Does Facebook Matter to Musicians?
I’ve been asked this question a few too many times too lately, posed in a variety of ways…
Our fans (demographic) aren’t on Facebook, why would we bother?
Facebook advertising doesn’t work for musicians, does it?
We tried using it and are audience just isn’t there, it isn’t worth the time
What struck me to write up a thought here is that I saw a provocative, Buzzfeed-style clickbait headline on an article that was written last year: Facebook Is F*_:king Artists Once Again…. Arrggg.. no, no they’re not. Social media is a sophisticated thing to make work well and the wrong way to approach it is thinking that it’s a big corporate beast out to screw the struggling artist. They have to serve their audience or there isn’t one available to reach (remember what happened to MySpace?).
Say This When You Consider IF You Need to be on [fill in the blank]
“I don’t want to neglect one of the places where I can reach my audience most significantly. Facebook (or twitter, or Instagram, or…) knows their business, and it is a business, with a lot of smart people looking to how we all continue to get value from using it AND that they make money in order to stay in business. As long as they remain one of the places where most people can be found, no musician should neglect it unless they simply don’t want to engage their fans who are there.”
Social Networks have ZERO interest in, and benefit not one bit, by F*_:king anyone. Alienate their users, and sources of content and money (you… and us frankly), and they cease to exist.
Is Facebook Advertising Worthwhile for Musicians?
Unequivocally, yes, as long as you know what you’re doing. Done effectively and in such a way that you are capturing the interest and demand, it’s one of the least expensive and most far reaching ways of promoting your band, music, albums available, or live shows. Done poorly though (improperly) and you won’t get decent results – that’s not Facebook’s fault nor responsibility, they aren’t making it difficult and it’s not that it doesn’t work – it’s complicated to do it right. Passing judgement carte blanche on advertising on Facebook is like saying putting up flyers and posters for your next show is a waste of time and the cost of the paper… yes, if you’re sticking them in alleys where the wrong people, or worse no one, will see them.
“Okay we’ll try advertising, but what about our Page? it isn’t doing much for us.”
Facebook is trying to make sure they offer the best experience to their users (read: your fan). If they lose your fans, then they’re of no value to anyone. Keep in mind, people on Facebook are inundated with their hundreds or thousands of friends’ posts, all the groups and pages they follow, and more. Facebook MUST effectively filter and show people what they really want to see and being a fan of a Facebook Page (your Facebook Page) doesn’t equate to that fan actually wanting to see everything posted there, no?
All that said, Pages are changing so that posts are less likely to reach people… unless they are posts people WANT to read. If people don’t want to read the posts, why should they be seen? Wouldn’t that cause people to turn away from Facebook?
Begging the questions…
How does Facebook know what people want to read?
Don’t my fans clearly want to read what I posted? They’re following my Page!
Facebook (like Google as a search engine by the way, if you’ve ever wondered what it takes to show up in Google) uses an algorithm that takes into account MANY different things to work out if people actually want to read what you share. They’re discerning that. Things such as:
- Do people Like that one post? Are they commenting?
- How frequently and quickly after you post do people like it, comment, and share?
- Is your Page getting more fans? If it’s not, it suggests that no one else is interested so how much so are the fans already there?
- Are you posting regularly? Wouldn’t a lack of posts recently imply you’re no longer active?
- Are people sharing your Page?
- Are people posting to your Page?
- Are people engaging with the other sections of a Page, such as looking at photos or the events (shows) you have?
- Is your Page getting tagged in people’s personal posts? Is a fan posting about you and tagging your Page?
… and many more.
If the answer to those things is “no,” it is an indicator (not the only data point, but one of) that tells Facebook that people may not want to see this particular post as much. The more Nos, the less people see it. If you’re getting Yes across the board on those question, your post will reach far more than just your fans as Facebook will discern that the content is something people want to see… friends of fans will be shown.
You really have to appreciate what Facebook’s goals are as a business. They are investing in having the fans, creating an experience everyone wants, and inventing new features. They are paying to make it work so that any of us even have the opportunity to reach our fans in a way far more efficient than a mailed newsletter and radio commercials.
So yeah, they want to make sure people like what you post and your Page and Posts won’t seem to be working for you if people aren’t engaging with them. To supplement that, paid advertising does work; they need it to work for us or no one will pay them for the work they need to pay for in order to stay around for us.
The secret no secret to making it valuable?
Fully utilize what they offer. You have a Page, are you sharing videos, photos, updates, and events? Do you have a Group which is a more engaging experience for you and your fans? Are you tagging and talking about specific fans and the venues where you place?
The more you use all of the features and benefits of Facebook, the more you create for THEIR users a compelling experience and the better it works for you.
Now Texan, O'Brien works in Venture Capital Economic Development, serving the investment and venture capital economies directly, through thought leadership, consulting, and startup development.He's the founder of MediaTech Ventures, a founder and managing director of the Texas Technology Council, and partner in 1839 Ventures.