Media companies are having a hard time trying to get people to pay for digital news. When there are so many sites that just provide headlines and a few paragraphs of sensational context (which is what most people want, anyway), it’s difficult to convince readers that “news” is a product that’s worth any money.
That’s why media companies have come to rely on advertising so heavily. Right now, 69% of all domestic news revenue is tied to advertising. And how do media companies ensure that they get the most potential exposure for advertisers? They bring in traffic. Lots and lots of traffic.
Facebook is responsible for a huge amount of that traffic, so it should be no surprise that the social media giant is enticing publishers with promises of lots of traffic and engagement in exchange for a deal in which, according to The New York Times, “media companies would essentially be serfs in a kingdom that Facebook owns.”
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.
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:
Whether you’re a painter, a sketch artist or a sculptor, the Internet can be an alluring place to market your art.
But a lot of the time, artists get bogged down by the amount of work it takes to maintain a website, promote their work on social media, and constantly offer new pieces to stay relevant in the noise of the online world.
One of the platforms that’s trying to help change that is Art-Shelf, an online retail start-up that offers artists a place to sell their art, without having to spend the rest of the day marketing and advertising.
I recently spoke with founder Josh King about how the business started and what it’s like to market art online today.
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:
In October 2012, I was inspired to start this website (at least in its current form), because I talked to a musician. Specifically, I talked to Owen Packard, the guitarist for UK-based metal band, Earthtone9.
I was trying to figure out whether eBooks and mp3s could still make authors and musicians some kind of money. And, if so, how could you get discovered in a world full of noise?
Earthtone9 had experienced a surge of fame in the early 2000s, but then, as Owen put it, “imploded.” However, they had a plan to get back together and make a new album.
To do it, they wanted to try combining live shows with some serious online promotion.
Here’s what they did:
I’ve talked about how bad writers can be at Facebook before. It’s pretty obvious if you just take a look around.
There are exceptions to the rule, of course, but in general it seems that us writerly folks tend to not like social media that much, particularly the insta-smile networks of Facebook, Twitter, and their even more photo-oriented ilk.
The reason is simple:
Facebook has been something of a Rubik’s Cube for authors. Even if you take a look at some of the most famous authors’ Facebook Pages, you can tell that the teams pulling the strings have a pretty poor understanding of how it all works.
In my quest for authors who use Facebook effectively, I first came across the Facebook Page of E.L James, the author of Fifty Shades of Grey, and talked about why that Facebook Page worked.
But now, I’ve finally found Inglath Cooper, who has over 18,000 Likes and a really active fan engagement.
What’s her secret?
When I set out to grade five author Facebook Pages, I wasn’t quite sure what I would find.
Mostly, I expected a vast treasure trove of disappointment. Mostly, I wasn’t disappointed in discovering that disappointment.
Until I took a look at the Facebook Page of E.L. James, author of 50 Shades of Grey.
Now, I’m not really convinced that Facebook is a useful tool for a self-promoting author who hasn’t published anything. After all, you can’t market hype about something no one has ever heard of before.
But once your book does come out, there are ways you can create an interesting, exciting Facebook Page for it.
Let’s take a look at how the 50 Shades of Grey team does it:
When authors talk about promoting their books, the “S” word isn’t far behind.
Everyone knows social media is important for writers in some abstract context, but they’re not sure how it actually works.
That includes me.
I’ve tried investigating it all month, first by interviewing author Holly Robinson about how she uses Twitter. Then, by taking a look at the Facebook Pages of famous authors.
Now, I wanted to talk to someone who runs a magazine to see how Facebook is working as a marketing platform.
Here’s my interview with Shane Collins, the editor-in-chief of The Speculative Edge, a sci-fi magazine that’s just five months old.