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how to make money on Society6 as an artist featured image

Once you have your Society6 shop set up and running, you are probably wondering how to actually get sales. Hopefully, your shop will grow and you’ll start earning passive income soon. Learn how to make money on Society6 in this article!

How to make money on Society6 as an artist pin

So you’re an artist/photographer/graphic designer/creative person and you want to earn money selling your works on print-on-demand websites. Look no further! I will walk through how to do just that! I will go pretty deep into details here on how to make money on Society6 so hopefully, you’ll have all the tools you need to kick-start your shop!

This is from my own experience so keep in mind that what applied to me may not necessarily apply to you. There is no “fits all” strategy to make money on Society6. You will have to try different things and see what works best for you. However, my tips below will give a general idea of what you can do.

1. It takes time

Chances are you have been at it for a while now, your shop is looking great, and you upload new artwork on a regular basis. Good, keep going! Sales will not happen overnight, it can take a long time to be found. You are competing with thousands of other talented artists.

It took me about 4 months to make my first sale and about a year before starting to see a decent amount of money. Making money on Society6 takes time. So know that this is not a get-rich-quick scheme. Actually, since the commissions are so small it’s quite the opposite. I mean, sell a throw pillow and you’ll only make $3.30. You’ll need to sell a ton to be able to get a decent income! So be patient.

Once you get the ball rolling though, passive income is great! You’ll start earning money by not doing anything. Well, not quite true, the work never stops! But hey, passive income!

Get these art prints in my Society6 shop.

2. Make sure your storefront looks great

Start by making sure you have the basics covered. I recommend you read my post on How to sell on Society6 first if you don’t have a shop set up already. Quick recap:

  • Upload as many good quality artworks as possible.
  • Make sure your bio is filled out.
  • Add a banner if you don’t have one already.
  • Make sure your work is consistent and fits well on individual products.
  • Organize artworks into collections. Collections can gather works that have the same subjects, color, mood, or however you want to do it.

Your art has to appeal to people too, obviously. It has to be something they want. Some people recommend following trends but I personally don’t. I create whatever I feel like creating. I do always try to keep the potential customer in mind though. But if it’s your thing, go with the trends! Just remember, to make money on Society6, your items have to be desirable.

Society6 FloArtStudio storefront

3. Getting found

There are thousands of artworks on the website, so how do you get found? How do you make money on Society6 when there is so much competition?

First, you need to have good SEO. SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. It is “the process of affecting the online visibility of a website or a web page in a web search engine’s unpaid results—often referred to as “natural”, “organic”, or “earned” results.” (as per Wikipedia).

Basically, you need good titles, tags, and descriptions, so people can find you. You need to think about what a customer would type in the search bar to find your artwork and you need to use those keywords in your title, description, and tags. I am far from being an expert on the subject so I will just explain how I try to have good SEO for my artworks.

Title

When I upload something, I start with the title. I will usually write what I named the artwork and then add what it actually is, if it doesn’t say already. For instance, I have a piece titled “On the Plains” so my title on S6 is “On the Plains – Bison painting”. The title has to be descriptive. Use keywords in it.

Description

The description needs to identify what is in your artwork and it must contain keywords as well. Describe what the work you are uploading is and the keywords should fall into place naturally. Think about the subject, the mood, the season, the materials you used, things a customer might search for.

My descriptions are short and to the point. They tell you what the subject is. Honestly, I need to re-do some to make them a bit longer I think. But you don’t need to write a novel either. Then, the tags come into play!

Tags

The most important part to get found in search in my opinion. The tags, much like the description, should describe what the art is about. Again, think about what the customer would type in the search bar. So for that bison painting I mentioned above I have bison, illustration, digital, colorful, and so on.

The way Society6’s search engine works, the quality of the keywords is more important than the quantity. It looks at the ratio of your keywords and the higher the ratio, the more likely you are to show up in the search. So let’s say you have something tagged “cat”, “painting”, “animal”, and a customer searches for “cat”. It’s a third of your keywords so the search engine will think, hey, that’s a pretty close match! If you have 10 other keywords, it’ll think, hey, it matches but it’s not as good a match as the other one, I’m gonna show the previous one first and this one below.

And that’s why you should not keyword stuff. Keyword stuffing is bad!

S6 recommends 10 tags or less. They also recently explained that tagging colors is useless. Their system looks at the picture you uploaded and pulls colors from there, so don’t waste your precious tags, they are very important if you want to make money on Society6.

Do keep in mind that it’s not only about tags. Other things come into play to get found in search.

Bison digital painting art print
“On the Plain” bison painting. Get this art print in my Society6 shop.

4. What goes into ranking on the first page

Being on the first page of a search is how to make money on Society6. From experience, I think there are three main things that weigh on whether or not your art will rank high: good SEO, sale history, and promotions (somewhat, more on that below).

  • SEO

As covered above, if you can’t be found, you won’t sell. Your SEO had to be on point, so make sure you fully understand the section above. Be descriptive in your title, description, and tags.

  • Sale history

So if a piece sells well, it will rank well. The more you sell, the better you rank. Vicious circle, I know, especially if your goal is to get that first sale. But once you get the ball rolling, it will go far! The first few sales are the hardest to get. Don’t be discouraged, that’s when promoting comes into play.

  • Promotions

Promotions are when you like an artwork. It’s when you click on the little heart near the title. When I started on S6, a minimum of 12 promotions were required for an artwork to even appear in the search. They took that rule away some time ago, thankfully.

Now, in a video S6 released, they clearly stated that promotions and comments on an artwork played no part into ranking. But the more promotions and comments on a work, the more it is seen.

Think about it. It means people are looking at your work. They like it, they may check out your profile, they may come back later, they may post it on their own social medias, and if they really really love it, they may buy it!

That brings us to:

5. The community

Engage with the community. If you want to make money on Society6, you need to be social. The website is filled with incredibly creative people. Follow fellow artists, like their work, comment on their pictures. First, you’ll discover tons of cool artworks and second, artists are also customers sometimes. I know I am, I treated myself to a few posters from my favorite artists at Christmas for instance.

That’s why I believe promotions (meaning likes) are important even if it won’t make your work rank higher. There are several way to get promotions.

Connect with other artists on Society6

Like and comment on other people’s artworks. More than likely, some artists will return the favor and favorite your art and maybe even follow you in return. You can sort items in the search by “New” so you see works that were uploaded recently first. If they were just published a few hours or days ago it means the artist is active on the website and you are more likely to get a favorite back.

Promote on social medias

Create a Facebook fan page if you don’t already have one, an Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter account, so on… You don’t have to use every single social media website of course. I would recommend picking two or three and focus on those. I like Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest. Get your art out there! Connect with other artists! Have fun!

Honestly, don’t count too much on Society6 bringing you traffic and making you sales. You need to promote your art and drive traffic to your items on your own at first.

Making money on Society6 can be daunting in the beginning. Don’t neglect social media sites as they can make the whole difference. It’s hard to be seen on print-on-demand websites in the sea of shops. Driving your own traffic to your shop and building a fan base is important.

And again, be patient.

Join some Facebook groups

The method that tremendously helped me is promoting in Facebook groups. That’s what made the difference for me. There are some groups that were created specifically for you to share the art you have published on Society6. In these groups, you can ask for people to like your art in exchange for liking theirs. It works great! Although it’s hard to tell, I do believe that’s how I eventually got my first sale!

I also highly recommend joining the Artist Hub group created by Society6, where they share updates, educational videos, and where you can ask questions.

Squirrel painting framed art print

Sooo, I think all that covers how to make money on Society6 pretty well don’tcha think?

Key takeaways

  • Be hella patient, this is not a a get-rich-quick scheme.
  • Take pride in your shop, it has to look great and be filled with good quality artworks.
  • Be descriptive with your title, description and tags. Think about which keywords a customer would use to find your art.
  • Engage with the community.
  • Promote on social media.

Now go and make money on Society6!

If you would like more tips about the creative life, subscribe to my Newsletter to be notified when a new blog post is published. You’ll also get special deals on my art and an exclusive look at new paintings! I don’t spam I promise.

And if you have any questions, ask in the comments! Ask away my friend!

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7 Comments

  1. Nice article! makeing money on S6 can be daunting. I have been a member of the site for 3 and half years and I still make around little to nothing, excpet around the holidays. I love your artwork!

    1. Thank you!

      It can be very hard to start making a decent income on S6, that’s why I think it’s best to diversify and have your works on other websites too. I’m actually going to write an article on that soon I think. I usually make a lot around the holidays too and then it dies down quite a bit. Hang in there! You never know when you’ll finally break through!

  2. Thank you so much for the insight. I’ve been on Society6 and I was like “God, this takes like forever.” Because of your article I have a more realistic view on it now and know that I have to be more patient. Have a great week. 🙂

  3. Thanks very much for this article. I’ve just uploaded my first three works of photo art and your tips will help me to improve the possibility of getting sales. It also helped by reminding me to be patient!
    Thanks again.

  4. My products used to sell a few years ago without the help of social media. Nowadays it’s the only way. My question is: if you divide your income by the amount of hours you invest on social media how much do you make per hour? Society6 pays you pennies per product so you would have to make a ton of sales in order to get paid at least minimum wage per hour. I only do social media to promote my original art, I feel it’s a waste of my time doing social media for society6. It’s almost as if I was their slave: I work making art and I work as their sales person while they are the ones making all the good money. Terrible business model, it’s insulting for us, artists.

    1. Good point. But Society6 is not something to do full time, unless you’re really lucky and your art is somehow found organically. Otherwise, like you said, you end putting so many hours promoting on social media it’s not really worth it I agree. It can still be a fun small revenue stream for artists that have artworks they want to sell printed on products since we don’t have to do any of the printing and shipping ourselves. So I don’t think it’s a bad business model. It could certainly be better and it’s definitely not for everyone though, yes.

  5. […] Learn more about how to actually start making money on Society6 with this more in-depth article. […]

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