Love it or hate it, Facebook has more than 2.6 BILLION users and we can only hope that some of those are jazz fans too.
Forget meaningless stats such as ‘likes’ and ‘followers’ – your challenge is to get your music in front of those potential fans, make them excited to hear more and then stay connected with them.
Not because it looks good to have more followers, but because those existing fans are the ones who are going to pre-order your next album from Bandcamp, buy a ticket to your gig and tell their friends how great you are.
Of course, they might become a ‘follower’ at first, but once you’re engaging these people, you have the opportunity to ask them do take other action…
“Join my mailing list here…”
“Check out my Patreon here…”
“Pre-order on Bandcamp here…”
So my ‘call-to-action’ is not that you should use Facebook because it is fun or friendly, but because (when done ‘well’) it can play a role in building your audience.
And, with all that in mind, one big thing we need to talk about is why you should be focusing on your artist page, rather than you personal one…
I know: you post the exact same thing on both and the personal one gets loads more attention.
But that’s because they’re your friends and family, not your fans!
So, of course, you should use your personal page and anything else you can to get the word out there about your music, but here are 12 reasons why your artist page shouldn’t be left unloved…
1. Schedule posts
One big issue with using social media as a musician is the feeling that you always need to be connected, even if you don’t enjoy those platforms.
But, at the same time, you feel that you should somehow be doing it.
Being able to schedule posts in advance can allow you to tap into the benefits of building your audience on Facebook, without thinking about it every day.
Of course, for best engagement, it’s important to be present and to respond to your fans and followers when them comment, but at least scheduling, say, 2 weeks of content in one go takes a lot of the pressure off.
And, more than that, it pushes you to get a little more organised with your planning in terms of content.
No more ‘sit at the computer and think of something to say’ but instead brainstorming the topics you think your followers would be interested to hear about and then writing a few in one go…
It’s totally feasible to get some great content planned and scheduled and then get back to making music whilst your followers see your posts pop up.
2. Get tagged by venues, magazines & fans
Getting 100,000 followers on Facebook and waiting for the gigs to come rolling in is probably not the best plan for a jazz musician.
But one thing is for sure: there are many, many people using Facebook who would love your music if they discovered it.
One easy way to expand that reach, organically, is by being tagged in other peoples’ posts.
Imagine you get a review in a jazz magazine which has a good following on Facebook. If you have an artist page, that magazine can ‘tag’ you when they mention your album.
Anyone who sees that, can simply click on the name and they’ll be taken directly to your Facebook page.
Sure, this might only bring in a trickle of new fans each week, but it costs nothing and, over time, these ‘details’ really add up…
[That doesn’t work if you’re using a ‘personal’ page. They might think they’ve tagged you, but only friends will see it]
3. Unlimited followers
Maybe right now, having 5000 people who want to follow you on social media seems far in the future.
But what about in 2 or 3 or 10 years?
Your personal Facebook page is capped at 5,000 ‘friends’ so you’re putting a limit on your future progress.
Of course, you could wait until that day arrives, but getting back to basics then and trying to play catch-up is probably going to be a lot less motivating than it seems even now.
4. Invite to like
The whole idea of an artist page is that it’s public, and that anyone can see or interact with it.
A brilliant feature, especially if you start running ads, is the ability to invite someone to like your page as soon as they’ve shown an interest.
A simple example: you post a new video on your artist page and ask all your friends and fellow musicians to share it. You can hit a button to send a notification to anyone who liked your post, inviting them to like your page.
That means you have the chance to reach them with all your future posts too… even those ones where you offer them to join your mailing list or head over to your Bandcamp page to pre-order your next release…
5. More post features
If you’ve ever compared personal and artist pages, you’ll see that when you click to start writing a new post, the latter has more options.
And, more than that, they’re options built to help you operate better as a professional, such as tagging products, pushing people to get in contact or surveying your audience.
None of those sound particularly useful to you right now?
Well Facebook is constantly tweaking and updating their functions and one big focus on that is how to make business pages more effective.
So, as with several of these points, it’s worth having a good audience there before you need it.
6. Data (aka Know Your Fans)
Whether we’re talking about vinyl on Bandcamp, people buying tickets to see you play or who’s listening to you on streaming platforms, data is key.
If you know who your fans and customers are, you can reach more of the similar people.
- You know that you have 1,000 monthly Spotify listeners in Berlin? Maybe that should be a focus for booking a club gig.
- 65% of all your income on Bandcamp last year came from vinyl? Maybe you should do vinyl versions from your back-catalogue
- The average age of your Facebook fans is 55? Maybe any ads you’re running would get better results if you focus in on that demographic more
Anyway, having an artist page on Facebook gives you access to a whole bunch of data about your fans and followers.
It might look like a mass of graphs and percentages, but these tell you things which can make a real difference to the way you present and sell your music.
As always: don’t chase the stats for the sake of it (ie “I have 5,000 fans….”) but for what it can do for your career…
7. Sell merch directly
As with all online platforms, Facebook’s goal is to keep its users active and engaged for as long as possible.
One relatively recent feature which ties in with that is the idea of selling (and promoting) things directly to your audience.
If you’re managing to grab people’s attention on Facebook, why not also highlight the fact that you have CDs and vinyl to sell them?
With an artist page, you can already do this.
And we can only assume there will be more and more features in this area to come, in the next months and years…
8. You’re not breaking the Facebook terms & conditions
Technically, using your personal profile for a professional activity is not allowed.
You’d be right in thinking that Facebook have got bigger things to worry about that a jazz musician promoting his or her music on a personal page.
But still, if you’re going to engage with a platform, it probably makes sense to do it somewhere that isn’t going to suddenly disappear because you didn’t follow the rules…
9. SEO [search engine optimisation]
What happens when a promoter you played a gig for mentions how great it was to a colleague?
Chances are they’ll type your name into one of 3 places:
If they head to Google, you want to make sure that the first things that pop up are your best things.
Facebook, being the tech giant that it is, will usually appear in the top 3 spaces of any relevant Google search.
Not personal profiles, but professional ones.
And they don’t necessarily take into account how up-to-date and ‘loved’ it is.
So if you have an artist page but don’t really use it, you’re giving potential supporters of your project to an out-of-date and unloved account of the project!
10. Set up ads (including using a pixel)
Let’s say this first: running ads (especially ‘boosts’) on Facebook with no strategy or planning behind them is a very easy way to waste a ton of money.
But, done well, you have the opportunity to reach a very specific group of people who are likely to be ‘into’ your music.
Of course, just asking them to like your page or watch your video still doesn’t really change things for you, but if you can actually motivate those people to do something special (like join your mailing list or follow you on Bandcamp) it can suddenly become a rewarding exercise.
Running successful Facebook ads as a musician is a whole topic in itself but, for now, let’s just say this:
- You can’t run ads from your personal page, so you need an artist page for that
- The more engagement you have on your artist page, the more well-targeted (and, as a result, cost-effective) your ads can be
[as an aside, did you know you can run an ad on your latest video then show a second advert only to people who watched the first one? That’s pretty powerful in terms of connecting only with the right people…]
11. Give access to other people
One main goal for many jazz musicians is to build a team and have more time for the important work of writing, rehearsing, practicing and playing music.
If, as many before have, you decide that social media is important but not something you want to do yourself, you can easily find someone to manage your socials.
For that, though, you’ll need to add them as a user/editor/admin on your artist page…
12. Create and promote events
Step one for getting gigs, as everyone knows, is pitching for them.
But once you’ve been touring a few years, you’ll realise that step two is getting invited back to the same clubs again.
Of course, great music is most important, but you also need to be able to show you can sell tickets.
There’s no quick magic tip for selling out shows, but promoting them as well as you can is of course important.
And, right now in 2021, Facebook is an effective way to connect with those possible ticket-buyers.
Setting up an event for each gig, inviting friends & fans, pushing your partners to share it and maybe even running some low-level ads is one way that not only drives attention, it also shows the promoter that you are working on this.
And that matters for more than you might think: promoters really appreciate knowing they have an artist invested in promoting a show with them, rather than just turning up. And things like that really count in your favour when asking for another gig….
Oh and, as I’m sure you guessed, you need an artist page to set up and promote these ‘events’
Thanks for reading!
Regardless of whether you are on-the-fence about the effectiveness of Facebook or not, I hope this has shown some good reasons why (for now, at least) it makes sense to have at least one hand in the Facebook ‘game’ and to do that on an artist page!
If you’ve been working hard on building an engaged audience on your artist page, I’d love to hear about it, and see a link, in the comments section here.
International jazz booking agent, manager and host of Jazzfuel.
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