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« Three Simple Rules for doing 21st Century Business on the Web | Main | Social Networks & Music Promotion: If all your wishes were heard... »
Monday
Jun212010

10 Essential Tips For Musicians To Improve Their Facebook Page

Facebook Pages are the most effective way for musicians to get their name out there. While each application has its own stand out features there can be some overlap between what each application offers. Choose the apps you use wisely, you don’t want to hit your fans with information overload and leave them overwhelmed and unlikely to return to your page. Whether you use one application - or a combination of a few of them - make sure your fan page stays well-organized and users can easily find what they’re looking for without searching through a bunch of clutter. After all, wasn’t that was wrong with a majority of MySpace pages?

 

1. Promote Outside Content

Your fan page is a great place to aggregate all the content you’ve created on the various social networks you belong to. Your fan page can be the ultimate destination for your fans to find your tweets, blog posts, and even other people who have acknowledged your work. 

Here are a few ways you can share your content with your fan base:
Sync your Twitter account with your Facebook page. This will save you the hassle of having to update Facebook AND Twitter. There are a few different options out there that will automatically update your Facebook page with your Tweets but one of the most popular is the official Twitter application. If you would like control over which Tweets are posted to Facebook try using Selective Twitter which will only upload Tweets to Facebook that end with “#fb”.

 

On top of syncing your Twitter account with your Facebook page, you can also automatically sync your blog. You have a few options here:
  • Social RSS allows you to automatically pull your blog posts and display them on your Fan Page under a dedicated tab, your wall tab, or as your news. 
  • Blog RSS Feed Reader has been known to have some problems but may be worth it for the level of control and customization options it offers such as the ability to choose an image giving your RSS feed the same feel as your blog.
  • Facebook Notes is probably the easiest way to upload your blog posts. Go to the Import A Blog section under notes and type in your blog’s address and you’re done. Simple as that.
  • The YouTube app for Facebook will include a box in your profile to publish all of your personal videos and any others that you think will be of interest to your fans.

 

Since most of your fans will be on Facebook, your fan page is a great place to mention other places on the internet where you’ve been mentioned, whether it’s someone’s personal blog, a review or recognition from a major online publication like Rolling Stone, it’s never a bad idea to show off the positive press you’re receiving. While there’s not really a good way to accurately monitor and automatically update your fan page with non-Facebook mentions Google provides a few easy ways to stay updated.
  • Google Blog Search is a great tool to find out what blogs are mentioning you. Search your name/band’s name and you can easily find blogs that are mentioning you or sharing your music with their readers. With the ability to sort by most recent posts, you can see if you’re being mentioned in the blogosphere within seconds of a post being published.
  • Google Alerts will notify you by email anytime specific key words are found on the internet. Put an alert on your name and you’ll get updated every time you’re mentioned in Google’s search results
 Anytime you’re mentioned copy and paste the link into your fan page so your fans can see what people are saying about you on the internet.

 

While it’s a great idea to put all of your content in one place for your fans to find Mashable contributor Matt Silverman warns “If your core customers are already subscribed to your blog and other social accounts, a double-dose of the same exact content may trigger some to hide your updates or ‘un-fan’ you. Consider relegating your Social RSS feed to a tab if this is the case.”

2. Create a “Merch” tab so fans can view merch right on your fan page

Nimbit MyStore allows artists to sell whatever they want through their fan page without making visitors leave their fan page. From CDs to tickets, T-shirts to hoodies, you can sell it all and Nimbit will handle all of the shipping and e-commerce so you can focus on your music. With Nimbit they also make special promotions easy. Their website boasts “you can design custom bundles and packages that will appeal to any fan. Bundle a ticket to your next gig with an MP3 download of your new release.” MyStore is a great tool for artists looking to make some money off merch sales and want to offer their fans an extra incentive to buy.

 

While Reverbnation’s MyBand offers a whole bunch of great features it includes a merch section that links your fans right to your own merch store within the app. On top of just being able to sell some cool gear you can sell music and ringtones as well. MyBand’s advantages lie in the plethora of features which are (mostly) covered in other sections. If you’re looking for an app that covers a bunch of different features that can enhance your fan page, as well as a merch store, MyBand may be right for you, but it lacks some of the customizability that Nimbit MyStore has to offer.
3. Create a mailing list


Another great aspect of the Facebook page is the ability to collect your fan’s personal e-mails so you can contact them outside of Facebook and update them about major events that you don’t want to get lost in their newsfeed.
As we just mentioned, Reverbnation’s MyBand offers a bunch of different features, one of which being an e-mail collector for fans to sign up for your mailing list. Keep in mind that fans aren’t jumping at the opportunity to sign-up for another mailing list so you have to think from their perspective - what’s in it for them? 

 

Create some sort of incentive. Offer an exclusive track for fans that sign up or a discount on their next purchase from your Merch section. Also, remember to use your mailing list appropriately. Updating your fans daily will most likely annoy most users while updating them once a month might not be enough to keep them engaged. Use moderation and when in doubt ask your fans! Your Facebook page is a great place to ask your fans how much is too much and update them accordingly.

 

4. Create/promote events
Facebook Events are incredibly useful for any artist. Think about it, you can personally invite all your friends, you can have your closest friends, your street team members, and your dedicated fans invite all their friends and before you know it you’ve reached hundreds, if not thousands, of people who now know about your show and are reminded of your show on a website they visit daily (if not hourly). On top of it all you can get a ball park idea of what the turnout is going to be like and contact anyone attending the event to update them on changes or even just remind them to buy tickets.

 

Reverbnation’s MyBand also has its own events section. You can upload your event and even link it to a registered venue from Reverbnation. It may not have great sharing functionality and it’s also a less recognizable events format for most Facebook users. But, if you’re already using some of the other features on MyBand you might as well add your events, it can’t hurt right? But I’d strongly recommending using Facebook events in addition to this app.

 

5. Create way for fans to tell their friends about your and barely even realize they’re doing it


This can be tough but the best way to make your fan page engaging is by including content that makes your fans WANT to get involved, join the conversation, and share it with their friends.

 

One of the best examples I’ve seen recently is David Guetta’s fan page which has a tab titled “Your Memories” which is used to promote his single “Memories.” Fans are asked to submit answers to the question “What crazy s**t did you do last night?” Fans answers are posted on the page and there is also the option to publish to their feed with a link to Guetta’s page. Since April, just under a million fans have “liked” his page due in large part to the interactivity his page offers.

 

There are similar ways to achieve this same effect with the iLike application where fans can like your music and it’s shared on their feed. But, if you have the means (or an idea that will get fans contributing) a small feature can go viral very quickly if you’ve got some dedicated fans who are taking part in your community. There’s no real formula for this one, it takes a little creativity. If you’ve got some money to spend, companies like Involver can help you plan your Facebook marketing strategy. 

 

6. Share your music (iLike, Facebook Music Player, MyBand)


RootMusic also brings a MySpace feel to your Facebook fan page. The application includes a SoundCloud player that streams your tracks for fans while giving them the ability to browse through your photos, reading your bio, viewing tour dates, reading your Twitter feed, or even writing on your wall. RootMusic is relatively new and makes it clear in their overview video that they’re looking for your feedback to make your experience better. Expect to see some cool new features develop over the next few months.

 

iLike offers a music tab for your fan page with a variety of features that go even beyond sharing your music. With iLike you can play your music right from the application with links to purchase songs. On top of this you can upload your Twitter feed and add a MySpace-esque banner to help further brand your fan page.

 

Hit or Not is a free application that allows you to sell your digital music (as well as some merch and e-tickets) on Facebook and gives fan the ability to pay using credit card or even through payments with a variety of currencies. Royalties for each track sold are instantly transferred to your bank account so you can start making money right away. Hit or Not’s best feature, however is the “music game” that it offers to fans. For $34.95 a year Hit or Not includes your music in a Facebook game where users act as A&R reps deciding which artists have what it takes and which ones don’t by voting up the “value” of each track. Although you may not be jumping at the chance to shell out $35, the app gives you a chance to get your music in front of a large audience of people who are drawn in by the ability to play the part of a big music mogul.

 

Lastly, MyBand offers the ability to upload your music and then track how it’s being spread and how many times your songs have been played. Your friends can share your music on their feeds and you can track how many people are listening it and continuing to share it.

 

All of these applications have their own unique features included. Take a minute to consider your fan base and the results you’re trying to achieve by including music on your page. Also, take into consideration any other apps you plan on using. Sharing your music on Facebook is crucial to engaging your fan base and it’s important you choose the right application for what you’re trying to offer your loyal fans.

 

7. Discussion Boards



 Discussion boards may seem like such an insignificant feature compared to all the applications we’ve discussed thus far that include every “bell and whistle” imaginable but the discussion boards that are available on every Facebook fan page can be a very important way to create an actual community for your fan base. Discussion boards are a great place to get the conversation started. 

 

At first the community is going to rely on YOU to start the conversation so pick some topics to get your fans talking. What are your favorite songs? Where would you like to see us play? Get fans talking about your music and better yet find out where the demand lies. Figure out which cities have a strong following of fans that would come to your show so that you don’t book a gig and find out all of your fans live on the other side of the country. 

 

As the community begins to grow your fans will begin to take control of the conversation and it’s up to you to keep up with them. Being an active community member is very important to creating a strong following. If someone says they like your music, thank them. If one of your fans has a question, answer it. If you don’t know the answer, direct them to someone or someplace that can answer it for them. Communicate with your fans because without them all you’ve got is a basement full of band t-shirts and CDs that no one wants.

 

Another great aspect of discussion boards is the ability to receive feedback from the people that matter most. These discussions can act as the expensive focus groups that are made up of people that share similar demographics to your fan base. The only difference is they’re free and the people you’re talking to are ACTUALLY the people that will be coming to your shows, buying your MP3s and spreading the word to all of their contacts on and off the internet. Ask your fans for feedback - What do you think of these lyrics? What do you think of the new sound I’m working on for my next album? Get answers from the people that actually matter and let them become involved with your music. Who wouldn’t want to buy an album that they feel like they had a part in helping to create?

 

8.   Contests/Giveaways

One of the best ways to increase the number of people that “like” your page is to host some kind of contest that offers a cool prize for fans that become connected with your page. As the video mentions, companies that offer some kind of contest tend to have twice the amount of fans than those companies that choose not to.

 

Wildfire is the best application for creating a contest on your page. A basic promotional campaign with Wildfire will run you about $5 with an additional $.99 for every day it runs (plus the cost of prizes). Wildfire is easy to use. Create everything from the campaign name to the details of the prizes. You can even customize the rules and regulations and give your promotion a unique look (more custom options available with advanced packages) and publish it to Facebook and any other networks you belong to, including your personal website. Once your promotion is created let Wildfire spread the word like… well… wildfire. 

 

9.  Fan Page Analytics

 
Facebook Insights is another feature that is offered to page administrators without having to add any additional applications to your page. Facebook Insights allows admins to see basic stats about their page from demographics (age, gender, location, etc.) to post quality and fan engagement. Insights also lets you track fan base growth and graphically shows interactions, comments, wall posts, and “likes” to date.

 

Last but not least, Facebook provides comparisons to other fan pages of similar size so you can see how well you’re doing compared to other pages that are in a similar boat. Insights may be limited in comparison to what tools such as Google Analytics has to offer for websites, but Facebook provides some helpful information for you to make sure you’re reaching your target market and giving you the ability to analyze how well you’re reaching your fans.

 

10.  Remember, your Facebook fan page is for your FANS


No matter how many fans you have or how many awesome features you’ve got on your page, it means absolutely nothing if your fans are just sitting ducks. Get your fans involved. We’ve recommended a lot of applications and features for you to increase engagement on your site and create a community for your fans but you should know your fans best and what features they will enjoy (and if you don’t? Ask them!). Create an experience that will not only captivate your fans and hold their attention for more than a few seconds but make them want to come back again and again and again. And again.

 

Don’t be afraid to think outside the box either. Just because no other artist has tried it before doesn’t mean it won’t work for you.

 

I’ll leave you with this story: A hip-hop artist I’m friends with on Facebook started a fan page titled “Will Whoop That Ass” (the idea coming from various things that made Will, the creator, want to whoop some ass). Within the past few months Will has gained almost 15,000 followers and receives hundreds of interactions a day in the form of “likes,” comments, and even fans posting their own reasons to “whoop some ass.” Will has chosen to not directly market his music through this page but has expanded to videos which include his music. Regardless of whether or not he is promoting his music he’s a great real-life example of someone who created a strong following and turned it into an engaged community.

 

Use Will as an example of someone who thought outside of the box and decided to channel his urges to slap someone into an interactive fan page that I’ve personally watched grow exponentially over the past few months. Don’t be afraid to try something new and entertaining that makes fans want to contribute to the community you’ve created.

 

No matter what features you decide to include on your Facebook page make sure to keep the fresh content coming. There’s thousands of musicians on Facebook and your content should be what makes you stand out from the rest of the pack. Figure out what your fans want and deliver it to them. Get them involved and most importantly become a member of your community.

 


Now let’s put the spotlight on you. How have you used your fan page to interact with your fan base and keep them coming back for more? Let us know your Facebook strategy and what applications/features you’d recommend to other artists in the comment section!

 

Chris is the co-founder of MicControl, a music blogging network based on a music social networking platform. This post originally appeared on the MicControl blog on June 14, 2010. Chris can be found on Twitter and Facebook.

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