Social Media for Musicians Vol.1: Facebook
So, you want your band on Facebook! Social media has allowed bands to find new fans (and vice versa) like nobody’s business. After all, social media is nothing more than good old-fashioned word-of-mouth, spiced up with a dash of globo-digital instantaneousness and searchability. With 1.06 Billion users, there’s gotta be somebody on there who’s going to like your band. And most importantly of all, Facebook appeals to the human need for soapboxes by making it single-click easy for your fans to tell their friends all about how great your band is.
There’s a lot to go over here. Since you’re reading this, I’ll assume you’re online, and since you’re online, you may already know how to set up a Facebook page. For those who like to skip ahead:
- Facebook Page Setup
- Facebook Store Setup
- Best Practices for bands on Facebook
- Adding Friends
- Dos and Don’ts
Facebook Page Setup:
It’s easy to set up and totally worth the trouble. Note that Facebook layout changes from time to time, so if you’re reading this a few years after publication, the navigation may have changed a bit.
1. From your home page, click “Pages” on the far left.
2. Click on “Add a Page.” (Alternatively, you can skip the above by navigating straight to https://www.facebook.com/pages/create/, if you’re feeling keyboardy.)
3. Click on “Artist, Band, or Public Figure. Choose Category “Musician/Band.”
Fill out the details in the next few dialogue boxes. These are pretty self-explanatory:
Populate your page with “About” info including your band lineup and a description of your sound. This process isn’t all that different from filling out a personal profile, which you must have done at least once already, since that’s required to get into Facebook and create a page. So we’ll skip that. Worth noting is that Facebook is picky when it comes to the dimensions of your images—so here’s a handy guide for sizing them appropriately.
Next up? Add your Nimbit store to your page so you can sell music directly from Facebook. This process is covered in detail in the handy video below. You can get the ball rolling on setting up your Nimbit store on Facebook by clicking this link.
So, you’ve got your store up and running. Be sure to invite friends to Like your new page by clicking on “See All” in the top right of the “Invite Friends” section.
From there, you’ll get a much better interface for inviting folks to like your page. Choose the folks you think would like your band and click “Submit”.
So, now what? Let’s look at some of the best practices for making the most of your presence on Facebook.
Frame of mind:
Think twice, post once. The best way for your Facebook page to serve you is to have it serve your fans first. So, with every element you add or change to your page, consider the fan’s perspective. Here’s some quick questions to get you in the mindset.
What sort of folks are interested in your band? And, by extension, what sort of content do they like? If your band is highly visual, with lots of lights/costumes/dancing girls, etc., then maybe video is going to be more important to your Facebook presence than text and images. If your band is of the hardcore DIY-touring mindset, post shots of the band crammed into the van, and of the crazy restaurants you will inevitably find out there. (I recommend Bolton’s Spicy Chicken and Fish in Nashville, BTW)
What do you want to have happen? Are you looking to sell music online first and foremost? Or do you just want to get word out about your shows? Consider these things when prioritizing content on your Facebook page. If online music sales are more your bag, make sure that the Nimbit store is front-and-center and easy for your visitors to find.
Best Practices—Dos and Don’ts.
Create Events for your shows, usually. Before doing so, watch for redundant events set up by the venue holding the shows. Having multiple events on Facebook set up for the same show dilutes the messaging and increases the chance that fewer people will be aware of your upcoming performance. Participation in Facebook marketing can vary wildly from venue to venue, so once you’re booked, check in with the booker to see what the venue’s policy is. If they have already set up an event for your show, get the link and share it to your audience and personal friends. Ask to be made an admin of the venue’s event. The worst they can do is say “no.” Post links to your music in the event, as well as on the venue’s Facebook page, so fans of the venue can get turned on to your sound before the show. Post reminders of the show 3 days before you take the stage, as well as on the day of the show itself. Link to the Facebook Event in your post(s).
Invite friends to like/share your page, but be judicious about it. Don’t spam everyone on your whole friend list, take the time to figure out which people might be actually interested in your music. Few grandmas are into Toxic Holocaust, so fan request accordingly. Likes are important for booking, as venues will take a quick glance at your like count, which implies that more folks will pay to come and see you play.
Give away some music! You don’t have to give it all away, of course, but who doesn’t love a freebie? One of the best way to reward your fans and show your appreciation is via Nimbit’s Promo Tool. Getting your fans to download a freebie is a great foot-in-the-door to an album sale. Among other things, Nimbit’s Promo Tool allows for:
- Share a free download, automatically followed up with a discount on your full album at a specified time
- Offer a discount on an item, then reward fans who purchase with a thank you message and a free bonus
- Set start and end times for limited-time-only promos (A window of opportunity is a great motivator)
For more on Nimbit’s Promo Tool, click here. It also works on Twitter—more on that in the next blog post in this series.
Ask questions. People LOOOOVE A soapbox. Most of your fans probably don’t share your privilege of gracing a stage with a PA and a bunch of loud amps. So, give them a little digital slice. Ask who else they liked at the last show, what cover song they want to hear next time, or something similar. Let them know their opinion counts.
Measure and respond in kind. Facebook insights makes it REAL easy to see what posts of yours are performing the best. Take particular note of the “Virality” statistic in Facebook Insights. You can sort this content by value, like an Excel spreadsheet. Check in here once a week or so by clicking on “See All” on your page’s “Insights” panel.
Find out what content was shared the most, as that’s what is getting your band the most exposure to friends of friends. This is your barometer—post more content in a similar vein. Second most important number here is how many comments a particular post has received, as indicated by “Talking About This.”
Respond promptly. Check in to answer fan inquiries once per day, and make sure everyone gets at least one “Like,” or better yet – a response.
Make everyone in the band a page admin. This allows you to divide and conquer, so the bulk of the online marketing efforts don’t just fall on one person. Give each person in the band a couple days out of the week to keep up on social goings-on. Admin settings can be found under the “Edit Page” menu on the top right.
From there, you can assign who is in charge of what, like posting new content, moderating comments, etc. Careful, don’t make anyone in the band that you don’t completely trust a Manager, as they can do things like revoke your access—or delete the page entirely!
Post photos from the road/practice space/backstage. Fans LOVE this stuff. They love access, even digital, to spaces and places they are not allowed into. You get access to green rooms, you get to hang with other bands, etc. Bring your fans in on it. Instagram is also great for this—more on that later.
Now for what NOT to do:
- Over-do it. A band that’s too noisy and posts a lot of non-news is more likely to get unliked on Facebook, which pretty much defeats the purpose of the whole “Marketing your band online” idea.
- Argue. If someone tells you your band sucks on Facebook, you can take it. Trust me, if you’ve ever been booed or heckled, you can take it—and your fans may well come to your defense. Don’t feed the trolls, it only gets worse. Consider a policy of not deleting inflammatory posts (unless they’re REALLY bad) as this can just egg jerks on to post negative stuff more frequently, turning your great Facebook presence into a moderation nightmare.
- Set up a personal profile for your band, like first name: “Jack”, Middle Name, “and”, last name “the Badgers”. This is a common mistake. Set up your band with a Page as described above. In setting up your brand as a person, you run into several pitfalls:
- A maximum of 5,000 friends
- No opportunities for Facebook advertising, short of small promoted posts
- There’s always the chance that Facebook will find out your profile is not for a person and remove the account entirely! Profiles, distinct from Pages, are for people only.
- Set up a Group as your main Facebook presence. Fan groups are OK, but setting up a group for your main band presence on Facebook is less than ideal, as you’ll lose out on advertising opportunities and app functionality like the Nimbit store.
Next up? Twitter!