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November 10, 2011

Fans on Facebook: What to Do Next to Engage Your Fans, Increase Sales and Grow the Relationship

By Carl Jacobson, Vice President of Marketing, Nimbit, Inc.

Be Ready to Sell Today!

All the news that's come out about Facebook Music has been really exciting for songwriters. When you're on Facebook, the Ticker will now show you what your friends are listening to in Spotify, Rdio, and other music services, and even better, you can then listen to it yourself. That means that more fans than ever before will be able to discover your music. THIS IS GREAT, but what's next? Artists are learning that streaming revenues alone are no way to make a living with your music, so here are a few tips on how to engage your fans, grow the relationship, and increase sales through Facebook.

IDEA 1 - Be Ready to Sell Today!

When is the best time to make a sale? When a fan is excited.

When is a fan excited? When they discover your music.

Where's the best place to make a sale? Exactly where your fan is when they are excited.

That means you've got to be ready NOW to make a sale from your Facebook page. You can't rely on fans going somewhere else to find your music, and the last thing you want to do is ask them to go somewhere else.

The good news is, that when a fan now finds you on Facebook, that there are some great solutions including Nimbit's new MyStore for Facebook that you can use to capture the fan's information, reward them, and be able to sell music, merch, and tickets. The Nimbit Mystore, is free and easy to set up and the rest of the article will using it for examples, but you should be able to apply these concepts with whatever Facebook store solution you're using.

Engage...Don't Advertise

IDEA 2 - Engage...Don't Advertise

When you see updates like the following on Facebook, you tune out…right? Your fans will too.

"BUY MY NEW ALBUM!"

Try asking questions instead:

"Hey everyone, we just put up our new album. We're trying to decide on the next single. Please a listen and leave a comment about your favorite tracks. [link to your album on your store]"

The key to success with your fans on Facebook is all about engagement. And asking questions, or asking for their support is one of the best ways to do that.

The example above is a soft sell, and has additional promotional benefits:

  1. You're inviting people to share their opinions
  2. You're asking them to try before they buy
  3. They'll see they can purchase the album or other items in your store
  4. When they leave a comment/review, it will appear on their friends' newsfeeds making more people aware of your music. Earlier this year, Forbes reported that people were much more likely to buy after online recommendations from friends.

The Virtual High-Five

IDEA 3 - The Virtual High-Five

Any time a fan leaves a comment like this, or any comment for that matter, it's important to be responsive.

At the very least "Like" their comment. If it's warranted, make sure you respond. And lastly, if it's particularly great, share their comment with a thank you / shout out on your wall. This is the online equivalent of a high-five from the stage. A like, response, thank you, or shout out is a subtle way to reward your fans. When they see a status update from you, they'll be thrilled, they may even share it again.

Reward Fans
Reward Fans

IDEA 4 - Reward Fans Then Ask Them to Reward Their Friends

Free tracks are a great way to reward your fans, and they aren't really "free" when you capture the fan's information, or get them to Share it with their friends, which increases your reach by hitting all of their friends Facebook Tickers

Once you capture the fan's info, you can then build the relationship. Many times, they'll later reciprocate with a purchase or by attending a live show. In a recent Nimbit promotion, Suzanne Vega teased her fans with a free download, and later found that 61% who later made a purchase also received that free download.

Don't you love turning a friend onto a really amazing artist or song? Your fans do too. So when you give that free track away, always ask your fans to share it with their friends. You can either set the song's price to Free or use a promo code that people will need to redeem.

Here's how to get started:

  1. Start by sharing a song from your store. It's as easy as clicking the share button next to a track in your Nimbit store.
  2. When you send it, include a personal message like this:

    Hey everyone, I'm pretty excited about this new track, and I'd like you to check it out. Take a listen. If you like it, get it for free by clicking the link. If you really like it, click Share to also send it to your friends.

We've seen a few artists using this approach and when they have an established and active fanbase, it spreads like wildfire.

Reward Fans

IDEA 5 - Advertise Yourself to Fans of Similar Artists

Once you have your Musician/Band page set up, Facebook makes it incredibly easy and affordable to create an ad that's perfectly targeted to your demographic. I know, you're a songwriter, not an advertising agent, but this is a lot easier than you think.

The steps are fairly straightforward, but here are some key tips for you to consider.

  1. To reach the right people, type in names of similar artists in the "Precise Interests" field. That will target your ad to people who entered that artist as music they listen to. Completely original? Then enter your influences.
  2. Pick a geographic region that makes sense. If you're a touring musician, only select the areas you play or want to play.
  3. Start Small - Set your daily budget low, Select Pay for Clicks (not impressions), and set your Bid way below what they select. If you set a low bid, you'll pick up ads on off hours, or when other campaigns end.
  4. Fine Tune your ad as you go along. Set it up, check back to see how it's doing, then change your settings to see if you can increase your reach

Reward Fans

IDEA 6 - Get Creative
These are just a few ideas of how you can engage your fans and increase your sales and promotion on Facebook. There are as many ways to succeed with your fans on Facebook as there are songwriters signed to ASCAP (maybe more). So find your voice, and try things out. The nice thing about the Facebook , is if you try one promotion, and it doesn't work you can quickly switch to another.

Carl Jacobson is Vice President of Marketing for Nimbit Inc, and Co-Executive Producer for Masters of Sound. He invites you to try Nimbit's Mystore for Facebook by clicking here: http://apps.facebook.com/nimbitstore/