by guest blogger McKenna Hallett
You don’t have a lot of say about your exposure when it comes to using third-party sites. Here’s how to take back control.
Have you been watching the changes? It was about a year ago that Facebook made a bunch of new rules and changes to their algorithm. Slowly, it was obvious to most of us that posting to our fans was no longer as fruitful. Got 500 or 5,000 likes? Want to reach more than, say 7% of them? Not happening now – unless you pay to boost.
Someone like me, writing this guest post for Artsy Shark, doesn’t have a lot of motivation to pay when almost everything we post is informational. Who would pay to invite people to see content that is free? For many who use Facebook, it’s been a long year of knowing that we are no longer reaching people who may really want to hear from us.
But, so it goes. We don’t own Facebook. They make the rules.
The newest and potentially most damaging rule starts this month.
As the Wall Street Journal stated in a well-distributed article on this subject, New Facebook Rules Will Sting Entrepreneurs, if you have been using Facebook to invite sales of your artwork, you will discover as January unfolds that your posts are going to be removed.
It’s still a bit of a gray area, but it appears that putting up a post with a photo of a new item and a link to your website and/or shopping cart will trigger the removal. They see that as an ad and expect paid advertising for such service. Having an open studio? Showing at an art fair? It’s all iffy as to your ability to “advertise” those events either.
This is the new world of Facebook. Some people will have no problem complying and making Facebook part of their advertising expenses, but I know for most of my clients, this is just not feasible.
It’s all about ownership.
Your fans decided to “like you” on Facebook, right? So you would think that you should have access to them anytime you post, right? They “LIKED” you! Can it be any plainer?
But as far as Facebook, Etsy, or eBay are concerned, you don’t own anything on those sites. You are a “user” and you signed a long user agreement to have a presence on their sites. It would seem obvious that if you sell something, you should have full access to the buyer and be able to sell to them again, right? They gave you money and they might want to give you more someday. They are “your customer” – you should have full control and access, right?
Not really. Not on Facebook, not on Etsy or Ebay, and not on many other sites.
Want to move your activities to another social media site like Pinterest, Google+ or maybe Instagram? Remember: Facebook bought Instagram, so what do you think the future might bring on that site? Ask yourself: How involved should you be or how much time should you invest where you don’t own? I am not saying that you shouldn’t use all manner of media! Use them all. But when you start spending money, rethink and regroup.
Get control of your own clients.
- Get your own website (this can be free), shopping cart system (also can be free), and start building your email list.
- You own those names. Your email list can never be taken away from you.
- You control your engagements. The only way you lose that connection is if they unsubscribe. Internationally, that rate is two for every 1000 emails sent.
- The people on your email list have given you permission to stay in touch. (Never send to someone you don’t know – that’s spam!)
- You don’t have to pay to reach more people on your list. Emails have a delivery rate of 97% – not 7% (And it’s ironic that FB emails their notifications).
- You can send an email and know exactly who opened or “clicked through”. In contrast, you have no idea who sees your Facebook posts.
Get control of your business.
If you don’t use email marketing, start by purchasing the Artsy Shark Success Guide to Email Marketing for Artists that I co-authored with Carolyn Edlund. Then, start using a professional email system. My favorite is Constant Contact. There are many out there, just choose wisely. This will need to be something you will use on a regular basis to be effective, or you will abandon it. If you have one and use it very randomly – start rethinking your marketing strategy and get on a schedule of at least one email each month. Don’t let your list get cold.
Start activating every tool possible (the e-course includes a guide to growing your list as part of the many bonus materials) to grow your list. And don’t forget to put out a request for emails on Facebook. So far, they don’t seem to mind that.
Mckenna Hallett is an email specialist and marketing guru for Artsy Shark. Visit her site to learn more about email marketing and why it is 40 times more effective than Facebook and Twitter combined. Don’t forget to sign up for her occasional emails for tips on making your email marketing more effective!