Facebook “Promote” button not sitting well with bands and other page admins

By now, if you’ve spent any time on Facebook in the last week, and you’re a music fan,  you’ve heard the grumblings about the new “Promote” button. Facebook recently unleashed a new feature that actually makes it possible to reach “Your” fans… by paying a price. Enter the “Promote” button.  Spend a C-Note and Facebook says you can reach your fans. How thoughtful of them.

The fact of the matter is that it’s not practical for most people to pay to reach the audience that they worked so hard to build. Especially in the case of bands. Not as many people are buying CDs, going to shows or downloading music, so how are the bands suppose to pay for this? Facebook, are you listening?

Let’s use the Northwest Music Scene fanpage as an example. Started a little over 2 years ago, we have watched it grow into one of the biggest regional music pages in the country, a place northwest music fans can connect, discuss their bands, and share interests. When the “Promote” button was launched,  Facebook severely limited the amount of people the NorthWest Music Scene page reached with our posts. We are left with few options; post the same content multiple times or pay Mark Z. a C-note or more to reach our total fanbase. Yeah, like that’s gonna happen. We’ve tested it out and while the results show improved reach and penetration according to Facebook’s magic algorithms, it certainly hasn’t been enough to warrant adding a line item to our advertising budget.

We’ve read the articles. We’ve seen the supporters saying it’s always been like this but we’d have to disagree.

We own a string of music related websites and have relied heavily on Facebook traffic to power the network(why wouldn’t we), it WAS highly effective in reaching the people that wanted to see our content. Since we relied heavily on Facebook numbers, we also payed close attention to those numbers. When Facebook started selling the “promote” button, our views from Facebook dropped off the edge of a cliff. The day they launched it we witnessed a significant drop in website traffic originating from Facebook and the activity on the pages plummeted as well. But to hear Facebook tell the story, they claim it is business as usual and the “Promote” button  is sort of just an add on.  If that is the case, then why have we and many other sites seen their numbers drop?

In our opinion, Facebook is running the risk of alienating a huge portion of their fanbase with this latest move and it would be interesting to know how much money they are making with this new feature. My guess is not a lot.  Facebook is banking that people will just adapt but they have forgot one key element. DIY bands and other smaller businesses will not be able to afford this service. We are hearing people already looking for other ways to promote their products.  Many are frustrated that they have put in, in some cases, thousands of hours, only to have the game changed on them. In the case of bands, it’s hard enough to get people out to shows in the first place and now the events they post will be seen by 3% – 10% of the fans? Facebook is also banking on the fact that no one is going to go anywhere because they have the perfect platform for connecting fans with bands and businesses with the customers. I guess when you have been the only real, viable game in town for as long as they have, you can operate like this.

In our case, while we used Facebook as a great marketing tool, we luckily have also focused on growing our presence on the other social networking sites as well as the bookmarking sites such as StumbleUpon and Digg, so we’ll be fine. What’s that saying? Don’t put all your eggs in one basket?


See the above graphic? Oh yeah, you are not on Facebook right  now , so you can.  We got our 20,000th fan on Friday June 15th and as a thank you to our fans, one of our admins put together a great package of free music.  Here’s the package BTW, #FreeMusic…..it’s great stuff and it’s 100% free.

We posted a picture with the links to the #FreeMusic and sadly it reached only 381, although it may have climbed to over 400 by the time this article is published. We’ll keep you updated if that changes much.













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