Much has been said about the great fanpage Facebookalypse of 2015, where declining organic reach has rendered some pages nearly worthless and reaching just a small fraction of the audience they once did. This of course did not happen over night, in fact it’s been a process that is nearly three years is in the making. We talked about it in April of 2014, we talked about it when the process started in 2012.
If you have a budget for Facebook advertising then you, like many others have probably had mixed results and probably mixed feelings about one of the greatest “legal” bait and switch marketing scams that has ever taken place.
UPDATE: We tried boosting this post on Facebook but the social media juggernaut wouldn’t allow it.
Let’s talk about a few things that might help you and your band though, since we are a music news site our main focus is helping bands. And for the sake of clarity, we know that you, the end user, has not REALLY been affected by Facebook’s shady business practices in regards to fanpages but the pages you said you loved have been. Well to be sure, you have been affected in another way as well as to kind of content is being pumped into your mind(via Facebook) and since a vast majority of people ONLY use the newsfeed, it’s all they see. Generally speaking, end users just don’t go and visit fanpages anymore, so when Facebook throttled back on the organic reach, many pages, including bands you love were hurt bad. And let’s not even go into the non-profit arena. Remember that non-profit that helps find homes for abandoned animals that you absolutely loved? They were doing this out of their love for animals and spent their own time and money(in some cases) building a captive audience on Facebook that cared about the same things.
The only way that organization, the organization that had very little money to spend on marketing in the first place, can now reach the people that want to hear from them is to spend money. Oh sure the occasional post will make it through the wall of death and to be fair about this, there are pages that seem to do okay in this new climate. Our own Facebook fanpage Northwest Music Scene still provides the greatest source of traffic to our website, although Twitter has been catching up and we’ve also become much more active on some other sites, which we’ll talk about later.
So, while we know that a huge amount of the bands out there have little to no money for advertising. They are busy trying to save enough to record an album, fill up the tour van and print T-Shirts. We’ll hate ourselves for saying this but what if bands were to go to their fans and ask them to contribute even one lousy dollar towards a Facebook promo camapaign? What we’ve learned from our own investigations into Facebook advertising “Boosted Posts” is that even a very small push in the beginning can have a great effect on how many people see the content. Sure it’s gonna cost you a metric shit-ton of money if you want to reach all of your fans but even throwing a measly $2.00 towards a boosted post can get the ball rolling. In the drop down menu you can select “Choose your own”. So when your band is laying out the budget for the next project, make sure you create a line item for promo.
We want to make it clear that we hate what Facebook has done. While we are still one of the most popular music websites in northwest according to Alexa.com. with the massive fanbase that has liked our page and therefore said they want to see our content, we should be getting thousands more hits to our website each day. When we had under 10,000 fans we got over twice as much traffic from Facebook than we do with over 51,000 fans.
Now Facebook would like you to believe it’s merely a quality of content issue. We’ve always called BS on that though because most of us small publishers never changed a thing, if anything the content got better. Of course we understand that fighting for a spot in the newsfeed is also a huge factor. Facebook now has something like 1.3 billion users(that’s like a fifth of the population on this rock called earth). Data suggests that at any given time there are around 1,500 stories(posts) that you could be shown, so as you can guess competition is fierce. But at the same time, Facebook also makes a ton of money from this saturation by selling pages “boosted posts” allowing them to get their content into the newsfeed, the spot we told you earlier was the only way most people use Facebook. And think about it, on a mobile phone, that is the only way an increasing amount of the population gets their content from Facebook, the newsfeed is almost all there is room for.
So, what do bands and other small businesses do?
We know time is scarce but you absolutely are going to have to make time to get involved with some other social media sites and possibly your own website.
Twitter – Although extremely limiting with the 140 character limit we’ve seen our traffic grow there by leaps and bounds. We have not quite half the fanbase there that we have on Facebook and get less than half of the traffic that we do on Facebook but that could be because some people that like us on Facebook also follow us on Twitter. Important to note however, we have people that use Twitter exclusively and *gasp* don’t use Facebook, so we’ve taken a “no fan left behind approach” and we love to engage with people there.
Facebook – As stated in this very article we hate what Facebook has done to fanpages but the game isn’t over just yet. Focus on making higher quality posts, take advantage of the small traffic spike you can get from uploading videos directly to Facebook and if you CAN afford it, try boosting a few posts even if it is only two or three dollars it could have an impact. While you likely aren’t going to reach your whole audience, we can’t advocate giving up.
Instagram – We are somewhat new to this site in that, although we’ve had a presence for over a year, we are just now becoming more active. Everything we read tells us that the site is on fire and worth spending some of your social media time on. Beware of this though, Facebook owns instagram and it’s quite likely that someday you will have to pay to reach your fans there.
Google Plus – Some people swear by it but we don’t actually know any of them.
Ello – Okay we’ll admit we sort of fell for that one. We started out great guns there but there just isn’t the same type of audience there. Ello is like that one email account you forget you have and check it once every few weeks. Sure there are some people there and who knows maybe it will become huge but for now we’ll stop in occasionally and say hi and that’s about it.
Reddit – When we started Northwest Music Scene it was about building a community of music lovers, musicians, industry professionals and more so that there would be this one place, a clearinghouse if you will for all things Pacific Northwest music. We have created a subreddit and we’d strongly encourage you to get involved. Disclaimer: Reddit is not a social media site but rather it’s a news aggregater. Check out the Northwest Music Scene subreddit page HERE
Website – We don’t have to tell you how important it is to retain your own fans. Our suggestion is to spend time asking fans to sign up for your mailing list, you have one right? If all the above social media sites crash and burn or begin to ask for your first born in order to reach your fans, you’ll have a base in which to draw from.
Okay, so these are some ways you can help yourself or your band in an ever changing landscape of social media madness. But if you want to reach the masses it’s almost the only way.
We’d love to hear your comments on the issue.