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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:
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
2. Design an engaging ad
– 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.
– 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
4. Analyze and optimize
– 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.
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.