Facebook Best Practices for Artists
Facebook continues to be one of the most used and influential social media platforms today in spite of facing many criticisms over the recent years around privacy breaches, data collection, and the spreading of false information. This history has led many to leave the platform in favor of others, and has also led Facebook to change its algorithm and functionality many times over a short period. Although many artists and organizations are shifting their focus and digital presence to other platforms like Instagram and Twitter, having a public Facebook profile can still provide advantageous tools to help expand your digital marketing capabilities. The platform continues to have one of the most robust ad platforms, and a plethora of other functions like Marketplace for selling items and Events to promote online and in-person gatherings. If your time is limited, however, and you do not plan on running paid ads, we suggest checking out our other guides to see what other platforms can better suit your social goals.
This guide is part of our series helping artists navigate digital marketing best practices, which includes tips for growing you audience on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and email.
To begin, decide whether or not you want to make your page a public business account, keep a personal profile, or both. Controversy over Facebook’s display of false and misleading news in the recent years have pushed the platform to display less content from “Pages,” or business profiles, on the feed in favor of more personal content from friends. While you are more likely to get more engagement if you have a personal profile with a large following already, creating or converting your current profile, into a Business or Public Figure page can provide other benefits. It will unlock extra features such as advertising capabilities and post insights, providing you with a foundation to understanding your unique audience. It will also track how each post performs, as well as changes in your overall performance over a period of time. We suggest weighing the pros and cons based on your individual goals. What we discuss in the following sections will apply to business accounts.
Post Types and Creating Content
Eye-catching visuals play a large role in whether or not your content gets attention on Facebook and choosing the right post type can affect the engagement you get in return. Facebook has multiple post formats to choose from, including image and video posts, links, and live. The goal is to use visuals that stand out to get people to stop scrolling through their feed, read your caption, and potentially engage with your content. You, therefore, want to use the optimized image sizes to make the most of the space provided.
When creating content, always think about how it would appear to a user on a mobile device first, since most users of social media are using their phones to browse. Luckily, in the Content Studio of your business profile, Facebook allows you to preview your post on both desktop and mobile as you draft it. This feature also allows you to schedule posts, search through your posts, and more.
We recommend using this feature and always saving the post as a draft before publishing, just to make sure all the assets display properly.
Don’t forget to list your website and updated bio in the “about” section. Upload a recognizable profile image and a cover image that is related to what you do. Cover image sizes vary whether you’re viewing on a mobile device (640×360 pixels) or computer (820×312 pixels). Use an image that would work for both, leaving the most important information in the center. You can also insert a 20-90 second video as a cover banner. This could be useful if you have a professional short film reel, or other videos which showcase your work. According to Facebook, it is best to use 1250×463 pixel videos, with a 2.7:1 aspect ratio.
Images in posts should be at least 1200×630 pixels, however, square images tend to display better on mobile. You can also post multiple images in a single post, just be aware that Facebook crops the image preview depending on how many you add and the image ratio of each. Save your post as a draft first to make sure nothing of importance is cropped off.
The recommended size for videos is 1280×720 pixels, for both portrait and landscape. When creating a video, be sure that it is interesting even without sound. Most people watch videos on Facebook on mute, so add closed captions for any parts with audible speech. Additionally, the first five seconds of your video are vital. If you can hook your audience in within that time frame, they are more likely to watch your video to the end—that means you avoid extensive credits or title screens. Facebook recommends uploading videos that are three minutes or more, but you don’t need to push for that length. It is most important that the content in the video is engaging throughout the whole run time.
A link post is created when you insert a link into the copy of your post. Facebook will automatically pull in an image and headline, and display these as a hyperlink to that page. When making link posts, you have the option of deleting the actual link from your caption to make it appear cleaner, or keeping it in the caption as another clear call-to-action point for the post.
Facebook Live posts, like Instagram Live, can be used for longer, more informal videos. If you’re showing the backstage of a performance, a studio tour, or your process for creating work, this is a post type you may consider. As you go live, your followers will automatically receive a notification to join you. You should aim for your live video to be at least ten minutes long to give your followers time to join, as well as keep those who join in the middle of the broadcast engaged. Audience members are able to make comments, so give them shout outs and answer questions! People love to be acknowledged as they are commenting. You can save the broadcast onto your timeline after you have completed it.
There are many more interactive post types available for Facebook ads, such as carousels and instant experiences, and Facebook is always adding and changing these formats. Sometimes these features go from being exclusively for ads to usable for everyone, and vice versa. It is good to try out different ways of posting to see if there is anything new—both for paid and unpaid posts—that would suit your content better.
Gain Visibility with Events
Facebook can be a useful tool for getting your events more visibility. The advantage of using their in-platform events feature is that you can reach people outside of your personal following for free. Use your current following to your favor—invite them to join and if they accept, this will show up on their timeline, reaching their followers and increasing the visibility of your event quickly. But keep in mind that Facebook limits invites to 500, so be sure to invite your most engaged followers and friends, or people you know would accept your invitation. Facebook also sends reminders to those who marked themselves as “Interested” or “Attending” the day of the event. You can also post updates or reminders in the “Discussion” section of the event to build up excitement.
Advertising on Facebook
Business profiles have the option of using posts as advertisements. It is a relatively inexpensive way to reach more people. But with boosting and the more detailed targeting options in Facebook Ads Manager, starting off using paid advertising on Facebook can be extremely complex. If this is your first time advertising on social media, we recommend trying to do a few simple boosts on existing posts first to get a general idea of how advertising works. To do this, you will simply need to select a post on your timeline and click the “Boost” button. It will bring up options to select a call-to-action button, a targeted audience, duration, budget, and placement. With any type of marketing, it helps to determine your goals before going in.
Facebook Ads Manager has the same capabilities, but you are able to get more detailed with targeting, budgeting, and setting duration of your ads. It is also a place to see all your ads in one place, and serves both Facebook and Instagram advertisements. The platform can be extremely complicated for beginners, so go into it only after you are comfortable with boosts. We won’t go into detail here, but if you think you’re ready to dive into the platform, we recommend checking out Facebook’s basic guide to learn more.
If you are planning to run paid ads, experiment with Instagram as well. Instagram is also owned by Facebook, so you can actually run ads on both platforms with the same assets (although you should create platform-optimized versions) on their Ads Manager platform. With social media changing so quickly, and so many variables at play with ads, it is difficult to pinpoint which platform will work better for you at a given time. Test them out regularly. You always have the option to stop running the ad, or adjust the parameters, if it is not performing well.
Consistency, but with Purpose
As with all social media platforms, consistency is the key to success. Post regularly, even if it’s just once a week—but no more than once per day. Aim to achieve a balance between posting regularly to stay on people’s radar, but not too often as to spam their feeds and risk them unfollowing you. Think carefully about what you post. Facebook is best for sharing information, or entertaining content. The best posts are shareable and have something to offer your audience.
Ultimately, whether you use Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter, it is becoming increasingly important to have a social presence online. Social media enables you to build a devoted audience, gain visibility within your field, and give you a way to keep people engaged with your practice.