Double Your Photo Activity to Double Your Fan Engagement

Are you on Instagram? Do you post photos to your Facebook Page?

Recent studies have shown that Facebook posts with photos get 53% more likes than posts without imagery.

We’ve seen a bunch of musicians successfully use visuals to up the excitement level, turning fans into superfans. It also brings other fans into the mix, giving them a taste of what they could take part in next time.

After each Anberlin Meet & Greet with their fans, they posted a group photo from the Experience and tagged each person they were hanging out with. Amazing follow up and post-Experience activity to really solidify the relationship with your new superfan. Check out the nearly 1,000 likes!

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Easton Corbin posted a Facebook album of his kayak tour with 5 VIP fans in Chicago, making a lasting memento for fans, long after the Experience was over.

In case you aren’t convinced yet how photos benefit your fans’ experiences, here are three reasons you should incorporate more photos into your daily social activity and experience with fans:

1) Your fans will engage more with your content across the web.

2) It’s a chance for you to build a better relationship with fans and create more lasting memories.

3) If you’re tagging fans that were there with you at the Experience or at your show, it’s great content that they’ll share with their social networks.

Get started with your own custom Experiences today – just email us to access to the beta.

Festivals Galore: Engage Fans on the Ground

We’re in the midst of the magical music festival season and amped to see the creative ways musicians are using BandPage Experiences to engage with festival-goers and fans.

Last week, we saw the Sunset Strip Music Festival in Hollywood providing a venue for Street Drum Corps to have blast with fans – from side-stage access to face painting with the band.

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With Outside Lands coming up in San Francisco, a few bands are taking the opportunity to meet and greet fans at the PayPal Patio. To top it off, they are offering proceeds from this Experience to benefit local charities like the San Francisco Rock Project.

There are still a few passes left – they are going quick so head over and grab one to get access to this awesome Experience this weekend!

Best Practices: Building a BandPage Experience

Hey Musicians,

For the past few weeks we’ve been carefully studying the various Experiences that have made their way onto our new Marketplace platform in hopes of educating you on what it takes to create a successful “offers” campaign.  We’ve been fortunate to have the opportunity to work closely with many of the great musicians who are currently using our Marketplace and have helped many of them develop, refine and successfully sell their offers.  We learned a TON in the process and want to share that knowledge with you.

In our earlier blog posts, we covered the different ways you can promote your Experiences to your fans via Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.  Remember, nothing is more effective than you, the artists encouraging your fans to check out new opportunities to engage with you.  It has proven to be the most useful way to reach your fans that we have seen thus far.

However, for this blog post we’ll start at the beginning and cover some of the best practices for developing and setting up an Experience once you have made the decision to participate in this Brave New World of fan engagement.  Let’s get started!

Where to Start

The first step in creating your Experiences, is deciding on what your goals are.  Are you trying to maximize revenue or are you more focused on creating cool new ways to engage with your biggest fans?  Deciding on your ultimate goal will help inform the choices you make for each of the offer variables below.

  • What to Offer
  • Pricing Your Offer
  • Quantity
  • Title
  • Description
  • Expiration Date
  • Video / Photo

What to Offer

Offerings can be broken down into 3 main types: Personalized merchandise, fan participation, and personal experiences.

  • Personalized Merchandise/Momentos: These are often manufactured goods that you can easily add exclusive value to.  Examples include signed vinyl, handwritten lyric sheets, a signed print from a show, signed drumheads, etc.   What’s great about items like these are they already have real-world value and adding an exclusive twist to them instantly makes them even more valuable to your fans.  Be sure not to confuse this with your standard merch.  You should only choose items that are limited in quantity and that you have personalized yourself.  These types of offers can also include hand-made items that you have put your own personal touch on.  We’ve seen artists successfully sell hand painted pictures/drawings to fans.  Other artists have successfully sold mix-tapes of their favorite songs or songs that have inspired them over the years.  Consider doing an acoustic cover of a fan’s choice.  Maybe a full EP.  Get creative.  Think of your favorite artists.  What cool stuff could they offer that would intrigue you?
  • Fan Participation:  These are super exclusive experience-based offers that let your fans be a part of your creative process.  Shooting a new video?  Let a fan be an extra.  Need some handclaps for a track your working on?  Give your biggest fans a crack at it.  If you’re feeling brave, you might even let a fan design your next album cover.  One artist created totally unique songs using sounds, samples and concepts sent to them by the purchasing fan.  Pretty amazing.  If a fan does participate in a project of yours, consider including their name in the credits or thank you notes as a further token of your appreciation.
  • Personal Experiences: These are also experience-based offers that allows your fans connect with you on a more personal and intimate level.  These types of offers can include a one-on-one skype session, a meet and greet before a show or a visit to the recording studio to sit in on the recording of your next album.  We’ve seen a number of talented artists offer their fans guitar or piano lessons.  We even had one artist completely sell through all of her theremin lessons.  There are handful of other artists who have successfully sold private concerts that are to be held in a fan’s living room.  Fans are always looking for unique and exclusive ways to engage with their favorite artists and creating a once in a lifetime experience is worth a premium price.

Pricing

In general, pricing will be a learning process for each musician. When first starting out, we recommend limiting the quantity of offers and pricing them to sell.  You can always add additional ones later.  It’s important to engage your fans right off the bat with an intriguing offer that won’t break the bank.  This will help generate buzz among your fanbase.  We saw a number of bands completely sell out of their offers within hours of promoting them to their socials who ended up having to add more items due to overwhelming fan demand.  That’s the kind of position you want to be in.  Remember, the higher the price the more promotion you’ll need to do in order to reach those few “Superfans” who’ll be willing to and have the means to pay a high price.

A few things to keep in mind when pricing your offer.

  1. First off, consider the costs associated with your offer.  Are there costs associated with transportation, shipping, merchandise, the venue, etc?  Your time is obviously worth something to you so don’t forget to take that into consideration.
  2. Secondly, you want to make sure you are offering something of value.  If you are selling a manufactured good like a signed CD or poster, you’re going to want to keep the price close to it’s real world cost (depending on how popular you are.)  You can always add additional value to a manufactured good by adding your own unique twist to it.  Hand-write lyrics on a poster or draw a picture on a drumhead and sign it or for a fan.  Perhaps you can create a personal one-of-kind greeting to open your new album.  Adding a one of a kind experience to a manufactured good that already has real world value not only gives you a decent starting point price-wise but also affords you some flexibility depending on your audience.   However, if you are selling a vinyl test pressing, or a meet and great before a show or something that is super rare and limited in quantity, you will be able to fetch a premium price based on the exclusivity of the item or experience.
  3. A good rule of thumb: Put yourself in your fan’s shoes.  Would you be willing to spend your hard earned cash on your reward?  Let your honest answer to that question guide you.

Quantity

Depending on what your goals are, you can either choose to keep your experiences exclusive and intimate or far-reaching and accessible.  If you’re experimenting with offers, it’s a good idea to keep inventory low to see how they initially sell.  You can always increase the quantity if things start to sell quickly or even better, sell out.   Keep in mind, the quantity you set is closely related to price – the lower the quantity of something the more exclusive it is and therefore the higher you can price it.  Offerings with a high quantity do not have that “exclusivity” factor and you are better served to price those a bit lower.

Let’s take a look at two good examples of both cases.  We’ll compare Mum (an avant-grade Icelandic band) and The Postelles (an up and coming American indie rock band) to highlight the dynamic relationship between exclusivity and price.

  • Mum offered fans a completely custom song created using a fan’s choice of sounds, samples, concepts, etc. Due to the time commitment and effort needed to produce this offer, the band decided to only sell a few.  Naturally, the price was expensive for such a unique opportunity but the final product warranted it.  Within hours of sharing these unique opportunity with the fans, Mum was able to sell 3 customized songs for $1500 each.  Not a bad way to make some extra cash and cultivate a greater relationship with some of their biggest fans.
  • The Postelles wanted to create some buzz around their newest release and encourage their fans to actually BUY their album rather than stream it.  So they came up with the idea to personally “audiographed” 50 copies of their new album. An “audiograph” (according to them) is a personalized dedication just for the fan in digital format to be played in (STEREO) at the very beginning of the new album.  Fans loved the idea of having something personal and unique to them and jumped at the opportunity.  The Postelles kept prices incredibly reasonable knowing they could sell a large volume and create some excitement around the album.  It worked like a charm.  Fans who weren’t able to get their hands on the first wave of audiographed albums begged for the band to create more via The Postelles Facebook page and Twitter.  There was clearly a large demand, so The Postelles made a handful more which almost immediately sold out again.

Title

The title is the first thing a fan will see when the come across your offerings on your social channels, via email, and when they’re surfing the BandPage Experiences site so be sure to make it simple yet compelling and memorable.  Fans should want to click on your experience to learn more so have some fun with it and keep it personable and honest.

Top selling Experience titles:

  • Exclusive Pre-show Listening Party!
  • …And It Shook Me (AUDIOGRAPHED VERSION)
  • Personalized Outgoing Message from Us!
  • Backstage Buddz Bundle
  • Catch Our Show From The Side Stage
  • Wood Printed Design Hieroglyphics X Oakland
  • Intimate “Living Room” Album

Description

Your description is the best place to communicate to your fans what exactly it is you are offering them.  It’s imperative that you are as descriptive as possible so that the fan is absolutely clear on what it is they are getting in return for their money.  What format is it in, how long will it be, what’s included and how it will be fulfilled?  If there are rules and policies, be sure to list those out as well.  If you can’t give fans side stage access to shows that you aren’t headlining, be sure to make that clear.  Be sure to also include a clear call to action at the beginning or end of the description if there is something you specifically need from the fan.

Examples of good descriptions:

  • Issues’s Exclusive Pre-show Listening Party tells you exactly what is included: a Q&A, all the autographs you want, photos, an extremely intimate group setting, and of course, listen to the new material.
  • Stars’ Watch a Show From the Stage tells you the logistical details: you get 2 tickets included with the purchase, you get to choose which show you want to be on the stage for, and the purchase does not include travel to/from the show.
  • Hieroglyphics’ Wood Printed Design’s description includes the exact canvas size, some background and history, and for this offer the image shows you exactly what you see and is used to support the description.

Expiration Date

Shorter durations for your Experiences will have higher success rates and create a sense of urgency for your fans. We recommend setting your expiration date no later than a month out, and promoting it at big milestones (2 weeks left! 1 week left! 2 days left!).

Video & Photo

You should already have a BandPage profile photo uploaded. It’s your main form of branding on the page so choose a good photo that embodies who you are as an artist.

When uploading your photo or video, be sure to use an image that will catch the eye and is related to the offer. Unique, bright, colorful, high-resolution images get more clicks.

If you choose to make a video, there are a few important things to keep in mind.

  • Make it personable.  Don’t be afraid to get in front of the camera and tell your fans how excited you are about this opportunity to engage and connect with them.  You don’t have to be sales-y, just be yourself and stay true to who you are as an artists.  
  • It doesn’t have to be perfect.  Knock it out in a couple of hours with a few friends or spend days editing it – whatever floats your boat.  Being yourself and being genuine goes a lot further than a slick, well-produced video. If you can do both, even better!
  • Be descriptive.  Here is another opportunity to explain to your fans what exactly it is they are getting.

Some Last Notes…

  • Number of Experiences: Start with no more than 3 unique offers.  You are going to need to promote these things to your fans and you dont want to be spamming them day after day.  Many artists prefer to promote one offer at a time.  Others have found success promoting a handful at the same time.  Find what works for you.  We feel keeping the number of unique offers low challenges you to really develop the ones you do have and that’s important.
  • Try to Keep Your Offer Audience Wide: If you have offers set in certain geographic areas, you’ll be limiting your audience to those of your fans who live near that region. Be aware of when this happens because you’ll be able to target those fans really well with Facebook ads. If you’re offering instrument lessons, be aware that you’re limiting the pool of potential buyers to your fans who happen to be currently learning how to play that exact instrument.
  • Fill Out Your BandPage Profile:  The Marketplace is another opportunity for you to market your content so important that your BandPage profile be up-to-date.  A fan may come across your profile looking to check out that signed vinyl test pressing you just put up for sale and notice you are playing in their town in a few weeks.  Or your offer might catch the eye of a fan of another band and they may want to check out your songs or videos.  You never know who is going to be seeing and listening to your stuff so make sure it’s all filled out and completely updated.

Those are our tips for setting up a great Experience! Definitely leave us feedback if you have questions or thoughts – and check out our other posts regarding promoting your offers if you haven’t already.

Promoting Your BandPage Experiences: Part 5 – Word of Mouth

Hi Musicians,

We’ve covered a number of different ways for you to promote your BandPage Experiences over the past week – the main takeaway is that there are many different ways and mediums to promote on. Take a look at your own fan base and think about where your most engaged fans are concentrated, then focus your energy there. Today we’ll be covering in-person / word of mouth promotion and what you can do when you’re with your fans in real life.

Part 1: Facebook | Part 2: Twitter | Part 3: YouTube | Part 4: Mailing List

Promote your BandPage Experiences at your live shows or whenever you’re in front of your fans. It’s an opportunity to reach a group of passionate fans who will be your evangelists and help spread the word.

Example: “Hey guys! I’m so glad you came out tonight to see me – it really means a lot. If you’re hungry for more, I have some XXXX up on my BandPage Experiences store. There are only a few left so you should grab them while they’re still up! Tell all your friends!”

Now you have a sense of all the things you can do to promote your Experiences after you set them up. We recommend posting where you have the highest concentration of fans who are likely to buy your Experiences. This often times means posting on your social networks first, in order of ones with the most fan count. The main point to remember is to make a compelling offer and take the time to promote your BandPage Experiences once you set them up!

Well, that’s it for our BandPage Experiences blog series on promoting your offers! Stay tuned for a post soon about how to structure a great offer – we’ll cover pricing, quantity, descriptions, and all that good stuff.

Promoting Your BandPage Experiences: Part 4 – Mailing List

Hey Musicians,

In this post we’ll cover how to promote your BandPage Experiences to your Superfans through your mailing list. To recap, we’ve been publishing a series of posts on different channels you can promote your Experiences through, and showcasing examples of how other successful musicians have done it. We are now approving submissions to join our BandPage Experiences closed beta – just log into your BandPage editor, choose the artist you want to submit and navigate to the BandPage Experiences tab on the left hand navigation.

Part 1: Facebook | Part 2: Twitter | Part 3: YouTube | Part 5: Word of Mouth

Your mailing list houses your most passionate fans – these are fans who want to hear from you and interact with you. Email your mailing list to tell them that they now have a chance to engage more deeply with you through BandPage Experiences.

Best Practices:

  • Keep it short: People’s attention spans are short. Keep your email text short and sweet, and more fans will read through the whole thing.
  • Give clear action steps: Tell your readers what to do next. If you’re promoting your BandPage Experiences, then action steps like “Buy them before they run out!” or “Check them out now” will point fans towards your goal of getting them to look at your Experiences page and buying an Experience.
  • Track your emails: Use trackable links like bit.ly or shortURL so you can track and measure the amount of traffic you are generating with your post, and optimize your message based on performance.

An example from Ryan from Sleeping at Last is below. He keeps his tone genuine and lighthearted throughout his whole email to his fans. He describes each experience in detail, and gives the context behind them.

After he sent this email to his mailing list, his Experiences sold out and he had to add more. The takeaway is that as a musician, you should know where your strongest group of fans are – and it will differ for each artist.  In general, if you have a mailing list then it should contain your strongest fans who want to hear from you and deepen their relationship with you.

BandPage Experiences email from Sleeping At Last

Thanks for reading this installment about promoting to your mailing list! Be sure to tune in for our next and final installment, promoting your Experiences through word-of-mouth.

Promoting Your BandPage Experiences: Part 2 – Twitter

Hi Musicians,

We’re back! To recap, this is part 2 of 5 of a series of blog posts on how to promote your BandPage Experiences. Part 1 covered different promotion tactics on Facebook, and this next post in the series will cover how to promote your Experiences to your Twitter fans.

Part 1: Facebook | Part 3: YouTube | Part 4: Mailing List | Part 5: Word of Mouth

Promoting on Twitter

Twitter is great for connecting to your fans in real-time, in your own voice. Write an engaging post about your experiences (keep it to 140 characters!), and prompt your fans to favorite, retweet, and click through to buy your experience right when they see your tweet. Retweeting is especially important because it expands the reach of your tweet to your fans’ followers.

Quick Tip! We suggest using trackable links like bit.ly or shortURL so you can track and measure the amount of traffic you are generating with your post, and optimize your message based on performance.

Best Practices:

  • Take Advantage of Twitter Lingo: Make good use of hashtags (#) to have your tweets show up in searches and mention other users (@) whenever applicable so that the maximum number of people will see your tweet.
  • Images and Media Get Clicks: Tweets with images get twice the amount of engagement as ones without. Examples:
    • George Clinton from Parliament Funkadelic makes great use of hashtags here, making his tweet show up to people who are searching for Oakland or Sacramento events on Twitter. He also conveys the concept of scarcity well in this tweet, making his followers act fast due to quantity running out.
    • George Clinton's Tweet about BandPage Experiences
  • Have Friends and Fans Retweet You: Increase your reach by having people you know share your tweet with their own followers by retweeting you.
  • Interact With Your Fans: Thank them for buying your Experience, answer their questions, give them a shoutout and more. Example from The Octopus Project:
    • The Octopus Project Retweets a Fan

Advertising on Twitter

  • Promoted Tweets: Select specific tweets to promote to your fans and increase the number of people who see it. You can choose to target your fans and/or fans of other bands you’ve toured with before or are similar in sound. Get started now at ads.twitter.com.

Twitter Advertising Resources:

Check out Part 1 of this series, which covers how to promote your BandPage Experiences on Facebook.

Promoting Your BandPage Experiences: Part 1 – Facebook

BandPage Experiences has been live for almost a few weeks now and we’re already learning a lot about what makes a good Experience tick.  We are finding that the best Experiences are not only exclusive and unique, but are also priced affordably and time limited.  It’s important to keep those factors in mind when developing your own Experiences.

In this upcoming series of 5 posts we are going to cover how and where to promote and market your Experience(s) once you have decided on what to offer your fans. This first post focuses on all the different ways you can share them on Facebook. Our next 4 posts will cover Twitter, YouTube, your mailing list, and good old word-of-mouth.

Part 2: Twitter | Part 3: YouTube | Part 4: Mailing List | Part 5: Word of Mouth

Promoting on Facebook

There’s no doubt that a musician should be active on Facebook – after all, it boasts over 1.06 Billion users, people are spending large parts of their day browsing it, and it’s one of the biggest sites where you can find fans. If you have the highest number of fans here, this should be the first place you go to promote your newly published Experiences.

Facebook is a great platform for posting rich media messages to your fans. It supports links, videos, photos, text, and more – which makes it ideal for promoting your Experiences. We recommend posting a short and genuine message to your fans, letting them know that you created an Experience for them.

Quick Tip! We suggest using trackable links like bit.ly or shortURL so you can track and measure the amount of traffic you are generating with your post, and optimize your message based on performance.

Different WAYS TO POST

Facebook supports links, videos, photos, text, and more. Mix and match different media in your posts to see what works for you and your fans. Below are some live examples of different ways to post on Facebook.

  • Embed the BandPage Experiences Link
    • Promote either your individual experience or your entire experiences page, depending on what your goals are and how many experiences you have.
    • Example: George Clinton from Parliament Funkadelic wanted to post about one of his shows in Sacramento, so he shared his individual experience page with a message aimed at his Sacramento fans.
    • George Clinton & P-Funk BandPage Experience
  • Post a Related Photo
    • Take a screenshot or post an image related to your BandPage Experience, and link to  the experience in the text description. Images grab fans’ attentions quickly and they’ll be more likely to click through. Example: Slightly Stoopid below
    • Slightly Stoopid BandPage Experience Promotion
  • Write a Genuine Message
    • Tell the story behind your offer; give some background; reach out to your fans in an engaging way. You can pair this with any kind of media – a photo, link, or video. Lay Low pairs her message with a link to her Experience in the example below.
  • Lay Low BandPage Experiences Promotion

Best Practices

  • Include Rich Media: Rich media posts are more likely to show up in fans’ news feeds and get clicked on. Photo posts are especially eye-catching and engaging.
  • Your Message Should Come From You: Fans respond more when your message is genuine and non-salesy. It’s always good to give your fans a story or more context by answering:
    • What are you offering?
    • What’s the story behind it?
    • Why is it cool and unique?
  • Give An Action Step: Every post should have an action step attached to it – “Check out my awesome offer!”, “Buy now before they’re sold out!” or “Go now – only 10 available!” are all good examples.
  • Always Be Optimizing. Watch the traffic and engagement you’re driving from each of your posts, and optimize towards the ones that are showing results. For example if adding an action step like “Check it out now!” is getting you a lot of clicks, then keep going with that. Different ways to optimize:
    • Time / Day of post
    • Action step in post
    • Type of media posted
    • Geographic location / types of people the post is targeted at (if you’re running ads)
  • “Star” Important Posts: You can star posts on your Timeline by hovering over the star shape on the top right corner. Starring posts makes them twice as wide and will draw your fans’ attention. Example: The Postelles below
  • The Postelles' Facebook post

Advertising on Facebook

If your post on Facebook didn’t generate the number of views or sales you wanted, Facebook offers some great advertising options.

  • Promoted Page Posts: Select a specific post on your page or automatically promote your most recent post to increase the number of your fans or friends of your fans it reaches. Example: Brian Fuente can promote his post to his fan base, and select his budget and reach.
  • Brian Fuente Promoted Post on Facebook
  • Facebook Ads: Ads run along the right-hand side of a fan’s page. You can customize the message and image, as well as link off Facebook to your BandPage Experiences link. You can also target your ad to specific users by age, geographic location, other pages they’ve “liked”, and more.

Facebook Advertising Resources:

To recap, there are a number of different ways you can post about your Experiences on Facebook – links, text, photos, videos, and more. We recommend 1. writing a genuine message with a strong action step, 2. using strong visuals by posting media and/or “starring” your posts, and 3. looking at your viewership and clickthrough rates for posts and optimize towards the types that are successful. Ads are also an option if your posts aren’t reaching as many people as you’d like. Feel free to comment below if you have any questions you’d like us to answer!

And of course, log into your BandPage editor now to request access to our Experiences beta program.