12.K Followers but You Can’t Make Rent

You’re doing the work, getting the followers, but still not selling your work. Here’s a few ideas about how to change that.

When it comes to selling original art or products, one of the biggest mistakes people make on social media is thinking that a high number of followers automatically equals big money. It doesn’t. Usually for two reasons: Most people aren’t leading people to a link to actually buy their products and they are not ENGAGING with their followers. Sponsors are no longer looking for high followers, they want to see engagement too. (If you have 12K followers but only 2 comments every three days, that’s not considered high engagement). Here are 6 ways to actually sell your art, book or writing on social media:

1. Make sure there is an active link in your profile and that it leads to a website(s) to buy your art, comic, t-shirt or your crowdfunding campaign.

2. Separate your personal account from your business account. Unless you are a chef promoting your book about Vegan Breakfasts, don’t put pictures of your waffles on the same account that you are selling your art. This does NOT mean that every post is “Buy my Art. Buy my Art.” either. Post your work-in-progress, the convention that you were at where you met some amazing people. Use Facebook live and Instagram Live to show your process and connect with your audience and future customers

3. Make a new IG business profile and include your contact info. IF you already have a personal one with pictures of your kids, friends and family, make a new one for business. If you feel weird about putting your phone number that’s fine, but you MUST put an email address.

4. Tag properly. On instagram put 4 relevant tags in the caption and put up to 21 in the first comment. On Twitter, don’t use more than 3 hashtags (and one needs to be for your brand). On Tumblr only put hashtags in the hashtag section. NOT in the content, no one will see them there. And on Facebook? Only use one or don’t use them at all. The algorithm doesn’t see them and they won’t score you any points with followers. In fact tagging using “@“ someone who you think could benefit from your infer works better.

5. Post more than once across social media about the same event, sale, blog post or subject. For blog posts try posting to social once a day for the first 3 days and then less after that. For for sales, alert your followers the week before multiple times a day (along with other posts). Crowdfunding campaigns need to start advertising the launch at least one to two months out. Things go by so fast on accounts like twitter and Instagram so don’t worry, you won’t look redundant. Especially if you vary headlines or use different art each time.

6. Talk to people. No seriously, people tend to forget the “social” portion of social media. Don’t get me wrong automation can save you a ton of time, (I swear by it), but every day you need to respond to a tweet or Facebook post , or Instagram message. Or simply let folks take a peek into your life through Snapchat or live video to bring humanity to your art and your brand. (Ignore the trolls thought, it’s not worth it).


Karama is a freelance editor, entrepreneur, writer, project manager and all around geek. When she isn’t editing promos and commercials for network television, she’s reviewing graphic novels, speaking out about diversity and interviewing artists for her blog theblerdgurl. She created Tiyland Creativeas a way to help indie artists and entrepreneurs promote themselves through social media and other online spaces.

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