English · This & That

Social Media Techniques: Paid Facebook Advertising for the Independent Musician

by Sean David

Hang on, don’t let the mention of paid advertising send you running for the hills. I know the budget of any independent musician is pretty low and this normally means we have to simply put in the man-hours to promote our music ourselves. Well part of this will never change, but Facebook advertising can definitely help make the load a bit lighter!

Having used Facebook advertising myself, albeit on a modest level up to now, I have some insight to share with you that will hopefully help you in making better marketing decisions for your band or artist page/website.

What is Your Marketing Budget?

Yes, you should have some level of budget going into facebook marketing even if it is only around key releases. In fact I recommend this approach first as it will definitely be lighter on your pocket and will get you the traffic you want when you want it.

Far too often bands plow all their cash into gear, recordings, touring and completely forget about their online audience. There’s no point in putting 110% into the music and then not spreading the word, right? There are prospective fans out there that may be dying for something fresh to listen to, but if your organic marketing isn’t reaching them, that’s all they’ll ever be… prospective fans not adding anything to your bottom line and not doing anything to help your overall awareness.

Your Organic Reach is Smaller than You Think

On the topic of Facebook, and before I dive into the specifics of advertising, its important to note that your organic reach via your Facebook band page or even your own personal profile is significantly smaller than it used to be. Facebook limits your organic reach as they have realised the advertisers’ paradise they have created and now require you to invest some $$ to be heard. Only fair right?

Well, that organic reach is increased somewhat when people engage with your content (usually by a core group of fans), but without these guys your post is estimated to only reach 6% of those that liked your page (and its normally the same guys too). Can you really afford to leave your marketing campaign up to the chance that your fans will spread the word? What about the prospective fans 2 or 3 connections beyond your current existing fans. How are you reaching them?

Paid Facebook advertising is how, and if you follow these steps you don’t have to spend a fortune on it either.

Facebook PowerEditor

Before going further, I recommend you download Facebook’s PowerEditor. This is how all the Facebook-savvy marketers advertise. It’s a Facebook plug-in that allows you to customise your advertising experience and achieve better, more targeted results than those simply offered on your Facebook fan page (you know the “Boost Post” option – stay away, its usually not worth it). You will need Google Chrome to run the editor but you can switch back to your normal browser when not using the editor (if you’re not already using Chrome, that is).

The editor is by no means easy to navigate, but I won’t go into detail here. What I will mention is that it is necessary to download stats from facebook regularly (to update your PowerEditor) and upload your ad campaign when done. Without clicking “upload” the advert will not initiate. Important stuff!

So Who Likes Your Music Anyway?

Well its not good marketing to advertise to everyone all at once. Popular belief is that the average person needs to be targeted 7 times before he/she will make a commitment to view or listen to your content. Yup, 7 times!! Therefore its important that you target specific groups and market to them often. The more targeted the group is, the more likely your future adverts will reach the same users again.

Note: I said the “average” person. It’s worth noting that some people will only require one or two ad impressions before they visit your page or whatever your advert is linking to. This is what we would call your ideal market, so it may be worth doing some split-testing to identify these groups and then once established, aggressively market to them on a bigger scale. Budget depending of course.

Your Super-fans (da-dada-daa!)

These are the guys that you need to keep updated with all your music happenings. The guys/girls that took little convincing on clicking your ad are likely to lap up everything else you throw at them too. And the more you keep them in the loop, the more connected they feel with you and your music and the more likely they will become super-fans (those amazing people that not only buy everything you do but freely promote you as well)!

How do you ensure you keep them in the loop? Well we already know that simply liking your facebook page will not guarantee this and to target these guys via facebook advertising again and again and again, with every facebook post is not likely to be cost-effective. So what do you do? Send them somewhere where you do have control over communications – link your advert to your mailing list. Once subscribed they will receive every email newsletter you send them. It costs you nothing, and it keeps them in the loop.

Another way to advertise is what is called “repeat advertising”. Facebook’s PowerEditor allows you to create Custom Audiences to market to. One of the options is to market to those people who visited your website but haven’t liked your fb page yet. Facebook gives you a cookie to insert into your website and every time someone visits the page this cookie activates and will populate your audience. Next time they log on facebook, there’s a little reminder advert for them to check out your page. Smart.

So How Much Will This Cost You?

The great news is Facebook allows you to set a budget that you’re comfortable with and your campaign will continue until your budget runs dry. You can set up multiple adverts per campaign and each advert can have its own targeting and its own established cost per click or CPC (word from the wise, do not use cost per impression or CPI unless you arestrongly positioned on facebook such that a CPC campaign would actually be more expensive than CPI – in most cases this is false). With a CPC campaign you only get charged each time someone clicks on the advert (or some other predetermined event, such as subscribing to your mail list). Until then facebook will continue to make impressions.

Before the advert initiates it runs through Facebook’s auto-approval system. Supposedly the higher the CPC and the higher your budget the better chances for approval andthe more impressions you will receive (its all about the money, honey). But I’ve still managed approval and a decent number of impressions for a low budget and a low CPC. So experiment away!

On a side note, its important to realise that if you do use any images in your advert they cannot consist of more than 20% text (e.g. if you have a text overlay this text is limited to 20% of the total size of the picture) which can be highly frustrating, especially when you are unaware of the rule! Fore-warned is fore-armed :).

In Closing

Well, that’s my little 2 cents on Facebook advertising. There’s a lot more to it, but ultimately it’s a great tool that can be used to find the audience you never knew you had and increase your overall fan base. Good luck, and may your fan base continue to grow!

Sean David is a singer/songwriter, music entrepreneur and journalist from Port Elizabeth, South Africa. For more info on what he’s been up to click here.

English · This & That

Confession #3: Perfectionism Is For Underachievers


Perfectionism is a funny word. You’d expect it to be black and white, hard and fast – it’s either perfect or it’s not, right? But the concept is so subjective it’s really become a gray area.

Okay, let’s take a step back here. First, before starting anything I think it’s important to identify what you’re trying to do and what’s important to you. If you’re making a song/album, is the public perception of you and your music important to you, or is your own personal perception of the song more important? Which brings me to the ultimate question – what will bring you the most happiness?

Seriously ask yourself that question. For me, it’s the enjoyment on other people’s faces when they hear the track for the first time. That uninhibited joy, the pure excitement. Face beaming kind of stuff! :)

Sure, I want to be happy with a track, but not to the point that it costs me the above goal. If, in my aim to make the perfect track (from my point of view) I am unable to complete and distribute 2 or 3 other good songs that people would enjoy, I have effectively lost.

The funny thing is, when those same people tell me what a great song it is, I believe it too. Not because I get brainwashed into thinking so, but because it’s simply the truth. If you are constantly looking at things from your perspective you are only getting a portion of the truth. As much as you thinkyou know better, it is actually your perspective that is the least objective and the least true.

Think about it. You are your own worst enemy. You constantly criticise your own work where others don’t. Now switch roles – think of a time when you had to give feedback on another friend’s song, art, design, cooking, or whatever. For this exercise, let’s think of a close friend, i.e. someone where you wouldn’t feel the need to “sugar-coat” things. Did you genuinely like the song, art, design or cooking? Did you speak the truth? If that person is a perfectionist more often than not they “considered” your opinion but did their own thing anyway – maybe they continued re-working the song or maybe they simply left it as is but looked upon this creation with less-than-satisfied eyes and failed to do anything with it. Sound like you sometimes? Me too.

This was a biig wake-up call for me and I am by no means free of this sin yet. I have spent many days/months/years either re-working something that was already good to start with and never releasing the song at all because it just wasn’t perfect in my eyes. Well guess what, I simply wasted all that time where I could’ve gained some exposure with the song that I had whilst having the time to continue to work on another couple good songs.

What’s more, if it’s a good product people will speak the truth. We all need affirmation. Affirmation breeds positivity, keeps us motivated and keeps us moving forward. (for my article on “How to stay motivated” click here).

On the contrary, I could work on a song until its “perfect” in my books, but I may have destroyed the very thing that actually made the song perfect to everyone else (Remember music is not all about the instruments and you can overwork it).

So in the best case, perfectionism will delay the finalisation and release of your artwork, delay your exposure and delay the enjoyment on receiving positive feedback. It will also drive you mad!

In the absolute worst case, you will end up over-working something that was already perfect, not get the affirmation you so eagerly thirst for and end up defeated and unmotivated.

Perfectionism is not efficient! Strive for excellence, not perfectionism. And if your friends tell you its good, its good. Cash that cheque and move on!

Sean David is a self-established music entrepreneur, singer/songwriter and journalist.