Does Social Media Sell Art or is it a time suck?

Stephanie Weaver
5 min readJun 4, 2021

There is a dark side of being a creator, a side that gets depressed, a side that doesn’t know if it is good enough or that struggles with obtaining validation that he/she is good enough. This is one of the imposter syndrome components and it is fueled by the Social Media narcissistic gods, Facebook, Instagram and Tiktok, etc.

The result of the dark side is a conflict between us seeking validation from what we create or creating for the love of creating.

When we create and wait on the social media gods to respond with 2000 likes or get a large number of followers the social media machine fuels our ego and makes us think ‘yes, I am worthy’.

‘I must create more.’

Welcome to the dark side. The dark side of fueling the ego and the social media gods that benefit from your content.

This dark side quickly turns into an abusive relationship with a narcissist with whom you’ll never be good enough for and they’ll make you think it is your fault.

So what should you do with Social media?

For a minute, let’s call social media Karen. (Give it a real name) So you can see what this relationship is actually like.

  • Post #1 — You call Karen and say “hey, I’m sending you a pic of my latest work — I can’t wait to hear what you think?” To which Karen takes it, Karen buries your photo in a pile of photos and doesn’t respond.
  • Post #2 — You call Karen and say “hey did you see it”, she responds with “oh, I’m sorry I didn’t cause you didn’t put the right tag on it and I forgot”.
  • Post #3 — “hey check out this painting, #painting #oilpainting #artwithkaren”. Karen sees her name in the post “oh that looks nice, here is my PayPal account for $5 and I’ll send it to some other friends”.

If Karen were an actual person, you’d say “bitch, f(#$ off”.

The truth is, Facebook, Instagram, Tiktok are narcissistic jerks who do not serve you.

BUT now that you know the truth about Social Media you can use it to your advantage!

Evaluate Your Relationship With Social Media

So here are 3 things to do to evaluate your relationship with Social Media

  1. How does social media make you feel?
    If you feel it fuels your ego, and you are on an ego high and low — get off. T his leads to dependence on others for gratification and instead go within to create for the love of creating.
    - If Facebook, Instagram feels like a “have to do” or a “should” instead of a “love to” do, then ditch it.
  2. Go with logic not feelings… Get to know your Google Analytics.
    How many of those “fans” actually purchased from you?
    - How many people are coming to your website from these platforms? (We’ll talk about this in the upcoming Google Analytics Lunch and Learn — register here)
    How many of those “fans” actually engage with you?
  3. Ask yourself, is what I am doing feeding my soul?
    If you don’t get anything from Facebook and Instagram, then they are a time and money suck. If they don’t help — ditch it.
    - If you go to Facebook and Instagram for entertainment, to catch up on old friends, or find it fun, then they are serving their purpose and you have a healthy relationship with them!

The next question: How do I get people to know about my artwork?

I hate to say it (primarily because it is harder work than just sitting and posting AND as an introvert, I find this part exhausting), but when I look at my numbers and the purchasers over the years the most dependable source of art sales came from the good-ole-fashioned meet people in real life.

Have artwork in locations, do art shows, have art in shops, do the meet and greets, hand out business cards. I can tell you from personal experience, the people I engage with in-real-life, are far more engaged than the random clickers…

The only way to really engage with people who want to hear from you is to have them join your newsletter and encourage them to respond to your newsletter.

Stephanie, are you being hypocritical?

Now, I know we recently had a class on Social Media where we had an expert come in and chat with us about what to do on social media. And you will see me post on social media but I do it when I want to if I want to, I’ll schedule them using the tools the platforms provide — not for the ego part of it (I don’t pay for any schedulers anymore — the ROI wasn’t worth it)

I know based on my Google Analytics data, showing my art on social media doesn’t result in sales. But I continue to post because I love to share and my thoughts are perhaps it will inspire someone to paint AND I do have people who know, like, and trust me on that platform.

3 Hard Truths about Social Media:

Truth 1: When a company doesn’t sell a product or a service, YOU are the commodity. In short, Social Media is using your creative content to buy the data of others and if you are part of it for the wrong reasons, it will steal your joy of creating.

Truth 2: Social media is slowly dying thanks to Zuckerberg’s greed and use of our data. People like privacy. Facebook and Instagram and still China-owned Tiktok are using your data to use against you and make you into buying machines by presenting you with convenient ads. AND you’ll also notice the demographic data for FB and Insta do not include teens and 20 year-olds, which means it will age out, eventually.

Truth 3: Facebook and Instagram will be suppressed more and more thanks to Apple imposing ethical data standards check out this article from Use the social media platforms for what they are supposed to be — a phone tree. A Phone tree that Karen forgot to use without being paid.


In summary, if you feel like Facebook, Instagram and the other social media platforms aren’t serving you and they make you feel like you aren’t good enough, then don’t engage in that relationship. BUT if you recognize the platforms for what they are, a paid advertising platform to target specific audiences or a way to contact friends and family, then you are one of the few I know who have a good relationship with the narcissistic platforms.

Regardless of your relationship with these platforms, always remember, why you are on social media: if it is to sell, then drive the users back to your site to signup for your newsletter so you can engage with them. If it is for fun — then have fun!

Originally published at



Stephanie Weaver

I am an artist and founder of the Positive Painter Art Business Program. I focus on helping the next generation of artists thrive & find balance.