Why Your Art Is Not Selling on Instagram or Social Media & How to Solve It with Your Website

Why isn’t your art selling on Instagram or another Mark Zuckerberg-owned social media platform?

In this lesson, we’ll introduce the concept of a sales funnel and help you apply that concept to your art business.

And to help us, please meet Crista Cloutier, founder of The Working Artist.

What Is a Sales Funnel?

So Crista has met loads of artists building an art business over the years who have tried to use social media to drive business…and why shouldn’t they? Most people have at least one social media profile and many have multiple. Alex Scott and his father got really good at using Twitter (now X).

The fundamental problem is that social media is really good at being a top-of-funnel source of strangers, but pretty lousy at being a middle-of-funnel tool to build interest or bottom-of-funnel tool to facilitate a purchase.

A sales funnel is a visual representation of the stages of a sale and is usually divided into three stages:

  • Top of Funnel: This is where strangers hang out and you try to grab their attention. This article focuses on social media but other include paid ads and organic search on Google, signage, having your work on public display, getting local listings in small business forums, and many other places to get your name out there as an artist with work for sale.
  • Middle of Funnel: This is usually a website, where you can take someone whose attention you have momentarily and help them get to know you. Ideally, they’ll start to develop some feelings and understanding about you when they visit your website, and hopefully, you’ll create a strong enough impression that they’ll remember your name.
  • Bottom of Funnel: This is where actual sales happen. When you signed up for ETChster, you answered how you accept payment and deliver the art that someone just purchased. You “close” the sale in the bottom of the funnel.

Collector: “I’d like to purchase work XYZ.”

Artist: “Fantastic. I accept CashApp and you’ll get the art via DHL within 14 days. What’s your shipping address?”

Collector: “My address is 101 Main St….”

Artist: “Perfect. As soon as you send the money, I’ll get your piece shipped to you and send you the tracking number.”

Collector: “Awesome. I can’t wait to get it!”

So Why Aren’t Artists Making Sales on Social Media?

You saw what Crista had to say in the video.

“I think of trying to sell art in the middle of Facebook or Instagram as like trying to sell a house in the middle of a rock concert,” says ETChster Founder Eddie Davis. “It’s not a fit.”

Buying fine art is a complex sale. The buyer has a lot to consider and needs a high degree of trust.

Zuckerberg’s social media properties make their money by getting people to mindlessly scroll for hours on end and hopefully click on a paid ad for an impulse buy.

It’s really hard for someone to focus on you as an artist and then get interested in a particular work in the middle of posts from their friends, like notifications, direct messages, and all the other noise.

So Should I Stop Using Social Media?

In short, no.

But understand that social media works mostly as a top-of-funnel source. You want your posts to invite your visitors to leave the social media platform and come over to your website, which is 100% about you.

That’s called “moving someone down your funnel.”

Does My ETChster Website Connect with Social Media?

Yes. If you like to use social media as a top-of-funnel source, you’ll find handy “Share” buttons on your website itself and any of your public Etchings.

These start posts for you with a hyperlink back to your site or Etching. You just fill in the commentary you want to add.

Note: you can’t put a hyperlink in an Instagram post, but you can link directly to your ETChster website from your Instagram profile.

How Do I Know My Social Media Posting Is Working?

We cover it in more detail in another lesson but even the Forever Free version of ETChster has a built-in traffic tracker.

So check it, do your post, and then check back 24 hours later.

Did you see it jump? Now we’re talking!

Recap: Social Media & Websites for Artists Work Best When Used Together

So keep up the great work. Just understand that when you’re posting, you need to make statements like “Visit my website at etchster.com/XXXX to…” so that people know where to find you and really dig in on your artist’s story and find all the great work you have on display.

And then once you see you’re getting traffic to your site, be on the lookout for inquiries. We’ll talk about how to maximize that in later lessons.