Once upon a time, I was actually convinced that all I had to do was write that one good song, and I could be discovered and start a career as a professional musician.
And then I started touring, and realized that once you reach a certain level of musicianship and songwriting, the differentiator is promotion.
Word of mouth is great and all, but every band can benefit from a few dollars spent on promotion. And if you’re looking for bang for buck, you want to be looking at Facebook Ads.
Why Facebook Ads?
To put it simply, Facebook Ads are the MySpace Adder Robots of the Facebook age.
Except instead of paying $55 up front until the next revision wipes out your purchase, you pay $1 a day. That’s the minimum you can pay.
I had experimented with ads for a month, without much success, so I know for a fact there is a right way, and a wrong way.
The right way made itself clear to me when I was at the doctor’s office, and the closed-circuit television had an ad for a firm that helps companies generate an online presence. One of the factoids they used in their commercial was this gem:
Only 26% of computer users click on ads, but 78% of people trust recommendations of their friends.
That got me using Sponsored Stories.
Sponsored Stories are your way of using reaching the 78% of people that trust the recommendations of their friends.
The features of Sponsored Stories are:
- The name of one of your fans, who has liked your page
- Photo, cropped from your profile photo
- Name of your Facebook Page
- Opportunity for the viewer to like your page directly from the ad
Unlike standard Facebook and Google ads, Sponsored Stories do not give you the ability to add text. In this way, they are therefore more immune to bait and switch scenarios. Not entirely immune, but substantially.
Like normal Facebook Ads, Sponsored Stories let you set your ad demographic by the following criteria, and will calculate the number of people that meet these requirements for you.
- #Pages they’ve liked
- Whether or not they have already liked your page
Pages they’ve liked makes your audience number go up, because it adds people to your audience if they have liked a certain page. Often the pages you want to add to your list won’t be available, or other pages with the same title will be available to select.
Be sure to make sure the audience listed on the ad page matches the number of people that have like the page, or you might find yourself advertising to people that like the Sleeping Giant rock formation instead of the Sleeping Giant christian band…
Interests removes people from your audience, because they will only be advertised to if the person has that interest listed. Interests are dangerous: people you want to advertise to often don’t have their interests filled out, so it’s better to skip this option.
Bid range controls what time of day your ad will be displayed. The more you bid, the earlier in the day your ad will be shown.
If you bid high for your range, Facebook will show your ad first, in rotation with everyone else that has made the same bid. They will continue to rotate your ad through until you run out of money. Once you are out of the queue, an advertiser who has bid lower than you will come in to take your place.
If you enter the lowest bid, you will have to wait until everyone else’s advertising budgets are spend before your ad will be seen.
Start your campaign with a low bid. Facebook keeps track of how many times on average each person has seen your ad. When the number of people Liking your page drops off, and the frequency goes up to about 25, then consider yourself to have cleaned out that time of day. Increase your bid incrementally, and keep doing this every few weeks (months) until you hit the high bid.
Finding your niche is super important. Your niche is your method of finding the most amount of people that will be interested in your band, without advertising to any of the people that would not be interested in your band.
For example, let’s say you are in a retro punk band; everyone in your band has mohawks and wears denim cutoff jackets. You decide to advertise to fans of Rancid, who have 850,000 people on their Facebook page.
Of those fans within your country and age demographic, maybe 500,000 people meet your criteria.
If you bid 0.05 per 1000 impressions, and your budget is $1, then 20,000 people will see your ad per day. Of those 20,000 Rancid fans, how many of them are fratboys who love Rancid because they play them at the bar every Saturday? Why are you paying money to advertise to them? They will only listen to your band once you are on the radio, and have been for 10 years.
On the other hand, let’s say there are 10 retro punk bands, with mohawks and denim cutoff jackets, and they each have 5,000 fans on the Facebook page. That’s 50,000 people. At least 90% of their fans will support your band on principle alone. Advertise to them. They are your niche.
Try to shoot for a niche of about 250,000 – 500,000 people.
Optimizing your Facebook Page
Once people have liked your Facebook page, do you know what keeps them there? Do you know what makes them leave?
The first thing you should do with your Facebook page is get over the compulsion to fill it with content. Post frequency will actually determine how quickly a fan removes themselves from your Facebook page.
I only discovered this amazing fact after a friend complained that I posted too much. So I looked through my insights, and sure enough, no one was leaving my page on days that I would either not post, or post 1 item. But on a day I had posted or shared 7 items, mass emigration.
In reviewing my own attitudes towards Facebook pages I had myself liked, I found that any time a page had multiple posts all in a row, I acknowledged that the first post was there, and then skipped the rest.
Similarly, if I felt that a page posted too much, it reminded me about how happy I was without them in my life. See ya; you’re cut.
The Friendly Reminder
Ultimately, your goal with posts is to have people appreciate each post, and the fact that they have liked your page. To that end, the goal is only to provide a friendly reminder to the people who have liked your page that they are interesting and diverse people, with diverse interests. In order to provide this friendly reminder, you have to give them the freedom to forget you were ever there.
Ask yourself: how many pages have you liked, and completely forgotten about? You may even find that the pages that have been on your news feed the longest are the ones that never post. It’s in fact their lack of posts that have ensured their longevity.
Of course, it does not serve our purpose to never post: how can we possibly promote anything that way?
However, aren’t you better informed now about how gratuitously you post? Aim for one post every 3 – 6 days, or once a week. If you are uploading photos, don’t feel the need to publish them to everyone’s feed.
Trust that people will go through your photos on their own. Most of the notifications I receive are from photos, and it’s a lot each day.
Do Not Sell
NM Incite did a study that demonstrated that the 3rd-place reason people unfriend you on Facebook is being sold something. You can check it out here.
So do not sell your fans anything!
Yes you can offer products for sale! But do not mention the fact that you want people to buy these products. I know, it’s the most ludicrous thing you’ve ever heard. But hey, it works. It’s all about the phraseology:
Playing a tour date: “Hey, we are in Cleveland tonight. We don’t know the city, so come by around 5pm to hang out.”
Posted under new products for sale: “Cannot wait to give out tons of free stickers!”
Merch designs, on mockups, or for a new CD: “Check out this sick new artwork from our friends on IndieDesignHouse! You can check out there work here: indiedesignhouse.com”
Using Alternatives to Engage
The more people that you are engaged with, the more popular you look. The more popular you look, the more “normal” it is for people to engage with you, and the more will. This is reflected in your “Talking About This” number: the higher the number, the more “normal” it is for people to talk about you. Since everyone else is doing it, there is less risk placed on the individual.
Every time a fan likes a post or photo, you “Talking About This” number goes up. But do not take this as an excuse to flood your fans news feed with posts. Post frequency is proportional to unlikes: the more posts, the more unlikes.
This is where photos come in.
You can boost your “Talking About This” number by padding your page with an ungodly number of quality photos, Make sure that they are clearly and concisely organized, so that the people that enter a gallery find exactly what they are looking for in there. Trust that people will sift through them on their own. People want to learn about your band, and this is how they do it.
Polarization is an important aspect of the popularity of a band. People do not tend to bother acknowledging their appreciation for anything until someone slags it.
You can use polarization to great effect without disparaging other people, or being disparaged.
One of the best places to use polarization is with merch designs. Posting a merch design, unless it is inherently controversial, will usually fly under people’s radar. Even if they like it, soliciting feedback is a chore, and the quality of feedback is poor.
Instead of posting one new merch design at a time, post two or even three in the same photo. Make it clear that only one merch design will be produced, and it will be based on fan interaction.
We no longer ever post anything solo, and neither should you.
Applying Polarization Elsewhere
You should use polarization to encourage feedback as much as possible. Here are some other good uses:
“We have an off date between Miami and Jacksonville. Should we play Tampa, Orlando, or Daytona Beach?”
“Who should we tour with? @MonkeyDevilButtercup, or @FishEggFridays?”
“Where should we hit next? We can either do Europe or Australia.”
“What song should shoot the next video for? Every Day is Friday? Or Why Can’t We Be Friends With Benefits?”
I can’t stress enough that once you reach a certain level of musicianship and songwriting, the differentiator is promotion. And self confidence. But that’s another story…