There are several responsibilities when it comes to playing music in a band. You need to book gigs, write or pick the right songs, rehearse, buy and maintain expensive equipment, travel (sometimes far)…and much more. One of the most crucial aspects, though, is building and cultivating a fan base. And one of the easiest ways to accomplish that online is with a Facebook Page.
A Page on Facebook differs from your regular profile account in several ways, but most notably, that you can have unlimited fans (or “Likes”), as opposed to the 5000 friend limit with your profile. You can also add free apps that you can use to customize your Page to your liking by adding a video section, posting a gig calendar…and so much more.
Many musicians and bands do, in fact, have a Facebook Page, but do little or nothing with it. The key to having some success with a Page, and subsequently, with growing your fan base, is consistently engaging with those that have already “Liked” your Page, and getting them to “Like” and share your posts. Facebook offers an option to advertise your brand elsewhere on the site and on the internet – but that costs money, and doesn’t always yield results that make it worthwhile.
Below you will find some simple and effective guidelines to follow if you want to grow your fan base, keep them involved and engaged, and exponentially increase your online exposure. The small amount of actual time and effort that it takes will almost always lead to more people at your shows, more sales of merch or music, and the success that you deserve.
1. Post something every day
You’ll actually be amazed at the effect this has once you start doing it. Your “Likes” will grow consistently if you are posting every day – a few times a day – and offering interesting content. When you post often and post things that people like, they’ll share it. Some of the people that see the shared content and like it, too – for whatever reason – will come “Like” your Page. It’s really that easy.
You can come up with a schedule for posts – at least three a day or whatever suits your needs – and plan ahead of time. I recently discovered an app called Buffer, where you can write your posts in advance and put them in an unlimited queue. You can take the time to design all of your posts for the next couple of days, or even the entire coming week, in a half-hour or less, and not have to even think about it for the next seven days. It’s free and simple to use.
You may be wondering, “How do I/we come up with that many things to post?”
2. Post photos
Posts that include pictures are one of the most-often shared things on Facebook. Just go look at your News Feed and you’ll see.
Take pictures of the crowd and tell your fans to tag themselves. Take random candid shots of band members. You could (and should) be designing flyers or online “postcards” that promote your upcoming gig, event, record release, or anything else that you have going on.
Create a folder on your computer exclusively used to organize photos for your Facebook Page, and you’ll always have something to share. You can even periodically re-post photos that have received good feedback, and always reach some new people.
You can also post some funny memes, entertaining photos that are relevant to your project, pics from artists that inspire you, etc. The possibilities are endless. If you post at least one a day, you’ll see how the engagement with your fans easily leads to more “Likes.”
3. Post videos
Even more than photos, videos encourage people to engage with you and your Page. On the internet, video is king. You Tube gets several million views every day. It’s in your best interest to take advantage of this opportunity in order to catapult your band or project to a higher level.
The obvious options are filming your band playing live, or having someone do it for you, and posting that on your Page. In fact, you should find a way to film at all of your gigs, if for no other reason than to watch it back so you can identify what’s working and what isn’t working.
But if it’s not feasible or practical to film yourself playing live, there are still other options to incorporate video on your Facebook page.
With the mega-popularity of apps like Instagram and Vine, you can film short video clips of any number of things related to your band and post often:
- Show a short clip of your rehearsal space
- Film your singer performing a song a-capella
- Capture a quick clip of the band loading in or out
- Have a band member tell a joke
- Show a time-lapse of the stage setup
Those are just a few ideas. Get creative and make it entertaining. People tend to share videos that they love because they’re either a) great or b) funny or c) both great and funny.
Even if you don’t play often, you can take a bunch of videos during the course of one night, and then space out sharing them throughout the following week. Post some sort of video every day and watch your numbers grow like magic.
4. Ask questions
Not only will this spark a lot of activity and interaction on your Page, but it’s also an excellent learning tool for you and your band. By asking questions, you can find out a lot of information about your fans – their likes and dislikes, their song preferences – and you can even get new ideas just by listening to your audience.
Try to think a bit outside the box when coming up with questions. They should be specific to your project or fan base in order to get the most responses, but also interesting and engaging. This is another case where you can think of a bunch ahead of time and write them down, and then just ask one every day or so.
5. Run contests
There are many free apps that you can utilize on your Facebook Page to run a contest, and this is yet another effective method to keep your fans engaged. You’ll want to space out the contests so that they become a special event in and of themselves, but still run them on a semi-regular basis. It makes things exciting for the people that are already interested in your band, and people tend to talk about and share things that excite them.
You can really get creative here, so don’t be afraid to try something different. Your contest can be something as simple as a giveaway of some sort, but you can also find new and interesting ways of both offering a unique prize, as well as finding new ways to grow your audience with the contest itself.
The goal here is to use this vehicle to get the word out about your band or music, while also making things fun and interactive for your current fan base. Some ideas:
- Have a photo contest where the best picture from your next gig gets the winner a $20 bar tab at the following show.
- Give away a free CD/t-shirt/sticker/whatever for someone who shares the most of your posts.
- The band can learn a song of the winner’s choice for the person who designs the best new logo
Keep it fun. Make it simple. And make sure it’s a win/win for both you and your fans.
6. Ask for shares
Sharing is the number one way to grow your Page. When people share something that you’ve posted, your content becomes exposed to an entirely different audience – one that was previously inaccessible. Multiply that every time someone shares anything, and your “Likes” start to grow exponentially.
The best way to get something that you want, at least sometimes, is to just ask. Ask your friends and fans to share your videos. Ask them to add their friends to your Page. Ask them to help you out because they already like you…and “Like” you. Believe it or not, people are happy to help out people that they like, especially when it’s something that’s simple to do.
So don’t be afraid to ask. In fact, do the opposite. Be proud of your music and your band and ask folks to spread the word on your behalf. Thank them, too.
7. Post in Groups
Groups on Facebook are different than Pages in that they are more exclusive, people need to be approved to join, and tend to focus on niche ideas. Those things all work in your favor.
There are Groups for just about everything at this point. Whatever geographical area you live in, there’s a Group for it. Whatever style of music you play, there are dozens of Groups for it. Whatever musician you are influenced by, there are several Groups for them. Join all of these Groups.
You have a much more captive audience in Groups than you do with Pages. People tend to get involved in more lengthy discussions about a post – much like the practice of a thread in a website forum – which will keep your post present and visible for longer periods of time.
Be careful to follow the guidelines (if there are any) in each Group. Some are sensitive to spamming, and as innocent as your inclusion may be, you can get the boot if you’re just trying to solicit yourself without providing something of value.
8. Engage with similar Pages
Much like with shares and getting involved in Groups, engaging with Pages that resonate with your type of music, your influences, and your specific genre will expose you to an entirely different audience. You can even forge lasting relationships with other Pages by providing great content and creating a joint venture partnership. Pages are run by people, just like you and me, and are always looking to expand their own fan bases. It’s another win/win situation.
9. Respond to all comments
You don’t have to comment on every comment, but there are times when it will benefit you to become involved in a thread. You should definitely at least be “Liking” people’s comments, especially when they are saying something positive about you, your band, or something more specific. By “Liking” something, you are acknowledging that you read what they said, and people usually appreciate being recognized.
By engaging in a conversation that is related to one of your posts, you widen your audience. You’ll notice that posts that have a lot of comments tend to show up on your News Feed more than once, and that is the kind of exposure that you want – as long as the exchange promotes you in the best possible light.
10. Keep it positive
There are many people that like to chime in on negative posts. It’s the whole reason that people still watch the nightly news. But you’re not the nightly news, and saying anything negative about anybody or anything always has the potential for alienating someone. Even if it’s only one person that leaves your Page as a result, it’s not worth it. A positive attitude with all information, feedback, comments and outlook have a much better shelf life.
People will say things that you don’t necessarily agree with. People can actually be downright insulting. But you need to have thick skin to a degree. You need to not take anything personally. You want to promote positivity with anyone that becomes engaged with your Page.
Remember, anything you post online will be there permanently. Say only nice things about other people, bands, musicians and music itself. It will elevate your own likability even more than you would imagine.
By following this guideline, it will make other people feel good, and it will make you feel good, too.
It’s a win/win.
Full time bass player and owner of Cover Band Central