Engaging Your Facebook Audience

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Recent Facebook developments have meant exciting opportunities for musicians. More people are listening to music there than ever before, and that means more fans can discover your music. This is great for exposure, but what happens once people find you? Here are a few strategies for engaging your fans, developing relationships, and increasing sales.

Strategy 1: Sell Directly on Facebook
In today's distracted world, you can't rely on fans going somewhere else to buy your music, or remembering to buy it later. If a fan has found you and he or she is excited about your music, there are great solutions available to sell your music, merch, and tickets right on Facebook. In this article, I'll use Nimbit's free Spotlight Store for my examples, but these concepts should apply to any Facebook store, including those by CD Baby, Topspin, and Bandcamp.

Strategy 2: Don't Advertise—Have a Conversation
How many times have you seen an artist post something like this: “BUY MY ALBUM!” If they do it enough, you tune out, right? So will their fans. Today, the key to success is keeping fans engaged. Asking questions is one of the best ways to do that. Try this instead: “We're trying to pick our next single. Please listen and comment about your favorite song [link to album on store].” The soft-sell above has additional benefits:

  • 1. You're inviting people to share their opinions.
  • 2. You're asking them to try before they buy.
  • 3. They'll see that they are able to make purchases.
  • 4. When they comment, it also appears on friends' newsfeeds.
  • 5. People are much more likely to buy after recommendations from friends.

Strategy 3: Reward Fans and Ask Them to Reward Their Friends
Releasing a free track is a great way to reward your fans, and if you can get them to share it with their friends, you can greatly increase your fanbase. Once you capture a fan by getting an email in exchange for the download, you can then build the relationship. Many times, they'll reciprocate by purchasing a track or going to a gig. Recently, Suzanne Vega gave her fans a free download, and later found that 61% of the people who bought her new CD had also received that free download.

People like to turn friends onto the music they like, so when you give away a free track, always ask your fans to share it with their friends:

  • 1. Set up the song you want to give away as a free download or with a promo code.
  • 2. Share the song on Facebook. With Nimbit, click the Share button next to your track and a player and message will spread to your followers on the Facebook ticker.
  • 3. Say something like: “Hey I'm excited about my new song; listen here and get it for free by clicking the link. If you like it, help me reach new people and share this post with your friends.”

This kind of thing can spread like wildfire. Jazz singer Thisbe Vos just tried this approach and was able to add 300 new fans with just a single Facebook post because 28 fans shared it, and so on.

Strategy 4: The Virtual High-Five
Any time a fan leaves a comment or shares your music, respond with a “thank you,” share their comment with a shout-out on your wall, or at least “like” their comment. This is the online equivalent of a high-five and a subtle way to reward your fans. When they see your post, they''ll be thrilled, and may even share it again.

Strategy 5: Advertise Yourself
I know, Strategy 2 says, “don't advertise,” but this is different. Facebook makes it incredibly easy (and affordable) to advertise to people who will probably like your music. This process is a lot easier than you think. When setting up your ad, here are some key tips:

  • 1. Link to a free track to introduce people to your music.
  • 2. Type in names of similar artists to you in the “Precise Interests” field. Completely original? Then enter your influences.
  • 3. Start small. Set your daily budget low; pay for “clicks,” not “impressions,” and set your bid below what's suggested. When you do that, you''ll save money and pick up ads off-hours.
  • 4. Fine-tune. Check back to see how your ad is doing, then change your settings to see if you can increase your reach.

These are just a few ways that you can engage your fans and increase your sales on Facebook. The key is to find your voice, so if one strategy isn't working, try another, and don't be afraid to experiment!