By Andrew Apanov of DottedMusic.com.
For a long time brands and bands utilised the Facebook feature enabling them to control which tab a user sees when landing on their Facebook Pages.
In reality though, Facebook tabs are just as effective, especially after the recent EdgeRank enhancements which mean your updates get less reach and visibility if you don’t promote your Page the smart way. You just need to work a little bit harder to get the custom tabs noticed in a results-driven way. And we’ve seen the results: even fan-gating can bring you 10x increase in Daily Likes if you prepare a good offer and spread the word among your fans.
What does it take for a music act to promote your custom tab on Facebook?
I should start with stating how important it is to be consistent with which Facebook tab you drive traffic to. You naturally have more than one app installed, but which is the most important one? The answer is actually simple: the one that will bring you the most noticeable results. Anything that converts visitors either into your newsletter subscribers or “fans” of your Facebook page generally works best. Especially the latter, since on Facebook it’s way easier to make someone click “Like” on your Page than to do something even slightly less simple and quick like filling out a form or sharing a message.
1) Use direct links
Now that you’ve decided which Facebook tab to promote, it's time to drive people's attention to your promotion.
As you already know, you can't load a custom app when someone visits your Facebook page by default anymore. This means you will have to link directly to the app a lot. A full URL looks too bulky, so make sure you create a shortened one. Bit.ly works just great for that as we will get the click stats, too.
Link to your Facebook anywhere you can (your website, your other social media profiles and so on), just as you have been doing all along. Instead of linking to http://facebook.com/yourbandname, however, link directly to your tab. If you use a shortened URL for tracking, consider creating several shortened links for each location to see where fans are coming from.
2) Use Facebook Ads
This tip is primarily for those of you who are already running Facebook Ads to drive traffic to your page. Create a new campaign, where you direct fans to your custom tab - fortunately, it’s easy to do now.
3) Update your Timeline
Some people will still be coming straight to your Facebook page of course. So don’t forget these basic tips. You can have up to four apps displayed at the top of your Facebook page, and you control three of them - make sure that your custom tab is there, and that you set a clear and engaging thumbnail for it. Assign a proper name to the thumbnail, either with a title of a freebie if you are giving something away (especially if the title is recognised), or a call-to-action - e.g. "Get it now!"
With the previous point in mind, you can't have a prominent call-to-action in your Timeline cover. You can try to play it around with indirect hints in design, but do it at your own risk and never write "Like this page for a free song!" on your cover (it's prohibited by Facebook).
4) Pin wisely
Regularly (once every couple of weeks) create a post with a link to your custom tab, prompting new visitors to check out your offer, and - more importantly - asking your existing fans to act on the post. When someone likes or comments on your status updates, they make these updates appear in their friends’ feeds. So ask for your fans' thoughts on the track that you are giving away or ask them how preparation is going for the photo contest you are currently running. Keep such posts pinned for as long as you can.
5) Use all your other channels
Announce the promotion in your email newsletter and on your blog as soon as the tab is up. Do post about it on all your other social networks as well. I know this sounds obvious, but it’s often ignored or seldom remembered.
6) YouTube and Soundcloud are your friends
If you are giving away a track, you should have a clip version of it on your YouTube channel. Even if it's an audio with a static image, just put it up there, then add proper title, tags, and description. The trick is to start the description with a link to your Facebook tab with a kind of "download the full song here" phrase.
If you've got a Soundcloud profile, have the clip up there as well. Don't make it downloadable: instead, replace the "Buy" link with a "Free download" one (you can change the anchor in a track's settings), and link to your custom Facebook tab.
7) Give instructions to your street team
If you've got a digital street team and they don't have much to do at the moment, ask them to send a link to your promotion via private messages to all new commenters on your blog, YouTube channel, Twitter, or whatever. Ask them to reach out to admins of Facebook pages and groups dedicated to the music genre that you record/perform at and ask them to share the link to their followers.
Even with these simple tips you will get more Likes and Reach on your page, so start acting now.
Andrew Apanov is a founder of DottedMusic.com, a digital agency for music brands and a blog about music industry and marketing.