You may have noticed something if you have a Facebook Page to promote your band – fewer and fewer people are seeing it. It’s not that people have decided to “dislike” the Page. It’s that they honestly, truly, can’t see your band’s Facebook posts anymore.
What once used to be a ripe old 50% of your fans might now be closer to 30%. Embarrassing things like “16 People Saw This Post” show up in Facebook’s sophisticated analytics captions.
Why’s all this happening? Because Facebook wants money.
A few years ago, I saw a video kicking around Facebook called “How to Trick People Into Thinking You’re Good Looking.”
It was a standard YouTube video: a webcam photoshoot of some person, doing something. This video was pretty funny, and featured a monologue by someone named Jenna Marbles.
Today, Jenna Marbles’ YouTube earnings are valued at over $4 million. “How to Trick People Into Thinking You’re Good Looking” has over 55,000,000 views. The channel for Jenna Marbles videos has over a billion views.
Where’s all this money coming from? YouTube. How? Ads.
I recently stumbled across a really interesting documentary – “Unsound.” No, it’s not out yet. In fact, maybe it never will be. Right now, it’s in the funding stages on IndieGoGO and I beseech everyone to go help make it become a reality. Writers, artists, musicians – anyone who does creative stuff needs to donate to the campaign.
It’s not really a donation, anyway, since you get the movie out of the deal.
Unsound is about the increasingly harmful effects of “Free” on the economy – from journalism to music. That’s something I’ve been thinking about for a while, too. Mostly, I want to know why the creative economy is in such peril. So, today, let’s focus on music.
Here’s what’s happening to the industry, and why musicians everywhere are struggling:
Facebook for bands is a Rubik’s Cube. If it works, it can really work. But if it doesn’t… it’s embarrassing.
A lot of bands use Facebook on a less-than-monthly basis, but there’s some power to steadily creating a stream of content for fans. In fact, I realized the impact of social media when I was waiting to buy a CD, “The Catalyst Fire” by Dead Letter Circus, for almost three months.
That’s kind of a miracle. The “album” as a concept is dying because singles are selling so much better. Not only that, “anticipation” for a creative product is almost a foreign feeling on the Internet, where we’re entitled to instant downloads and streaming.
But there I was, waiting impatiently for October 29 when I could finally buy an album that had been on YouTube since August and available in Australia for months.
So what happened? Social media. Specifically, Facebook. Dead Letter Circus – and what I suspect is some help from the band’s album label, UNFED – brought social media marketing to some next level craziness and it worked. The album debuted at #2 on the ARIA Album Chart.
Here’s what any band can learn about social media from Dead Letter Circus:
This post originally appeared on MarchPR.com.
I recently tried to go to a concert here in Boston. I won’t name the venue or the bands, even the most popular of which is pretty much unknown. The show was on a Monday night. My mission was to see one band in particular, but I didn’t know when they, or any band, were going to start playing.
I embarked on a treasure hunt to put together whatever clues I could find. Now, if you’re in PR or know anything about PR, you’ve probably heard the term “messaging” before. Messaging is the cornerstone of any PR campaign. Companies do a lot of research and work very hard to make sure that a message is on-target before sending it out into the world. A good message is consistent on all platforms and channels.
None of these bands had good messaging. The club didn’t have good messaging, either. And, as I tried to piece things together, I couldn’t help but think about all the different ways a solid social media strategy could have helped.
Here’s what I noticed:
Last week, I ventured out to see a band I had discovered on Pandora – El Ten Eleven. I’ve known about them since 2009, when their song, “My Only Swerving,” emerged onto one of my radio stations.
Ever since I graduated college and moved to a place where bands actually visit, I’ve been periodically checking to see whether El Ten Eleven is making any East Coast tours. But they usually don’t, because they’re a West Coast band and incredibly obscure.
After all, they’re not just an instrumental band, they’re a duo. Yup, that’s right – there’s a drummer and bassist-guitarist guy. When they finally did come around to Boston, I grabbed tickets. I brought friends.
“Who are they?” Friends asked.
“Don’t worry about it, I found them on Pandora,” I said. And I wasn’t the only one.
Bands have a lot of different attitudes when it comes to how they use Facebook.
You’ve got the guys who don’t like to fill out any information. Then the ones who prefer to post vague and mysterious, almost nonsensical blocks of text. You’ve also got overly gracious bands that thank fans for being at shows or buying an album or posting on their wall.
Most, though, reserve Facebook for just a few things: behind-the-scenes photos, concert pictures and announcements.
That’s usually the case whether your band’s Facebook Page has 10 Likes or 10,000. The real curiosity, then, is why all those Likes don’t translate into something more tangible a lot of the time.
Every band has been there: You post something about an upcoming show, sit back and… no one likes the post. Or comments.
Why? The truth is that only 15 percent of your fans see your posts. If the average band has about 200 Facebook fans, that means 30 people see that you’re having a show.
What’s the solution? Get email addresses. And keep getting them.