Most musicians know that social media is an essential tool for building and maintaining a fan base. What many do not know is how to really take advantage of those tools to create measurable impact. As the most popular social network, Facebook can be a powerful way to market independent music. Straight from the horse’s mouth, here are the steps that the team at Facebook outlines for creating and promoting your page.
1. Build An Effective Page
First things first, make sure that your page is complete. Build it out with information that communicates your identity as an artist, and the story of your band/brand. Make sure to include photos, a bio or personalized description of the artist, and your location.
Since Facebook doesn’t have a great built-in music player, try adding third party applications to give fans the ability to sample your music directly from your page. Check out the Bandcamp, SoundCloud, ReverbNation or Sonicbids applications to add functionality to your Facebook page.
2. Post Engaging Content
Once your page is complete, it is important to use that page to engage your fans. You can do this by asking questions, responding to comments and questions on your page, and posting regular updates. When you post regularly, you create a dialogue with those who like your page, and stay fresh in their minds. Facebook offers the following guidelines for your posts:
- Keep it human – Don’t be too formal in your posts. Your fans want to feel like they are reading something written by a real person. Write your posts in a tone that is consistent with your image as an artist.
- Keep it timely and relevant – Tie-in your posts to things that are happening in the lives of your fans (i.e. – holidays, seasonal events, etc.).
- Share news and offers – Make sure to let your fans know what is going on in your world, and let them know about new releases, as well as ticket and merchandise opportunities.
- Encourage participation – Ask questions, give fans an opportunity to share their stories, and stay connected to the conversations that happen on your page.
- Reward fans – Make special offers available to your fans. If liking your Facebook page feels like an insider’s club where fans receive special rewards, it will create a sense of value for your fans.
- Schedule time for Facebook – Read and reply to the comments on your page, and engage in conversation with those who comment on your posts. Staying plugged in will enable you to form a relationship with your fans and make them feel like they have a connection with you.
- Plan ahead to be able to support the engagement you seek – Create an editorial calendar to plan for upcoming posts. This will help you make sure you have engaging content to post, rather than trying to come up with something on the spot. Then, make sure you have the time put aside to support those posts by replying to comments and questions as they appear.
As a page admin, you can access your page’s Insights to see reports on your page activity. Here you can see how your page’s interactions look over time, and see if your social reach is growing. Insights are powerful tools to measure your page’s stats and effectiveness.
3. Use Ads and Sponsored Stories to Gain New Fans
While building and maintaining a page to engage current fans is important, the real power of Facebook can be found in acquiring new fans. While it requires some level of financial investment to use ads and sponsored stories, budgeting and reporting tools are available to help you get the most bang for your buck.
To acquire new fans, Facebook recommends the following steps:
1. Use Facebook ads and sponsored stories to spread your reach.
2. Add a Welcome tab to your page to encourage first-time page visitors to become fans.
3. Partner with other musicians to drive your fans to each other’s pages.
Understanding Facebook Ads:
There are four ad formats available on Facebook:
1. Standard – These ads direct traffic to an external website (such as your official website).
2. Application – These ads promote a Facebook application you have developed.
3. Like – These ads promote your Facebook page, and drive traffic to “Like” your page.
4. Event – These promote a Facebook event (such as a live performance).
The two formats that are most likely to be useful for musicians are Like and Event ads. Using these ad types, you can promote your page on Facebook to increase your fans, and promote live performances to increase your draw.
When creating your ads, take the time to make your selections carefully, and be sure to check your performance reports often to get the best return. Facebook recommends the following steps for creating great ads:
1. Target effectively
- Understand your target audience – First, think about what your fan base looks like today. Consider the location, gender, language and other demographic information about the people who already like your page. This will help you determine the types of selections you should make when targeting your ads.
- Try targeting by interests – Think about targeting people who are fans of other bands that may have a similar fan base to you.
2. Design an engaging ad
- Get the creative right:
– Use succinct, clear copy.
– Make sure your imagery is relevant and engaging.
– Use questions to engage.
– Offer discounts or promotions if applicable.
– Make sure the ad is action-oriented.
- Create multiple versions:
– Use Facebook’s built-in analytics and reporting tools to measure the success of each version to determine the most effective combination of copy and imagery.
3. Set the right budget and bid amount
- Set your budget either per day, or for the full lifetime of the campaign.
- Based on the targeting options you have selected, Facebook will recommend a bid amount. Make sure that your budget is appropriate for the bid amount you will likely be paying per click.
4. Analyze and optimize
- Use ad reporting to measure the effectiveness of your ads:
– Look at peaks to see when users are interacting with your ads (weekends, weekdays, etc).
– Look at your social reach, as the social component has a big impact on whether new fans are likely to interact with your page.
– Check the Responder Demographics report to find out which group is interacting most with your campaign. Use this information to target future ads.
- Match your most effective offer with your most effective creative to your most effective audience. As you test and measure new combinations of imagery, copy and targeting, make sure to continually use the most effective of each to maximize your ad’s impact.
- Use Page Insights to better understand your page engagement, learn which content resonates with your audience, and optimize your activity based on insights.
Understanding Sponsored Stories:
According to Facebook, Sponsored Stories are designed to let you amplify word of mouth and create word of mouth marketing at scale. Essentially, a Sponsored Story takes a newsfeed activity that a fan creates by interacting with your page, and pins that activity to the right-hand side of that user’s friends’ newsfeeds. For example: Eric likes a post on your page; this like is then added to his friends’ newsfeeds (“Eric liked the post…”); since the newsfeed is always being updated, some of Eric’s friends may not see this story; Sponsored Stories pins this story to the right-hand side of his friends’ newsfeeds, making sure they see it.
Research shows that social reach has a significant impact on a person’s intent to buy. Seeing that their friends like your page can be a strong motivator for a new fan to like your page. Since Sponsored Stories have that inherent social component, they can be a very powerful tool for musicians to gain new fans on Facebook.
There are 3 types of Sponsored Stories that are useful for musicians:
1. Page Like – Shows when a user likes your page on the right-hand of the newsfeed.
2. Page Post Like – Shows when a user likes or comments on a post on your page on the right-hand of the newsfeed.
3. Domain – Shows when a user engages with a social plug-in on your external website (i.e. – “Like” button) on the right-hand of the newsfeed.
Sponsored Stories are set up the same as a Facebook ad, and use the same reporting and targeting options.
4. Use Social Plug-ins to Promote Your Page
The ability to promote your Facebook page is not limited to the Facebook website. Using what Facebook calls Social Plug-ins, you can expand your social fan base from external websites as well.
There are four types of Social Plug-ins that can be added to your website to add social functionality:
1. Like Button – This plug-in can be added to your website to let users like content from your site and have it display on their Facebook newsfeed.
2. Send Button – This plug-in lets users send content from your website to a select group of friends on Facebook.
3. Comments Plug-in – This plug-in lets users comment on content on your website with their Facebook account, which then displays in their newsfeed.
4. Like Box – This plug-in lets users “Like” your page by clicking a button on your website. This is an easy way to create a social connection with fans that visit your official website.
In addition to the methods outlined above, there are traditional ways to promote your Facebook page as well. Take advantage of the opportunity to create a custom URL for your Facebook page (you need to have a minimum of 25 fans for this option to become available in your page settings), and include that URL on your promotional materials (flyers, cards, posters). You can even create a QR code that fans can scan with their mobile devices, which will take them directly to your Facebook page (try using www.likify.net to create your QR code for free). Social media is an amazing opportunity for musicians to create lasting connections with their fans. It may be a lot of work, but if done correctly, the payoff can be great.
-Pamela Ricci is an artist manager and consumer marketing manager in the Boston area.