It's been several months since Facebook made massive changes to its News Feed algorithm, changes which made it much harder for music marketers to utilize the platform for promotion. Now that brands have had some time to grapple with this thorny new social media beast, we're taking a look at four different ways to beat the new Facebook algorithm.
Guest post by Bill Leigh from the Eventbrite blog
At the beginning of the year, Facebook announced big changes to its News Feed algorithm. In the months since, it’s clear that these changes have made it harder for music venues, festivals, and other brands to reach fans with organic posts.
Why? The Facebook algorithm now deemphasizes so-called “public” posts from publishers and businesses. Instead, the Facebook algorithm aims to promote “meaningful interactions,” starting with prioritizing posts from friends, families, and groups.
At the beginning of 2018, we took a look at the just-announced changes to the Facebook algorithm and made some recommendations about how you can continue successfully reaching music fans. Our list included making posts that would generate comments, asking fans to choose your content, using Facebook Groups, and investing in Facebook advertising.
Now that brands have had some experience working with the new algorithm, here are four more strategies that promoters have found to expand their reach.
1. Reply to comments as much as possible
Facebook has made it clear that they’re looking to create meaningful interactions. That doesn’t just mean they’re promoting posts with more comments, it means the algorithm boosts posts with replies to comments that keep the conversation going.
But don’t just comment for the sake of commenting. If you make a post that says something like “Comment if you like rock & roll,” the algorithm considers that spammy.
“Engagement bait” is what Facebook calls posts that explicitly ask for comments, likes, or tags. Since the company feels those kinds of posts are trying to take advantage of the algorithm to increase reach by boosting engagement, the algorithm demotes it. In fact, Facebook will decrease the overall reach of pages that repeatedly use engagement bait
2. Keep creating quality content that’s meaningful, relevant, and authentic
In their January statement, Facebook wrote that Pages and brands that make posts that people don’t comment on or react to will see lower distribution. On the other hand, Pages whose posts spark conversations between friends won’t see that decrease.
So keep reactions and comments coming by creating quality content that resonates with fans.
When it comes to posts, trustworthy is the opposite of sales-y, so make sure your posts give value to your audience rather than just promoting upcoming events. That could mean sharing relevant articles, behind-the-scenes videos, throwback photos, and even tips on how to find new bands. And you can blur those lines by adding value to your promo, like collaborating with artists by having them post to your page and vice versa.
3. Get serious about live video
If you haven’t already started livestreaming concerts, make doing so a top priority. Why? Because according to Facebook, live videos get an average of six times as many interactions as non-live videos.
Beyond increased Facebook engagement, there are plenty of benefits from livestreaming as many performances as you can:
- Fans will learn through experience that it’s a good idea to tune in whenever you go live, so you’ll grow your audience with every stream
- Sponsors will be interested in the size of your total audience — live attendees plus video viewers — or they may want to sponsor your live stream
- You’ll create FOMO — fear of missing out — which drives ticket sales because fans won’t want to miss the next show or festival
- You’ll have plenty of videos to use as teasers and recaps in social media or email marketing, which will drive fans to buy tickets to future shows
- Live video is raw and visceral, which will help you convey your authenticity and brand personality
4. Keep a local point of view
Facebook stated that local news would get priority over national or world news in News Feeds. Most music venues and festivals are essentially local or regional businesses, so you can mix into your posts relevant news about the neighborhood or region. If you run a festival that draws fans from hundreds of miles away, you can every so often narrow in on one the communities you serve.
For more on marketing and managing music venues check out The 2018 Music Venue Management Kit.
Bill Leigh is a writer at Eventbrite, where he focuses on helping create successful live music events. He is also the former Editor-in-Chief of Bass Player magazine. When he’s not working, he splits his time between “dad mode” and “rocker mode.”