Musicians are often notorious for taking advantage of social media to gather underground popularity before they hit the mainstream. It’s really the perfect form of advertising, primarily because it’s cheap and easy to use. Small bands don’t have the resources to dedicate to professional advertising, instead opting for more guerilla tactics. Facebook is great for exactly that.
Step 1: Build and Maintain a Website
To make the most of Facebook, you need a site to link out to, and often. It’s easy enough to create a band homepage, if you don’t already have one. Offer player histories and bios, band histories, a show schedule with links to venue pages for ticket purchases, a discography page with purchase information for your music, and a blog.
The blog is the important part, here. In business, you would want to keep your blog active with a new post every day or two. For a band, 2-4 posts each week is probably fine. You’re busy with your music, after all. Write about events and how they turned out. Write about music you’re working on, to tease new albums. Write about other bands you idolize. Write about the artists whose work you feature on album covers. There are all sorts of topics to cover, most of which is of personal interest to your fans.
Step 2: Build a Robust Band Page
When you create a Facebook page, you have to pick a category. The categories are books/magazines/brands/products, companies/organizations, local businesses, people/sports, websites/blogs and movies/music/television. You’ll want to pick the appropriate category; in this case, movies/music/television.
Your category gives you specific features and limits access to others. For example, only local businesses get the map and ratings function. Bands, under the music category, are limited to just a website and short description. While this doesn’t seem like much, it gives you one very important advantage you can’t get with other categories. More on that in step 8.
The important parts of a band page are your cover photo, your profile picture, your description, and the link to your website. You don’t need to worry about apps the way many businesses do. On the other hand, you can take great advantage of uploading pictures and videos to the platform.
Step 3: Invite Existing Fans to Follow
Chances are you have some way to keep in contact with your fans, whether it’s a simple email list or a community forum. When you create a Facebook page, use that means of contact to advertise it. Likewise, attach it to your band email signature, link to it from your personal profiles, and on any promotional material you print and publish.
Step 4: Connect and Network with Other Bands and Labels
As a musician, you have no doubt made connections in the industry, both with other bands and with record labels, both small and large. Whenever you can, leverage those connections. Connect with the Facebook pages run by those bands and labels, and help cross-promote their posts. They’ll help you do the same, and in doing so, share audiences with you. Just make sure they actually do benefit you, otherwise you’re promoting another entity with nothing to show for it.
Step 5: Give Followers the Back Stage Experience
One of the main reasons fans follow bands on Facebook is to see what they’re doing with their time. Showing them pictures of backstage, showing them shots of a recording studio, showing them the process of how things get done; it’s all part of the experience.
Make your Facebook followers feel as though they have exclusive access to part of your life they wouldn’t otherwise be able to see.
If you want, you can go one step further and literally give your followers – or a select few of them, anyways – the backstage experience. Give away a handful of VIP passes to upcoming shows, and use those passes to get a few lucky fans behind the curtain.
Step 6: Engage Fans with Feedback
One of the benefits of being a small entity like an indie band is the ability to communicate directly with your fans and have them feel appreciated. When a large brand tries the same thing, it comes off like a marketing department is trying to use their audience as a focus group.
Ask questions, talk to your fans, get feedback and take it into consideration. Crowdsource shirt designs and logos, theorycraft what your band might have been like had things gone differently. Run games to guess names of tracks based on hints or inspiration. The sky is the limit.
Step 7: Offer Exclusive Content to Followers
One of the best things you can do on Facebook is engage your users by offering them something they can’t get anywhere else. Preview a track or music video early by posting it before it even goes up on your website. Offer hints at upcoming deals or shows. Offer preorders for tickets to a show. It’s up to you what you provide, but you have an endless variety of possibilities at your disposal.
Step 8: Get Yourself Verified
This is the single biggest advantage you have as a band over many businesses; verification. Bands, musicians and entertainers are part of the media and entertainment industries. These are the only industries Facebook willingly verifies profiles. By verifying your page, you tell your fans you’re important enough for Facebook to acknowledge you.
Step 9: Keep Active, Even in Slumps
Bands have it rough, particularly in the early years before fame catches on. You go through slumps, you go through tough times, you have times when you struggle to make ends meet. It’s easy to let your website and Facebook page slip during those times, but you need to make sure you don’t do that.
The reason is the way Facebook shows posts to users. When a user interacts with a page, be it liking a comment or commenting themselves, Facebook decides to show more posts from that page to that user. The opposite is also true; go a long time without interacting with a page and you’ll see less and less from that page.
A slump can easily destroy your reach, the ability for your posts to be seen, if you aren’t giving users anything to interact with.