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Thursday, January 19, 2012

6 Ways To Increase Your Facebook Fan Engagement

Fans image from Bobby Owsinski's Music 3.0 blog
Carl Jacobson, Nimbit's Vice President of Marketing, recently posted some great advice about how to increase your Facebook fan engagement. Nimbit's new MyStore for Facebook lets you capture the fan's information, reward them, and makes it easy to sell them music, merch, and tickets, but you still have to have a strategy to go with any tool that you use.

"IDEA 1 - Be Ready to Sell Today!
  • When is the best time to make a sale? When a fan is excited.
  • When is a fan excited? When they discover your music.
  • Where's the best place to make a sale? Exactly where your fan is when they are excited.
That means you've got to be ready NOW to make a sale from your Facebook page. You can't rely on fans going somewhere else to find your music, and the last thing you want to do is ask them to go somewhere else.

IDEA 2 - Engage...Don't Advertise

When you see updates like the following on Facebook, you tune out…right? Your fans will too.


"BUY MY NEW ALBUM!"

Try asking questions instead:
"Hey everyone, we just put up our new album. We're trying to decide on the next single. Please a listen and leave a comment about your favorite tracks. [link to your album on your store]"
The key to success with your fans on Facebook is all about engagement. And asking questions, or asking for their support is one of the best ways to do that.
The example above is a soft sell, and has additional promotional benefits:
  • You're inviting people to share their opinions
  • You're asking them to try before they buy
  • They'll see they can purchase the album or other items in your store
  • When they leave a comment/review, it will appear on their friends' newsfeeds making more people aware of your music.
  • Earlier this year, Forbes reported that people were much more likely to buy after online recommendations from friends.
IDEA 3 - The Virtual High-Five
Any time a fan leaves a comment like this, or any comment for that matter, it's important to be responsive. At the very least "Like" their comment. If it's warranted, make sure you respond. And lastly, if it's particularly great, share their comment with a thank you / shout out on your wall. This is the online equivalent of a high-five from the stage. A like, response, thank you, or shout out is a subtle way to reward your fans. When they see a status update from you, they'll be thrilled, they may even share it again.

IDEA 4 - Reward Fans Then Ask Them to Reward Their Friends
Free tracks are a great way to reward your fans, and they aren't really "free" when you capture the fan's information, or get them to Share it with their friends, which increases your reach by hitting all of their friends Facebook Tickers.

Once you capture the fan's info, you can then build the relationship. Many times, they'll later reciprocate with a purchase or by attending a live show. In a recent Nimbit promotion, Suzanne Vega teased her fans with a free download, and later found that 61% who later made a purchase also received that free download.

Don't you love turning a friend onto a really amazing artist or song? Your fans do too. So when you give that free track away, always ask your fans to share it with their friends. You can either set the song's price to Free or use a promo code that people will need to redeem.
Here's how to get started:
  1. Start by sharing a song from your store. It's as easy as clicking the share button next to a track in your Nimbit store.
  2. When you send it, include a personal message like this:

    Hey everyone, I'm pretty excited about this new track, and I'd like you to check it out. Take a listen. If you like it, get it for free by clicking the link. If you really like it, click Share to also send it to your friends.
We've seen a few artists using this approach and when they have an established and active fanbase, it spreads like wildfire.

IDEA 5 - Advertise Yourself to Fans of Similar Artists
Once you have your Musician/Band page set up, Facebook makes it incredibly easy and affordable to create an ad that's perfectly targeted to your demographic. I know, you're a songwriter, not an advertising agent, but this is a lot easier than you think.

The steps are fairly straightforward, but here are some key tips for you to consider.
  1. To reach the right people, type in names of similar artists in the "Precise Interests" field. That will target your ad to people who entered that artist as music they listen to. Completely original? Then enter your influences.
  2. Pick a geographic region that makes sense. If you're a touring musician, only select the areas you play or want to play.
  3. Start Small - Set your daily budget low, Select Pay for Clicks (not impressions), and set your Bid way below what they select. If you set a low bid, you'll pick up ads on off hours, or when other campaigns end.
  4. Fine Tune your ad as you go along. Set it up, check back to see how it's doing, then change your settings to see if you can increase your reach
IDEA 6 - Get Creative
These are just a few ideas of how you can engage your fans and increase your sales and promotion on Facebook. There are as many ways to succeed with your fans on Facebook as there are songwriters signed to ASCAP (maybe more). So find your voice, and try things out. The nice thing about the Facebook, is if you try one promotion, and it doesn't work you can quickly switch to another."

These are great ideas, and something that you should consider, since Facebook is one of the most powerful social media tools at your disposal.
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You should follow me on Twitter for daily news and updates on production and the music business.

Check out my Big Picture blog for discussion on common music, engineering and production tips and tricks.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

How To Pick The Right Band Name

Band Name image from Bobby Owsinski's Music 3.0 blog
Here's a great article from Mashable about ideas for that perfect company name. Okay, we're not talking company here, but the principles are the same when it comes to a band, so I've changed some of the language to better reflect the music business.

"1. Set the tone. Your band name sets the tone for all that follows. What’s the first thing you want a fan to think in regard to your band? The tone of your name can be playful or academic, edgy or professional. Just make sure it reflects what your band is and what you want it to be in the future.

2. Simple is strong. A powerful name is easy to spell, pronounce and remember. After all, what good is word-of-mouth if your fan tells a friend, “You really should check this band out. I think their name begins with an A…”

3. Do not use initials! We all know the business landscape has an affinity for acronyms, but try to avoid using initials for your band name. A random collection of letters doesn’t inspire an emotional connection. And you can run into legal and branding headaches by juggling two different business names (the initials and the name spelled out).

4. Watch out for language pitfalls. A word in English may have a negative meaning in another language or culture. And enthusiastic bandmates can be blind to awkward puns and double entendres. The best way to avoid creating an embarrassing or damaging brand situation is to test your name on your target audiences; they may see something you missed.

5. Give any new name time to sink in. It can take some time for a new name to feel right, and you may need to use your name for several months before it starts to feel natural. This is particularly true when a name is off the beaten path, which is often the case for some the industry’s most memorable and impactful names. Just imagine the initial reaction to the name “Google”  or "LMFAO." That said, a strong product can overcome a potentially ill-conceived name.

6. Don’t finalize too soon. The most important lesson is not to get too attached to any one name during the brainstorming process. When inspiration strikes, it’s all too tempting to start envisioning your logo, web design, album artwork, etc. But you’ve got to make sure that perfect name is legally available for you to use — no one wants to be on the wrong end of a trademark dispute."

By the way, if you're still stuck for a name, try the following band name generators here and here.

You can read the entire article with a business slant here.
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You should follow me on Twitter for daily news and updates on production and the music business.

Check out my Big Picture blog for discussion on common music, engineering and production tips and tricks.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Social Media Tips From The Roxy In Hollywood

The Roxy Theatre logo image from Bobby Owsinski's Music 3.0 blog
The Roxy Theater on Hollywood's famed Sunset Strip has long been a prime venue for acts of all sizes and genres, regardless of their level of success. But like so many other venues, it met with some challenges during the tough years of the financial crisis. Owner Nic Adler decided to turn to social networking to breathe some new live into the club, and did so with resounding success.

Lydia Dishma interviewed Nic Adler for Fast Company and he revealed his tips for using social media. I found this part of the interview on the ever excellent Hypebot blog.

(1) Be Early To Be Influential
"It is this land grab that's happening. If you are on early you can move your base. By the time it becomes an awesome network to be on, you are already at 20K followers."
(2) Keep Moving
"If you miss a beat they've passed you by, so be everywhere. That is why we find ourselves in so many different networks. If we were just on Myspace we'd only be talking to a small group. If we spread out we have a better opportunity to reach more people."
(3) Forget Search. Discover
"I go on Pinterest without anything in mind, I'm just looking and discovering in this different mode...So say you are a business and you have this idea to find the best 20 beers, so you ask your fans. Then you build a new board of your followers' favorite beers and turn around and tweet that out. Your fans are then going to a place where all their ideas are visually placed with links."
(4) Be Generous
"It's about watching that feed and seeing someone tweet, 'Hey I'm broke but I wish I could go to that show,' and I'll turn around and say, 'Hey you are on the list plus one.'...It's better than a contest. It's not something we do every day but the response is amazing."
(5) Be Authentic
"Being authentic and organic are the two biggest things we talk about at The Roxy. It's about a slow build and being honest, and if we are wrong we are honest about that, too. When we are wrong and we make it right, those are almost the most important marketing moments we have at The Roxy."
(6) Change The Way You Think About ROI
"For us, Facebook is more about communication and awareness than trying to get people in the door. People use Facebook as this tool for selling, but more of our content is about music, food, TV...More than 50% of fans might not ever come to The Roxy but we all have this interest in music and pop culture in common."

As with all social media promotion, what works for The Roxy might not work for you, but then again it just might. Especially take note of #6. Too many times we try to measure our promotion by the amount of sales, but sometimes it's more about communication to your fanbase that's important.
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You should follow me on Twitter for daily news and updates on production and the music business.

Check out my Big Picture blog for discussion on common music, engineering and production tips and tricks.

Monday, January 16, 2012

What Do Artists Earn Online?

Okay, ready to have your mind blown? Here's an infographic that describes just how much you have to sell to earn the US monthly minimum wage of $1,160. On the right is the percentage of sale that you actually make. The graphic comes from informationisbeautiful.net.

How much artists earn online image from Bobby Owsinski's Music 3.0 blog
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You should follow me on Twitter for daily news and updates on production and the music business.

Check out my Big Picture blog for discussion on common music, engineering and production tips and tricks.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

The Ins And Outs Of House Concerts

House Concert image from Bobby Owsinski's Music 3.0 blog
House concerts are gaining popularity as a legitimate way to tour, but there's a lot more to it than just singing some songs in a friends home. Although I've been to a number of house concerts, I wasn't aware of just how sophisticated this whole scene has become. Fran Snyder, the founder of ConcertsInYourHome.com, DinnerAndSong.com, and ListeningRoomNetwork.com, recently wrote a great post that includes just about everything you'd want to know about playing or hosting a house concert. Here are a couple of excerpts.

"Different Formats
There are different formats available for house concerts, and each can be tailored not only to the needs of the artist, but to the tastes and comfort level of the host. Using the different options like DinnerAndSong is a great way to introduce new people to hosting, and to create opportunities during the week.
  • Traditional Format - two, 40-minute sets, preceded by meet and greet and/or potluck. 20-50 guests or more.
  • Dinner And Song - 8-10 guests, 35-minute, simple dinner with artist, 35-minute unplugged performance.
  • Dessert And Song - 10-20 guests, 15-minute dessert and meet and greet, followed by 40-minute concert.
  • Breakfast And Song - 10-30 guests, 30-minute buffet-style breakfast/brunch, 35-minute concert."
"How To Find House Concert Hosts
  • #1 Resource? Your Fans - Even the most experienced and in-demand artists will tell you that a growing fanbase is the best resource to book house concerts. Consistently provide your fans with the inspiration and tools they need to help you fill the gaps in your tour.
  • Search engines - The challenge with search engine results for house concerts, is that those who show up in the results are typically hosts with a long reputation for hosting great shows. This gives you a list of hosts who are least likely to have available dates in the next 12 months, and are unlikely to book an artist they don't know.
  • Facebook/Myspace - Cumbersome to connect to house concerts this way, but people do it all the time.
  • Other sites include: http://houseconcerthub.ning.com (europe), http://houseconcertsaustralia.ning.com, http://www.houseconcerts.us"
Check out Fran's post as it has the most comprehensive info on house concerts I've ever seen.
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You should follow me on Twitter for daily news and updates on production and the music business.

Check out my Big Picture blog for discussion on common music, engineering and production tips and tricks.

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