisit older posts so that you can respond to all of the personal, meaningful comments your followers have left in response to your posts.

4. Don’t fail to attract new fans by focusing exclusively on your existing followers.

Do grow your network by reaching out to other people on your social media platform who just might love your art. Where do you find them? Your own feed is a good place to start. Look at your friends’ posts that are showing up in your feed and interact with their friends who are responding to your posts. You just might discover people with whom you have a lot in common. And look into the Facebook groups for like-minded people who share your same interests, interact to make connections, and then invite a select few to become direct friends or followers. You never know when one of these people will fall in love with your creations.

5. Don’t be inconsistent, dipping in and out of social media at whim.

Do make a commitment to participate on social media a certain number of times per week, preferably daily. If you want Facebook and other social media platforms to regularly show your posts to your followers, you’ve got to demonstrate that you’re a regular user. And you really don’t need to worry about overwhelming your followers with too many posts. Keep in mind that most social media platforms show each post to only a subset of your followers. For example, your most recent Facebook post probably only went to less than 20% of your followers. At that rate, you’d need to post five posts just to hit most of your followers even one time. Bottom line, if you’re using social media to promote your artwork, you’ve got to post pretty frequently to stay “top of mind” with your followers. (Here are a few tips for making social media marketing more manageable.)

What questions do you have about social media art marketing? Let’s connect!

P.S. If you enjoyed these tips and want even more helpful advice on marketing your fine art, please subscribe to my FREE weekly e-newsletter. Click the blue triangle above to sign up!


  • Hi Judy, getting exposure is definitely a top priority. A couple of suggestions: participate in competitions (see the post from 2 weeks ago about this), and use those events to gain media coverage. I’d also recommend using social media, building a website, and sending out a monthly e-newsletter. Take every opportunity to build your e-mail mailing list. Good luck! Jennifer


  • Been painting for a while . But not sure how to get my work noticed. Good or Bad. Sold a few- but need help in getting more people interested.


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