Facebook Advertising 101 For Bands & Musicians
Social media sites are great places to spread the word about your music, interact with your fans (+Nurturing Your Fanbase), and promote your tours and recordings. But what do you do when you're ready to move beyond your friends, family, friends of friends, and real life acquaintances? Facebook Advertising can be an effective and inexpensive way to help you expand your social network, but it needs to be done the right way to truly be effective.
The most important thing to understand about the Facebook Ads platform is that it is changes all the time. Facebook is constantly evolving - making tweaks and updates to its Terms of Service, how information is displayed, image sizes, etc, and Advertising is no exception. Be prepared to adapt your advertising strategy as changes are rolled out over time.
Identify Your Goals
Before you start a Facebook Advertising campaign think about what your primary goals are. Are you hoping to sell tickets for your upcoming tour? Boost sales of your latest recording? Get more people to "Like" your Facebook Page? Your approach will likely vary depending on what you are hoping to accomplish.
When you create an Ad you have the option to take people to a destination within Facebook, such as a Page or an event, or to an external URL. As a general rule, Ads that keep users within the world of Facebook tend to cost less than those that deliver them to another website. This makes sense, as it works out better for Facebook to have users stick around...where they can keep them engaged on the site and show them some more ads.
However, if your goal is for someone to purchase a ticket or download an album, things that can only be done on other websites, it might be more cost effective to bring them directly to the place on the website where they can make a purchase, or download a track...whatever you are considering a "conversion" for the purposes of this campaign. Delivering the user to your Facebook Page and then hoping they both see and act on a message about your latest tour or album is likely to result in fewer sales. Just remember, the more "clicks" that a person needs to make to reach an end result, the less likely they are to do it.
On the other hand, if you want to rival Lady Gaga's number of Facebook Likes (54 million and counting...that's going to take some work), it makes perfect sense to send anyone who clicks on your ad directly to your Facebook Page. The ads also give the option for users to click on the "Like" link directly from the ad, so you may very well see some new Likes coming from people who have never even visited your Page. That's ok though, because anyone who Likes your Page will potentially see the messages you post in the future in their news feed.
When you're ready to start your Facebook Ad campaign simply go to www.facebook.com/advertising. You can jump right in and click on the "Create an Ad" button (the system does a pretty good job of walking you through the process), or learn more via the videos, tips, and FAQs linked to from the main page.
Experiment with a wide variety of ads to find which are the most effective. Vary the ad copy, images, and targeting, paying attention to the cost per click or cost per action of each iteration. Sponsored stories and sponsored posts are often very effective and low cost when compared to other Facebook Ads. Try setting up a "Recent Post" ad that will automatically promote each post as you share them. This tends to work especially well as ads lose their relevancy quickly and rarely will a single ad perform well for an extended period of time.
Engage Your Network
When you've built up a large number of fans, it's important to work to keep them as engaged and active as possible. The posts you share via your Facebook Page will generally only be seen by a percentage of the people who have Liked that Page. Facebook doesn't reveal all the specifics of their algorithm that dictates which messages will be displayed in a user's news stream, but we do know that the more often a user visits, comments on or likes a post on, or interacts in some way with a Page the more likely they are to see future notifications about that Page. Up your chances that your posts will get attention by following these tips:
-Post frequently without bombarding your fans to the point that they block you. 1 - 3 times a day is often a good sweet spot.
-Get creative. Post videos, photos, music clips, and updates that will stand out in the crowded and fast moving news feed.
-Encourage interaction. Ask questions such as "where should we come on our Spring tour?" or let fans vote between three potential album cover designs to get a conversation going on your Page.
-Keep an eye on the numbers. Take a look under each post and you'll see the number of people that "saw this post." Over time you'll be able to see which types of posts receive the most views, likes, and comments.
Unfortunately, there is no one, clean cut, easy way to successfully utilize social media to promote your act, record, tour, etc., but by following the tips above and evaluating the results, you will start to see what works for you. Don't get discouraged if it doesn't work right away; sometimes these things take time. Facebook is always changing and you need to be prepared to do the same, whether you are successful on the first try or not.
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