If you don’t work in the marketing industry, you may not have heard that Facebook has made dramatic changes to their News Feed algorithm, and it may significantly affect your music promotion results.
Whether you are constantly creating content for your audience, or simply pushing your music video, this is everything you need to know to continue to promote your music on Facebook.
On January 12 the marketing sector received news that caused panic across the industry, Mark Zuckerberg announced major changes to the Facebook Algorithm, which will now be prioritising posts which create a meaningful conversation, and displaying it to those who interact with you most. Zuckerberg is hoping the change will result in more organic reach, for real people to have real conversations.
For personal accounts, this means that those who you speak to frequently on messenger and regularly like your posts will be more likely to see your next posts.
Facebook pages will see a significant decrease in their organic reach, with Zuckerberg actually aiming for people to spend less time on Facebook, but the time they do spend on the platform will be better quality time and an overall better experience.
Facebook believes that interaction between friends and family is worth more than interaction with a fan page, therefore it will be more likely to show posts from your Facebook friends and family than a music fan page, which is going to make your band’s Facebook page work even harder to gain fans and get engagement.
So what is Facebook looking for to rank your posts higher?
Your post should aim to be receiving comments, shares and reactions, anything such as clicking the video, watching it or hovering over the video will have no impact on how far your post ranks in your fan’s news feeds.
Something you may not be aware of is that not only does Facebook consider someone sharing your post to their own news feed a ‘share’ but if someone was to take the link and share it to a friend on Messenger, this counts as a share too, and boosts you up the rankings in your fan’s news feeds.
Not only this, Facebook takes in to account the engagement that those who share the post go on to receive, so if one person shares a post, and a lot of their friends then comment on that post, the ranking is increased. This is why we advise that you do not run “share competitions” on Facebook as you will be punished for not getting engagement from the posts which were shared.
Facebook call this Engagement Bait, where you make posts to instigate a reaction or share, which Facebook is now cracking down on. A lot of pages, especially in music, have relied on this technique to get engagement and grow their audience, but this was severely reducing the quality of the Facebook experience and causing people to spend less time on the platform.
So as a Musician, what is the best strategy to get more engagement on your Facebook page?
Your content strategy must be relatable to your target audience, which inspires them to engage with your post. To do this, you need to know what your fans and potential fans want to see, and why they’d want to follow the posts you are putting out. Have they followed you to see backstage photos, are they inspired by the lifestyle that you as an artist are undertaking or do you have strong characters in the band who entertain the followers?
Once you understand this driver, you will be able to create content on a regular basis which receives a huge amount of engagement.
A fantastic tool we use is Google Trends which allows us to see which hot topics people are talking about across the world, so we can create social media posts that people are desperate to discuss, this means that our posts are more likely to gain interaction from our audience and therefore rank higher on news feeds. You can post your opinions to see how yours differ with others or you can post open questions and watch the discussion take place in the comments section.
This explains why you have seen so many “Tag a friend” posts so often in the past 12 months, because they instigate so much interaction that they rank incredibly high on the Facebook news feed.
In the Facebook Press Release, Adam Mosseri went on to state:
“Live videos often lead to discussion among viewers on Facebook–in fact, live videos on average get six times as many interactions as regular videos. Many creators who post videos on Facebook prompt discussion among their followers, as do posts from celebrities”
Artists and bands are in the perfect position to create live content as they are used to performing live in front of a crowd. You could even use your Facebook audience to put on live sessions, while interacting to each of the comments that are coming through between songs, and maybe even take requests if you’re feeling ballsy.
You can get creative with your live audience, check The Academic who used the Facebook live delay as a loop pedal, which turned out to be an incredible publicity stunt and got them a feature in NME.
This example shows that you truly can achieve anything if you invest enough time in creating content for your audience. This video originally went out live to their Facebook audience, which of course went straight to the top of every news feed of those who had liked the page, and now has 4x as many Youtube views as the original track itself!
What does this algorithm change mean for pushing a music video over Facebook?
On Neil Patel’s marketing podcast, he bluntly summed up that content creators are going to have to up their game, and spend more money. And that was a key point, Facebook exists to make money out of advertising revenue, therefore every decision they make is designed to make companies spend more on their platform to advertise their products. Unfortunately, this means musicians are going to have to spend more to get people to watch their latest music video.
But you can still create content which can grow your fan base with some simple steps.
One particular tip that we do encourage is to ask your audience to choose the “See First” option on your page. This is similar to a Youtuber asking for a viewer to “turn on notifications” so they immediately get a notification when the new video goes live. In Facebook’s case, this feature ensures that you see every single post that the Facebook page makes, which will dramatically increase your engagement.
Because you are going to be punished so greatly for lack of interaction, one thing musicians will suffer with when promoting their music is promoting gigs themselves, so if a band are promoting a gig in Germany, and they keep advertising it on their page, this means nothing to anyone outside of Germany because someone from the UK is unlikely to travel to Germany, therefore your engagement levels are going to be incredibly low so you need to avoid this or you will be punished. Instead, you should be creating event pages for all of your gigs, that way you can promote to a specific audience, and only post on the News Feeds of those who are local to the area and actually may interact with the posts and attend the gigs.
With all of these changes in mind, you need to get your audience to follow you anywhere you go, because we all know what happened to Myspace, bands managed to build huge followings which were then useless after all of the users left, so be sure to encourage users to sign up to your mailing list to receive your content before anyone else.
Our final tip is using Facebook groups, although these were the very first method of reaching a new audience on Facebook, and actually became a bit useless, but now they are back stronger than ever before as they already operate on the basis of audience engagement, so you can either create your own fan group with exclusive content that no one else can see, which will generate very high levels of engagements, or you can post your content in specific groups online which allow you to build new fans, but be sure not to spam those groups, you need to build up your credibility first and add value to the members before you can hit them with your latest music video.
This algorithm change has been a wake up call for a lot of marketers, not just in the music industry but across all industries, and reminded us we cannot invest the entire of our resources in to one platform, we have to diversify and show growth on multiple platforms, telling a different story. Creating unique content on each platform will help us build a large fan base, and it doesn’t matter what changes each platform decides to make, you can direct your loyal audience to anywhere you like.