With the right strategy, artists and the teams around them can garner great results on social media without spending a penny. But, of course, the social media giants make it as easy as possible to spend money in a bid to get greater returns.
Facebook was one of the first to use this model, with its ‘Boost Post’ button, being the perfect example. It promises greater reach and exposure with a couple of clicks. But artists, managers and labels that want to make the most of social media, should think carefully before they jump on this apparently quick fix.
Good social media advertising is the same as good social media strategy more generally. Anybody can do the basics – but only the best are able to stand out from the crowd. And, as with any social media activity (on any platform), when it comes to advertising on Facebook, the question of target audience is key.
If you’re working as or with a new independent artist, it’s likely you’ll be restricted to a tight budget. So, before you hit that Boost button, ask yourself: Is this something you anticipated paying for at the start of your promo campaign?
The most important part of a well-executed online campaign is planning – and the very nature of Facebook’s Boost button makes it more often than not an opportunistic afterthought.
The biggest restriction of the button for social media managers is the inability to test its effectiveness in different ways. It only allows the promotion of one version of an advert to one specific audience at any given time.
A far more flexible, insightful and nuanced option is Facebook’s Ad Manager, ideally via a Business Manager account, which can be used to build out multiple versions of your creative and split-test them across multiple audiences. Facebook will then start spending small amounts of your specified budget on each asset and targeting combination to find out where users are reacting. With this kind of structure in place, Facebook’s algorithms are generally excellent at helping to optimise your campaign.
Another common mistake made by inexperienced social media marketeers comes when trying to re-engage fans during a campaign. If you set your sights on a large audience based on fans of music similar that which you’re trying to promote, you might reach a ton of users with your first advert but then a totally different set of users with your second. That makes it trickier to keep any one set of new fans truly engaged.
Rather than taking a broad-brush approach, there are a number of natural target points built into Facebook that can help maximise feedback and engagement. The most obvious target group is people that have already Liked your page or followed your profile and therefore have already invested in what you’re doing, if only a little bit.
Otherwise, you can aim at users that have watched your videos (filtering out people depending how long they watched for), subscribed to your mailing list (assuming your use of data is GDPR compliant) or even gather a pool of users that have engaged with your Instagram activity, from organic feed posts to paid Stories.
Each time you’re promoting content to new users, think about your next step. How will you reach that user again and what do you want them to see next?
Facebook currently says that an average user scrolls the height of Big Ben on their feed every day, so you must make it as easy as possible for a user to engage with your content instead of someone else’s. They’re not sitting there waiting for your next post, you must create exciting content in order to cut through the noise.
Finally, think about your content and where you’re posting it. Yes, you’ve spent a chunk of your budget making a slick music video, which might work well within a Facebook ad – but then again it might not. And, if it doesn’t translate, don’t force it. A shorter video length that considers the tiny attention span of social media users, in vertical format, is not only going to look better on your mobile feed, but it will also take up the entire screen, ensuring your content is the focus and not that of another band or brand.
Where possible, tailor your content for the platform you’re using. Facebook has a useful page on its website that allows you test different creatives, see previews of adverts and understand what your content will look like in the various placements within the app. If you’re not familiar with the platform and you’re planning a campaign, definitely spend some time experimenting.
For more information, please contact your label manager.
Words by Robbie Semmence