Over the last few weeks, I've been working on running ads on social media and shipping artwork to customers (and raffle winners). To quote a favorite, slightly crazy AI that I know about, "It's a fascinating process.".
Logistics, unsurprisingly, has turned out to be my least favorite set of tasks. Packing, shipping, and paying for the two (and spending my time) has felt like an anchor that could easily drag me down so far that I couldn't function as an artist. So I think that means I'll have to change some things.
I've gotten some great feedback and advice and I think I have a plan to make some adjustments to my Etsy and also start something like a Patreon to offer smaller, recurring works like wallpapers, phone backgrounds and postcard paintings, like I used to do every year with my followers on older social networks.
For ads, I've mostly been running things on Instagram (which I've been tinkering with for about a month, also), but also on Facebook, Etsy (where my shop is) and Reddit.
In just a few short weeks I've learned a ton. I'm also so, so incredibly disappointed in how poorly it all seems to work- and I don't mean results- I mean the process.
Facebook pushed my post to Insta, but I can't see that post- I stumbled across it *once*, forgot to try to find a link and can't get back to it. It had over a thousand likes on Insta, and at the conclusion, I can see that Facebook tells me my engagement was over 5,000 users (with over 20,000 impressions)... But why push to Insta while I'm specifically running an ad there, too? I purposefully spread it out... And there were comments there! Some good ones. Other posts have gotten almost none, and sometimes just asinine responses with no value whatsoever.
Reddit is the worst. I had some external confirmation on this, but their system is exceedingly obtuse and it feels "new". Like it's not working yet. Like their internal processes aren't refined yet. Like they don't know what the fuck they're doing. Which makes sense- only in the last few years has Reddit gotten anywhere near serious, especially as the darker and seedier parts of their site are revealed and they "clean up", so to speak.
Etsy is a bit weird. I had originally set up some promoted posts there several years back. I think they automatically tried to start up when I re-activated my account in May... I wasn't charged anything, but I think the system was kind of "broken" until I realized I needed to go back in and reset things and actually select how I wanted it to function in the current version of the site.
Insta is my baby, and I think it will be forever. I've gotten the most love there, and it is focused on visual content, which is obviously going to be the best platform option for me as a visual artist.
But even still, there are some weird discrepancies that are concerning. For example, my campaign there wrapped- and when I look at the post on the App, there's 657 likes (nice!)... but when I look at it in a browser? 659. Why? What even does that mean? During the campaign, the numbers were off even further- showing over 600 in the app and only about 500 in the browser...
I also go a few comments on that post, but no notifications of that (possibly they got lost in my feed, because I didn't notice them), but the time doesn't seem to match up- I think I would have noticed it.
This isn't an end or some final assessment. This will grow and change. I'm hoping to find a regular job because at this point, art by itself can't pay my bills... But I'll keep plugging away and keep trying to learn these ancillary but all too important skills to really make this work in the end.