Social media marketing for musicians: How to get more fans with Facebook

No matter who you are, where you live, or what kind of music you play, we all share a common goal: To find fans and build a fanbase. There are many ways to get more fans online, but we’re going to focus on the low hanging fruit. The big blue-and-white F-word at the top of the social media food chain: Facebook. With social media marketing, there are pros and cons to every platform, but ultimately there’s one obvious reason you should be on Facebook. It’s by far (really, it’s not even close) the biggest social networking platform in existence. This means that whether you’re focused on your existing fans, or looking for how to get more fans for your music, it’s almost guaranteed they are already on Facebook. While it may seem easier to just start marketing yourself and your music on your personal profile, there are several important reasons why you need to get yourself set up with a Facebook Page: 

No fan limit on your page: Facebook Pages don’t have a limit on the amount of fans you can have (personal profiles have a limit of 5000 “friends”).
 Learn what your fans find engaging (and what they don’t!): Page Insights can be a powerful tool to let you know where your fans are from, who are the most engaged, and what kind of content is working best (photos, videos, text, etc.).
 Promoted Posts: With Pages, you can “promote” a post so that it reaches more people. Depending on how much you’re willing to pay, the posts can even reach beyond the fans who have liked the page. This can be a great way to increase engagement and visibility for your music/content, but it can also get expensive quickly.
 Ads: Using a Page gives you access to using Facebook Ads. You can use ads to promote your page and increase likes, promote shows, a new music release, etc. You can even target specific geographic regions, demographics, and interests. But again, just like with promoted posts, ads can get expensive quickly, so set a budget and stick to it.

How to get more fans using Facebook

Now that we’ve gotten the “page or profile” discussion out of the way, the time has come to turn your attention toward your fans.

There are several ways to get new fans as you’ll see below, and while you may be able to try them all, it’s unlikely that they will all work for you equally. Unfortunately, there is no secret formula to which ones you should be focused on, so you should spend some time understanding your fans, and trying out the below to see which ideas, or which combination of ideas, works best for you.

Great /shareable content

The first and most important way to get new fans is simply to have great content. What “great” means may be different for every fan base, but ultimately you’re looking for content that drives interest in you and is engaging enough to keep your fans coming back for more. If you can create content that drives fans to share with others, even better.
 Music: No question about it, your music is your craft. It is you. If you can’t create good music, the rest won’t matter. This should always be your number one priority.
 Images: Be it your own photos posted on Instagram, or your favorite memes that you’ve come across, images are an easy way to create quick and engaging content that can be posted regularly and often.
 Videos: Videos get by far the most engagement on Facebook of any type of content, with likes, comments and shares on videos all trending higher than that of photos, text or links. Posting videos to YouTube and sharing on Facebook can be an easy way of simultaneously posting good content and building a presence on YouTube. But posting your video directly to Facebook may help you to build your visibility. Facebook video is likely to be weighed more heavily in Facebook’s algorithm used to determine which content gets served to your fans. 
 Facebook Live: Facebook has invested in live video streaming as the content of the future, and now anyone can stream live directly from a Facebook Page. Not only is this a great way to turn your content into an ‘event’ that people need to tune in to and engage with, but the live video can then be saved and replayed, helping you to generate video content with more of a long-term value to it.

How to use Facebook Ads to get new fans

In addition to posting great content often to your Facebook Page, you may want to consider advertising as a way to reach new potential fans. Many times in the independent / DIY community, advertising is seen as a dirty word, as it often gets mixed into the ‘paying for fans’ conversation.

This couldn’t be further from the truth. Advertising is a time-tested way that any and every business, in any industry, expand the reach of their message and increase visibility or awareness for their brand.

The same can be said with the opportunity to advertise on Facebook, allowing you to reach new potential fans with the right message that will help them to organically become your fan. Here are a few things to consider:

Set goals: When you start advertising, as with any form of marketing, you can only do so effectively if you have a goal in mind. Your goal here can have many layers.

On the top layer, ask yourself what you are trying to achieve overall? If you’re reading this article, it’s likely the response here will be ‘to get more fans’. Great! On the right track.

On the next layer, you want to set a specific number, or your ROI (Return on Investment). Your response may look something like “to get 3x more fans”.

Next, you want to ask yourself what the timeline needs to be. Are you working towards an album release date or a tour that you need these new fans by? Set a timeline for achieving your goal, i.e. “to get 3x more fans in the next 6 months”.

Set a budget: Note, on Facebook there are really two different ways to pay for advertising. The first is CPM, or cost per thousand impressions. This is an inexpensive form of advertising as you’re just paying to reach fans, though there’s no guarantee the fans will take action. This is a great way to advertise if you’re simply looking to generate increased awareness for your band.

The second format is CPC, or cost per click. This is a more expensive form of advertising, but it requires your fans to take action (i.e. you will only pay if a fan clicks, not if they just see the ad). The latter is likely what you want to focus on if you’re goal is something tangible such as ‘getting new fans’.

Once you’ve determined the form of advertising you want to work with, you need to set a budget that your ad can work through over the timeline you’ve set. Facebook works on a bidding system of advertising. So whether you have a budget of $100 or $10,000, the cost itself will come down to the level of sophistication with your targeting. The more targeted, the smaller the pool of fans (though more qualified), and thus the more expensive they will be to reach.

It’s important to consider this as you set your budget and targeting to ensure you are able to reach your goal once your budget is spent. So don’t set your targeting in such a way that each click is so expensive that you can’t afford to gain the amount of fans needed to achieve your goal before you budget is spent!

Set your targeting: Speaking of targeting, there are two ways to go out and find these new fans with advertising. The first is to promote your page to fans of similar bands. Of course if you know your music sounds like someone more established, or maybe it’s a band you’ve toured with, recorded with, opened for, etc., there’s a good opportunity to reach these potential fans by targeting these similar bands’ pages directly.

The second is to upload your own mailing list to Facebook Ad Manager to create a custom audience that “looks like” your current fans. Facebook will basically scan your fans, learn who they are based on their locations, likes, etc. and help to find you other fans who are similar. This is a great tool! Take advantage of this.

Boosted Posts

Advertising on Facebook doesn’t need to be in the form of a display ad. It can also be in the form of a ‘boosted post’, which is a method of turning a regular piece of content published to your Page into a sponsored story.

This often a more engaging, “native” form of advertising, meaning that it’s integrated into the natural flow of the content on the site rather than it being an invasive display.

While you do have the option to reach the friends of those who are already your fans, helping you to gain new fans, using a boosted post is also a way to reach your existing fans who are not regularly seeing your content.

This happens far more than you would expect due to Facebook’s EdgeRank algorithm, which filters all content and determines what content is most relevant for each user. It may help make your news feed cleaner and more relevant, but it also means that only 5 – 10% of your total fans will ever see the content published to your page organically.

Measuring the effectiveness

This is mentioned above but it’s important to reinforce, as it can mean the difference between effective and ineffective social media marketing.

Using a Facebook Page gives you access to analytics so that you can measure the effectiveness of your content. Each piece of content you publish will have corresponding analytics so you can see how many people you reached and the engagement rate (including likes, comments and shares).

Pay attention to this data, as it can help you to see a trend in what works and what doesn’t (i.e. maybe photos work better than videos, maybe posts on a Tuesday work better than posts on a Friday, etc.). This can lead back to more effectively spending your budget on boosted posts. If you know which posts are most likely to be well received, put a few dollars behind it to expand the visibility of that content and really tap into the potential of your fan base.

Social media is social. Don’t just promote. Engage.

As you continue to build a fanbase through social media marketing, remember that social media is just that. Social. While posting content that is self-promotional is important, don’t make it the focus of your content. By posting great content that your fans can connect with, they are far more likely to seek out that album, tour, or mailing list on their own and be far more excited about it when they get there.