These days, the music industry is a very different beast to the one that spawned the ‘glory days’ of Rock’n’roll. The chances of a suave A&R man showing up at your band’s tiny pub/club gig and signing you to EMI on the spot have always been low, but never quite so much as today. This means, if you want interest from labels, major or independent, you have to get out there and build a fanbase yourself. Thankfully, this is has been made much easier with the dawn of the internet, so before you pull on your gloves and head out into the cold to cover walls and billboards in homemade posters, you might want to think about sitting down at your computer with a nice warm beverage and logging on to Facebook.
1: Look professional
The first step to promote your music on Facebook is making sure your page looks professional. You need to try and entice new listeners – when trying to discover a new band online, the tiniest things can put me off from the outset – poor quality, pixelated/stretched photos, mistakenly creating a normal, personal profile instead of a ‘like’ page, or lots of spelling and grammar mistakes are all things that can put potential fans off your band before they even listen to your music! There are several free apps that you can add to your page that are designed specifically for bands to create a sleek, professional looking promotional platform – I’d recommend checking them out and choosing the one that suits you best – there’s Band Profile (powered by Reverbnation), FanRx, and my personal favourite, BandPage, amongst others.
2: Engaging content
So, you’ve got your page looking as professional as you possibly can. The next step is content – what do you actually put on Facebook? Well, that’s largely up to you, and through the use of the insights feature (which is shown on the admin panel at the top of your page, and at the bottom of each individual post) which allows you to see data on your reach (number of views), you can see what kind of post your fanbase best responds to. Try to mix it up a bit – a blog post one day, photos/videos from practice/a gig the next, something about your own musical tastes and bands that inspire you the day after… the more resourceful and inventive, the better! It’s really useful in developing your image as an artist to make sure that all your posts fit some kind of coherent style, perhaps one that fits your sound/genre – dark, cryptic, brooding photographs of recording sessions might work brilliantly for your death metal band, but fans of your synth-pop project will probably appreciate them less. Also bear in mind the regularity of the content you post – in general, one post a day should be your absolute limit, otherwise some fans may grow frustrated and unlike your page, but make sure you never go for too long without a quick update either – more than a week or two, and you’ll find your reach drops rapidly.
3: Promoted posts
If you’re really serious about ‘making it’ with your band, Facebook also has a sponsored posts feature, which allows you to pay for extra views on your content. To use this, click on ‘Promote’, just next to the send button, when posting content to your page. There are a number of options you can use here, so make sure you consider them fully – if you’re posting content that might draw in new fans, such as a new music video, you can promote to both people who like your page and their friends, but for a link to your latest merch design, it might be a better idea to promote only to those who like your page.
In the end, Facebook promotion is not the ‘be all and end all’ of building a fanbase, so there’s no need to panic if this whole article sounds like complete gibberish to you, but, if you exploit it correctly, and persist, Facebook can be a fantastic, career-making tool for you and your band, allowing you to connect with fans in a way that’s never been possible before, and generate some hype that could just carry your music to new heights – good luck!