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« The Beatles Tell Us That We've Hit The Concert Price Ceiling | Main | 6 Reasons Why The Album Format Died »
Tuesday
Dec212010

How To Use Facebook & Twitter With Your Official Website, Case Study Kissonline.com

A recent headline from KISS on Facebook: ”KISS Facebook Fans Pass 2 Million!”

Congratulations! That is great! Two million fans is a huge achievement and is no easy goal to meet. Then I decided it was time to discuss how to use Facebook and Twitter if you are a band, and sorry, KISS, you are the subject matter. This is not meant to put down the band in any way. I am having discussions weekly with various people about the benefit of Facebook Likes and Twitter followers. They ask what can they do to get more Likes and followers, and then what can they do with them once they have them. I only pick KISS because it is subject I know very well and a Facebook page I visit daily.

KISS has an official website, www.kissonline.com, that I built and launched in 1998. I moved on from managing the site in 2005. KISS is very active on Facebook, www.facebook.com/kiss, and Twitter,www.twitter.com/kissofficial. When I was managing Kissonline, I tried to drive as much traffic as I could to the site, and create an experience that would keep the fan on the site as long as possible. I was also looking at new web technologies to interact with the fans and get them back to Kissonline. One such example was a website called Upoc.com.

In 2000, I set up KISS as the first official artist on the site. Upoc was essentially a very early version of a Twitter-style site, years before Twitter existed. Fans signed up to receive SMS text updates from the band. I used Upoc on the Farewell tour to send out updates live from a show, driving fans back to the website for additional details or photos. I wanted the fan to use the many different areas of the website, not just the home page.

I would post news excerpts on the home page that linked deep into the site. I would post a couple of small teaser images that would link deep into the site for full photo galleries. I felt that the longer I could keep a fan on the website, and the more areas they interacted with, the greater chance I had at converting them. My conversion goals were either an email signup or buy a product. Kissonline was extremely successful at both. The site was not just about posting some news, photos or videos; it was about using those various types of contents to drive a conversion.

That same conversion model should be what you do with Facebook and Twitter. Drive traffic to your official website for a conversion. The problem with KISS is they don’t do that. At the end of July 2010, KISS passed 1 million Facebook fans. In early October 2010, they passed 1.5 million fans. On November 8, 2010, they passed 2 million fans.

I don’t have access to the website’s true web stats, but looking at a publicly available source that the Internet industry often quotes, Compete.com, during that same time period, traffic to Kissonline was 139,000 visits in July, 104,000 visits in August, 105,000 visits in September and 63,000 visits in October. KISS started their U.S. tour in late July and ended in late September. So even during the middle of a major U.S. tour, when you should expect to see traffic to your website increase, it actually went down. With the tour over, traffic is not going to increase. But, during this same period of time, their Facebook fans continued to grow, and grow with great numbers.

Month

Facebook Likes

Website Unique Visits

July 2010

1 million

139,000

August 2010

N/A

105,000

September 2010

N/A

104,000

October 2010

1.5 million

63,000

November 2010

2 million

N/A

Kissonline Compete Stats

Something is not right if Facebook fans are growing but website visits are decreasing. That something, in my expert online marketing opinion, is the social marketing strategy.

So what is KISS doing on Facebook and Twitter? Let’s look at six recent stories on Kissonline.

  • KISS FACEBOOK FANS PASS 2 MILLION!
  • KISS SPOTTED IN NEW YORK
  • KISS-THEMED SENIOR PHOTO
  • HAPPY BIRTHDAY TOMMY!
  • GENE TO DON GOALIE GEAR WITH SASKATOON BLADES
  • KISS SIGHTING IN FRENCH FASHION MAGAZINE

These same six stories are also posted on the KISS Facebook wall and on Twitter. So far, so good. On Twitter, the link to read the story takes you to Facebook. Facebook? Why are you using Twitter to send your traffic to Facebook? Link each Twitter post back to the individual story on Kissonline. On Facebook, each story is posted in full, with images if available. There are no links back to the original story on Kissonline. So Twitter is sending traffic to Facebook and Facebook has no links back to Kissonline. There is the problem! Why would you ever need to visit Kissonline again if Twitter sends you to Facebook and Facebook gives you the complete story? They should post a short excerpt of the story on Facebook that links back to the full story on Kissonline. Facebook should be a traffic source for Kissonline, not a replacement.

Tip 1 – Post your headlines on Twitter, and link them back to the full story on your website.

Tip 2 – Post a excerpt of the story on Facebook and link back to your website to read the full story.

Tip 3 – Post teaser photos on Facebook that link back to your website to see more photos.

Tip 4 – Don’t post photos on TwitPic and link to them from Twitter. Post the photos on your website and link Twitter to the photo on your website.

The common thread with all these tips is they drive traffic back to your website.

I wonder what sort of money KISS is generating from those 2 million fans. They have a Shop tab, but it is not a commerce app. They are using Cooliris to display a stream of images of merchandise. Essentially a photo gallery of products. The problem is it is not a proper commerce app. There is no call to action buttons on the product, nothing that says BUY NOW. You also can’t make your purchase in the Facebook page.

A recent report said that Facebook users who purchase inside Facebook have shopping carts that are 7-10% larger. I know who is making money on the Facebook page: Facebook! Every page on the KISS Facebook page has four ads running on it: ads that Facebook is selling. When I visited, I saw ads for Doritos/Pepsi, Hilton, TBS, Overstock.com, Truth About Ads, Affiliate Wise and Wells Fargo Center. If you drive traffic back to your own website, you could sell your own ads and keep all the revenue.

It is easy to use Twitter and Facebook as proper traffic sources if your website is built with some basic technologies. Kissonline is missing one major technology that I think is preventing this: RSS feeds. There is no RSS feed for the news page.

Why isn’t each story a separate blog entry?

My website, www.MichaelBrandvold.com, treats every post as a separate blog. When I make a post, it automatically posts a short excerpt on Facebook, linking back to my site for the full story, and updates my Twitter feed and MySpace status with the headline and a link back to my website for the full story. It also automatically reposts old posts to Twitter, since followers on Twitter quite often will miss the one and only time you make a post. It took me maybe a day to install and configure all of this. Facebook is consistently the number one traffic source for my website, followed my Twitter.

But RSS feeds are not the only obvious things missing. Where is “search”? I was looking on Kissonline for the stories about when KISS hit those various Facebook marks. I couldn’t find a simple site search. Maybe I was blind. I had to go to Google and search, which in turn gave me the link to the story on Kissonline. They do offer an official KISS search toolbar for searching the Internet, but no search within Kissonline.

Also missing: user interaction. The Facebook page allows users to comment and discuss, but Kissonline is again missing this critical feature. Kissonline has what they call the KISS Kommunity, but the home page has a couple of broken widgets, and I have never seen them do any marketing to drive fans to the KISS Kommunity. Engaging and converting follows interaction. Interaction between users is the key to the success of the many social networks.

Social marketing was recently discussed on the first panel at Billboard’s 7th Annual Touring Awards and Conference.

In a recent article on Billboard.com, Kevin Martin from band The Gracious Few (and Candlebox) says his band uses the location feature on Twitter to let people in a market know about an upcoming tour. But Martin pointed out that the band has 17,000 friends on Facebook but has not sold 17,000 albums. “How gracious are you?” he asked jokingly. “The record is only ten fucking dollars.” But the levity masked an underlying issue: What does social media friendship actually mean?

This trend of growing Facebook presence and decreasing website traffic is not unique to KISS. Advertising Age recently did a story on this trend.

Coca-Cola, with its 10.7 million Facebook fans, has three to four times the Facebook fan base as MyTown and Foursquare have registered users. (There are at least 11 brands whose Facebook fan pages have quietly grown bigger than the biggest geo-location providers.) That certainly trumps U.S. unique visitors to Coke’s brand website, which fell by more than 40 percent to 242,000 in July compared to a year ago, per Compete.

Kraft Foods’ Oreo is the No. 3 brand page on Facebook as tracked by DBM/Scan, with an 8.7 million fan base growing at a clip of 71,000 a day. But the multi-brand site where its web presence has been hosted, NabiscoWorld.com, saw U.S. traffic decline from 1.2 million in July 2009 to 321,000 last month.DBM/Scan tracks 560 such branded Facebook fan pages created since April 2008. Pampers has seen its Facebook fan count shoot north of 327,000 in recent months. But Pampers.com has lost even more people in terms of traffic, much of it driven by its e-mail programs. The site’s unique monthly U.S. visitor count was 560,000 last month, down almost half from the 1.1 million a year ago, according to Compete.com.

To be sure, Facebook is a very important part of a marketing plan. But it is important to have a plan for how you intend to use it. Don’t condition your fans to think of Facebook as a replacement for your website. Facebook should be a extension of and a traffic source for your website.

What does social media friendship actually mean? It means nothing if you do nothing to engage and convert your fans. The dotcom bubble burst because everyone thought eyeballs to a website were all that mattered. Eyeballs mean nothing if they don’t convert.

Facebook and Twitter mean nothing if you do nothing to convert those fans.

Reader Comments (20)

Great article. I think clearly part of Kiss getting so many fans is paying to advertise their page on Facebook. It's good to know that the links between social media & commerce are a bit mysterious to people much better equipped than me!

December 20 | Registered CommenterBrian John Mitchell

great insight! thanx

December 22 | Unregistered Commenteratmoravi

Thanks so much!

On a discussion in the music industry group on Linkedin I mentioned that you really need to think about the flow of your traffic (fans)... to the social networks, but from the social networks back to your site. They are your fans so you should try and control them as much as possible... where do you want them to go and what do you want them to do. Much easier said than done, but you need to have that mindset.

December 22 | Unregistered CommenterMichael Brandvold

Awesome free e-book on social networking for musicians, gives musicians some things that they can implement instantly. Download it here - http://www.mediafire.com/?k2b4egadc51q97c

December 22 | Unregistered CommenterChris

It is amazing that this information is not more prevalent in the music business education space. This might be do to all the music startups that want bands to use their sites to set up shop. For me, the moral of the story is "own your home" and use complementary technology to send people to visit.

Great piece, Mr. Brandvold.

I found this post because of Hubert GAM's tweet and I too am amazed that this info is not more readily available in the music business education space.

I''d also like to say thank you for going into such detail about what works and why. The examples are concrete and easy to understand and explain to others. Thanks for writing a great piece!

December 23 | Unregistered CommenterKatie_Did8

Thanks Hubert and Katie! I hope the information can help you guys out, and of course if you have any questions do not hesitate to reach out to me.

Hubert, you hit the nail on the head with the moral. Own your home, your piece of real estate on the internet.

I just found out that someone translated the article into Russian and posted on a Russian site to help out bands in Russia.

December 23 | Unregistered CommenterMichael Brandvold

You hit the nail on the head with this article!!! I must say that this case study hit all 4 corners of what NOT to do with social media. Social media is NOT a supplement for a professional online web presence, it is supposed to be a compliment. Too many of my clients today (both in and out of the music industry) try to short change their website because they think that their Facebook and Twitter accounts are the face of their brand. They are doing a major disservice to themselves and their brand, and and they are missing out majorly when it comes to having a page rich with information that people can reference rather than forgettable snippits in cyberspace that people may miss. Too me, that is like putting you faith in a slew of billboard, tv, and newspaper ads to sell your product. The ad company makes money, but you miss out if they don't make it in to the store, or if they do not give you contact information or perform some sort of action.

Anyways... I could go on for days. WELL DONE!

twitter.com/amarareps

December 25 | Unregistered Commenter@amarareps

@Hubert I love the "own your home" quote. As an upcoming songwriter/artist, everything I have read speaks of owning your own rights, etc. All it takes is due diligence, putting in the hard work. We all may not have tons of money to do what major companies do, but like them, we all have to start somewhere/

December 27 | Unregistered CommenterJared Jones

Jared,

It doesn't even take much money to own your own website:

$7 a year for a domain name
$5-10 a month for a website with unlimited bandwidth, storiage and many one click installs
WordPress has so many free templates to get you started. And even nice templates might only cost you $25-50.

Maybe a monthly fee for someone to help you with the configurations and setups and some marketing advice.

December 27 | Unregistered CommenterMichael Brandvold

Thanks for the great article. Are there any notable examples of web sites with increased traffic due to proper use of Facebook?

December 27 | Unregistered CommenterClifford

You can now add code to your facebook app FBML

I'm selling my music via my own code on facebook now. Check it out, copy the link below

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Rajasi/107185019308439?v=app_4949752878&ref=ts

For new original rock visit www.rajasi.com

December 28 | Unregistered CommenterRajasi

This is a bit of an aside, but as many of you may know Facebook's Music Player has been broken for at least 6 months where it only plays the first song. I have just started a Facebook group "Mr Facebook Please Fix the Music Player! Pretty Please!" in an attempt to finally get Facebook's attention and fix this essential musician's tool once and for all. Please join and help.

December 29 | Unregistered CommenterLeo Pelekh

Here's the thing ... your digital good (your killer tune) has practically zero inventory and zero delivery overheads, and even though you broke the bank to make the CD, in the realm of the all-streaming all-sharing internet, it has intrinsically NO value. Bummer dude.

So, if you want to 'convert' (fans to sign up for mailing list or purchase) you gotta give em something free and fun for their time, trouble and money... always.

Now, check out all your favorite indi band and songwriter websites and see how many give you something free and fun (free outtake MP3, free tix to gig, free or personalized merch) for signing up to the mailing list ... this is where it all starts ... you only have one chance to make a first impression ... make it fun and free and if your art truly rocks, then you just might be on to something.

F&F

December 30 | Unregistered CommenterF&F

Great Article Michael!

It has made me think about the tools and the technologies we have now at our disposal. And I believe we have to be careful and make sure we don't miss the big picture; building "Relationships."

The players are great and ComerceSocial on facebook is too. However, we need to make sure our fans know that we care. That we have interaction going on with them within Social Media and are able to build "Trust." Then and only then we will see who are "True Fans" are and how "they" can use these new technologies not only for "our" gain but for themselves as well.


Cory

December 30 | Unregistered CommenterCory

Thanks Cory! You are so right about building relationships and creating trust. Have a great new year!

December 30 | Unregistered CommenterMichael Brandvold

Michael, I agree with the thrust of what you have to say implicitly. A band should funnel their "fans" to their website! And you have obviously worked hard on your post :) you've got the stats., you give yourself a pat-on-the-back and you mention Coca-Cola, Kraft Foods and Pampers; WOW, worlds apart from the majority of bands who have nothing to say about themselves apart from, "We've got an album coming out next week" or "Our band is AWESOME - We TOTALLY Rock".

The true promotional value of Facebook and Twitter is in what a band actually has to say, their contribution, which will have a much bigger bearing on their success than anything else :)

HAPPY NEW YEAR TO YOU ALL

Fantastic analysis on the importance of social media driving traffic and conversions to an artist's site Michael! Facebook & Twitter should likely be the #1 & 2 referral sources, given their authority and rankings on the search engines.

Artists should use these social platforms to their advantage and drive traffic to their blog, which is a perfect entry point for new and potential consumers since it is fresh, updated content, and proves thought leadership to earn the trust of consumers. Looks like Google and Bing are starting to use social signals in their rankings too: Search Engine Land

January 3 | Unregistered CommenterJim Grobecker

Hi Michael,

Can you expand on why traffic to the website is better than traffic to Facebook? Can't you get conversions like a fan signing up for an email list or clicking on a purchase link directly on Facebook without them going to the website?

Thanks

January 4 | Unregistered CommenterJason

Thanks Jim! Your point about Google and Bing is right on, both have admitted giving SEO strength to Facebook and Twitter links.

Jason, you should defilitely have a email signup and buy links inside FB. But why you want to send traffic from FB and not to FB.... 1. You don't own the user or the traffic on FB. You have no access to the user data for your fans who register on FB. 2. Facebook is going to sell and make money from your fans, money you don't share in. 3. You have to operate within the terms of service that FB sets, on your site you can operate however you want. 4. Nobody knows what is going to happen to FB in the future. Five years ago did anybody think MySpace would be all but dead? 5. You can try many things on your site before you can on FB. FB is not going to adopt new technology as quick. They have to make sure they understand the impact on 500 million users.

You want to always control and own your home on the internet. Use other sites as traffic sources, and extensions of your site. FB is great for sure and you need to be there, but just don't use it to replace your site. Basically KISS has cut their site out of the traffic circle. Fans no longer need to visit their official site. As a fan myself I can confirm this. I get all my news from FB now and have no need to ever visit their site.

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