Art Tips: Society6 – Beating the Algorithm part 1

I’m back to my series of posts that will try to pick apart my okay-success (let’s face it, there are better ways to earn cash, this is not one of them) with Society6.

A lot of what I learned, I learned through trial and error and testing out the methods mentioned in the Society6 Seller’s Guide, which I found extremely useful. I even joined a Facebook group of Society6 sellers in hopes that I would learn their strategies.

The S6 Seller’s Guide
The S6 Seller’s Guide

Big mistake. Majority of the people posting in the groups constantly ranted and complained that the site’s algorithms were ruining their once successful revenue stream. I was confused as I was finally actually earning a little bit of money. I tried to reason with them and provide a devil’s advocate type argument, but I was not to be heard.

Here are my thoughts on the algorithms (Part 1, it got long, sorry):

Algorithms are always going to get you down, don’t rely on it.

Trends change, the way that people try to find products change. POD sites are going to do what they can to try and earn money for themselves, not you. The only way you’ll generate sales is if you do it yourself.

Here’s what helped for me:

1. It’s a game of odds and chances, try often. That means spread out your posts and try to find the best time to post. I would keep one a day max. Most people try to post a whole chunk of artworks in one go and it does a disservice with it popping up as new for those that follow your art.

My S6 Art posts
My S6 Art posts

2. Fill out those SEO tags and titles and descriptions! Especially if you create stuff that has general appeal (like skulls! Very popular!) and then think like a customer and think of words that associate with your art that they might plug into the search in order to find something new.

Society6 edit tags

3. Ratings really don’t matter, but they can help– at the beginning, my most popular piece wasn’t at 800+ likes, but was selling like hot cakes (do people still say hot cakes? I’m old). I also sell stuff on occasion that only have 2 likes. This was never the case for some of my now discontinued art that had anywhere between 70-90 likes.

4. One of the things I noticed with products appearing higher in the search pages is that they have to sell to begin with (remember, POD sites aren’t interested in promoting you unless you sell), so now I have an endless cycle of one product actually being found on the initial pages of Credenzas and t-shirts because it has sold more. It’s a lose-lose situation if you never sell your art because basically it will never appear anywhere except if somebody is searching for it. The only way you’re going to bump up your artwork on the pages is if you get outsiders to purchase your work by self promoting or work with successful tags or on trend designs that people search for.

Credenza listing
While no longer listed second, it’s still listed on the first page.

5. Self promotion is helpful, but don’t spin your wheels. I don’t post a lot on social media (some people might argue otherwise), but I will post a promo graphic if there’s a great sale happening (like a discount + free shipping) or when I post a new design. Social media has its own issues with algorithms so posting frequently could actually work against you over time. Another tip that works is linking your S6 store to your social media instead of maybe your website. If you’re promoting a sale, make it as easy as possible for your audience to reach the product.

6. Think outside of the box! One strategy I did was have free postcards promoting my S6 store and I placed them at the student union of the nearby university. While I can’t necessarily gauge how well it has done, it’s a least a different strategy than relying on Instagram and Facebook. Tap into unknown audiences when you can!

Want $10 off? I have a referral link! Enjoy!

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