While bands and labels have long bemoaned Facebook's drastic drop in organic reach, Blue Swan Records' Sergio Medina took matters into his own hands. With the Blue Swan Broadcast, the label utilized Facebook Groups as a new outlet to interact with fans, spread relevant news and reach their entire fanbase without succumbing to Facebook's emphasis on paid promotion. Before bands abandon ship for other social networks, it's worth looking into Groups' benefits and how the offerings could benefit musicians.
Reach everyone. Not some of your fans. Not most of your fans. Everyone.
While the common Facebook page post is lucky to reach even 20 percent of fans, Facebook Group default settings push each and every post into a member's notifications. That's right: Red numbers populate that lovely notification globe any time you post new songs, tour dates, or pre-order links. No payment necessary.
But with great power comes great responsibility. If the group's main feed gets too spammy, members may opt out of the notifications, killing your golden goose. Casual fans may not want to talk about your band every single day, so toy with the frequency of posts to find the sweet spot.
Let your fans do the talking.
Music lovers want to talk music, and your band's Facebook posts aren't the best place for it. In Groups, fans can begin their own dialogue without being prompted. No more “what's your favorite song from our new album?!?!” Now, those questions/posts happen whenever fans feel the urge. Over in the Blue Swan Broadcast, current discussions include Dance Gavin Dance's usage of different time signatures, thoughts on fan art and dream supergroup line-ups—topics a bit forced when triggered by bands, but perfectly friendly between like-minded DGD lovers. And what's more? Musicians can still contribute to the chats, answer questions, and get closer to fans than ever.
And keep in mind: They're already talking. You're just giving them an official place to chat. Fan-moderated Groups thrive in all shapes and sizes, from The Defend Pop-Punk Group's 25,000 genre-based fans to the Vinyl Collectors' format-specific group. The goal isn't to steal dialogue away from these existing communities, but to provide that certified source should fans choose to use it.
Customize your Group's discussion via admin settings.
If bands and labels would rather limit the types of discussion happening, admin settings and guidelines can provide fans with different levels of access. The Blue Swan Broadcast model is a good baseline. Every musician of every Blue Swan band is an admin, and all fan posts must be approved by an admin. This approach allows the team to control the cadence and quality of conversation without shoving too many topics into every fans' notifications. If any fans wonder what is and isn't allowed, a handy pinned post outlines the Group's philosophy with guidelines, links, and FAQs.
While Blue Swan's balance works, slightly more chaotic models can excite advocates and foster superfans. You, Me, And Everyone We Know recently created its own Facebook Group, which quickly turned into a database of live performance videos and long-lost B-sides. With the band approaching an announcement, keeping the hardcore fans in this small group has generated great excitement among the faithful, even without much recent activity from YMAEWK.
Post types, community polls, Group tagging—there's tons of options to play with.
While we've outlined some of the top-level ways to utilize Facebook Groups, the possibilities are endless. Small extra features are everywhere, like the ability to host files (like that new single or secret acoustic version), tag your group (have a label with a vinyl focus? Better tag “vinyl”), Group-specific events and more.
Don't leave Zuckerberg’s realm just yet. Take Blue Swan Records' blueprint, try Facebook Groups for yourselves, and keep in touch with those 1.3 billion active fans.