Advertising, understanding the customer journey, and driving sales for your art business on Facebook
Social media moves fast. What began in the early 2000s now feels like the dark ages, and once-dominant platforms have disappeared. Remember Friendster? Or MySpace, which temporarily surpassed Google Search as the most visited website in the United States in 2006? If you’re a millennial or younger, probably not. Today is all about Instagram and TikTok, which are both platforms influencers cash in on.
What about Facebook? This behemoth company has dominated the social media market for over a decade. But is it still relevant? If so, what’s changed for companies using the platform to advertise and grow their business? And how can you use it to connect with collectors and ultimately drive sales?
Facebook, a Little History
Although TikTok, Snapchat, and other platforms have attracted younger users, in 2021, Facebook is still attracting over 2.7 million active users per month. This means that businesses still use it as one of their primary marketing platforms.
On the surface, Facebook is a social media platform that connects people from around the world. At least, this was what it was in its infancy. Now, it sells ads on its social media websites and mobile applications. These sales are the primary source of the company’s income. And it’s no small business — in 2020, Facebook generated $84.2 billion in ad sales. And the number of active advertisers on Facebook from the first quarter of 2016 to the third quarter of 2020 has grown exponentially, from roughly 3 million to 10 million.
A New Dawn for Facebook Ads
Remember the days when people just posted photos and short text updates to Facebook and called it a day? Well, not anymore. Today, video, augmented reality (AR), and virtual reality (VR) advertisements attract the lion’s share of views.
- Video content: Seventeen percent of all content on Facebook is video, and businesses are increasingly using this media to connect with their audience.
- AR and VR: These technologies are hot right now, with a market size of $18.8 billion in 2020. Facebook’s Spark AR studio is enormously popular among social media users. The studio’s AR library allows users to import complete 3D objects, audio clips, and more to start building their own effects — or you can use a range of ready-made objects already contained in the library. These finished projects can be used as ads can use AR camera effects that allow people to interact with the art you post on the mobile Facebook newsfeed.
The name of the game of these ads is to get as many views as possible that lead to sales. Rather than just throw out a handful of ads showing art, it’s important to carve out a niche in the space. What does your gallery or art fair do differently from any other art venue? That is the thing you need to sell in your ads. Pro tip: the shorter the video, the better. Videos between about a minute up to five minutes long work the best.
The Customer Journey
Understanding the customer journey is key to using Facebook effectively. This means spending some time figuring out your target audience and then being cognizant of the states collectors go through as they interact with the art you’re selling. These stages include: 1) becoming aware of your business; 2) considering what you’re selling; 3) and then deciding to make a purchase.
While ads are an important way to pull people through the customer journey, Facebook has other tools to help people get to know businesses.
- Facebook Live: In 2020, Facebook Live usage increased by 26.8 percent from the year before. While the pandemic probably had a lot to do with this, it’s expected that the trend will continue in 2021. For galleries, art fairs, and other institutions, Facebook Live lets collectors have a real, authentic experience seeing art shows and collections, all from the comfort of their own home.
- Facebook Groups: What is the key to developing and maintaining relationships with collectors? Interacting with them regularly where they’re at, about the things they are interested in. There are more than 10 million groups on Facebook. With the right moderators, it’s possible to create communities that interact with each other’s posts, photos, videos, and more.
Groups are a way to post information about events, including artist talks, video premieres, and more. And the best part? The more popular a group is, the more people want to join. And Facebook groups aren’t bound by geography, meaning people from all around the world can hang out with like-minded collectors. The best groups are used to communicate with collectors — but savvy art professionals also use them to join and interact with other groups.
Although Facebook started out small, today its ecosystem allows art institutions to use myriad tools to help visualize the customer journey, create ads, form communities, and drive sales. Not only is the platform still relative, it’s an essential part of an art institution’s marketing strategy and growth story.