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« The Three Legged Table: Songs, Magnetism, and Business | Main | What Kinds of Images Best Represent Your Band? »
Wednesday
Feb162011

How to Successfully Grow Your Fan Base Using Facebook (And Not Spend a Dime)

When it comes to your music, people are predominantly concerned with one thing - not what your music means to you, but what your music means to them. This is one of the most important lessons any musician can learn.

The birth of social networks allowed fans an insight into the more mundane aspects of celebrity; as a result, this sparked a newfound intrigue into their normality. However, now that everyone from the drummer of the Black Keys, to the State of North Korea are all Twittered up, the days of dietary intake being shareable news are long gone.

The tides have turned.

Now it’s time for the artist to use social networks to learn about their fans. Facebook is actually a great place to gain vital insight into what makes your fan base tick. It’s like a customer survey at your fingertips.

4 Ways To Grow Your Fan Base:

1.    REELING THEM IN Someone liking you on Facebook doesn’t make them an instant fan. It really means very little unless you can draw them further into your world. When you post on your wall, those who have opted in to your page have the option to like it, or go one further and make a comment. They could have liked you in the first place for a plethora of reasons, and your music might actually be further down the list then you think.

They could have thought your photo was cute, that your band had a cool name, or that you might be the band they heard on the radio. If you love a band or a song, then post a link to their video and briefly say how much you love it. If they like it too then then that is step one in to getting them to also connect to your music.

2.    UNDERSTAND THE LIKEWhen a post of yours is liked, it is important to take a step back from that. Don’t think too highly of yourself for saying something that enticed a click on the “Like” button. Instead, understand that they have clicked that button because, in some way, they feel your post defines them. They are endorsing you, putting their name to your comments. If you get an above average number of likes, it’s not just because you said something clever, it’s because your fans are responding to something they want to associate with. Look for patterns in this and hone in on them.

Was it something funny, meaningful, or controversial?

This is important because you want to get fans coming back to your page. You can reel them in with something that interests them, and when they are there, they will want to look deeper. Maybe even download an MP3, or go one further and purchase something.

For instance if you were outraged by the Prop 8 result, or thought an SNL skit was funny, you can bet that a portion of your fan base does too. If you are passionate about something, people will relate and interact.

3.    TAP INTO THEIR EMOTIONA post that makes them laugh, think, or invokes some sort of emotion will make them much more likely to check out what you have to offer musically. Posts that simply promote a review of your work or continuously plug a show are great for you core fans, but your core fans should have already been captured and signed up for your mailing list. The casual clicker on Facebook is not that dedicated yet. Boring generic plugs will quickly look like spam amongst other people genuinely sharing things that captivate them.

“I’m going to Las Vegas this weekend, where should I stay?” will inspire people to join in the conversation far more than “Check out our review on this music blog…”

4.    DRAW THEM IN DEEPEREverybody is faced with the same fears about life and these themes are universal. They are looking for a place to belong and feel safe, and ultimately be reassured that everything is going to be OK.

Somehow you, through both your music and your connection to you fans, have to be uplifting. It can be uplifting because they see that there are others like them, who share a common view, or mirror the pain they are going through. It can be uplifting because it makes them laugh. It can be uplifting because they are looking for something spiritual and you provide an insight into that. Or alternatively, they are sick of religion and looking for something anti-theist, and you seem to speak their mind.

Again, to reiterate the opening statement, this is where you have to be aware of what your music means to other people and not just yourself. Don’t be afraid if people take offense to what you say, it just means they never really got your music in the first place. They were never going to be a fan. But for every one that walks away because they didn’t relate you, will find 10 that were drawn in deeper, because they do like what you stand for.

FINAL THOUGHTS:

Your music is an extension of you, and the best music translates because it becomes a conversation with the fan. The more they understand and relate to your thoughts and feelings outside of the music, the deeper their conversation with the music will become.

So pick what you say wisely; don’t bombard people with “Buy our album” posts. Ease them in with something that gets their brains stimulated. If you can do that, then you are on the way to ultimately making your fans believe that - liking you is intrinsic to making them look cool. More importantly, you will have successfully set in motion the most powerful tool in marketing - word of mouth.

DO’S and DONT’S:

 •   Don’t inundate your fans with endless plugs for your new single or release. It’s too likely to be seen as spam.
•    Do share info that is relevant to your fan base, but not necessarily directly relevant to you music. A link to a news story that you relate to for instance. Offer a small concise commentary. Fans like to feel connected to your tastes, especially if you share the same taste as theirs.
•    Don’t let your manager make posts to the page; your voice needs to be consistent if you are posting things yourself.
•    Do ask your fans their opinion on things - inspire debate and don’t be afraid to chip in a reply here and there, but don’t overdo it; you don’t want 23 comments on a post, and 20 of them are yours.
•    Don’t talk about yourself all the time - how the world will soon realize your greatness or how hard it is not being recognized for you art. No one cares except your mama (and she’s probably sick of it by now).
•    Do speak your mind. If you have a strong opinion on something, say it. However, read your post clearly and make sure your point is well structured, and if you are drunk, it may be best to leave posting it until the morning.

— 

Robin Davey is a Musician, Film Director and Producer born in the UK and now residing in Los Angeles. He was inducted into the British Blues Hall Of Fame at the age of 23 with his band The Hoax. His current band The Bastard Fairies achieved over 1 Million downloads when they were the first band to release an album for free via the internet in 2006. As a director he won the best Music Video award at the American Indian Motion Picture Awards. His feature documentary The Canary Effect - an exploration into the hidden Genocide of Native Americans, won The Stanley Kubrick Award For Bold and Innovative Film Making at Michael Moores Traverse city Film Festival in 2006. He is also head of Film and Music Development at GROWvision - A full service media, management and production company.

Reader Comments (13)

IMHO the worst act is to treat the visitor as a mere buyer .
Excellent post !

February 16 | Unregistered CommenterCebe

muy bueno tu post

February 16 | Unregistered CommenterJorge Gallego

Probably one of the best + most useful posts on MTT regarding social media, especially the "Understanding The Like" bit. Well done.

February 16 | Unregistered Commenterscottandrew

Interesting read - thank you for the wise words.

I bet a lot of people will gain and grow their fan base on these tips - I know I will be following them stricter in the future (especially the "postpone drunk posts" tip haha).


/Ras

February 16 | Unregistered CommenterKjærbo

Excellent article, many artists, labels and such should read this.
There's a little typo : "you don’t what 23 comments on a post", I think what you meant to write was "you don’t want 23 comments on a post".

February 17 | Unregistered CommenterHugo

Excellent post. I love that it touches on the universality of music, and the reason why people do or don't relate to it. This is so important. And it is equally important to recognize this when approaching social media marketing.

February 17 | Unregistered CommenterMatt

Isn't this the guy Kyle interviewed on hypebot that said his band quit MySpace and Facebook forever? Or am I going nuts...

February 17 | Registered CommenterChris Bracco

I second scott's comment.....one of the best "tips" article I've read on utitilizing social networking presence effectively as a musician. I even put it into action just now on facebook before writing this comment!

February 17 | Unregistered CommenterShawn

@ Chris Bracco - Yes it is. Although I have aimed these tips at Facebook (as it is the most popular social networks) they are useful to all forms of communication with fans. We found them very effective for engaging fans when we did utilize facebook, and also now even more so that we purely communicate directly with our fans through our mailing list. We chose the mailing list exclusively because we have direct control over how we interact with our fans.

Which ever is the most popular form of communication for you to use with your fans, the basic principles, I believe, remain the same.

Thanks for reading

Robin.

February 17 | Registered CommenterRobin Davey

Very good read....Lots of positive information. I will need to reread this every few weeks to keep it fresh. Thank you for sharing this valuable info.

February 18 | Unregistered CommenterRokJok

Excellent post. Thanks for the very insightful advice !

February 18 | Unregistered CommenterNoble

Agree that it's very important to notice why somebody "liked" your stuff.

This is what all the best marketing is based on for me.

Chris

Generally a good post, though I think you may have meant "insight" rather than "intrigue" in the second paragraph.You had me up to #4; I don't think there's anything wrong with holding strong opinions, and I feel strongly that an artist needs to be herself, but there's a lot of folks out there who believe music and politics don't mix, (same can be said for sex and religion) and I think we should be careful about pushing a particular agenda, unless we do it from a sense of social responsibility and with respect for the opinions of others, it's a fine line between being interested and therefore interesting and being a total PITA. We spend a great deal of time as musicians learning to entertain with music and stage patter, entertaining folks on social networks is new territory for many of us; I think it pays to study those who do it well, and act accordingly. One other thing; given Facebook's new tools for artist pages, it may be a good time to revisit this topic, as the upgraded page is far more useful and relevant, now that it's possible to comment as your page.

February 25 | Unregistered CommenterMojo Bone

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