There are a ton of articles on using Facebook as a musician, but I think most of them miss the mark in some respect.
Articles that are telling you to post twice a day, constantly keep up with comments, constantly be active on every social media, etc., are asking you to be more social media manager than musician.
This is not why you became an artist, and I know that. You should be spending most of your time making your art, and your social media should be a reflection of your art that serves to create a relationship between you and your fans.
It’s a tool, and you should treat it with care.
Here are my top 14 Facebook marketing tips. I’ve learned these from experience, and they have helped me build a better brand while balancing social media with music-making.
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1. Stress Quality Over Quantity
You may have read a few Facebook marketing guides that suggest posting every day. There may have been a time when that was a winning strategy, but today, I disagree.
For artists more than anyone else, posting every day is unnecessary and potentially harmful. The last thing you want is for fans to grow tired of your constant social media presence. There’s only so much interesting content to post – don’t let yourself go stale.
Beyond that, posting every day is a total distraction. You’ll then feel obligated to interact with fans, check on the post, see how it’s doing, etc. This can become a major time-waster.
You are an artist and a musician, not a social media manager. Maintain your focus on music, and the social media will build itself.
2. Build A Congruent Brand
Your social media presence should reflect the music, your attitude towards making music, and your brand as an artist. I'm convinced that every aspect of your public persona is an important part of the art you create.
Building a brand is a reflection of every aspect of how you present yourself. The way you dress, the words you say, the vibe of the images you post, right down to the filters you use.
Get creative with it, and take it seriously. I’ve begun taking a bunch of pictures of my band’s creative process using only analog film cameras and disposable cameras. The result is very different from an iPhone picture. It gives a sense of nostalgia and it gives you a page with a very cohesive look.
3. Study Successful Pages
As in art, stealing when marketing your music is okay. Find out what makes a brand work, steal whatever inspires you, and then apply it to your brand.
It’s key to think hard about what you’re posting and what makes another artist’s posts work. Simply copying the style and tone won’t do it. You have to look behind the style and tone, and get to what inspired the brand itself.
Is the artist’s brand filled with Polaroids and blurry sepia toned pictures? Consider how that relates to the music they make. Is their music nostalgic? Is the artist inspired by the tones and looks of the 70s?
I have a friend who is in a pop act, and they style their entire image based on what was popular in the 80s. But it’s not kitschy, it’s very well thought out.
They take their pictures on film cameras because it creates a sense of spontaneity. They are fans of 80s fashion, and spend a long time curating and modifying their wardrobe.
It’s not original, but it makes sense and it’s carefully and intelligently planned.
4. Do It Yourself
Unless you’re famous (in which case, why are you reading this?) or completely technologically inept, you need to run your own social media.
People can absolutely tell when a manager is running the social media, and it is mostly not a good look.
Social media managers tend to make clunky, generic, and empty posts. How could they possibly convey your personality and style better than you?
Personally, I can even tell when an artist is taking too much social media advice from their management. Most managers are out of touch with what kids are doing on social media, and it totally shows.
Again, you need to carefully look at the profiles of artists that you admire, think about the things that inspire you, think about how you want to appear to the public, and figure it out yourself.
I’m not saying you should spend all your time thinking about Facebook, but hey – instead of spending an hour cruising Facebook, spend an hour cruising Facebook with purpose.
5. Make A Content Calendar
It’s hard to consistently make great content. It helps to have an idea of what your promotion priorities are, which is why a calendar is useful.
If you’ve got a big show coming up, you may want to use most of your posts to promote it.
If you’re releasing a new video, consider how you’ll build excitement for it.
If you’re releasing a whole album, you should carefully think about how you want your pages to look going forward. Take a look at Taylor Swift’s recent releases – she built a huge amount of buzz by pulling all her old social media and releasing a very carefully planned series of hints and images.
Generally, I would aim to post no more than a few times a week. Even that can be a lot. Facebook is so inundated with content, it’s much better to use your limited space well.
A content calendar can help you plan out when the content is released, so that people don’t get tired of it.
6. When Possible, Use Facebook Embedded Video
Photos used to be the most effective Facebook content. No longer. Anything moving is now the best way to get reach.
In particular, Facebook strongly favors its own built-in video player. Whenever it makes sense, release content using that platform instead of YouTube or any other video player.
Sometimes, you’ll have to release things on YouTube, which is totally fine. You can’t solely host music videos on Facebook, and YouTube views are important.
But Facebook embedded video will work far better than YouTube for things like previews, show announcements, etc.
If you want to do one better, however, try Facebook Live…
7. Use Facebook Live To Engage
Facebook Live is one of the best features Facebook has added in recent years. It’s super interactive, has a ton of potential for cool content, and on top of that, it has a ton of reach.
Because it is a new feature, Facebook has made its reach much higher than other post types. People will literally get notifications when you go live, which is good for you, because it sends them directly to your page.
The reason Facebook does this is because it is also good for them to have people spending more time on their app. The more time you spend on the app, the more money they make.
The key with Facebook Live is to not be lame. You must think outside the box and do interesting things.
I love streaming intimate shows from a living room, doing a request show, or hosting a cooking tutorial. These things draw people in and build your brand.
Sometimes, generic moves like Q&A’s can be good, but not always. It’s pretty embarrassing and/or discouraging to host a Q&A and have no questions to answer. You have to create content people care about.
8. Avoid Running Too Many Contests
On that note, running contests can be a great way to drive engagement up, but they can also be super lame and cheesy. I find that contests are usually what a bad social media manager thinks of as being a good social media marketing move.
If you’re going to run a contest, it either needs to be super straightforward and simple, or cool and fun.
For example, an artist I play for often gives away a free pair of tickets to a show if you “Like” the promo post for the show, and tag the person you’re going to the show with.
This is super simple, not very needy, and is over quickly. It’s a good way to get the word out about a show and guarantee that a few people will turn up.
One of my favorite bands, Vulfpeck ran a contest to determine the official dance move to their song Funky Duck. This was a hilarious marketing move that totally fit their brand.
Photo submission contests, voting contests, and the like can be done well, but they can also fall flat. Be aware of how your contest will be perceived by fans, and take care not to annoy them.
9. Boost Important Posts
Throwing a few dollars behind a post can mean the difference between 10 likes and 100 likes. It sucks, but Facebook absolutely sewers most posts unless you boost them.
These days, I don’t post very often, and I make sure that everything I do post is relevant and important. It does not bother me to put a dollar or three behind a post if it means the post will do well.
On big announcements or big posts like music videos, I’ll put more money behind it. Typically, between $50 – $75. If I’m going to spend a couple grand on a video, I’m not going to skimp on the marketing budget. That would be pointless.
If I had a bigger budget, I would put even more money behind varied ads, and run A/B tests to see which ads work best.
10. Do Some Research & Experiment With Targeting
When you’re boosting posts, it’s important to stretch your dollar. I don’t want to see you waste money!
Do a little research, and find out how to use Facebook targeting. Then, spend some time looking at your Facebook Insights, and see who engages the most with your posts, where they are, what their demographic is, and compare that to your target demographic.
Boost your posts towards people that care and towards people that matter. When I ran a Spotify campaign on Facebook for our album, I specifically targeted people who had liked Spotify on Facebook, because there is a high likelihood they actually had Spotify accounts.
11. Don’t Boost Your Posts On Instagram
In my opinion, boosting posts on Instagram is a waste of money. They never format properly and Instagram ads are annoying. Always turn off the Promote On Instagram button when you’re boosting posts, because it’s on by default.
When it’s on, you’ll be spending your money on Instagram views, which you probably don’t need, because Instagram has better reach than Facebook.
12. Use Trackable Links On Boosted Posts
Use SmartURL or bit.ly to create shortened links for your YouTube videos and other links. These links look better, are treated better by Facebook’s algorithm, and have the ability to be tracked.
You can track where your links are being shared, and how often they are being clicked. It’s worth doing if you are running a larger campaign.
13. Vary Your Content From Instagram To Facebook
I always think it’s a little bit lame when artists have the exact same content on Facebook and Instagram. The platforms are pretty similar, so it’s certainly understandable, but I don’t think it’s the best practice.
Sometimes, you can have identical content across platforms, but you should try to vary it.
Make use of the different user interfaces; use Instagram’s photo focused platform to post slideshows and nice pictures. Use Facebook’s video focused platform to post interactive content and Facebook Live streams.
14. Take Social Media Seriously, But Not Too Seriously
Social media is important but it’s not everything. It’s definitely worth putting thought and effort into, but I really encourage people to focus on their music.
Your best content will always be original, creative stuff, not promo for shows. People care way more about new music, new videos, new art, new stuff. Make those things your priority, and your social media will come together.
Use the above tips to improve your Facebook marketing efforts. Don't get carried away with social media marketing, because it can only offer so much. Focus on your music, and begin building your strategy around it.