Does the following sound familiar? You spend $200 of your hard earned cash on Facebook ads in an attempt to get new fans. And nothing happens.
Nowt, nil, nada, nothing, zero, zilch, zip.
Big waste of your time and money. You could have recorded a new song in the time you’ve spent messing around with Facebook.
The sad thing is it’s not the exception, it’s pretty much the rule.
We musicians suck at using Facebook ads.
We musicians suck at using Facebook ads.
People outside of the music industry absolutely smash Facebook ads to market their products.
They’ve all built up mega followings - and their product isn’t anything as gut-wrenchingly powerful as music. It’s courses, books and and the like - not the stuff to bring tears to your eyes.
By the time you’ve read this you will have a better idea how to market your music using Facebook Ads.
We're going to cover 6 things:
- Building long term, lasting relationships
- Marketing funnels and sequencing
- Applying persuasion tactics
- Targeting the right people
- Creating compelling ads
- Optimising ads
How To Grow Your Fanbase With Facebook Ads...
1. Building Long Term, Lasting Relationships
Gigs, especially the smaller ones, can be intimate experiences.
In fact music - good music at least - creates intimacy between the musician and the listener without even going to a concert.
When it comes to building a fanbase, your marketing needs to be the same.
You need to build the relationship, just like your music has.
Slowly, and gradually over time.
Let’s step outside music for a moment where some of the best marketing happens.
EXAMPLE: Tim Ferriss
Tim Ferriss: Investor, Author, Podcaster. You've probably heard of him.
He's built a super loyal audience for aspiring entrepreneurs.
Has he done this by blasting out ads?
Has he done this by dominating the New York Times best-seller list?
(Well actually his books have topped that list, but that’s not the reason behind his success).
Has he consistently delivered insightful, helpful, sometime inspirational material week in, week out?
He’s built an audience over the long term, and he’s reaped the rewards culminating in one of his idols Richard Branson joining his podcast recently. Listen to the podcast, it’s a great listen. In the opening Branson congratulates him, yes congratulates him (not the other way around) on his success.
Tim Ferriss built the relationships and consistently delivered on that commitment.
In return they give him a career. That’s the power of relationship building.
As an independent musician you need to do the same with your fans.
Which leads us to...
2. Marketing Funnels And Sequencing
The next concept to wrap your head around is marketing funnels and sequencing.
Think about how we make friends.
We don’t suddenly become lifelong friends with someone right, it takes time.
It takes a sequence of things to happen.
Sometimes that sequence can be broken.
Perhaps you have a disagreement, maybe you go after the same girl or guy, maybe you just plain get fed up with each other or your interests change. There's a million reasons.
Compare that to the people in your life who are lifelong friends.
Much richer experiences, right. You’ve been through a lot more together. You've made it through 'the friendship sequence' (of which there are numerous steps) and are now good friends.
That goes for making friends, but it also directly applies to building relationships with fans.
What sequence should you and a fan go through?
Fortunately, someone's already done that thinking.
Enter the ‘the buddy system’, a systematised relationship building process devised by our friends over at Indepreneur.io (led by Kyle 'Circa' Lemaire) specifically for musicians.
It goes like this:
So let's put ourselves in the shoes of a potential fan. They don't know who you are and they haven't heard your music yet. How do you get your music in front of them?
Here's what you do: Run a video view campaign, serving up a Facebook Ad of your latest music video (it can be as low-fi as you like) and targeting people who are likely to appreciate your music. That gives them an indirect introduction to your music.
Once someone has reacted positively to your music video (with a like, comment or share) you need to start educating them on who you are.
Here's what you do: a great way to do this is via a Facebook messenger chat bot such as ManyChat which lets you engage with your fans on a one to one basis over chat.
Once you've warmed up your fans, it's time to get their permission for you to contact them again outside of Facebook. Ideally you get their email address at this point, and engage with them directly.
Here's what you do: The guys at Indepreneur run entire interactive experiences at this point. For underground hip hop artist Nino Bless, they ran a 12 day interactive experience (called the Audiotrip) where everyday the fans hung out with Nino on a hang out.
The three above steps are called the 'acquisition chain'. Without a good acquisition chain you won't be able to reliably acquire new listeners and fans. If you don't have your fans contact info you'll have to spend ad dollars every time you want to reach your fans.
By this point you will have given your new found fans tons of value. The law of reciprocity (see below) means they'll feel indebted to you. If you offer them, for example, a signed version of your next LP, there's a high likelihood they'll want to buy it. Great, right?
But, you need to keep nurturing the relationship. You can't be 'on the take' all the time.
Here's what you want to do: As Circa from Indepreneur says 'the goal is make your audience smile'.
At this point your fans have had a ton of interaction with you, love your music, feel like they’re part of this movement you’re creating.
They'll share stuff about you with their friends, come to you concerts.
Underpinning the buddy system are a clever application of what marketers call persuasion tactics.
Let's take a look...
3. Applying persuasion tactics
Marketers get a pretty bad rap.
Comedy legend Bill Hicks called Marketers 'Satan's little helpers'! Check out the clip here, it's pretty funny:
So why the bad rap?
Well, marketing involves learning the unseen rules that govern human behaviour. Yes, there are things we do as a species that we all do.
If you understand them, you can control people's actions.
Bad marketers manipulate these unseen rules to their own advantage. Good marketers (like you and me) use them ethically to influence and build an engaged fanbase.
We're not trying to hoodwink anyone here.
So what are these invisible laws?
Robert Cialdini was the first person to popularise the 6 laws of influence in his celebrated book Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion
The 6 principals of persuasion are:
- Reciprocation - When we receive we feel obliged to give back.
- Social Proof - We tend to look to others to guide our decisions and actions.
- Consistency - We want to be perceived as consistent with our past commitments.
- Liking - We like people who are similar to us.
- Authority - We comply with authority figures. People follow the lead of credible, knowledgable experts.
- Scarcity - If something is in short supply, we want it more.
Grab the book, and learn how we these laws of influence govern our daily lives.
You'll start noticing when they're being applied to other peoples marketing, and you'll start appreciating how to apply them to your own.
4. Targeting The Right People
Let's hone in on the actual ads themselves.
The first mistake we make when setting up ads is not targeting the right people.
When you're starting out and don't have too many fans, the best option is to create a 'saved audience' and target fans who like similar music to your own.
Ok, this may feel a bit contrived, but chances are someone who likes a similar style of music to yours will likely be interested in seeing your video when it pops up in their news feed.
Once you have a decent size fanbase, the lookalike audiences come into play. They tell Facebook to find people who are similar to your existing audience.
Other consideration are location, age, gender and language.
If you're into skate music, you probably don't want to be targeting the over 60s. Likewise if you're a Sinatra style crooner, you probably don't want to go too young.
If you're English speaking, it's a better bet to limit your ads to countries where English is the native language.
5. Creating Compelling Ads
Another area where musician marketers slip up is not creating a compelling enough ad.
First of all, the way the ad is written, the language used, even the grammatical tense have a direct impact on the clickability of the ad.
Remember people's BS radars are on high, so any inkling that 'this is an ad' won't go down very well.
Avoid any 'marketing speak'. You want to keep your ads as authentic as possible - basically just be you! You don't need to pretend to be anything you're not. Our mega guide about social media marketing covers all this stuff.
Similarly, if you're going to serve up a video (which we recommend you do) make it as natural as possible.
It doesn't need to be perfect, so long as the music speaks for itself. In fact the more obscure and unusual the video is, the better!
6. Optimising Ads
Facebook is constantly soaking up every bit of data it can get its hands on across the 1.7 billion users. It’s doing this so it can serve up advertising effectively - so it show the right product, to the right people at the right time.
You get that trifecta right - right product, right people, right time - and bingo! It’s the holy grail of marketing basically.
What all pro marketers do, and novices haven't a clue about, is optimisation.
Let's take an example.
You know Amazon, right. Biggest online shop in the world, ridiculously big right.
You know their homepage right.
Imagine it for a moment, got it?
Here's the thing: There is no one homepage. There are hundreds of variations of that homepage at any one time.
Yep, Amazon are constantly testing new design elements to see which we react with better. They serve up different versions of the homepage to everybody and then analyse which engage people the better.
The variation that engages better, they use. The others, they discard.
That in a nutshell is optimisation. That, right there ^.
And we can do EXACTLY that with our Facebook ads too.
We can basically try different variations of our ad, see which work the best, and use the best one and discard the others.
Pretty neat eh!
Ok, that's all folks. Did you find this useful? Has it helped you get clearer about how to grow your fanbase with Facebook ads?
If any of this has piqued your interest I suggest you bounce on over to Indepreneur.io - they've got a free course to get you started as well as a paid fan finder course which I can vouch for (it's very cool). Their training is awesome, you'll hand out with a bunch of other like minded musicians and make some friends in the process.
Fight the good fight and good luck!
Ged is Founder and Editor-in-chief at Zing Instruments. He’s a guitarist for London based gypsy jazz band ‘Django Mango’ and a lover of all things music. When he’s not ripping up and down the fretboard, he’s tinkering with his ’79 Campervan.