You can read more of Chris Robley's writings on the DIY Musician Blog.
Facebook pages seem to be less and less useful these days for promoting music, especially when we’re talking about your average independent band that doesn’t want to drop a bunch of cash just to reach fans that have already liked their page.
But one aspect of a Facebook page that IS still useful is the Facebook Events feature. Since Facebook pages are public, you can use your Facebook Events to announce shows, get people excited, and encourage fans to share information about your band with their friends.
Here’s a few things to keep in mind when you create and moderate a Facebook Event:
1. You MUST have an event photo — Peeps love pictures. An awesome picture for the event will help bring the show to life in the imaginations of your fans. Events that don’t have photos or images get ignored. Don’t get ignored.
2. Give them ALL the info — Contrary to conventional web wisdom, less is NOT more when it comes to the description of your event. Why is this show important? What are you looking forward to most? How will your fans be able to help make this a really special concert? Any new songs you’ll be introducing? New merch? Let us know!
3. Get your dates, times, and places straight — It’s easy to mis-click something when Facebook auto-suggests a time or a venue or a city. For my most recent gig, I accidentally extended the event over two days. My friend who was sitting in on bass for a few songs called and said, “So,… I see we’re playing for 23 hours. I only learned 6 songs for this set.” Lesson: be sure to double-check all the details.
4. Link to the venue and/or ticketing site — Even though you’ll have already tagged the venue and Facebook usually knows the address to properly fill in the event details, it’s a good idea to include in your event description the venue’s URL and the URL where fans can purchase tickets. Fans might want to see the venue’s site and check out pictures, see what other bands have played there, etc. And, of course, they might want to buy tickets!
5. Include the other bands’ URLs — If you’re sharing the bill with other acts, give them some promo love too. That will help your fans get excited about the show as a whole, not just your set — and that will help ensure that they actually come to your show. Which brings us to…
6. RSVPs aren’t solid — If 120 people say they’re going to your show on Facebook, you can usually count on half of them flaking. It’s just the law of Facebook Events. BUT, it’s still a benefit to you that those people initially RSVP’d, because Facebook is a social environment; it’s all about what seems to be buzzing. The more people that say they’re going to attend your show, the more people will get excited about the event, increasing the chances that they’ll share it, or RSVP themselves. Some of the “maybes” might turn into confirmed guests through this tumbling process. Ah, perception!
7. Make sure every band is promoting the same Facebook Event — If there are multiple bands on the bill, don’t double or triple your efforts with multiple Facebook listings for the same concert. Instead, get one band to create the event and add the others as administrators for the event. Not only will you save time and energy, but that momentum I mentioned above will be easier to build, because all the people “going” to the show will be added up on one page.
8. Give ‘em time to think about the show — You don’t want to create a Facebook Event the night before a show. People need to plan, hire babysitters, take time off of work, have their noses pierced, get their leisure suits out of storage. On the other hand, you don’t want to create an Event so far in advance of the show that people have forgotten all about it by the time the concert date nears. I’d say three weeks out is good enough warning.
9. Send out the invites when people are most likely to be sitting at their computers — Don’t send out your Facebook Event invites at 4am on Wednesday night. Time your Event-creation/updates for when people will actually SEE them! Sunday evenings are good. Similarly, if you use your personal profile to invite friends to your band event, time those invites according to THEIR schedules (or your best guess at their schedules, at least).
10. Update your Event regularly — Your Facebook Event is a living organism and it needs to be fed. It has its very own wall with activity, comments, invite info, etc. Your invited guests get notified when you make updates, so don’t treat the Event page like a static thing. Share videos or links to music from all the various bands on the bill; talk about your show preparations; converse with your fans who’ve confirmed they’re “going” so they’ll be more likely to actually go. You get the point. Be active! Then again, don’t be hyperactive. You don’t want to annoy your fans with constant reminders and updates. Maybe shoot for two or three updates a week at most.
Hopefully these tips help you create better Facebook Events, which hopefully help you bring more people out to your shows, which hopefully translates to better shows in general. Do you have any tips to add? Let us know your thoughts on Facebook Events in the comments section below.
This article was written by Chris Robley, editor of CD Baby's DIY Musician Blog. As the largest online distributor of indie-only music in the world, CD Baby helps artists make the most money from their music — including MP3, CD, and vinyl sales; global streaming fees; sync licensing; YouTube ad revenue; and more.