A recent survey undertaken by Reverb Nation suggests that Facebook likes are by far the most sought after thing on a bands agenda. I wrote about the reach of Facebook posts here suggesting only 10% of people see your facebook post and only 1% like it. It seems that bands are more worried about being seen with a fan base, hence the importance on the visible “like”, than actually building a database of their own with an email list.
When you build you fan base through a third party site, you are at their mercy. If they decide they no longer want to support music, then you just lost everything. We saw this with Myspace - bands with 200,000 fans were left starting again, switching priorities to Facebook and trying to build numbers from the ground up.
Now this is not to dismiss the importance of being able to demonstrate the strength of your fan base. Potential fans, promoters, and what’s left of A&R will certainly take an interest in the capacity of your following. The thing with Facebook is that it is now so integrated with people, that if you are creating a buzz elsewhere it will reflect on your Facebook page.
A More Accurate Barometer
A far more accurate barometer of your engagement, is not how many likes you have, but the number of interactions your posts get. I come across many acts that have invested money into campaigns to acquire likes, and Facebook advertising can be very effective in increasing doing this. However, when you study how many interactions they get with their posts, it demonstrates how little those new followers actually engage. This is why for bands to simply chase likes, doesn’t mean you are actually creating fans.
The trouble with Facebook is that it isn’t primarily a content provider. People don’t go there to necessarily watch or listen. The Internet has made us a very visual society. Ever since the new Facebook has been introduced, those photos with an amusing caption have become extremely popular, but this is pretty benign for bands. However the audio/visual medium of Youtube is ideal. You see and hear the band, and if a band has good product, then the potential reach is endless.
YouTube has a similar advertising platform as facebook. You can pay to have you video featured in much the same manner as ads are featured on Facebook. “Promoted Videos” uses the Googles Adwords system, so you can target your ads to reach a suitable audience.
If you can engage the watcher with your video, you are then exposing them to the possibility of not only subscribing on Youtube, but also following through with a share and a like. More importantly you will increase your plays, and this is something that potential investors will hold in high regard. You are creating fans and strengthening your communication with them through your actual music, this means a lot more than a simple facebook like.
Keeping an email list of your fans is essential. However, if you worry that it doesn’t showcase your fan base enough, then building a sturdy Youtube community instead of a Facebook one, might prove to be a little more beneficial to your career.