This post was made available on Patreon 2 days early 🙂
Every now and then on Facebook, I come across a post from a band I follow that basically says some version of the following:
Is anyone seeing our posts? We’re worried Facebook’s algorithm is hiding us from News Feed. Please leave us a comment if you can see this!
Back in May, it happened again, from a band attempting to crowdfund a record, and I responded that their analytics should show them how many people are having it appear in their feeds. Honestly, it’s not that hard. When you’re running a page in 2019, you’ll see at the bottom of each post a number indicating how many people were reached. I dunno why these kinds of people never seem to look at it before asking this type of question. But I digress, because I also mentioned to them that if the reach is unsatisfactory, there are a number of strategies you can use to boost it – aaand they made the mistake of asking me for suggestions. “Mistake?” I hear you say. Well yes. I write a lot. And the result was a 1000 word comment, which I’ve reproduced below, albeit with some edits, and irrelevant chatter removed.
They didn’t take my advice.
But I hope this is useful to someone out there. A lot of my favourite local bands keep folding, and it sucks, and there’s not a lot I can do about it, but if greater success in social media promotions might help a few more bands survive, hey! It’ll be worth it.
Note: none of this advice is particularly ground-breaking. It’s pretty much just the same stuff you can find from every social media guru out there, collected into one spot, mostly aimed at bands (though it’ll be applicable to other pages too). But since bands prefer to get on with the music instead of trawling through pages of advice, I’ve done that part for you. You will have to put in some effort to make social media work, but at least you don’t have to sit through a bunch of “experts” trying way too hard to sell you their shit.
On with the tips!
There are all kinds of things you can try to improve your page’s reach on Facebook. It depends on how spammy you wanna get, but since Facebook loves to nerf pages, well sometimes you have little choice 😅 I’ll give you my current top 7! (In no particular order tho, I’m not THAT organised, it’s all off the top of my head lol.)
1. Make sure all band members are sharing things too – share everything the page posts, but also do your own posts NOT directly connected to the page (except maybe through tagging it). Facebook favours personal accounts, so you need to promote there as well, and trick it into not realising you’re promoting something page-related. Preferably do all this with your settings on public, so that any followers who aren’t friends with you can see them. (Make sure your individual profiles also allow followers!)
2. Encourage other people to like, comment, and share as well. Facebook loves when posts are engaging, and this is how you show them that it is. I’m assuming this post [the one asking if anyone can see it] is doing well, because you’ve asked a question and people are responding, which gets more people to see it and respond, etc. Asking a question is a great way to get engagement. You can also run polls, suggest people tag friends, whatever. Even tell people how much these actions help you, for those who can’t afford to support you financially but still want to do something. Mix it up so it doesn’t get boring, but always try to have some call to action designed to lift engagement.
3. Tell your fans about “See first”. If people are upset that they aren’t seeing your posts, tell them that under the “Following” tab, they can select “See First” instead of just “Default” to get more of your posts reliably hitting their news feed.
4. Make use of the Stories feature. Even if people miss you in the news feed, stories stay at the top of Facebook, so it’s much harder to miss. If you have an Instagram account connected to the Facebook one, you could create Instagram Stories there, then share those Stories directly to Facebook instead of having to make them twice. You could also use interactive stickers within Stories to run polls, ask questions, and so on, to help keep your followers interested and invested in what you’re doing. Instagram has better stickers than Facebook, but there’s still potential there! Oh and get the band members individually to post stories too! I generally notice that Stories still puts personal profiles first, and pages last, though I think it depends how often people engage.
5. Share stuff to groups. There are a bunch of Facebook groups dedicated to music, I’m guilty of spamming my old band’s gigs to them ahaha, but hey, more eyeballs! Also Facebook recently announced they want to pivot towards groups rather than newsfeed, annoying, but you have to play their game and if that’s where they wanna focus, then that’s where they’ll eventually end up favouring posts if it all goes ahead.
6. Start a fan group for your band. Sometimes if the page can’t reach people, the group will. Chances are only your superfans will join in, but they’re the ones most likely to send you support for your project, and you can make the group more special like a club. Maybe show them some behind the scenes stuff you’re not ready to show publicly. I dunno, whatever you wanna make it. Also encourage your group members to share as per previous points, they can be part of your team! [Note: this tip will probably work best for larger local bands with a decent following.]
7. Dive into your analytics. You don’t have to do a full on social media audit, but if you look over your posts, you can get an idea for what types of posts work best with your audience. Go to Insights, then Posts, then Post types, and it’ll show you how well your photos vs videos vs links vs “status” posts are doing. If you notice your audience likes one type of post more than some others, that can give you an idea of which to use. You can also look at all kinds of fancy graphs about when your fans are online, their demographics, etc, but there’s a point at which your head just explodes so… just figure out what’s most useful to you and ignore the rest lol.
And now for one thing NOT to do! Don’t private message people about it unless they’re people you’d be messaging for normal friend reasons anyway. And definitely don’t create a random massive group to send one generic message to people. I hate this, especially from people asking for money, it’s my pet peeve, I even did a top 10 hierarchy of annoying friend-based interactions once, and this was my #1 hate lol. (I should turn that into a blog post as well haha!)
Anyway, I hope this helps! I’m a nobody, with qualifications in all the wrong stuff, but hopefully my obsessiveness and fascination with social media can produce some results for you! Been teaching myself for a while, but I don’t claim to be an authority, so there might be other things worth doing that I haven’t thought of. But hey, my tips are free!
P.S. when people say not to use video, they’re half right. Facebook HATES YouTube links. But they generally love when you upload directly, so do that! But avoid the YouTube. If you do need to post a YouTube link, create an image or sample clip to upload instead, and just link to the video in the description. (And if you post the link again in the comments, it’ll generally come up playable, yay!)