Facebook is a surprisingly effective platform for small-scale musicians to build a following. No longer are you relegated to the garage band websites and small cult aggregators; Facebook allows you to reach your local audience, as well as a national stage, with some careful use.
Now, to get the most out of Facebook, you probably need to have some money to invest. I understand that this isn’t always possible; when you’re choosing between a few Facebook ads or a new amp, repairs to an instrument, or travel expenses for a gig, it’s hard to go for Facebook. I don’t blame you for making that choice. Just consider putting a few bucks aside and spending them on Facebook when you get the chance.
1. Make a Page For Your Band
You can attempt to promote a new music video just using your own personal account and those of your band members, but it’s really a better option to make a Page for the band if you haven’t already.
There are a ton of articles about making and optimizing a page, so you should have no trouble figuring out the details there. Using a Page means you can take advantage of a ton of different Facebook tools, and build a following, while still using your personal accounts to help spread and promote your music. Just make sure you choose the right Page category when you’re putting it together, so Facebook optimizes for your content.
2. Post New Music Videos on Facebook, Too
YouTube is often seen as the go-to hub for posting music videos, because all the big names do it. Usually, they have a VEVO-branded account helping to share and promote their content.
You can, of course, sign up for a VEVO account yourself. There are a handful of sub-companies that will help you with that process, or you can contact VEVO directly.
Don’t get tunnel vision and post exclusively to YouTube, though! Facebook likes when people use their native video system, and will promote a native video over a YouTube link any day. Always upload your new videos to Facebook as well as other platforms you may use.
3. Run Ads to Promote New Videos
It should come as no surprise that Facebook has an entire ad format dedicated to promoting their video system. You can use video ads to get more views, more engagement, more watch time, and more clicks through to your page or your band website.
Yes, it costs money. Yes, it’s full of fiddly little knobs you need to tune to reach the right audience. I fully understand not wanting to dig into it, but maybe you can consider finding a friend who is knowledgeable about Facebook ads, or even hiring a professional, to do the work for you.
4. Run Ads to Promote Announcement Posts
You don’t have to limit yourself to just the videos for Facebook ads. You can run ads to promote your profile in general, though it’s not necessarily very efficient to do so. What you should strongly consider doing is making announcement posts about new music, new upcoming content, new items in your store, or whatever else is relevant to your fans. Then, pay to promote those posts as boosted posts or advertisements, with the goal of getting more of your fans to see them. It’s even simple to do: just target your existing followers. You don’t need to worry about targeting people who don’t know who you are, like you might with videos.
5. Create Event Pages for Upcoming Gigs
Many bands will have a tour system or a calendar of events on their website, but you can do the same thing on Facebook. Facebook events are automatically promoted to people who follow your page, so create event pages for your upcoming performances.
If the venue you’re playing already has their own event page, don’t worry! Use your event page to link to and promote the venue’s page. This is particularly important for cases where the venue space may be limited and your fans need to buy tickets early. Just make sure your event page description lists the important relevant details up front, so no one is confused.
6. Take Behind the Scenes Videos to Upload and Promote
One of the biggest benefits of using Facebook over a lot of other platforms is the ability to be very casual. One way to encourage this is to record behind the scenes videos for your shows, your recording sessions, or even just practice sessions, and upload them as new videos to Facebook. They’ll get the same level of treatment as your more professional productions, but you have a great opportunity to network with your followers. Those casual videos make your fans feel like they’re part of something special, even if it’s just Facebook.
Facebook groups can be full of fans or like-minded content producers, all of whom can be excellent for helping you grow. You can join some groups full of music fans and promote your videos there. You can also join groups of bands and help mutually promote each others’ content.
Some time ago we wrote a guide about using groups to grow and promote Facebook pages. Even though the post is over a year old, nothing has really changed about how Facebook groups work, so you can still make use of this advice. I highly recommend giving it a shot; it’s one kind of promotion many others won’t be using.
One of the most important metrics for getting circulation on Facebook is engagement with the post, and it’s really important that as much engagement happen as soon after the video is posted as possible.
What this means is that, to get the most out of your video, you need to encourage as many people as you can to like, share, and comment on it when you post it. That means posting it at a time of day when these people are active, and getting them to take action. Get your band to share it, get your friends and family to share it, get anyone involved in production to share it, and rake in the exposure that comes from all of those shares.
9. Don’t Duplicate Video Posts
One mistake I often see bands making is, whenever they want to re-share or re-promote an old music video, they post the same video again in a new post. I’ve even seen some bands post their new video three or four times in the same week. This just leads to a lot of split engagement and lower metrics on each individual video.
It’s far more beneficial to share the old post or link to it in a new non-video post when you want that video to get more exposure. You can also link to the sort of playlist Facebook sets up for your videos within their video system, to get promotion to all of your music videos rather than just the one.
10. Add A Lyrics Caption File to Videos
Have you ever argued with someone about the correct lyrics in a song? Do you think anyone will argue about yours? Do you want to make your videos more accessible to the hearing impaired? You can do all of this by using captions on your video. Since you want accuracy – and you know the lyrics to your music – you can make the file yourself.
When you upload your video, you will have to wait for the file to fully upload. Once it is ready to post, click to edit the video and choose to upload a SRT file. An SRT file is your subtitles file, which includes the lyrics captions and any other captionable dialogue in the video. Don’t worry; it’s not hard to make an SRT file.
11. Work With Producers to Make and Promote New Videos
Very small bands often just make their own music videos, or have a friend help out. However, sometimes you can attract the attention of a more professional producer. Even if that producer is still only a local name, they can help with the promotion of a video. When they help produce a video, you can get them to help promote it on Facebook as well. This adds their following to yours, and gets that additional engagement that can kick your video out to a wider audience. You might even gain new fans!
12. Publish on Facebook Exclusively or Initially
It can be tempting to do a simultaneous release of your video across all the different platforms, including Facebook, YouTube, Vimeo, and whatever other small niche platforms you may use.
Unfortunately, this means you’re losing potential value out of Facebook. My recommendation here is to announce that new videos and new content will be uploaded to Facebook a week or two before they go live anywhere else. This way you can focus all of your initial engagement to Facebook and get the most value out of it, and use the other platforms later.
13. Respond to Incoming Engagement
Engagement is one of the most important metrics on Facebook. Whenever someone likes or shares your video, though, there’s not much you can do. When they comment, though, that’s when you can step in. Either use your personal account or your band account – depending on the comment – and respond. Thank users for their comments, answer questions about your band, your tour, your video, and so on. Even if the information you’re giving out is readily available in other places, leaving a comment response does two things. First, it encourages other people to leave their own comments. Second, it shows you’re willing to help out and engage with your fans, and you’re not just using the site as a billboard.
14. Run Ads to Promote Events
You can run ads through the Facebook ad system to promote events as well as videos and normal posts. I recommend doing so whenever you have a low-key gig you want to promote. Just make sure you’re not cannibalizing an audience or an ad, if you’re promoting a show at a venue that might be doing their own ads. By targeting the same ad space, you might be driving up costs for both of you and getting less value overall. If you can reach different audiences, however, go for it.
At the end of the day, promoting a new music video – or really, promoting anything about your band – isn’t all that different from promoting any other kind of content. You have a few drawbacks and roadblocks, and you have a few benefits related to the kind of content you’re posting. It’s really a wash.
But hey, if any of my readers out there are bands and you’re looking to promote a new video, post it in the comments! I like to check out new music, and I like to see the kinds of things my followers are doing.